TRON

On connecting with fans, I’ve noticed, through my own mistakes, that the Twitter/Facebook effect can work against an artist. Here’s what I mean by that:
My favourite local band posts an event/show on their page, maybe I even get an invitation. I’m not sure if I’m available, so I click ‘Maybe’… THE END.

Why? Because it wasn’t a real interaction, it was entertainment. That’s what the TwitBooks do – turn your friends into your personal entertainers. In a typical real-space ad campaign, you hope for a 15:1 or maybe 10:1 turnover ratio of impressions-turned-customers. On Facebook/Twitter, I think it’s closer to 50:1.

I’ve tried the route of just using digital promotion for my albums & shows. It’s really tempting, easy, oh sooo cheap. But why won’t people buy my recordings and come to shows? I’ve got tonnes of FB likes & “impressions”, Twitter favs, re-shares, and 100 people clicked the ‘Join’ button on the FB event… what happened? Why won’t virtual people cross-over into the real world?

Oh!

I’m Kevin Flynn trying to get virtual people from Tron CIty to a real show in meat-space.

“The Grateful Dead toured constantly throughout their career, playing more than 2,300 concerts. They promoted a sense of community among their fans, who became known as Deadheads, many of whom followed their tours for months or years on end. In their early career, the band also dedicated their time and talents to their community, the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, making available free food, lodging, music and health care to all comers; they were the “first among equals in giving unselfishly of themselves to hippie culture, performing ‘more free concerts than any band in the history of music’.”

(from Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grateful_Dead)

What the artist formerly AND currently known as Samuel J Lawson needs is more Grateful Dead real-world social marketing and community building strategies. This is where my local groups to which I belong, the Indianapolis Society of the Classical Guitar, Scottish Society of Indianapolis, the Indiana Freemasons, and my local churches beat Facebook and Twitter with real-world interaction. Spotify and iTunes do not do that. I don’t think that one can use a virtual tool to make a real community like the Dead did, though the new tools can’t be ignored either. I’m hopeful for CDBaby and Amazon’s CreateSpace. They have something that iTunes and Spotify don’t have: conversion to a physical product… and not only that, but the highest per-album compensation for sales in the current industry.

I wonder if every successful career that isn’t churned out of the Sony/BMG/TW/Disney music mill depends more on finding one’s particular version of Haight-Ashbury than maintaining Twitter, Facebook, and iTunes.