My new music has been out for under two weeks, and I’ve had great responses so far. The most rewarding part has been using social networking sites and my music blog to reach out to people I haven’t talked to in a while and let them know what I’ve been up to, and to create some dialogue about my music.
Don’t Assume Your Listeners Have Any Idea What You’ve Been Up To…
As a music creator absorbed with the minutia of my creations, I often make assumptions about what listeners will know or hear as they experience my music for the first time. As if the countless hours I put into the project, song lyrics, thought processes, etc. have somehow been broadcast to each and every person that may ever listen to the results.
So this time around, I’m trying to “lift the veil” so to speak and give people some insight into my creative process; by using a blog, I can write installments addressing different aspects of the music: lyrics, themes, art work, recording process, musicians, performance videos.
Don’t Waste Time and Money Building Your Own Site from Scratch
I’m finding that standard blog software is so well-developed that it has made it entirely unnecessary to put together my own website. Obviously some design customization is required, but wonderful programs like WordPress, which I use, have so much back-end functionality, which I could never program on my own. Online documentation and user communities are so extensive, that any answers to my development questions are found easily on Google or WordPress’ documentation site.
Instant and Easy Dialogue with Every Post
Another advantage of using a blog-format website are the comment threads. Instead of just posting a “News” or “Updates” section like a static website, ANY post I write is basically a discussion waiting to happen. I’ve had some wonderful comments from people sharing thoughts about my music, and this feedback gives you a sense of community and value to what you’re doing. And writing a post from a blog is easier for listeners than loading their email client and sending you an email.
All Forms of Content Welcome!
Blogs also allow for static pages, so in addition to frequent posts, you can also have a standard set of pages with all of your background information and any content that should be easily accessible. On my music blog, I have a page with my Nimbit music store embedded for easy download, a link to download a PDF of lyrics, and some other background info. So you get the best of both worlds, really. Blog software like WordPress has plug-ins to let you stream videos, podcasts, and any other sort of content you can imagine.
Beautifully Formatted Emails with Zero Effort
Lastly, because people can subscribe to your blog via email (or RSS), it’s a fully automated email list, and the emails match the formatting of your blogposts, meaning it creates sophisticated HTML emails without you lifting a finger. The email subscription feature also means that you can effortlessly bring your news to your listeners, instead of hoping they search for it.
Conclusion: Don’t Mess Around
My recommendation to indie artists, then, is save yourself the money and headaches of developing a website from scratch and use an open source blog software (Movable Type, WordPress and Blogger are among the most popular). Find a friend to help you customize the design, and you’re good to go!
In other news, there was a great interview with one of Nimbit’s co-founders posted yesterday at Inner Rhythm. Good marketing insight.