My Music On Myspace: A Guide For Music Artists
How Can I Get My Music Out There?
As a songwriter/singer/musician/producer, one of the biggest questions throughout my life of making music has been, "How can I really get my music out there, to be heard and appreciated?" Many have their own ideas/theories of what will draw attention to their music. For example, one may believe that the quality of content in their music (whether it be through lyrics or interesting musical accompaniment) will help people to recognize how unique they are, while another may believe their physical image and number of musical appearances will be enough to draw in the crowds. No matter what you believe in terms of your own music, there are definitely some tips that will give you opportunities you desire to get your music out there. First, I will give some basic tips to help you grow as a music artist, then I will give some more specific, fresh tips that many music artists are taking advantage of TODAY, through the use of a social networking website, such as MySpace.
1. Be Confident With Your Music
One of the most crucial keys to your success as a music artist is to learn to have confidence in your music, have confidence in yourself, and have confidence in your musical performance. Without confidence, you lose any appeal that will allow for others to truly appreciate who you are as a music artist. If people see you making music without confidence, they see that you do not believe in yourself enough, you don't believe in your music enough, and you do not believe in your musical performance enough... so they will be more prone to think, "Why should I believe in them or their music if they can't even do it?"
When I was showcasing a few of my songs at Rocketown in Nashville, TN, this past November 2008 in front of some Music Industry A & R Reps, I was reviewed based on various factors of my overall performance, my voice, my playing, and my songs. Although I was complimented greatly on my songwriting, my piano playing, my singing, and my heart for what I was doing, I was encouraged to be more confident in myself and in my performance. Just as I mentioned, they encouraged me that "confidence is key" in succeeding as a music artist. We can make excuses for ourselves and say, "Well, if I would have just...... then......" but what it comes down to is that we have to be comfortable enough with ourselves and with our music to really help others to enjoy our music. If we don't enjoy making music, then others will not enjoy listening to it or watching us make it. Also, you may enjoy making music but just don't play/sing in front of others enough to really feel comfortable yet. Or you may not know your music well enough yet.
A good tip to becoming more confident is knowing your music well. Practice. Know your music so well that the performance comes naturally and you are free to allow the music to create something fresh everytime you perform it. Not one performance will be the same as another because each moment you are a different person than you were seconds before. So... practice, be yourself, and give your music freedom to take on new shapes and colors each performance.
2. Set Goals For Yourself
This tip, like the first tip, can really be applied to life in general... but musically, it is so very important to set goals for yourself. Know what you want to get out of yourself as a music artist. Know what you want to get out of others from your influence as a music artist. Make a list of things that are important to you as a music artist, in order of how important they are. Here are some ideas of what you may put on your own list:
- I want my music to change lives for the better
- I want to make a debut album by (The month of **, in the year ****)
- I want to have at least 2 local gigs a week until I start touring
- I want to go on tour across the US, by the year ****
- I want to perform with my favorite music artist, Brian McKnight, someday
- I want to collaborate with others to make some sweet music together
- I want to write music that makes people happy
- I want making music to be my career
- I want to support the building of non-profit arts schools to give others the chance to make music like me
- I want to write & record 2 hit songs a week
These are just some random ideas to help you get started creating your own goals. When you set your own goals, you are the one deciding what is important to you, which also helps you become more confident. If you know what you want and you write it down, you are more likely to achieve those goals you set for yourself.
Along with being confident in your music and setting goals as a music artist comes a very important factor to your success: COMMUNICATION.
Effective communication with other music artists, fans, record labels, music promotions companies, etc, can act as a catapult to your musical success. I will go into more details of how to do this below when I discuss the use of a social networking website, such as MySpace, but it is crucial to realize that communication is a key element to promoting yourself through your music. Not only does your effective communication show confidence to others, but it also produces a certain level of enthusiasm that is needed. People will begin to realize there is a tangible reason they should be listening to your music and watching you perform. Once they understand this and begin to discover and appreciate your music, one of the most effective means of publicity goes into play: WORD OF MOUTH. People talk. Once your fan-base grows and reaches a certain point, you will no doubt notice an exponential increase in more fans. You will begin to get more of the attention you feel your music deserves, which in turn boosts your confidence and gives you all the more reason to set new goals that will help enhance your progress. Before you know it, your hard-working efforts become very obviously worth it. You may look back and say to yourself, "How did I get here?"
