Today’s music fan interacts with a “community” that is far larger than anyone ever dreamed possible before the widespread personal use of the Internet. This social networking is changing the way people market and sell music and it’s doing so on a global scale.
One fan hears a song and “tells” a dozen others online. Each, in turn, sends the information (and sometimes the entire song file) to another dozen people, and so on. If the song’s hook is catchy and universal enough, the artist can reach thousands of fans in a matter of seconds. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s free, and it’s global.
Does this viral communication bring any income for that artist (or songwriter, or publisher, or manager, or agent, or distributor, or record label)? No. But does it provide vital publicity that has the potential of selling singles, albums, concert tickets and merchandise? Absolutely.
The New Means of Marketing:
This is a quantum shift in marketing. It holds out the possibility of bypassing brick-and-mortar distribution, while severely curtailing the barely-legal forms of radio “promotion” that many in the industry openly refer to as payola or commercial station extortion.
All this is possible thanks to an ever-growing variety of online forms of communication, including music sites, web portals, blogs (weblogs), music forums, and more. A new site called MySpace has put all of these elements together in one place. And because of their vision, MySpace is becoming an information destination for bands, fans, filmmakers, writers, artists, record industry professionals, and more.
The MySpace Nation: “Where do you live?” used to be a question that was spoken out loud; it’s now typed. The answer to that question used to simply signify which part of a city you were from, with an accompanying suggestion of your socio-economic status, and a hint about which mall might be your usual hangout; it now refers not only to your city, but also your state, region or country.
Your virtual “scene” may involve people anywhere on the globe. My virtual community begins in Los Angeles and extends to Moscow, Big Bear, Amsterdam, San Francisco, London, New York, Miami, and several places I have not yet learned to spell correctly. In fact, thanks to social networks like MySpace, one can interact with several scenes. The people who like my goth songs overlap slightly with the rave-trance songs on my remix album, but they are not interested in the music I create for radio and television commercials (they can be quite disdainful of it, in fact). But each social network welcomes news of new music in their own favorite styles.