Social Networking – Beyond MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter

social networking sitesWe’re all familiar with MySpace,  Facebook and Twitter, but have you heard of  Wer-kennt-wen? How about Taltopia? There are a fast growing number of new social networking sites out there, and it’s hard to know which ones are fly-by-night operations and which are sustainable business models that can help advance your music career.

Now before you sign up to half a dozen new sites just because we mentioned them, it’s important to decide ahead of time what your goals are.  Are you looking to reach a wider fan base, connect with other musicians, or experiment with innovative artist tools? While most music-centered social networks offer all of the above, we recommend doing some research and asking your fellow musicians and music fans which sites they enjoy.


If you’re looking to expand your fanbase, you’ll want to join networks that fit your target audience  It’s important to go to where your fans are rather than expecting them to find you.  Remember that effective marketing means targeting the right groups.  If you make face-melting metal, don’t bother joining Dilettante: the classical music social network.

Below are a handful of popular social networks that are worth checking out.  Just remember, the best social network for one band might not be the best one for another. This list is hardly comprehensive and we encourage you to do some researching on your own.

YouTube

Yes, we all know about YouTube.  But people often forget that YouTube is a place where you can engage music fans and musicians socially.  Create your own YouTube channel and your fans can subscribe to your updates.  Did you know that YouTube is one of the most popular online tools for discovering music? It’s true!

Tumblr

Tumblr is similar to Twitter but is growing in popularity because it does not have a 140 character limit.  Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything.  Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos.

Tumblr seems to appeal primarily to users between 18 and 34 years of age (audience profile at  quantcast).

Flickr

Flickr is a hugely popular photo sharing site.  Uploading photos of your performances, band pics, album artwork, and other related images will make it easier for people to find and share your content online.  It also makes your photos available to the press and bloggers (providing you publish with a Creative Commons License) so they can use your pics in the glowing articles they write about your music.  Flickr also allows you to put a slideshow widget on your website.

Musician Focused Sites

Last.fm

Last.Fm is a popular music discovery site.  Similar to Pandora but with social networking aspects so that fans can promote the music they like.  You can use this site to get feedback on your music and learn more about who your music appeals to.

iSound

Similar to Last.FM, iSound is a intelligent music discovery tool that musicians can use to connect with new fans.

Sellaband

Sellaband connects fans and listeners of bands in a unique way.  Fans are able to invest in a band or artist they support in order to fund their favorite group’s next recording. Every single investor that supports a successful band will take home a small cut of the profits made by them. Artists not only get financial support but also share 50% of the ad revenue coming from the free downloads of their music.  A similar fan-funding service  is Rockethub.

Soundcloud

This site is great for music sharing! It allows people to leave time based comments on your music tracks and the social features make it great for managing collaborations.  The drag and drop features make sharing super easy.

Lafango

This site reaches a slightly wider audience, bringing together musicians with photographers, videographers, and more. It can give you control over how you look to others and what collaborative projects you can jump on. Very cool site overall!

There are a number of sites out there that cater to geographical locations, languages and music preferences as well, so a great place to really delve into the world of social networking sites is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites

Now it’s important to remember when reaching out to your fans to first make your website the hub of information. Think of social networks as your fishing poles and your website as your boat. All those social networks should draw people to your website. Having your own branded  site is incredibly important.  It’s great to have your content in other people’s stores, you should have your own store and promote yourself the way you want, on a site that’s all about you and that you control.

If you would like to recommend a social network to your fellow musicians.  Please share them in the comments.