Now, it is important to not let yourself get too overly excited in planning this type of reaction to happen to you. You can't force it. Just like promoting yourself on hubpages.com, it takes hard-work in setting your foundation by staying genuine, creative, and unique, and creating a product that truly has substance. If your music is not ready in terms of the eyes and ears of the public, your feedback may not be as great as hoped. In fact, you may even be blessed enough to get negative feedback before you get overly confident in something that needs major work. Nobody wants to become that music artist who gets in front of the big 4 judges on an Idol show series and gets their musical dreams crushed before millions of people who are falling off their couches laughing at you. That could cause some very serious damage to you in many ways. So it is so very important to keep it real, and not force the promotion of your music through communication.
I just watched a great video called, "The Art of 16 Bars," made by QD3 Entertainment, Inc, which gave valuable info on music promotion. Extremely successful producers, rappers, and other music industry reps, explained that it is not the DEMO tape/CD that essentially makes a music artist "famous," but is usually the word of mouth from fans, other artists, or music industry reps, that truly helps artists to get more attention and potentially get a record deal or artist development deal. Often it is when artists stop putting so much effort into giving out DEMO tapes and when they just live life as an artist by playing/singing gigs, that they get noticed by those who will help to bring them more success. You can't expect things to happen overnight with little effort. Many artists in my opinion go through "hell on earth" before they get to where they want to be. Is it worth it? If you have the genuine passion you say you have in getting your music out there, then yes, it should be absolutely worth the fight.
4. Using A Social Networking Website, Such As MySpace
Finally, in my opinion this is what is separating the hollow, imitation chocolate Easter Bunnies from the solid, best-tasting, real chocolate Easter Bunnies. Social Networking websites, such as MySpace, have helped to revolutionize the music industry completely. Now, music artists across the world have the potential to have their music within reach of anyone with an internet connection with just the touch of an "upload" button. Sure, one must have capability to record their music, but with today's technology, many cell phones can even record sound that can be uploaded to the computer and the internet. Even on a low budget, one can successfully upload their music.
I cannot stress enough how valuable it would be for any music artist to create a Music MySpace page. [NOTE: For those interested in doing this, be sure to specify that want to create a MUSIC myspace page, not just a basic myspace page.] Today, practically every well-known artist (even those who have passed on to become music legends) has a MySpace page in which other people can come listen to clips of songs or full songs. Solo Artists and Bands are both experiencing the benefits of promotion through MySpace. They are adding their favorite artists as friends on MySpace, adding family & friends, adding people who like music similar to their own, commenting on other music on other artists' pages, and receiving new friend requests, messages, and comments from people. More and more people everyday are getting to know them as a music artist and as a human being in general because they see status updates and can comment on your status. With this kind of quick networking through MySpace, a music artist can truly take advantage of this and reach their highest dreams. A perfect example is the upcoming artist, Jordyn Taylor, being promoted through MySpace Records. [ http://www.myspace.com/jordyntaylor ] She is known as the "Official MySpace Princess".
I watched a video on MySpace where Jordyn describes her receiving a lot of attention from her song, "Strong," and how by 'word of mouth' people started telling others about it and about how great of an artist she was. Before she knew it, a promotions company jumped on board to help her, she had 20,000 myspace friends(fans)... and today after more promotions through myspace, she has over 420,000 myspace friends... and literally MILLIONS of song plays, even more than other artists that may even seem to be more well-known. Another song of hers was featured in the movie, "Confessions of a Shop-a-holic," and she has collaborated with many well-know artists, one being DarkChild, whom I would consider to be a living legend of a music producer/composer/musician/engineer. How'd she do it? She took advantage of what she had... and one thing she had was access to join a website called, "MySpace!"
---A Screenshot of SevDiggity's Solo Music MySpace Page---
5. What Can MySpace Really Do For Me?
What Can MySpace Do For You? ... as much or as little as you want :)
The more effort you put into using MySpace, the quicker your efforts will produce exponential results. I will address a few specific areas of use that can be to your benefit, but do not limit the use of MySpace to these few suggestions because MySpace changes and may provide even better means to the promotion of your music at any given moment. Here are some I have taken advantage of with my own music myspace pages and will continue to take advantage of until it produces the results I have set goals to reach:
- BLOGS - When you upload a new song, write a blog to promote it. Just like a regular myspace page, you can create blogs, and it is always a good idea to take advantage of this to bring more attention to your music. Put the lyrics in your blog; perhaps explain what influenced you to write the song; explain how the song came together; dedicate the song to someone or something. Anyone who is your friend on MySpace will see in their friend updates that you have written a blog. This draws attention to you and your music.
