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Musicians & Social Media: Who Makes the Grade?

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Taylor Vick and I are at the University of Miami where Taylor, a UM alumnus, moderated and I sat on a panel Saturday at the MEIEA (Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association) Conference. It was a gorgeous sunny 80 degrees, and I wondered (while laying on the lawn outside the Frost School of Music after our panel) how any UM students get any work done. This campus is more like a resort than an institution of higher learning. I grabbed my venti skinny caramel iced latte that I bought at the on-campus Starbucks, and watched students sunbathing while a light mist that blew from the fountain in the center of the lake cooled me. I heard one of the student guides, while he escorted a UM hopeful and her parents around “Yeah, we have every sport you can think of here…even sand volleyball.”

But, I digress, which is easy to do in this weather. Our topic was advanced social media strategies as they pertain to musicians and music businesses, and several interesting points came up during our discussion, which you’ll see in a couple posts from me and TV.

One of the questions asked was which musicians did we think were using social media well. The panel, which included Fran Vincent of Retro Island Productions, Tony Grotticelli of TOGA Entertainment, Katherine Stimson of Suman Entertainment and Bennett Law Office, Taylor and myself, while offering up different examples seemed to agree on a few key criteria —
1. Authenticity
2. Engagement
3. Just Doing It (Aka: Risk & Experimentation)
While we agreed that Lady Gaga owned YouTube (you can’t swing a cat without hitting one of her videos), we also agreed that she wasn’t very engaged with her audience. OK Go! are successful because of their incredibly creative and original viral-on-steroids videos that have led to a big community of fans and followers who are championing the band just waiting to see what they’ll come up with next.

Tony mentioned Run DMC’s Rev Run who has an honest extension of his reality show brand in his @RevRunWisdom Twitter feed. He broadcasts rather than converses, but his use of the platform is original and certainly makes my day a lot.

Disappointments by celebs who were at the forefront of social media, but who have disengaged (Miley Cyrus) or have not used SM to its best potential to help in crisis management (John Mayer) were mentioned, as well. Our hope is that other celebs learn, improve and stay engaged with fans.
Last, but not least, Ben Folds brings home the recent honors of ballsiest user of SM by engaging his live concert fans with the ever-growing in popularity of Chatroulette. His piano improvisations of the people he “nexted” on the site take the trophy for risk vs. risque experiment.
Which musicians, artists, bands, etc. do you think are using social media well? Who is missing the point in your opinion?

Posted in MEIEA, music and social media | No Comments »

What’s Your Story?

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Everyone is heading to South By Southwest, and in addition to great bands, the new rock stars of social media will be there, including my social rock god @ChrisBrogan . You want to know why I admire him? Because he knows who he is. He’s the author of his own story. You will get the opportunity to meet him and many others I admire, like @Tessa . When you do, you’ll need to know your story.

Know why you’re there, why you want to meet them, and what you have to offer the brief conversation. Don’t sell, but know your pitch. Brogan wrote a great piece about a year ago called Be Sexier in Person with great tips from him AND the commenters on how to present yourself in person in a brief amount of time. Tom Truitt created YourElevatorPitch to help individuals and companies develop this crucial tool in an extremely crowded marketplace.

I just did a presentation with @TaylorVick at Podcamp Nashville this past weekend. Amid technical difficulties, we stayed true to ourselves, and found humor in the fact that our social media tools weren’t being very social. After the presentation, we were surprised by the number of people who came up and complimented the session. I know now we shouldn’t have been. The tools we shared were solid, and our hearts were in the right place. We know our story, our value, and we know where we’re headed.

Our presentation was about how to make friends while keeping the ones you already have on the web, which you’ll see in a series of blog posts to come. I’d like to share a few of the tips from that session with those of you headed to SXSW who aim to meet your idols:
1. Idols are people too. If they are rude, don’t waste your time.
2. Be Yourself, but be the BEST version of yourself. Be the person your mom and your kid think that you are.
3. Know your story.

Practice here in the comments. Tell me your story in a nutshell.

photo credit: Emily Starbuck Gerson

Posted in Conferences, MEIEA, Podcamp, SXSW | 1 Comment »