Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond

the ecosystem is wrong… why facebook for music still doesn't beat Myspace…

March 1st, 2008 | 3 Comments | Categories: cool links · Geek · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians · website recommendations |

Jeff Schmidt just linked to this article via his Google Shared Items (find them in the side bar on his blog and grab the RSS feed) –

Facebook Music Rocks, in which the author waxes lyrical about how functional the Facebook music pages are. Which is true, they are, functionally, kicking the ass of MySpace, with the option to embed lots of stuff, and present it in a facebook profile-like way, so the target audience understand it.

We know that, I’ve blogged about that before (click the ‘facebook’ tag at the bottom of this post for all the stuff I’ve written about facebook… grab the feed for that tag too, if all you’re interested in are facebook stories… :o) – the problem is about ecosystems, and facebook is about connecting with people you already know. Facebook doesn’t have anything like the internal friend-adding currency that Myspace has. If I see someone with 1000+ facebook friends, I assume they’re a bit of a tool.

I, and the vast majority of the people I talk to, use facebook to keep up with friends news, whereabouts, photos and to play scrabulous. I deny almost all the event and application requests I get, I only put stuff on my page that says something about me, and have never that I can remember added f’ing pirates or vampires or werewolves or whatever other nonsense is on there… I don’t even use it for sanctimonious bragging about how green I am to my friends (despite that being my conversation-of-choice in most circumstances… ;o) – it’s about real world connections played out in web-time, and less-so, about finding out about online friends you have from elsewhere. I think I have maybe 3 friends that I first met on facebook, through other friends.

So, what of the musician pages? Worth having? definitely. Especially for indie musicians. Here’s why – your friends are a really important part of your audience. Look, we all know that having a stranger buy your CD or download is way more impressive and thrilling than your mum buying copies for the family for Christmas, but money is money, audience is audience, and your friends are predisposed to give you a fairer hearing than most. And – here’s the facebook catch – they have social currency to gain by telling their friends about their connection to you – almost every artist I am a fan of on Facebook is one I know personally. They are people I’m proud to know, regard as friends and want to help out.

So use facebook music, now, to mobilise friends. It may well be – in fact, it’s likely – that the facebook ecosystem will shift, and more people will embrace the idea of finding music there, of searching for great music etc. At which time you HAVE to have your ‘ducks in a row’ – your page set up, your core base of REAL WORLD FRIENDS (and family members) on there using it, and spreading the word.

Make the most of your friends as a fan-base and defacto street-team. That’s where facebook works REALLY well right now.

click here to go to my musician page on facebook
and here for To The Left Of The Mainstream

(oh, and grab my google reader shared items from the side bar on the front page here while you’re at it – there’s some great stuff there…)

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Tom Alves

    Ah but there’s the rub. As my friend I’m happy (and proud) to post stuff about your music on Facebook…all I ask in return is you accept my invitation to the Knighthood app so I can increase power in the game I’m playing 😉

  • Andrew Durkin

    “So use facebook music, now, to mobilise friends. It may well be – in fact, it’s likely – that the facebook ecosystem will shift, and more people will embrace the idea of finding music there, of searching for great music etc.”

    Yes — I for one can’t wait for this. It’s such a shame to me that MySpace seems to be much more readily accepted as a fanbase-building tool, and yet the mechanics of it are so buggy and clunky. Never mind the challenge of finding the time to listen to all of the bands that are trying to connect with me — the first hurdle is actually finding the time to wait for their damned pages to load!

  • Steve

    Totally, Andrew… the key with Myspace is measuring time spent to quality of interaction. Friend numbers are neither here nor there to anyone looking at your page who’s over the age of 12… Interact with the interesting ones, use bulletins and ‘status updates’ for the rest – the status update is the current best ratio of ‘effort to feedback’ cos so few people are using it. Update your status, get some traffic, seems to be the equation.

    And it also makes sense to cross-post everything music-related from your real blog to the myspace one, just because there are so many webtards whose one point of interaction with the web is myspace. I got a myspace message from a friend last night, who is my friend on facebook too, who messaged me on myspace, even though we weren’t even connected on there! So she searched me out via a friend’s top friends list, instead of just going to facebook…

    Myspace is still ‘the green zone’ for webtards…

    interestingly though, the last few people to add themselves to my musician page on facebook are people I don’t know, so it may end up serving double duty, but it’s still overwhelmingly about connecting with people I know…