I think we all can agree that Myspace is totally done. It really was quite astonishing to see them blow the opportunity of having every band that exists using their site, but blow it they did. For the dragged out length of Myspace’s demise, people have always been talking about ‘the next Myspace’. Is it Facebook? Is it Soundcloud? Is it Reverbnation? Bandcamp? (etc. & etc.)
The truth is, there (probably) isn’t going to be a ‘the next Myspace’. There isn’t going to be one because anybody who attempts to be everything at once is going to lose. Nowadays, sites have decided to specialize on one or two things and make sure that they do those better than anybody else. Which means ‘the next Myspace’ is going to be using a combination of different sites, apps and services (in a somewhat connected way).
As someone who has done my fair share of playing around with sites, I thought I would share some of my opinions on these sites. My reasoning for this is twofold. First of all, I know what it is like when you first start out in the internet world and how hard it is to find the right footing. Secondly, I don’t even know if I have the right footing, so hopefully this will start a few conversations about the topic (hopefully you’ll add your two cents or carry on this conversation elsewhere). Sometimes it feels like we all hold our cards too close to our chests, thinking that if we don’t share how we figured out something we’ll have a leg up on everybody else. But that’s bullshit. I think the faster we weed out the shit services and shine a light on the good ones, the better the experience for us all.
If you make music, these are things you should do…
1. Start a Facebook page - the main reason you should do this is strictly a numbers thing. Everybody has a Facebook account, it would be stupid to not have your music on there. That being said, I do believe there is a reason as to why Facebook has not become such an obvious place for your music. That reason is the same reason you should be on Facebook: Everybody has a Facebook account. When your boss and mom can see what you are up to, people tend to not get up to as much. This doesn’t just mean bands are a bit more secretive, but so are fans. Maybe that is something that will slowly change the more we all get used to living in the public eye.
2. Get on Soundcloud - Soundcloud is becoming the go to site for sharing your music. They have free and paid accounts, but you should be able to get by on the free account until you figure out how extensively you want to use it. I still haven’t gotten totally into exploring on Soundcloud like I used to on Myspace, but I’m sure that day is fast approaching. Another key reason to get a Soundcloud page is to get a BandPage tab for your Facebook page (Facebook can kind of suck for bands, but BandPage fixes that).
3. Get on Bandcamp - Even though Bandcamp now keeps 10% of your sales, they are still the hands down best place to have your music. You can sell physical merchandise, give away music, set up ‘pay what you want’, include PDF liner notes and lots and lots more. And to top it all off, you also get nice embeddable music players that people can use on their blogs or that you can use on your own website (or Tumblr, Facebook, etc.).
4. Get on Twitter - I know that if you are not on Twitter, it is probably because you think it is stupid. Or maybe you think that you don’t have time for it. I will admit to thinking that way in the past. But I promise, besides being a great way for you to share what’s happening with your own stuff, having a Twitter account will make you smrter. If you follow people that are interested in the things you are interested in, you will find out about things sooner and you’ll even find out about things you probably never would have found out about.
5. Get on Tumblr - despite the recent increase in down times, I still think this is a good place to be. Especially if you have a few things to say and share, I think it can be a pretty powerful community to be a part of.
If you make music, these are things you can avoid…
1. Myspace - I honestly think it is safe to throw in the towel on this one. It was only a little while ago where I still would have thought that you should probably have a presence there, just in case. But now, it really is a toxic wasteland.
2. Reverbnation - Maybe I’m wrong on this one, but I’ve always been unimpressed with Reverbnation. There was always something gimmicky about it. The layout felt like early Internet era stuff and there were just way too many bells and whistles. I think the thing that really cements my opinion on them is the stuff I see through not using them. My myspace account is continually raped by emails coming from someone’s Reverbnation account (plus, joining forces with Myspace seems like either a dumb move or a cash move - although it probably is both). And since I still technically have an artist account with Reverbnation, every week I get emails from them asking me to pay money for a chance to be considered to play a festival / have a song win a contest / or other bull shit things. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never trusted companies that try to take advantage of a musicians desire to have their music heard.
I think that this is a good starting point, or, if you have started already and are not using these (or even worse, are using the “don’ts”) perhaps now is a good time to make the switch. There are, of course, plenty of other sites and things that are worth talking about; even some of the above sites are worth talking about in more detail. But I’ll leave it at that for now.
Did I miss any sites that you think bands should or shouldn’t use?
This post was originally written for and appears on the HI54LOFI RECORDS blog.