Top 5: Ways artists should use MySpace

Having just completed a test spin of M.I.A.’s new album, Kala, currently streaming on myspace, I’m in the mood to critique artist’s usage of myspace. Many do a fine job, many could do better, and then there are those who suck at it.

1. MySpace is a living, breathing representation of yourself. Inject some personality in there, please. If I can pimp my shitty little profile with no skillz, so can you. If I get a friend request from you, and find your profile like this, I will click DENY faster than Bush can say bomb. But if you do use some profile editor, make sure all your shit still works.

Alternatively, your MySpace is not a wildposting of every scrapbook item you can find. Pick your top things and switch them out every once and a while. It’s overkill.

MySpace is MySpace- there are certain elements that are there, and you have to integrate your motif into it.

Keep in mind- you may have a webpage for your band out there- but many venues link your myspace to their calendar events. It’s also the first place people look you up after they’ve heard about you. No pressure.

2. Variety is the spice of life. There are several pieces of info that MySpace allows you to give, and more and more people are going to expect you to have these things on there.

A- The primary reason is the tracks. They should be there, working, and should change occasionally. I would even recommend implementing the ‘do not start automatically’ setting so that your music doesn’t start blasting while something else is on.
B- Tour dates. Keep a calendar. Keep that shit updated.
C- Live footage. Embed some youtube on there. First I wanna hear you, then I wanna see you in action.
D- Influences. I wanna see them.
E- Friends. What other bands are you friends with?
F- Store. Keep it small, but keep it on there. Can I buy tracks from here? How about a shirt?
G- Bulletins. Post them so we know you’re really on here, and not some hack you paid to spam people through myspace, or worse, a record company mofo.

3. Let’s call this one ‘added value’. Something that is novel and reels me in. It could be something like the aforementioned M.I.A. album streaming (though she gets points knocked off for a profile pic that isn’t working), or something like Mickey Avalon’s PR piece, which is no longer on his myspace (tsk, tsk). That sold me right away.

4. Take it personal. One of the other initial draws for people to allow friend requests from bands is that it’s cool to say you’re friends with a band. Like any relationship, it takes work. A friend request should be accompanied by a message- and not some crappy form letter either (or a hey baby…please). Sounds like too much work? It’s quality, not quantity…just send less requests per day. Then, there should be the occasional comment. It’s a free ad, you know. Traveling somewhere for a show? Rally up some attendees that live in the area.

5. Connect and communicate. MySpace is a free research tool- you can find out exactly who your fans are and what else they are listening to. You can even see where they are going (see my calendar, for example). You can see who was into your recent set when you get new friend requests trickle in after you played. You can even gauge places to stop on a tour by how many fans you have in different cities. Forge friendships with other bands that you could potentially work with. Find artists with a similar sound and seek out some new friends from their pool. The possibilities are endless.

Hope this helps someone out there. I do have a Masters in Advertising, you know.

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