Time To Get Serious?

You may well have seen in the news recently about how Facebook has now passed the 1 billion user mark. That’s not individual Facebook accounts, that’s how many people worldwide access the site every month.

Now, that’s a pretty impressive figure and if you’re a musician, or in a band i’ve no doubt you either have a Facebook account already, or are seriously thinking of setting one up. And why not?

Facebook is certainly seen as the place to be at the moment and for anyone who is trying to promote their work, it certainly makes sense to have an account there.

But, should Facebook be your main account? Should it be the site that you direct potential listeners, record companies, or fans to above any other?

The reason i ask this is that although that figure of a billion users a month is one hell of a potential worldwide audience, it’s only a part of the story.

According to official figures, in June 2012 there were around 2.5 billion Internet users around the world and i’ve no doubt that that figure has risen considerably since then and will continue to rise sharply.
I’m sure you’re ahead of me here, but that means that over half of the Internet users around the world are not looking at Facebook. Therefore, they are not seeing you, or your band on the primary site that you are using to promote yourself.

Another thing that i’m not sure many people are aware of, is that many band/group type Facebook accounts can only be viewed if you have a Facebook account yourself.
You have to log in to view, or interact. This does appear to vary between accounts, but it is a big put off for potential viewers.
Just click on some of the Facebook links in our ‘Links – Bands/Artists’ section to see what i mean (Make sure you’re logged out of Facebook first though)

Yes, i know that the majority of Internet users in the western world have a Facebook account, but there are also many refuseniks as well. Many people and i know of several personally, refuse to have anything to do with Facebook at all. Or, they sign up under duress and then use the site as little as possible.
I actually expect this number to rise as Facebook tries harder and harder to make more money and raise its share price. These are all potential fans of your music.
And let’s not forget that the biggest growth in Internet use is in Asia where Facebook isn’t even the biggest social network.

I’m not anti Facebook at all, honest. I have a much used personal account and we’ve already set up a Facebook account for Pierless Music, although we’ve not decided quite how we’re going to use it yet.
But, i do view Facebook as a bit of a necessary evil and i know that many others share that same viewpoint.
The seemingly constant changes to privacy policies and the previously mentioned fact that you have to have an account to access and interact with certain profiles, are just some of the reasons that i feel that way.

To see how different a social site can be, just visit YouTube. Although it is a more specialized kind of service, there is no need to log in to view a video by a band, or any other video for that matter.
Other sites such as BandCamp and ReverbNation offer easily accessible services for free.

But, ultimately the best thing that any band, or artist can do is to have their own website and for several reasons too.
A personal website looks far more professional and can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection. It will also be viewed more seriously by anyone with an interest in your music. I certainly know which kind of site i’d be more tempted to click on.

The days of a personal website meaning that you had to have a knowledge of strange coding languages, or of you having to pay a specialist to build a site for you are now gone.

For example, this Pierless Music website was ‘built’ using a free service (WordPress), that uses no specialist coding and by somebody with no previous experience. Namely me!
It really isn’t that hard. If i can do it…….

Yes, having a personal website means that you have to pay somebody to ‘Host’ it for you. But, once again, the costs of this are very competitive and there are many options available. It’s also easy to arrange. You even get to choose the name of your site, if somebody hasn’t already beaten you to it.

Of course, it takes a bit of time to set up and manage. But, at least you’re then in total control of how the site looks, what it contains, when the site is ‘upgraded’ and you also get to dictate the terms and conditions of the sites use.

If you are serious about your music and your potential career in music, surely that is a price well worth paying, isn’t it?

Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather be in control of what you put “out there”? And wouldn’t you rather have all of the world’s Internet users being able to access your site, rather than only a percentage of them?

Maybe it’s time for you to get serious?

Andy Gunton.


One comment on “Time To Get Serious?

  1. Ken Goldstein on said:

    True, that only 40% of internet users visit Facebook in any given month, but what percentage visit any one band’s personal site?

    I think there’s two aspects to this question of where you make your online home. There’s the home itself, and then there are the paths to discovery.

    For the actual home, you have it absolutely right. You need a site where you control 100% of the experience, from design and font choice, to controlling advertising (if any), levels of access, etc. Any serious band or performer needs their own designated website.

    And it needs to be well linked, in and out.

    And that’s where having a Facebook presence, tracks on bandcamp, maybe a twitter feed, etc., are important. Yes, there are a significant number of Facebook refeuseniks, but there are at least as many people who will never stumble upon your website without it.

    Before you get fans coming to you, you need to meet them where they are. Just my thoughts.

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