We are a social media generation. Pretty much every company has a website, a Facebook, a twitter account, and even some have a YouTube channel or video. Social media has become an integral part of everyone’s lives, especially musicians and recording artists. It is the key component to an artist’s connection with their consumer base…their fans! Every recording artists’ career depends on their connection to their fans, or how we industry insiders call it their level of “engagement” with your fan base. A musician’s career can flourish or flounder by their level of engagement with their fans through their social media. See my previous blog on singer Bjork’s Kickstarter campaign failure, which many attribute to her lack of connection to her fans via social media, especially her anemic use of twitter. Twitter is one of the more important social media sites for recording artists. It is also one of the most misunderstood and underused platforms by musicians. Twitter has recently launched a music app through their site that will probably end up becoming a key component in the arsenal of a musician’s social media campaign.
Twitter, launched in July 2006 by 30 year old (now 36) American web developer and businessman Jack Dorsey, is an online social networking site, or also known as a microblogging service that enables its users to send and read short messages of up to 140 characters. The short messages are commonly referred to as “tweets.” Twitter, which has its corporate offices in San Francisco, quickly gained popularity with over 500 million users worldwide as of 2012. Twitter currently generates over 340 million tweets a day, and handles well over 1.6 billion search queries daily. Since its initial launch in 2006, Twitter has become one of the top ten most visited websites. It is often described as “the SMS of the Internet.” If you are anunregistered user, you can still read tweets but cannot post any. Being a registered user, you can post tweets through the website interface or by the twitter app from a smartphone.
Twitter’s popularity and dominance is going to soar with its recent venture into the music world. Twitter announced yesterday that they would be adding a music app into their site and features. This was already a concept for some time prior to being a full-fledged application. Earlier this month, Twitter released its signature music app, known as Twitter #Music, to a handful of celebrities, prior to its official launch today. Twitter #Music is available at https://music.twitter.com and as a separate app for the iPhone through the App Store in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It is built top to bottom around how users already interact with music on Twitter. Twitter #Music arrives with a great level of potential to eventually streamline the way consumers discuss, obtain, and discover music. The process happens within the Twitter “ecosystem” by focusing on the habits of current twitter users. Specifically on habits that have slowly developed with each user over the seven years Twitter has existed. According to Billboard.biz, “it succeeds by taking a simple, list-based approach to song curation while simultaneously giving fans instantaneous access to artists on Twitter and the ability to discover new music through them.”
The application lets twitter users discover music through artist’s and other users Tweets. Twitter users can listen to music using streaming services like Spotify or Rdio. Users can also watch videos on YouTube or Vevo, as well as buy songs from iTunes. According to representatives of twitter, they say they will “continue to explore and add other music service providers.” The Twitter #Music app is based on four “tabs” (essentially pages) that twitter users can scan through to access many types of music. There is a tab known as “The Emerging Tab”, which shows “hidden talent found in tweets.” A tab called “Popular,” which will display music that’s trending or “popular” on Twitter. The 2 other tabs will be a bit more personal. One will display music by artists the twitter user is currently following. The other will display selections that pertain to the individual twitter users music tastes. Twitter #Music is essentially another attempt by the twitter platform to branch out beyond the limited 140-character text allowed per tweet. The twitter staff is attempting to delve into the realm of richer media. This past January twitter released Vine, which is a video blogging app that allows users to capture and post their own videos. Much like other aspects of twitter, there are limits imposed on the videos. Each video can only last a max of six seconds. Last year twitter bought San Francisco based media company Posterous, which was a competitive “simple blogging” platform. Twitter purchased Posterous in order to help enhance twitter’s photo sharing capabilities. Twitter recently announced this past February that they will be shutting down Posterous by the end of April this year.
Twitters free music app is a separate download from the standard twitter app. Users will have to download the Twitter #Music App, in addition to the standard twitter social media app, in order to use the new music application. The twitter app will not show numerous updates, like twitter usually does. The music app presents a separate subset from the main Twitter stream, which will feature updates and recommendations that’s related to artists and their music. Unlike the traditional twitter format that shows trending topics from around the globe or locally, Twitter #Music shows charts of trending songs, albums or artists. The Twitter #Music charts base their results on technology developed by “We Are Hunted.” “We Are Hunted”, a small Australian company that Twitter recently acquired, was a San Francisco based software company that developed proprietary search technology. The technology used in “We Are Hunted” works to continuously scan the Internet to identify the hottest new music throughout the world. What a fantastic incentive for emerging artists to gain exposure, get their music heard, and build a music career by increasing your fanbase using great new technology like this.
If you are a musician trying to launch or sustain a career in the music industry, social media should be an essential tool you implement and use on a daily basis. There are numerous Social media platforms that HAVE to be used. Sites like Facebook, Youtube, Reverbnation, Sound Cloud, and a host of others are used daily by musicians all over the world to connect direct with their fanbase. Twitter has become one of the premier and most important social media platforms today. I encounter numerous musicians on a daily basis who either struggle with it, or refuse to embrace it. Learning to use twitter can be a challenge, but I assure you that it is not only imperative to use, it is also an extremely effective way to exposure your music to the right demographics. This music industry today is a fruitful and exciting time for emerging artists trying to build a career. Unlike the old days of the music business, your success does not depend on labels, managers, agents, etc. to give you the opportunity to get your music heard and reach fans. You can do it all on your own! You can record, release, and promote your music all on your own. You just need to be willing to learn how to do it. You need to be willing to learn how to use tools such as social media platforms like twitter for your benefit. With twitter’s new #music app, building a career in the music industry as an artist has just become much easier. By using just one of Twitter #Music’s tabs, like the “Emerging Tab”, or the technology developed by companies like ‘We Are Hunted”, you can reach millions of hungry music listeners clamoring for new music at the push of a click.