There are a lot of musicians and groups that artistically want to stretch people’s minds and make people think, figure out and really dive deep in to the meanings of their songs, their name, their image, different elements of their marketing and other underlining elements that many artists think will add that hip or cool edge to them. The problem that can occur though is flat out confusion or actually deterring more people away from your music and you than helping bringing them to listen to you and want to find out more about you.
Don’t get me wrong, adding elements of stretching the mind and being creative is a great thing, but think about it as a later step or being placed a little deeper in your marketing rather than right there where people get their first impressions. Make it something that fans will have to dig in to as opposed to overly confusing the new listener or first time visitor to one of your social networking sites or website.
Wild stories, confusing bios, songs that make no sense or tie in to the more experimental side of you can be red lights for many people to not want to dig deeper. For example, if you are a grunge/industrial type band with fast loops, dirty guitars and in your face samples with brash harmonies and powerful hooks, having song sample number one on your site be one of the tunes that is least like your sound or one of your more experimental and say softer and more trancesque tune that you use right in between two powerhouse tracks, you may loose the interest right off the bat of the listener that happens to pop on to your website for a minute.
Get over yourself.
The reality is that when new people are visiting your website, your networking site or one of your song sample sites, most are only going to be there for a few seconds unless they are drawn in. There are 40 million Myspace music pages and that number continues to grow even as Myspace continues to go down in the rankings in the social networking world. People are being tossed links from spam emails, from friends, from strangers and from third parties everyday.
While every musician wants to think that people are spending a number of minutes listening to every sample, looking at every picture and reading every piece of text, the truth is the majority are only spending seconds and moving on very quickly. We are a nation of ADD, ADHD and every other acronym that points to the bulk of us having less and less of an attention span everyday.
These people have so many choices and so many options so it is up to you to grab them, wow them, explain and showcase to them and pull them in to want more. It is crucial just like having a fast pitch for industry professionals to also have that same fast pitch and grab for the fans and the masses.
Good Ideas vs Bad Ideas
A couple strong examples are the bands that have very fast loading webpages that immediately showcase the logo, the tagline, the image and information easily. Now on the other coin, there is a website for a band that actually has a small animal that walks around the page for some 10 seconds before the page opens and you cant skip it. This may be creative and cute for the band and for fans that know something about the reason behind the path and the creature but for a browsing new person, it just comes off as stupid. Another site has a band bio that is so small and so long with so many applications that have been added to their page that you are not sure who’s information is what, not to mention the slow load from having so much on the page.
Some of these websites or social networking sites where you are forced to scroll down or wait to find or fish out information is not helping you capture the new fans that are coming across your site. On the same side with the music samples. Instead of putting up total songs why not put up samples and a lot more of them?
Think about it, just as you should put together a small demo sample for any industry person so they can listen to the bulk of your songs with out the bulk of time it takes to listen to every song, you can do the same for your fans. Supply 20 to 30 seconds fade in and fade out samples that are clearly marked as samples with the time in the title. This way when a new fan sees the player or what ever you are using to present your music, they know right off the bat, they are getting samples and may just listen to them all.
This also gives you a chance to choose what they listen to and what you want to highlight in the song, instead of them flipping through and potentially just listening to the beginnings of all your tunes if they listen that far. Think of it like giving them a sample of everything and at that point making them want to dig deeper.
It is fine to go deep and make people think, make people have to search and challenge your fans but first get those fans through the door, interested in you and wanting to be challenged. Make sure you have created a crystal clear image that will demonstrate you, sell you and entice them to want more. It is a hard thing to sometimes separate what how you see something against how the bulk of the public will. Remember just cause you get it or it makes sense to you, it doesn’t mean it will to most people. You are the artist, you are right smack in the middle of it all and a big part of pulling in and creating the fan base is working on creating the right appearance and marketing to pull them in the audiences that are sifting through thousands of sites and turning them in to interested fans.
Also remember, with all the other bands on all the other sites and the over saturation of music and artists that are out there, it is crucial to pull them in to want to see more first. Make the first presentation easy, fast and simple so that people can get a clear idea of the overview of you, your music and what you are about, then you can start playing with the intricacies and extra details.
Loren Weisman is an accomplished music producer based in Seattle,
Washington. Having worked on over three hundred albums, Loren has also
worked on numerous television, film, video game and radio productions,
from New York to Los Angeles, Boston to Seattle. Loren is also the
founder of Brain Grenade Entertainment LLC, and the author of the
Freedom Solutions Recording Plan.