I get a lot of spam from the various services I’ve signed up with over time that are supposed to help you sell music. Companies like CD Baby, Fanbridge, Tunecore, Jango (which I’ve yet to use), etc. have mailing lists where they advertise their latest features, and they usually include “industry advice” essays from various experts on how to make the most of new media marketing and social networking to “connect with your fans.”
One thing that comes up repeatedly in these essays is the importance of frequent blogging and tweeting. Fans, apparently, want to know that you’re a fantastically interesting person with special thoughts and keen insight — how else did you write those songs they put on their ipod? It’s important not to blog only about the shows you have coming up or the single you’re trying to sell. Write about what crazy thing you did last night, or that weird conversation you overheard on the bus, or those words you live by from the Bhagavad Gita. You know, crap full of meaning. Then fans will find you engaging and will have you on their minds, then you can drop in a casual reference to your upcoming show, and then profit.
This is all fine and good, and makes sense, but it’s odd advice, that one must produce the appearance of ingenuity and wit. There’s something very un-genuine about it. But at the same time, some people were born for microblogging. I see their Facebook posts every day — these people just have interesting random thoughts and know when and how to put them into a pithy tweet (comedian Dartanion London is a great example). I imagine that for them this works, that their fans do keep them in mind and are more inclined to listen to their recorded output and go to their shows.
On the other hand, I’ve yet to see a correlation between micro/macro blogging talent and music talent. Moreover, as a music fan, I’m annoyed when a musician has tons of blogging output, as it means more stuff I have to wade through to get to something I care about. And then, some people aren’t funny, or particularly interesting, and sometimes they write things that ruin their careers (Scott Adams being this week’s example).
So I guess that if I were writing one of those essays, I’d say that frequent blogging is only good if you’re good at it. If you’re not, then you should probably keep it down. I hope the future of musician success isn’t dependent on Twitter savvy, but if it is, so be it. I for one suck at Twitter, so I’ll stick with random luck and wishful thinking, thank you very much.
Ahem, by the way, I have a show coming up: the Ball of Wax #24 release at the Sunset Tavern in Seattle, May 11, 2011, 9pm.