Most of what follows, unfortunately, happened.
Date: Every minute of every day.
Venue: The WWW.
Crowd: 0-1 billion, depending on your popularity.
The internet has irrevocably changed the way we discover and consume music. No longer do we trade CDs with friends. Gone are the days of holding a tape recorder up to the radio on the off chance they’ll drop the new Wildhearts track. You never, ever, have to venture into another HMV.
But with brave new frontiers, come the indigenous population. Enter: social media. What follows is a punk’s guide to internet based promotion. How to get the best out of what technology has to offer your band.
Facebook is the perfect platform for your band. Assuming you want your music buried amongst birthday notifications and pictures of cats in hats. The one chance you have is to name your band “Cats in Hats” in the vague hope someone looking for pictures of feline headgear stumbles across your musical offerings. It’s a niche market, but worth pursuing if you’re desperate.
Twitter restricts you to 140 characters. Which is perfect, because that’s 100 characters more than the average punk song. You can post your entire album’s lyrics and still have space for the thank you notes. The significant downside is that Tweeters cram the majority of Twitter space with snarky memes about Piers Morgan. And memes of cats wearing hats.
Instagram, being a pictorial platform, is a critical addition to your band’s social media presence. It’s the most useful way of proving you were at practice. Except no one will see it, because Instagram is dominated by pictures from a milliner who makes bespoke hats for his pet cat Douglas. Douglas has 100 times more followers than your band.
Snapchat posts disappear after 5 seconds. This is approximately the same as the attention span of your average drummer. I’d recommend using it to organise practices, except most drummers still use Nokia 3310s. Therefore stick to using more conventional methods of rhythm section communication, like tattooing rehearsal time on the drummers forehead.
YouTube is the land you travel to in order to display your band’s new killer music video, crowdfunded and shot in an abandoned warehouse just east of Shoreditch. It’s free to post, and easy to share. But punk bands don’t have music videos. Your best option is to get grainy phone footage of a gig, and share it with your friends. Far more authentic. Douglas has a music video. He’s playing a piano whilst wearing a handmade, gluten free fedora.
LinkedIn is for people with briefcases. If you carry a briefcase to practice, you’re either playing the world’s most compact guitar, or you stumbled into a rehearsal studio whilst looking for the local Starbucks. Even Douglas shuns LinkedIn. It’s beneath him.
To summarise, Social Media is the system. And as punks, we brave new frontiers to do one thing: f**k the system.
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And like: facebook.com/Band2TheBone
Photo by Sean MacEntee via Flickr.