So you may have heard the term ‘new media' buzzing around. But what does it mean? And how does new media impact on your music career?
Well today James Wasem from Gigee.me is going to answer these questions and more. Enter James:
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What Is “New Media” Anyway?
So what is new media? Here’s a nice summary:
New media refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, and creative participation.
(courtesy of Wikipedia)
Pretty much sums up your music online, right?
Well, not exactly.
For the musician and performing artist, “new media” is more than just throwing some words or music online and calling it a day. That can be the equivalent of just typing “hello world” as your first blog post. Nobody cares. That may have been revolutionary back in 1995, but the world has changed a lot since then.
While new media can fit many different categories, perhaps the most defining element of new media today is online interaction.
Your audience consumes massive amounts of new content and digital media every day. What makes your content different? Do you interact with your fans in a way that keeps them coming back for more?
Put yourself in the position and mindset of one of your fans for just a moment. Like you, they listen to lots of different music. They peruse various online entertainment and news sites. And they probably watch a fair amount of online video. Oh, and they’re sharing interesting and clever content with their friends.
So, why do they like what you have to offer? And what keeps them coming back for more?
Having a hard time answering these questions? Here’s the solution: know your audience and know what you are offering to them.
It’s not good enough to simply produce content – new songs, albums, artwork, t-shirts, stickers, or witty Facebook updates. It is absolutely critical that you produce quality content and that you know how that is received by your audience.
Where do your fans hang out online? Are you there? Where do they discover music and entertainment? Are you there? How do they know where to find you amid all the other online noise and distraction?
I know. Lots of questions. But they are vitally important for you to answer if you want to be in front of your online “new media” audience.
Getting Creative With New Media
When you think about it, “new media” isn’t all that new anymore. Making content available online and social media sharing has become the norm for anyone looking to get discovered or maintain a presence with their global audience.
What is “new” about new media is the way we continually adapt, produce, grow, share, and even monetize digital content. As musicians, we need to be proactive and creative about how we utilize all the emerging tools available to us today. I’m not suggesting that you have to use all of them, but think about what works best for you and your audience.
Here are 5 ideas that can make a significant impact on your new media presence online.
1. Performing Live – Online
Perhaps one of the latest trends in engaging your online audience is the increasing accessibility of streaming your live gigs. Not only can you reach your online audience around the world, but you can also make extra money doing it. Live streaming concerts can be your and your audience’s ticket to connecting in real time through an exciting new medium. Your online fans can even engage with you via live chat during the performance, and you can respond live, on camera. A whole world of possibilities can be open to you and your audience with this new media technology. Check out services like Gigee.me or Ustream.com and see what new creative things you can do and engage your fans around the world.
2. Streaming Music Services
Ok, these are all the rage right now. And for good reason – millions of people around the world stream music online everyday. A lot of it is free or very inexpensive, so there is a larger audience. Just think of the last time you heard someone exclaim that they “discovered their new favorite artist” on Pandora, Spotify, or some other internet radio service.
These services can be a great way to reach a wider audience. It may not be a huge moneymaker for you, but the extra exposure opportunities and royalty revenue can pay off in the long run. Keep submitting your material and following up with the new fans that “discover you”.
3. Blogging And Vlogging
Despite how long blogging has been around, it certainly isn’t dead. And the latest evolution has been video blogging (aka Vlogging) – boosted in large part by enhanced internet access, faster download speeds, and an ever-growing mobile content market. The trick with successful blogging and vlogging is to be engaged with your audience on a regular basis. Random and infrequent posts probably aren’t going to captivate your potential audience. Find a balance of content, length/duration, and post frequency that works for your fan base. Be sure to monitor the social media sharing and comments for all of your posts, as these can provide a great window into what you’re audience really connects with. If you haven’t already started, check out sites like Tumblr and YouTube.
4. Your Website
The personal or band website isn’t dead either! In fact, hosting your blog, merch, digital downloads, and videos within your website can give you better search rankings and visibility for your music than if you are always posting content on other services. When you do post to other places, always have a link back to your site. Keep your site fresh and responsive to current needs. i.e. Can you view it on mobile devices? Is it easy to navigate? Are the graphics clean and current? Are your latest products available for sale? And these days, you don’t have to be a coding genius to put up a decent site. There are plenty of companies that give you great templates to get started – WordPress (Editor's Note: My personal favorite. Check my guide on getting started with this), Bandzoogle, HostBaby, ReverbNation, SquareSpace, and many others.
5. Social Media
Facebook and Twitter may have a corner on the market today, but it wasn’t always the case. Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest are other services that have become more popular with different user groups and demographics. Where does your audience hang out? Keep tabs on new platforms that can help bring you more exposure. You don’t have to chase every new fad that comes along, but don’t be afraid to migrate to services that help you interact better with your audience.
Keeping Up With Technology
Your audience probably doesn’t have their head in the sand when it comes to using new technologies and consuming “new media”, and neither should you. Keep on top of what’s happening in your industry and your genre. Subscribe to blogs and services that keep you up to date on the tools you can use to be a better musician and music industry professional. Sites like MusicIndustryHowTo.com are a great place to start!
And don’t forget: engage your online audience!
About James Wasem
James Wasem is an audio/video engineer and drummer, as well as a co-founder and technical director at Gigee.me. Gigee provides an easy-to-use online platform where artists can broadcast their own live ticketed events, and make 80% of all ticket sales. Learn more at www.Gigee.ME.