Putting Musicians to Work in Social Media

I had the chance to attend a Musicians At Work Forum about “Standing Out in a Digital Age,” where panelists spoke about social media for musicians and how to leverage online technologies. I learned a lot, including that my BlackBerry does not get reception in the auditorium of the Chicago Cultural Center.

The diverse  panel offered helpful online resources, but also stressed the importance of strategy in social media and the connection between your online presence and what you’re doing in the real world. I think many people would agree that social media doesn’t replace being live. Ideally, your online and offline strategies should be in sync and complement each other. The goal is to create a consistent brand/personality regardless of your communication channel.


Highlights: Online Tools for Musicians

  • While many people may shun MySpace, panelists found it to be most useful for connecting with other bands more than fans.
  • One way to help drive more traffic to your YouTube channel is to do a cover of a popular song. You may be surprised how many people search for covers of the latest hit songs.
  • Some good sites to centralize your online presence include Reverbnation.com and ArtistData.com. Reverbnation offers a central place for your bio/EPK, e-newsletter, photos, blog posts and even ringtones for sale. Similary, Artist Data helps musicians update all their various sites, social network profiles, newsletters, etc. from one central dashboard.
  • Importance of storytelling: 3 words, United Breaks Guitars. Ok, I’ll elaborate a little. Musician Dave Carroll was scorned by United when they tossed around and broke his guitar. After receiving little sympathy from United employees, he wrote a song, “United Hates Guitars,” and posted a video for it on YouTube. The video took off and earned Carroll national recognition. Unfortunately for United, it resulted  in some horrible publicity for the company and still shows up prominently in search results.
  • Good examples of tiered pricing: Topspin.com & Amiestreet.com. More demand or a better experience offered in the package equals higher cost.
  • Short & sweet: use Google Analytics. It’s free, relatively easy to navigate and gets you valuable intel on who’s visiting your website(s).

Big thank you to all the panelists who offered this advice:  moderator Jim Goodrich, musician Jeffrey David Goldford, band Stereo Sinai, singer/songwriter Matt Ryd, and t-shirt company owner and blogger Tim Toomey.


  1. No problem, thanks for sharing your experiences with social media! I enjoyed hearing Stereo Sinai’s perspective and your partner in crime shared some really interesting music business/chicago industry stats.

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