Friday, February 26, 2010

Musical Etiquette: The Fine Art of the Myspace Page

Dear Musical Etiquette:

My band has tasked me to get our Myspace page set up and get a million profile views. I've never set up one before but I've been on Myspace for a long time and I know how other bands do it. Is there any advice you can offer me?

XXXXX

Myspace remain relevant as a great resource for musicians to post and promote their recorded music and keep their fans appraised as to new shows and happenings within the band. Where else can I see blog posts about a bands crazy next door neighbors and house pets? As far as I can tell that is all that remains at Myspace, ten million bands all promoting the crap out of themselves to other bands, promoters and music bloggers. There is some competition to Myspace that I can recommend. Last.fm provides good media management tools and purchasing links for the interested musician. Facebook has some rudimentary tools for musicians but as I've never used them, I cannot either recommend them or throw them into the flaming pits of hell. I digress.

Myspace is a pit of despair.

As previously mentioned by fellow blogger Amber Dawn, there is a dangerous tendency towards ocular mugging in the creation of a Myspace page and the hand of restraint is needed. Make sure that your page is simple, easy to read, easy to find the relevant information and that the color scheme doesn't cause your viewers vertigo or projectile vomiting. Here's a partial list of things that should never occur on a Myspace band page:

  • Fucking Animated Glitter
  • Blinking Logos
  • Autoplay
  • Webcam Bio Pictures
  • Pleading
  • Last Login January 15th, 1857

Please use it and respond

As to that last point above: If you are going to go through the trouble of creating a Myspace page use it. For fucks sake if I send you a message and it takes three months to get a reply I will never look at that page again. You don't need to hang out all day like a 12 year old with a crush but DO look at the thing at least once a week. As I've said the only possible use of Myspace is for music promotion and if you don't actually do any interaction..... well that's not really promotion is it?

Everyone is influenced by Radiohead

It's true. If you have touched an electric guitar at any point past February 1993 you are probably influenced by Radiohead. It's alright. Even you Utter Snobs who hold them in the lowest possible opinion have got a touch of it. You can't avoid it. Please don't bother to mention this. Everyone already knows.

So who are you influenced by?

If I like the "soulful aching harmonies of Elliot Smith" will I like your band? Maybe. Music is funny that way. Be honest about your influences (exception: Radiohead) and try to represent them honestly. If your Myspace page tells me that your primary influence is the Pixies and you sound like every other shitball radio friendly Disturbed clone I will laugh so hard you will hear it clear across the internet. On the other hand, tell me that Mudvayne is your fucking hero and I might believe you. In fact, you just won a little respect in my eyes. Not many people are willing to own up to this being their primary influence.


Update Your Music Please

If you are interested in repeat visits to your Myspace page, add new songs on occasion. Refresh the list and provide the visitor with something they can't get anywhere else. Upload your drunken practice from last night, a song your wrote on the front porch with some friends, it really doesn't matter. Remember that the entire point of social media is to make a real connection with people and if you don't break out of the traditional top-down media distribution methods then you aren't using these tools to their fullest extent. Give me something unique and I can guarantee I'll be back to listen.

Focus on the music

The tendency with these things is to go all out. You hire a PR firm to design a logo, pay an ITT graduate to build your profile and then get yourself 30,000 followers. All this cost you the entire sum of money you had earned from two years of shows, the 5 large your Mom lent you and every penny earned from part time jobs. On the other hand you have no gas money for the van, no money to cover beer and haven't recorded or written anything in the month since you decided to be "big time". You, my friend, have just made a very large mistake.

I listen to music. It's a thing I'm into. When I go to a bands Myspace page I load it in the background and listen while I work on something else. The music is the only thing I pay any attention to and if it fails to impress, the slick background image you've uploaded won't do anything to change that.

In summary:

  • Keep it simple
  • Use an eyeball friendly color scheme
  • Don't waste your money on crap
  • Respond to people
  • Rock on

Until next time sweet music fans,
Eriq Nelson


Do you have a burning question in your heart? I have Tums. Hit me.

3 comments:

Web/Print Mastermind said...

i can't stand the glitter graphics!!!!

i wrote a blog about photos on music social network pages (http://www.musicindustrytips.com/2010/02/social-networking-for-musicians-photos/) and made a similar comment:

Big note to musicians- lookie here rappers and producers…I am SICK and ANNOYED by the default pics of big booty chicks on your profile. You know what that usually indicates? That your music is trash. That also goes with default pics of:

stacks of money
naked chicks
pictures of the capital
guns
bullets
weed
any other typical corny, stereotyped hip hop/rock image you can think of.

Don’t do it. When I search through music pages and I see that icon, I go past it and so does other people.
You look bootleg so people assume that you SOUND bootleg too.


yup...you and i are on the same page!!! good article!

pooplips said...

super smart post which made me chuckle alot.

Ron Trembath said...

Wonderfully pronounced words of wisdom Eriq. But, to piggyback, and sort of insult, the first commenter:

The same can be said for the millions of indie rockers flooding the social media scene. Here are a few tips:

-- We know you are getting your picture taken, go ahead and LOOK at the camera.
-- Better yet, have some actual pictures of you or your group. Everyone loves a nice smokey sunset, but when someone comes to see you, their might be expecting a giant ball of fire and not.....
-- Your silly sad faces. Smile. You're a star, baby! Lighten up! Elliot Smith stabbed himself in the heart, but even he was caught smiling every once in a while.
-- 637 live photos...from one show? Unnecessary to say the least.

As a music blogger, I also become agitated by these things:

-- A laptop in your mother's basement doesn't constiute a "label". Don't lie to yourself. Just leave it blank.
-- Leave some actual information on the show you will be performing at. Don't assume everyone viewing your page is from the same city and know's where Bill's Bar & Tea Factory is. Address, Cover, etc. can help.

Not to take away of Eriq though, follow his rules, and you will not go wrong. Go Radiohead!