By Drew Ailes
|All illustrations by Dave Watt|
Being in a band is hard. Assembling a band is almost impossible. As anyone who’s been through a few bands can tell you, meeting a self-proclaimed “musician” should instill about as much enthusiasm in you as meeting someone who is going to college for a career in law enforcement. You’re either about to talk to a caring, compassionate, intelligent person or a psychotic, self-serving demon. By the analogy, you can probably guess which is more common.See also: Six Punk Bands We Don’t Need To Talk About Anymore
Despite the intense joy we all take in watching a singer refuse to take the stage until the drummer changes his silk Western-style shirt, there comes a time we must rise up and take a stand. So furrow your brow and focus as we save your sanity by providing six people to avoid when forming a band.
6. Attractive Tattoo Asshole
We all know this person–the charismatic, almost accidentally fashionable and uncompromising artist who poetically suffers by refusing to adapt to society. And has a shitload of tattoos, for some reason.
Truth be told, Attractive Tattoo Asshole is a great social companion. Their flashy appearance and gregarious nature makes them a constant spectacle. If you’ve ever wanted to get into a hundred conversations with a hundred people you’ll never want to see again, Attractive Tattoo Asshole is your greatest ally.
Unfortunately, the narcissism they’ve cultivated to protect their fragile egos usually leads to some sort of nuclear friendship fallout as you learn they’re the kind of person that will ditch you at the bar to go have sex with one of your friends. In your bed. Eventually, you’ll start to wonder how such a struggling artist managed to get thousands of dollars of ink all over their body. That’s when you notice you’re missing some of your guitar pedals.
5. Americana Reject
I could write a long and articulate passage on the problem with the Americana Reject, but I’m just going to stick to the initial notes I penned when writing up the first draft of this article:
“Boring coffee-drinking ass, hang out in your artisan cocktail bar. Can’t even play the accordion. Fedoras suck.”
4. Too Punk
Everyone loves to have a good time. Unfortunately, those who suffer from being Too Punk have a tendency to do it by getting hammered and breaking things without worrying about any consequences. Which, I’ll admit, is awesome, but good luck getting booked anywhere. Unless you’re cool with your band only lasting about a year (which, come to think of it, is about how long we estimate most bands should last anyway), avoid the one-man mosh pit and his fingerless gloves of terror.
3. Art School Know-It-All
You know who has an opinion on absolutely everything related to music? It’s the person who spent $40,000 on a degree as useful as majoring in music journalism.
The Art School Know-It-All either has too much money to create substantive and meaningful art or they boldly put it all on the line, delusional enough to believe there’s some sort of lucrative career waiting for them. Regardless of which one it is, you’re guaranteed hours of conversation on why your favorite band sucks because of the sound of the kick drum on one of their albums.
In the interest of fairness, not everyone who goes to one of these schools fits this archetype. The major exception to the rule is the willfully bankrupt freak that never intended to pay their student loans back anyway- just don’t expect them to have practice-space rent.
2. Happy Hipster
Everything’s always OK with the Happy Hipster. Armed with a supportive family and wide circle of well-wishing friends, they’re perpetually upbeat and encouraging. And it sucks the life out of you. There’s something about their lack of misery that diffuses into the rest of the band, like some sort of psychic vampire that thrives as it excretes negativity all over you.
If you don’t go insane as they support every single bad idea proposed by your other bandmates, you’ll have to contend with their inability to pick up on social cues. Have you ever been really pissed off and then suddenly a song like “Barbie Girl” by Aqua comes on and causes you to punch out your windshield? Maybe not. But understand that having the Happy Hipster in your band puts you eternally an inch away from that exact sort of accidental antagonism.
1. The Truly Talented
While they may not be the only technically skilled person in the band, they possess some sort of supernatural powers, as they’re tapped into music on a different level than the rest of us. And it’s obvious to everyone.
Typically humble, driven and naturally gifted, their blessings will be their undoing as they attract more attention and in turn, more opportunities. Susceptible to spreading themselves thin, they walk the tightrope as they juggle too many projects at once. If they succeed, they’ll run the risk of becoming wildly successful egomaniacs, playfully bouncing around and doing whatever they want. And if they take on more than they can handle and buckle under the pressure, you’re likely never to see them again unless you drive out to whatever suburban void they’ve plummeted down into. Unfortunately, often times the Truly Talented musician is mandatory to make a good band — so if you find yourself in a band with one of them, do your part to protect them from themselves.
Facebook recently admitted that the Organic Reach of Facebook pages (or the number of unique people who see your content on your page or on their own News Feed) is declining and will continue to do so over time.
According to Ignite Social Media, the reach of a Facebook brand page is as low as 3%. That means that brands (bands included) are only reaching 3 out of 100 fans every time they post content. Much of this has to do with changes in the Facebook algorithms. These new changes will make it increasingly difficult for DIY artists to connect with their fans on Facebook for free, thus encouraging paid advertising options.
But for many artists, Facebook advertising would either be too expensive, or the ROI (return-on-investment) would be too difficult to measure. So what can you do to leverage this platform without paying for it?
Here are three cost-free things that artists can still do to maximize their presence on Facebook:
1. Produce engaging content
This tip may seem the most obvious, but it’s arguably the most important too. Creating content that engages people keeps you on their News Feeds more often. Facebook encourages social activity and rewards pages that people engage with, therefore it’s important to consistently create content that people want to see.
You can test different factors of your posts in order to see what is most effective. Some options for this include:
* A/B testing headlines
* monitoring the “clickability” of certain types of images
* using different words to test which ones draw the most attention
2. Better timing
In order to maximize each post, it’s important to know when most of your fans are online. Remember that News Feeds are sequential for the most part. The most recent content falls at the top (with some exceptions, of course). Facebook provides you with insights as to when your fans see content within their News Feed. You can find this information in the “When Your Fans Are Online” part of the Posts section under the Insights tab. The graph will tell you the days and hours that your fans view content, and can give you an idea of the best times to schedule your posts to get the highest engagement.
3. Utilize Story Bump
Story bumping is an update Facebook made to the News Feed that allows old content to be inserted near the top of the News Feed if people are still interacting with it. You can do this by replying to comments that people have posted in the past, or link back to an older post in a new post. In order to utilize this, be sure that you’re creating content that stimulates conversation so that people will want to comment. Encourage your fans to interact by asking their opinion on a song, or their thoughts on one of your new videos.
While you’re focused on maximizing your Facebook presence, remember these two important details:
Facebook isn’t the only marketing platform available to artists. Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and even Google+ are valuable platforms that you could utilize to build your online presence. Also don’t forget about email. It’s one of the most effective tools that a musician can use to reach fans. Because of this, it’s a good idea to get all of your Facebook fans onto your email list. By diversifying, you’ll still sustain contact even when a social network makes a change that may not be best for the marketing of your music.
More effective measuring
Getting good data is essential in marketing your music. It’s the only way to know where your time and money is best spent. There are plenty of free tools that allow you to get the data you need so that you can make informed decisions on what you are posting and how you ar posting on Facebook. Some important things to measure include:
* fan engagement ( by looking at Facebook Insights)
* traffic from Facebook to your website (by looking in Google Analytics)
* purchases (by setting up tracking codes)
* and finally, tracking email sign-ups with your email provider
Billy Bones, a music marketing expert who works with record labels in improving their marketing strategies. He also runs BBE Booking Agency, a music booking agency that works with event planners in talent acquisition and event production.