Web-Hot Chart Builders
Five new-media strategies for emerging artists, promoters and labels
By Robert Reddick
Getting your talent, and demos web-wide may be more about science than art. Yes you need talent to push, and media and events to promote, but the cure for web-anonymity is based as much on the network effect as it is other factors.
The Network Effect
Fundamentally, the Internet is a response-driven medium. Stuff sits out on servers, users see the stuff, and when they take action, the network responds. Yes, word of mouth can help your site, but in general the more in-bound links you have, the more web visits you will count. Because you are providing more opportunities for people to respond, statistically you will earn more traffic.
The Media-Meta Network
Media files and most web-media sites can store artist information along with web links back the artists’ materials. When artists and promoters populate the metadata in their media, they are building a network for in-bound activity with their sites. The resulting “meta-array” is carried along the nets always linking back home bringing traffic and opportunity.
The Local Condition
Most PC’s can process much more than web pages and email. Their media players, FTP clients, blog newsreaders and other Internet services all work automatically but are sometimes ignored by designers. On the other hand, some machines need to be accessible to support disabled and limited vision users. A comprehensive campaign should target more than the common denominator of Internet user. Providing a blend of capabilities across a broad array of network services will increase the pool of inbound links. Offering media and blog feeds and ftp files will service more clients driving exposures and link-backs.
So, without further ado…
¼br /> Five new media strategies for emerging artists, promoters and labels
Strategy One – If you want more traffic, open more doors.
Setup a suite of servers to deliver media and experiences on whatever channels the users happen to be using. Don’t just run a website, add a weblog with an RSS feed, a media server for streams, and an FTP server for industry downloads. Add a second blog feed for podcasts, and a third for vidcasts. Open SMS text channels for push and pull information applications, and setup subscription-based email newsletters to push out your message. And don’t be afraid to seed your video out over Bit Torrent. Use every channel possible while being consistent with your metadata.
Strategy Two – Stop guessing and learn to count.
To get to your destination you have to know where you’re going in the first place. Begin with the end in mine by knowing what you will measure before you build anything. Setup a single measurement page, or dashboard, which shows every metric you can think of about your promotions. Count visits, downloads, active streams, podcast and email subscribers… everything. Every web component you build or promotions task you begin should be designed to drive the appropriate metrics on your dashboard forward, and you should set specific metrics goals for your promotions.
Strategy Three – Always feed the spiders.
Search engines don’t have eyes they have algorithms. Their spiders crawl the Internet, following links looking for keywords, context, freshness and connectedness. They catalog what they find into big honkin’ indexes that serve up answers to questions on Google, Yahoo, MSN and others. Search engines generally don’t see pretty things like Flash and logos and graphics. And search engines absolutely will forget about you if are don’t update your online materials. Select engines like Google Video and Singing Fish dig deep into media files looking for metadata, so make sure your files have appropriate copyright, titles and descriptions, as that information will flow directly into the engines index. And don’t forget about blog aggregators. These new-fangled search sites catalog blog RSS feeds including blog articles and podcast / vidcast attachments.
Strategy Four – You must be present to win.
Do you post media on Flickr, have a Live.com gizmo for your tour or your demo reel on mp3.com? Are your events listed in Upcoming.org and Eventful? Are you posting on your local citizen journalism website? Scale that effort to every public posting website you can find. Focus especially on the ones that themselves have high Google and Alexa rankings or significant activity relevant to your talent. As search engines scour for keywords and freshness, they also examine who links to whom. Your rankings are your reputation and without one you are invisible. Post everywhere you can, link back to your own lead pages, and direct to your media files repeatedly. Do so in context to the sites you are posting on, whether it’s comments, pictures or media. Don’t think that posting the exact same texts everywhere will do the trick. It won’t and search engines will de-rank you, so mind your P’s and Q’s but be verbose enough to be heard.
Strategy Five – Come bearing gifts and talk about your stores.
Don’t expect the network to love you without spreading some love yourself. Be true to your new media roots and humble to the massive audience that is the Internet generation. Seed your demos over Bit Torrent, setup free ring tones and allow open trading of unpackaged materials. Seek out podcasting and media hosting systems and get yourself listed, helping build those systems and your sites-linking-in numbers. Meanwhile, be clear on what materials should be purchased and provide precise instructions on where and how to buy them. Be clear with your copyrights by putting your shareable-demos in the Creative Commons database. And don’t forget to open your booking, fan club and merchandise doors giving avenues for legitimate transactions and more traditional artist interactions.