photo from Istockphoto
Web 2.0 and cloud computing are hot. It’s the future and it is rapidly evolving.
Whether you want to be a better guitar player, be more efficient or want to promote yourself as a musician, Internet is the place to be and it just keeps getting better.
These days you don’t need to spend a lot of money anymore to promote your band or to create a fan base. What you do need is hard work, dedication and persistence.
But what does “hard work” really mean when it is your passion, right? When you pursue your passion you don’t feel like you are working. You’re just having fun. So have as much fun as you can.
The more you connect and interact with your fans/potential customers on social media (see below), the bigger your fan base will become.
Social media works. Period! If you are willing to spend time and energy you can sell your music online or create a business using social media if you like. It’s all there!
If you want to be more efficient in learning, teaching, playing and communicating with your band members, students or colleague musicians there are a lot of productivity tools for you to benefit from. It can make life a whole lot easier.
Personally I strive to eliminate everything that causes work for work’s sake. Endless returning tasks, things that have to be done over and over again I try to automate or eliminate. This way I waste less time and can do more fun things like playing guitar, improving the quality and creativity of my business and spend more time with my wife and daughter. It’s all about being creative with the tools you’ve got.
Web 2.0 is the perfect platform to become more efficient and do things faster. Be careful though not to lose yourself in just being busy with being efficient unless you are having fun with it.
It’s the same with all the cool sequencers out there. Musicians are likely to lose themselves and their precious time in the endless possibilities of Pro Tools, Cubase, Sonar, Logic, etc. They tend to forget that the goal is creating and finishing the song, not over-editing and figuring out the latest plugins.
Having said that, the possibilities of productivity tools can make your life a whole lot easier if you use them the right way. Here are some examples:
– Google Docs
As a musician and guitar teacher Google Docs is a great tool to share your sheet music, song lyrics, repertoire list, etc. with your students or colleague musicians. You can create documents online and download or share them as a PDF, a Word document or other file format. Since January 12th 2010 Google Docs announced to store and share any file you like. So besides sharing sheet music you can also share MP3s and video files.
When you are working on a music project you can upload project files or WAV files of up to 250 MB and send them to your drummer or bass player. You’ll have 1 GB of free storage and you can buy additional storage for $0.25 per GB per year. That’s 100 GB for $25 per year. You can all work from the same playground. Just create a Google account for your band or business and you’re ready to rock.
– Gmail, Google Calender and Picasa
When you have Google Docs you automatically have Gmail (Google Mail), Google Calender and Picasa. For the work flow it’s really nice to have everything in one place. Google Calender is great for planning a rehearsal or gig with your band members or creating a to do list which will be mailed to your Gmail automatically. Picasa is a great social media tool. (see below)
IDrive is an online backup system that automatically stores all your files from your hard disk on an online backup server. You never have to worry about a hard drive crash or your daughter spilling coffee over your notebook anymore. Your music is safe now. You get 1 GB for free, 10 GB for free if you send an email to all your friends and 150 GB for $ 4,95 a month. The advantage of IDrive is that you can open all documents and play all files directly from the online server.
Evernote is a free tool to save and organize all of your ideas, notes, websites, things you see and like. You can use Evernote on your phone as well. If you snap a photo with your phone of a guitar, some sheet music or a repertoire list, etc. you can send it to Evernote where you can check it out anytime you want. Evernote is still evolving and continues to add features.
Ultimate Guitar is one of the many places where you can find tabs. It’s a great tool to help you out, although it ain’t perfect. The tabs and chords available on those websites are created by both professionals and amateurs, but probably more amateurs than pros. There are quite a few mistakes in the tabs, but it can surely help you on the way. An other problem is that all these websites copy the tabs and chords from each other, so you end up with a lot of the same mistakes on different websites. And before you know it all these novice guitar players show themselves playing these tabs and chords on Youtube. But what the heck! It’s good for the creativity, the spirit and eventually you get better along the way. Life isn’t perfect as long as you have fun. And you can always find yourself a real guitar teacher when you get stuck or want to improve your playing even more.
PROMOTION / SOCIAL MEDIA:
A blog is where you build your brand as a musician. Here you tell people what is going on with your band, what you are up to at the moment or whatever you wanna get out there. One of the reasons blogs are so popular is that they are frequently updated. You can create a dynamic website with your music, videos and links to all your other social media sites. This is the place where it has to happen.
– Flickr and Picasa
Use Flickr and Picasa to store and share your gig photo’s with fans. You can also use Flickr to find free pictures for your blog. Look for the “Creative Commons” section in the “Explore” menu.
Put your music on Last.fm for music lovers all across the globe to find and listen to. This is a brilliant way to promote your music. I can really recommend this one. There is music in all categories and everyone is talking about and promoting their favorite artists. It’s an awesome way to really spread your music like wild fire as long as you participate in the conversations, really talk to people and connect.
Facebook is the biggest social network with over 300 million users. Create a profile, tell your story, your interests, add friends, send messages, join networks, search people, connect and share info.
Twitter is a social networking service just like Facebook but here you can only write really short messages for anyone to read. You can have people follow you and you can follow other people. Guitar players like Joe Satriani, John Mayer and Steve Lukather have also found their way on Twitter. Again you can promote yourself, your band or just have a lot of fun with it. Twitter is the most popular social network next to Facebook and Myspace.
Like Facebook, Myspace is huge but more music oriented. Every big artist and band has a profile on Myspace. So obviously this is the place for you to promote your music, network and create a fan base. You can upload your own music and lyrics as well via the Artist signup. You can choose whether you want users to be able to download your MP3s or just stream them from the Myspace music player.
Share your music videos on Youtube. Videotape your gigs and upload them for everyone to see and share. Promote your band or business anyway you can using Youtube videos. You can also embed a Youtube video on your blog. This way you can play a music video on your own blog that you uploaded on Youtube.
ReverbNation is used by musicians, labels, managers, venues and fans. ReverbNation is a complete music marketing tool. You can create, distribute, and sell your CDs, T-shirts, caps, etc. from the Reverb store. You can update all your Facebook and Bebo profiles with new info from your ReverbNation account. For a membership fee you can also have your music sold on iTunes and Amazon and there is still more. Check it out yourself.
Be effective and efficient!