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Its all about Networking

 If there is one theme that is underlying to everything I've posted in this blog so far, its the need for creative networking and using those networks you create to advance your career as a musician. I'm going to start focusing for a few days now on hardcore ways to network, online, in-person, and with important organizations critical to your long-term professional success as a musician. We're going to talk about a lot of different networking opportunities, but initially we'll cover online ones, because they are at your disposal no matter where you are in the world, as long as you have a computer and Internet access.

These days the buzz is all about social networking, and make no mistake, when these online social networking sites are used aggressively and correctly they become powerful assets to your success. It should go without saying that MySpace, Facebook, etc. are must-haves for any musician at any level of success. Creating a good MySpace or Facebook page exposes your music, photos, videos and bio, not to mention provides an extraordinary way to alert your audience to your live performances. These tools are legions beyond what I could have dreamed of having at my disposal back when I had the youthful energy to pursue a life on the road and a career as a performer. That said, no matter where I am in my own personal career as a musician, its never too late to start one of these sites, and they play a critical role in your success.

The primary function of online social networking sites are for the building of your fan network. In the bad old days, the way you built a fan network was really a lot of hard and expensive, time-consuming work. The advice of that era was to get a pad and pen on a clipboard and set it up at the gig where your tapes were for sale, and hope you could get your fans to give you their mailing address so you could send a postcard, newsletter or other item in the US mail. It doesn't take long for you to figure out what an arduous process it was then to garner a fan base, let alone utilize it to promote your career. It was a bit of a nightmare compared to the power at your fingertips now available. And, it was one-way marketing, too. You could get their address, if you were lucky it didn't change, and you could spend money to send them something to promote an upcoming date or release, but you could not find them communicating with other fans on the list, sharing their thoughts with you and the other fans with comments, or any of the other things we take for granted now with a MySpace or Facebook kind of opportunity. Couple that power with the fact that its available to you for FREE, and this is a no-brainer, isn't it?

As some of you know, my "avatar" Von Johin, was signed to a record deal last summer with (the ironically named) Reality Entertainment, also home to Marcey Playground, KC & the Sunshine Band, Krokus and other acts. With a pending album being released this coming spring, it was time for Von Johin to get his own MySpace page to promote the record, and begin to build a fan network. And that's what we're talking about today, fan-based networking, as opposed to peer networking, or industry networking. 

Fan-based networking will always be the crown-jewel of your success, whether starting out or at the peak of your career. Fans are who buy the tickets, pay the cover charges, buy the drinks to keep the club owner happy, buy the merchandise like t-shirts, CDs, downloads, trucker caps, posters or whatever else you create to sell that emphasizes the coolness of listening to your music. 

Posted: 1/6/2009 10:00:00 AM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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