- STATUS UPDATES & MOOD UPDATES - This is one of the BEST ways to draw attention to you. People like to meet music artists on a REAL level... they wanna feel like they are getting to know you, even when in reality you may have no clue that an individual is a fan of yours. Status updates and mood updates help friends (fans) see the real side of you when they see what you are doing and when you are doing it. At first, this type of thing on facebook & MySpace kinda creeped me out a little bit, to be honest. I thought it was "training people to be stalkers"... but now it has become more widely accepted and enjoyed by many people of ALL ages, including myself. :) I often use status updates, such as "Ryan Severns is recording a new song! Stay tuned! :)," with a mood update that reads, "Inspired." It's also good to update people on things that do not directly relate to music, such as "Ryan Severns could really go for some good sushi right now!" with a mood update that reads, "hungry." Those are just two basic examples, but BE CREATIVE! :) Show people the real you by simply being you. Let your personality shine.
- STATUS COMMENTS - Very recently added to MySpace after it received such a positive reaction from facebook users, is the ability to comment on the status of a MySpace user. This can be taken advantage of two basic ways. For one, when others comment on your status, comment back! Seems simple enough, but if you are aiming to build a fan-base, keeping in touch with those who show their interest in you is a positive thing. Now, if someone comments on everything you update, don't feel pressure to always comment back, but make your own judgement as to whether you should comment back or not. Sometimes you may get a large amount of comments and do not have time to comment. Do what you can, and don't stress it if you struggle keeping up with it all. Especially for those of you who may be seeing success with your page, getting a lot of friend requests and comments, etc... it may come to a point when you can't possibly keep up alone. No human can stop time to make sure they respond to thousands of comments, go to work, practice your singing & playing, etc. The second way to take advantage of status comments is to comment on the status of other users. Communicating with other artists especially is a great way to draw attention to your music. People get curious. You will have people visiting your page and listening to your music that never would have done so had you not posted a comment on their friend's status.
- COMMENTS - The same things mentioned above apply to comments on a MySpace page itself. Respond to those who send you comments, and send comments to other users. Let them know when you listen to their music and enjoy it. Wish people a great weekend out of nowhere just because you care enough to do so. It is very important if you want REAL results that you be REAL. People can sense a person being fake and just doing something because they feel like they have to. If you really don't care about other people, don't try to get results by sending meaningless comments... work on caring for other people other than yourself... then, show that care by sending genuine comments. This will produce the best results for you and will be more enjoyable for you.
- MESSAGES - Send messages if you want to be more personal. And respond to messages sent to you that are genuine. A message is something others visiting your page cannot see, so most likely, when you receive or send messages you may be sharing info that you'd rather other people not see. Or perhaps you are sending a longer and/or more personal note to someone. Be careful when checking out some messages seeing that certain users may have intentions that go against MySpace policies or just your privacy in general... for example, you may get messages from people pretending that they heard your music and want to promote you, but they plan to just get money from you for services that may not be offered to you how they were describe.
- FRIEND REQUESTS - Accept friend requests from fans and from other bands, and honestly give their music a listen if you have time. Don't just pretend you heard their music. Also, visit pages on your own, especially those in a similar music genre as your style of music... listen to music and send friend requests to other bands that you like. And don't just stay within your country's music. explore outside the box! :) This helps network you with other musicians/singer/producers/songwriters/record labels associated with the same genres of music you like. And finally, this opens up a huge arena for finding fans that DO NOT have music pages. When fans comment on other users' pages, you can go to the fans' pages and add them as friends. When you do this, it is also good to send a comment to the user you are requesting friendship from. You can do this right when you send the request... there will be a box to write in for this. I usually wish people a great week or weekend or describe a song of theirs that I liked specifically, etc. Other users have been known to be more forward by asking other users to visit their page to listen to music. That is perfectly fine as well. Do what you are most comfortable with, that way, it will be your personality that shines.
There are other ways to use MySpace as a Music Artist that would be beneficial to you, but I'll let you explore and come up with those ideas yourself. But for one last idea, I am going to shameless promote myself :) When blogging on other websites, creating hubs on hubpages.com, twittering, facebook-ing, etc, let people know about your music. Don't bombard them 24/7 with updates on your music, but at least let them know how & where to hear your music and/or see you perform.
Here is a link to my band, EDGE:
I hope that this information proves to be very valuable to you. If you have other ideas for using MySpace as a Music Artist or any other great tips to Music Artists, please feel free to leave some Graffiti below. God Bless, and ENJOY! :)
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