For a long time people have always had a basic understanding that if you want to succeed in the world you need to embrace new media. New media is, at the end of the day, whatever formats of media and communication we are seeing rise up and experience popularity, they could even be reimaginations of old/classic formats. It doesn’t matter. The thing is, bands are frequently far more conservative than they care to admit and they don’t want to embrace new media. Yet it has always been the bands who embraced new media who found success. David Bowie is an obvious example, but also look at something as simple as Talk Talk or Rites Of Spring. These were bands who pushed themselves into exotic new locales with unique branding options. Hell – Aerosmith was the first band to have a song available digitally. You don’t think that helped them succeed for a minute in the 90s? Even Megadeth could arguably be seen as the fathers of the first social network. If you’re not embracing this you’re limiting yourself.
Of course nowadays it feels like there is no end to the amount of new media available. It feels like every week there is a new platform to express yourself on from Snapchat to IGTV, from podcasts to the latest memes. At the end of the day a lot of these things can be horizontally integrated if you really sit down and think about how you can create different types of content for different formats. Horizontal integration is essential for musicians looking to succeed. You need to be able to figure out how to make a piece of content work for a variety of platforms, you need to embrace that new media. I know that sucks, but it’s sort of like when the internet was exploding and you had to get your music on every available platform. Except now it’s about content marketing, and the people who win at content marketing are the people who understand how to make content work for all platforms.
Not all forms of new media are created equal though, and this is an important distinction to make. It can depend largely on your band and demographic. You need to pay attention to this because it is constantly shifting but fortunately for most of you out there you are playing to an older demographic and once the demographic is older than twenty five things tend to be a bit more stable. That does NOT mean though that you can just create a Facebook account and call it a day. I think it’s fairly obvious at this point that if you don’t have an active Instagram presence as a band now you are missing out on something big. Of course social media platforms it must be remembered are not the only form of new media and you need to be able to create content that caters to a variety of types of new media. Sometimes these are not going to be what you expect but they are going to lead to some interesting results.
I think it’s very important to realize that YOU, yes YOU can actually create content within new media that isn’t going to be hard or threatening on you. This can range from the very simple, like having a band podcast where you just turn the recorder on your iPhone on and bullshit about records for an hour or it can be highly sophisticated like the guys in Starkill who have their own Youtube series. All of these things are tangible routes to success and all of these things make for much more successful bands in the long run. It’s very tricky to navigate what form of content might make the most sense for you and coming up with relevant ideas to make it a regular piece of content is harder still. After all – it doesn’t matter the type of content you make if it isn’t regular enough to inspire fans who are actively and genuinely interested the point that they seek your content out.
Spend some time and do some research. See what your favorite bands are doing and then use that as a jumping off point for the content that you choose to create. Once you start to know the type of content you want to create things easily fall into place. Then as one piece of content starts to become natural and you feel you are dominating it it’s easy to shift into another mode and start doing new content on top of that. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things. I know one band who share a name with a noted video game character so they are going to try to find Youtube gamers who play as that character and get them to use their music as the background as a means of promotion. These are the sorts of ways you can embrace new media that aren’t intimidating but rather incredibly successful and potent. It’s not for everyone, but such is the case if you want to make music that ends up being popular and profitable in 2018.
The most aggravating part of this for me as a consultant is when I find someone bands can pay to create this content for them but then they choose not to do it or get involved. They wonder why it doesn’t succeed as a result. When you embrace new media you need to do it fully. You need to accept that this is a great way to boost your productivity as a band and as you boost your productivity as a band you are going to find more long term successes and with that money. These things require persistent dedication, not just a one off effort, but if you can do that and you can push forward with that discipline then exciting things fall into your lap.