My name is Ayanda Mngoma, I’m 21 years of age, I grew up in a place called Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and that’s where I live currently.
I lived in Oshawa for a couple of years while I got some post-secondary education courtesy of Durham College, where I studied Music Business Management.
My passion and my love is helping music performers find success in the music industry. The ways I have tried to do that has varied from helping organize music festivals and concerts, artist management, tweeting and Facebook posting links to interesting articles about the music industry, and definitely by writing this blog. Most recently, I talked to a group of students at St. Lawrence College in Kingston - they’re in the Digital Media Arts for Musicians program there!
I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about this blog. A quick look and you can see that this post is the first in almost four months! That’s a big deal considering I was publishing weekly!
Honestly, my job at CFRC 101.9 FM was taking too much of my time, more than I initially anticipated, and I couldn’t keep up with the blog anymore. It became the straw that was breaking this camel’s back.
I had decided that I was going to adopt a very formal and uniform method and approach to a blog that was for and about music. A form of art. A for of creative expression, free from limitations. Makes sense right? My approach to music creation AND appreciation has always been, “as long as it sounds good.”
You could debate whether, as an artist, it’s better to release albums on a consistent schedule (ie. every year in November) or to release new material when the mood strikes (you can call that the 20/20 Experience).
In my humble opinion, I think consumers of art, and consumers of information, just want a high quality product that’s relevant to them. I like to think that they think like me. That they just want something that sounds good when they read it or hear it.
When I started my blog I was unemployed, with a desire to help, lots to write about, and lots of time to write about it. Over the months that have since passed, my free time has become dangerously low. In the “end” I ended up publishing a weekly blog just for the sake of publishing a weekly blog, and that’s not fair to me, and it’s not fair to you, the person taking the time to read what I have to say.
So, now that I’ve cleared my throat, and the air, allow me to re-introduce myself my name’s… Well, you already know that. Change is afoot with the way this blog has been operating. Firstly, I’m learning from myself and I am not guaranteeing any sort of frequency of posts. I’m going for the 20/20 Experience.
This blog is going to become a blog consisting of posts about the careers of the artists that I am managing, music-industry related articles and my thoughts on them, interviews I conduct, speeches I give, and my thoughts, opinions, critiques, and insight on issues affecting music performers.
You may not read it all, it may not all be relevant but I promise to keep it real, honest, authentic, filled with hip hop references, music related, and most of all, I promise to keep it one hun-ed (100).
All of these social media icons kind of look like the old Pokemon posters, don’t they? (S/O to everyone born 1989 - 1993!)
Unfortunately this week’s post is not about Pokemon. :( What this week’s post is about though, is choosing which social media platforms, like Pokemon, are the best fit for you specifically.
I was going to leave the Pokemon thing alone, but this is too awesome to pass up! So, this is how social media for music performers is kinda like Pokemon!
In the classic Pokemon games (red, blue, yellow) you’re allowed to have up to six pokemon on you that you can use in battle. But you can hold many many more in storage, and switch up your main six pokemon when you feel like it. Social media and your online presence works in kind of the same way.
There’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, BandCamp, BandPage, Vimeo, Tumblr, Last.FM, Instagram, Pinterest, Sonicbids etc. etc. etc. not to mention your own artist website as well! Phew. That’s 13 different sites I just listed off of the top of my head that music performers have to choose from. It’s definitely way too many for any modern music performer to stay on top of on a regular basis, especially the solo performers.
That’s why you have to pick and choose the main four or five online platforms to use. The first one should definitely be your own artist website. How do you determine which sites should get the other covenant spots? There are a couple of easy ways:
1. Think about where the majority of your fans will probably be spending the most time online (usually Facebook). If you’re not sure which three social media sites your fans spend the most time on, just ask them! (Check out this post about Facebook polls.)
2. Look to see what other acts in your genre are doing in terms of social media. Notice any trends? Does one site seem to have more fans than the others? Perhaps that’s a site you should focus your efforts on, but make sure you base this decision on what you see many bands doing and not just one.
Key Take Away?: Realistically, you can not successfully, and consistently be on every social media platform out there. In order to have a good social media presence, you have to focus on a few key social media platforms and do them well.
This week’s post is about something I’ve touched on before in other articles, but I feel inclined to go more in-depth about it now.
I really can’t stress enough, just how simple it is to network and make connections in this industry… for those who are outgoing and self-confident that is. Those artists who tend to be shy or have a hard time striking up conversations with strangers, will have a harder time making these connections but they still can.
There really aren’t any “sure-fire ways to make it in the industry,” but this one thing rings true no matter what industry or field you’re in. The more people you talk to and interact with, in your industry, the more likely you will be to succeed. Ever heard of word-of-mouth publicity/marketing? All it is, is people talking to people.
How does it start? It starts by someone who’s representing the product or service (your music) talking to another person about it. Then that person they were talking to will (hopefully) talk about it to another person, and so on and so on.
Well, networking works similarly. If you’re a local opening act for a big headliner, don’t be scared. While they’re hanging out before their performance, go up and introduce yourself, tell them that you’re a fan (if you really are), and just talk to them like a human being, maybe get a little fan-girlish if you can’t control yourself.
