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  •  The EvO:R Street Journal

    The EvO:R Street Journal
    Editorial statement
    Dedicated to the culture, business and interests of the indie artist. EVJ delivers controversial points of view, hard-news commentary, Industry Insites, artistic prose and photography and welcomes responses (pro or con), feedback and topic suggestions from readers. If you would like to submit an opinionated article, inspired poem, photo or essay to EVJ, forward all copy to Editor ESJ and put To the Editor in the subject field.


    Make The Most Of Your Music Player On MySpace
    by Anne Freeman,

    MusicDish Network Sponsor
    Once you've established your myspace site, selected a terrific photo or graphic that accurately signals your primary artistic sensibility to casual surfers, and your band name or label name signal the same (hopefully), a few practical strategies can be employed to help you maximize your marketing efforts. These basics are worth mentioning because I see so many artists overlook them that I cannot assume that you know to address them. We'll start with your music player, as your music is, of course, key to your marketing efforts.

    By the way, before we move on, I'd like to mention one simple strategy I've seen some solo artists employ on myspace that helps to inform surfers that they are, in fact, an artist: they add the word "music" behind their name. Example: www.myspace.com/kellybrockmusic. It's simple. It works. Do it.

    OK, back to your music player. I want you to answer these questions about your music player:

    Your Music Player

    What does you music sound like?

    Crummy sounding demos and recordings sound crummy on the myspace player. Period. You gain nothing by advertising to potential fans, venue owners, bookers, and industry folks that you have crummy sounding demos. I've been on terrific sites only to be disappointed the moment the music began, and not because the songs were bad, but because the sound was terrible: muddy vocals, little or awkward mixes, and the like. You must treat your myspace site as a professional marketing vehicle because your site is a professional marketing vehicle. Make your demos/recordings clear and ensure your vocals are upfront.

    Did you post your lyrics?

    People like to read lyrics that's one reason why they still buy CDs or search the Internet for lyric sites. Fans love to know the words to your songs so they can sing along. If you're a songwriter pitching your songs, then lyrics are a must. Don't make folks look for your lyrics elswhere or try to write them down or memorize them post them on the lyric page of your music player. Make it easy for people to understand your songs and like your music. And don't forget to include the following on your lyric sheet:

    * Authors/composers of the song
    * Your publishing company (if you are an unsigned artist/songwriter, then you are your publishing company)
    * Your performing arts organization affiliation if you have one, such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC
    * A copyright notice! You can simply type "Copyright 2006". Don't neglect to add this important information.

    I would also suggest that you include your business mailing address and contact information, along with your band website, on the lyric sheet so that if someone copies and saves/prints out your lyric sheet, your contact information is readily available. Make it easy for people to find you.

    Do you permit rating and comments?

    Use your player to gain valuable information about how fans perceive you and your music. Don't be afraid to let people rate and post comments about your songs. If the ratings are poor and the comments are negative, figure out why and use that information to improve your songwriting, instrumentation or recording. You can always delete negative comments, but at least you've received input about your music to help you improve what craft. In addition, comments give you an opportunity to contact the commenter, thank them for their comments - even if they are negative - and turn the "friend" into a fan. The same goes for song rating.

    Have you enabled the Add feature to your songs?

    When I land on an artist's site and hear a great song, I may want to feature that artist on my myspace site for The Aspiring Songwriter. I regularly feature myspace artists who are friends on my site and play their song to promote them. I cannot tell you how many band and artist site I visit that don't enable the add feature on their music player!

    Ask youself this question: "What am I on myspace for?" The whole point here is to get people to add your song to their site so that everyone who visits their site hears your song (and the play is counted on your music player song counter). If your fan's visitor likes your song and clicks on the the "visit" option of your fan's music player, they will be directed onto your site where, hopefully, they will ask to join your site because they like your music so much, and you have a potential new fan because he or she was sent from your other fan's site. And, that new friend/fan may add your song to their site. Comprende?

    The music player add function is viral networking at its simplest! You will rarely hear me scold, but this is such a no-brainer that I am confounded when I run across artists and some really good artists who don't enable their player's add function. I'll assume it was a momentary lapse in good judgment and I'll be sure to revisit your site sometime if I remember you after you've had the chance to make the necessary adjustments. Enabling the add function does NOT enable fans to download your song; it only permits them to stream your song from their site much like web radio. Do it.

    Do you enable the downloads?

    If you want to enable free song downloads, let me run this idea by you: Do you want potentials fans to download your song from your myspace site and your have no way to obtain precious contact information from that downloader (e-mail, address, etc)? I wouldn't.

    If you want to offer free downloads, I would argue that you get those myspace friends to visit your official fan site to download a song, and require the the downloader give up on e-mail address at the very least to benefit from your largess. Your purpose is to build your fanbase, and if you don't have their direct contact information, such as an e-mail and/or a mailing address, then you've squandered the chance to obtain that information by enabling downloads on your myspace site. There may be others who disagree with me on this point, but I'd rather have the contact information as an exchange for a download.

    If you don't have a home page or download service that enables you to obtain the downloader's contact information, then at the very least post an offer on your myspace site indicating that you will e-mail your myspace friends a free MP3 of the song in question IF they send you their e-mail address. Don't give away your goods and get absolutely nothing back for it!

    Do you employ the song graphics option?

    Again, a no-brainer. Let your fans see your song while they're hearing your song. Don't waste another opportunity to more effectively market your music. Fans want to see and hear. Get that graphic or photo up on that player, a different one for each song!! Yes, I'm scolding again, but there really is no excuse for not marketing your music properly, especially when the marketing mechanism is free.

    Should you use the song rotation option?

    Whether you push one song by making it the default song when someone lands on your myspace site or let the songs rotate depends upon your overall marketing plan. If you're pushing a song as a single, then default to that song playing when your site is opened. Build up the interest and the play numbers for the song. Tie a featured song with a free download on another site (for which they must give your contact info), build your fan base and create some press about how many friends turned into fans by signing up to get their download. Make myspace work for you. If you're not pushing a song as a single or as a free download, or you are a label that is promoting a variety of artists, then letting the songs rotate makes sense.

    MySpace Band Feature: The Amino Acids

    Let's take a look at a site that's working the myspace player the way it should be, one of my myspace favs, The Amino Acids, at www.myspace.com/theaminoacids . The Amino Acids, a surf-punk band from outer space, has a great myspace site. They've done just about everything right, but for this discussion I want to mention their music player.

    Visitors can rate and comment on each of their four songs as well as add them to their sites, promoting The Amino Acids. They don't have lyric pages because the Amino Acids are primarily an instro band, so in this case lyrics are a moot point. You cannot download their songs from the myspace player, but they provide their fans several options to migrate from their myspace site to download songs elsewhere, where the band can garner more information from the fan. And, each song is presented with a great graphic.

    Just about everything on The Amino Acids' myspace site drives home their primary artistic sensibility, and they make good use of the strengths of myspace. The Amino Acids also give their fans plenty of opportunities to leave their myspace site to places where they can obtain fan information. Stop by the Amino Acids' myspace site: It's worth a visit. For a hoot, watch their live video when you visit. These guys slay me! Congrats to The Amino Acids for a job well done.

    Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © MusicDish LLC 2006 - Republished with Permission

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