Promoting a Band on Myspace
… or how to shoot yourself in the foot. Or even both feet – at the same time.
This article is about some spammy advertising tactics on Myspace and about how these tactics damage your reputation, image and how they may bring just the opposite effect to the one you wished for.
I my opinion Myspace is gone as a medium where an up and coming band can get some useful attention. At this stage, I believe that any other Myspace use than completely passive one, can do you more damage than good.
Myspace promotion – small, niche scenes
This article applies to small niche scenes, like dark electro / industrial, cyber-goth and so on. This is also just what I think and do, without claiming any authority or knowledge other than my own experience, so be critical.
It is understandable that you believe in what you do. It is also quite obvious, that you would sacrifice a lot to make your band succeed. But in the dark independent scene there is no real career to be made.
There is no money – with rare exception of a couple of top bands – but they earn it hard playing gigs all over the world. There is no or very little fame or respect. For the little fame and a couple of pats on the back, would you sacrifice your dignity? If you really have to sell your soul, do not sell it cheap. Go to the pop scene or similar and do whatever them guys over there do – the Burger People love such clowns.
Do you really believe that you can get famous by sending spam on myspace – or in any other social network? Well, this way you can, certainly, get known – as a desperate spammer. There is a band, whose name I will not mention, who created a bogus user profile on Lastfm, scrobbled only their own songs, and then managed to harvest about 10.000 (ten thousand) of friends. And there is only two of them in this band.
How many people have – like myself – refused invitation? How many requests they had to send provided a good few people refused? What kind of message about themselves did this band create? It is enough to read comments under their profile. Yes, some people did fall into the trap, listened to them, some of them even gave positive comment. But they also created a huge pool of people, who are never going to listen to them, no matter what.
Making bad first impression
You can have 100.000 friends if you are determined enough. Remember that it means that you also have 100.000 of people, who potentially think you are an idiot and your band is rubbish – and all this without hearing even one of your songs.
To them you are merely a guy handing out leaflets on the street. They do not care about you and your band, they just gave you a “mercy add” – just as you would do taking the leaflet from your poor man just to drop it to the bin behind the corner. Most of those “friends” also have their own agendas – they will spam you back in exchange.
Welcome to the myspace’s vicious circle. It is just impossible for most people to tell good stuff from the bad over there. This is what makes Myspace preety much useless to promote a good band.
Comment spamming is even worse than unwanted friend requests. Listen to my superb new track, my birthday, new pics, latest news: Mark has just left the band. Ask yourself – who cares?
Each time you post a comment like this to your one hundred of thousands of friends, you have a hundred thousand of people thinking “God, not those desperados again” and most of them will click “deny”. They gave you the mercy add, but that is it, they are not going to be your advertising tube, their real friends are watching their comments, they won’t push your stuff to them. They are like a good hearted girl who dated you once because you looked so pitifully, but that is it, her mercy is limited and what she really wants is a serious guy who does not have to beg for her attention.
The comments on myspace are flooded with bands’ advertisements. If you join this mass, you are going to be perceived as one of a million other mediocre bands desperately looking for attention. If your music is really good – you have just lost your only chance to make the good impression. In the niche scenes the fan pool is small – they are not going to give you a second chance, they will base their opinion on the fact that you spam.
But others do this as well…
You can say: “yes, but the big guys do this as well”. By the “Big Guys” I mean well known bands from the Dark Independent scene. This is true, but for them it is not the only way of promotion. Well known bands have established credibility and fan base, nobody perceives them as desperate. Posting comment and being on myspace will not damage their reputation, because it is based on records, concerts, promotion and opinion of people who follow them – your reputation does not exist and is based on nothing. They can only gain, you can only loose.
The market has very quickly readjusted itself to reflect the common truth again – whatever the media are, social or not, they are going to serve those with money. Thousands of bands, who think they promote or advertise themselves on Myspace in fact are customers, they make a good portion of the target for ads displayed there, their profiles and pathetic promotional efforts tirelessly make money for everybody but themselves.
The creation of Ilike partially proves that bands’ spam became a problem even for Myspace itself, as the ordinary users simply have enough and start abandoning their profiles, thus reducing ad revenue.
I hope I managed to discourage you from applying dodgy tactics when promoting your dark electronic or in fact any other niche band on the social networks. At the end of the day I know of nobody who succeeded in the dark independent scene by anything else but making good music that people enjoy. This, thankfully, cannot be faked.
Being yourself is good, it will pay off in the longer run. I believe in this scene and the people who belong to it. I am fully convinced, that those people see clearly beyond false pretenses and artificial images. They do not want to be treated instrumentally. They belong to the scene because they were able to see different, see more, look beyond the plastic-fantastic. I believe they deserve honesty and respect – and you also should.