Although they’re your idol(s) or you think they’re rad, they’re human too. They have other performers that they look up to. Try to hold back on the “ZOMG-you’re-so-freakin’-amazing,” and just talk to them like a real person, like they’re your peer, your equal.
Talk to their merch girl/guy, talk to their tour manager, talk to everyone. Shake hands, exchange business cards, give them a free CD or t-shirt for the road. Go up to the very front of the stage while they’re performing and rock out with them (excellent opportunity to show how true of a fan you may be) and just be real.
When they finally load the last of their gear into their van, and head to their hotel or back on the road; wait a couple of days to a week and then send them an e-mail. Thank them (again) for coming to your town, tell them what you thought of the show, remind them who you are (the name of your act), and throw in a link to your main online site in your e-mail signature so that they can check you out (if they want).
Bonus Tip: Make sure you go and interact with the act(s) on any social networking sites you’re on! They’ll always get a notification of new friend requests, page likes, follows, re-tweets, etc. It’s a good way to remind them of who you are, and show that you’re genuinely interested in what they’re doing.
Bonus Points: If you’re already following them on Twitter and liking them on Facebook, BEFORE the show!
What about the shy folks and those who have a harder time striking up conversations, etc? Well, that’s what managers, family, and/or close friends are for! Find someone you know and trust who’s more outgoing than you are, and ask them to talk to the act(s) with you. It should help calm your nerves and hopefully give you the extra bit of confidence you need to strike up a conversation to some of the acts that you look up to.
As always, thank you so much for reading this! It would be great if you could share this week’s post by using the social media buttons or just tweeting / posting the link online.
It still amazes me how many solo performers and bands do not do this one CRUCIAL thing…
Googling whatever stage name that they want to use, BEFORE they start using it!
Imagine that you spend two hours with three or four of your friends trying to figure out what the heck you’re going to call yourselves. After a long, grueling, intense process you finally settle on “The Fox Watchers”
You’re all super pumped about the band name, and feel like a legitimate band now. You start making all of your social media accounts but have a hard time getting your usernames to be “foxwatchers” so you work around it and use “watchersoffoxes” instead. You start playing gigs around town, people in your local community know who you are, you put out an EP and things are looking really good. You’re getting offers for out-of-town gigs, and getting some press around your new EP, GREAT! When Googling “The Fox Watchers,” trying to find some of the sweet press you’ve been promised, you find that you’re not the only band in Canada with the name “The Fox Watchers,” uh-oh. There’s another band out there, with the same name, and they have been around longer. You’re screwed. Now you have to go and change your band’s name which means another lengthy session with the band, and lots of frustration right when things are going so well. It also means a total rebranding is needed, and in some cases it may even mean new social media profiles. YIKES!
The process of successfully choosing a stage name or music alias is to simply go on to Google (or even Facebook and Twitter) and type in the name you’re thinking of using. IF there are lots of other bands or singers using the same or similar names, you should probably choose another one.
There’s nothing worse than developing your craft, your brand, your following, and your reputation, over two years, and then have to change everything and start with completely new logos, Twitter account, e-mail address, merchandise, Facebook fan page, website, etc. etc.
So, to any of you aspiring artists out there, or if you recently started a band or solo project with a stage name, do a Google search for the name you’re thinking about using, or have just started to use. If you have to change your name, better to do it when you have 25 likes instead of when you have 1,000.
This week, we’re talking about Rdio. If you are unfamiliar with Rdio, it is a music streaming service that gives its users unlimited streaming access to a library of millions of songs, for as little as $5 / month. You can create playlists, follow your friends and see what music they’re listening to, browse new releases, and a bunch of other awesome stuff. Like many other streaming services, Rdio also offers suggestions of music you may like based on what you listen to through your account.
Back in October, Rdio announced that its newest distribution partners were TuneCore and CDBaby. If you are unfamiliar with these companies, they are digital distributors, basically they get your music onto iTunes, Amazon.MP3 and other online music destinations, for a fee. Now they can also get your music on Rdio! Because of Rdio’s suggestion system, music lovers could be listening to some of your influences and get referred to your music as something they might like! Just imagine!
Well, if all of that wasn’t sweet enough, Rdio now offers an artist affiliation program that pays artists every time one of their fans buys an Rdio subscription! You read that correctly. Rdio will pay you every time one of your fans subscribes to Rdio.
The process couldn’t be sweeter, here’s an example of how easy it can be.
Upload your latest single or album to TuneCore or CDBaby
Select the online destinations you want TuneCore or CDBaby to place your music (make sure you select Rdio as one of them!)
Promote your music being on Rdio, and make sure to include your affiliate link, so that your fans who sign up for Rdio get counted as accounts you brought in
After your fans have been subscribed for a month, watch as $10 gets added to your account! Cha-ching!
And it really is that simple, folks! In five easy steps, you can get your music on iTunes, Amazon.MP3, etc. and now Rdio! You can get your music in front of people who are listening to similar tunes (consumer relevance is HUGE in marketing and advertising), and get paid for telling your fans about a great service that has YOUR music on it!
In a world where it is increasingly harder to be a successful music performer, I don’t have to tell you what a blessing it is to have programs like this built specifically for independent music performers like you.