This article was originally posted on Small Barn Sound’s blog.
As many know, I am a supporter and fan of one of the largest Music Networking websites – Reverb Nation. Last week the fine folks who run “RN” decided to make some changes. I would like to take a few minutes and try to sort out my thoughts on this…
I joined Reverb Nation late last year. Shortly after joining, I noticed peculiar activity. The kind of activity that was a deathblow for previous music sites. I wrote a blog on the subject of “Gratuitous Fanning” and the problems that arise from it. And then I noticed even more.
People were dropping their fanship, only to become a fan again the next day. Odd. I to watched the posts in the timeline, and saw people become a fan of upwards of 20 artists in 2 minutes. Strange, I don’t think my bandwidth will even load that many pages so fast, how could they even see the profile, much less play a song? What causes this behavior? I began seeing my Facebook news feed fill up with literally 100′s of posts from a group of about 15 artists (the same ones who complained when Facebook changed the rules on Fan page interaction). I recall about 10 days ago, I saw a post from an artist and below it read “click to see 96 more posts from Reverb Nation”. I knew what I would see, and sure enough 92 of those posts were from ONE artist! All the same – “we recommend you check out…” with a player attached. Yes, a player for the “Recommending” artists’ music, not for the “Recommended“!
The “Big Change” that has caused such a stir is that Reverb Nation now only allows an artist to become a “fan” of 25 other artists each day. “Oh, this will be fun to watch!” I thought. And it has! Jed, at Reverb, sent a message that allowed artists to comment on the changes. I have watched it closely over the past few days. The responses have been varied in opinion and reasoning. Here are some notes on what I have read and my thoughts.
- Those who complain seem to think that the path to “stardom” is to have 1.3 mil. Musicians as fans.
- Those who complain say that the practice of becoming a fan or “re-fanning” of other artists is their way of showing support. But, they go on (in large number) to admit that it is their way of making sure that their own face is seen on as many pages as possible, so as to promote themselves. “…I don’t understand what the problem was with re-fanning. For me, it was getting my music heard…” stated one participant. I won’t quote all who said the same.
- One particularly whiny opponent stated that she had been here 7 months and was in the number 1 chart postition, but was now slipping because she couldn’t “network”.
- Those who are resigned to the change seem to think the others are mostly “spammers” and give reasonable explanation why.
- Some suggest the creation of personal “Fan” pages, others say it is a bother.
Musicians are huge fans and supporters of other artists, but comments such as the one quoted in the second point above, show the pudding’s proverbial proof. And I have to ask why one would confine themselves to promoting to 1.3 mil. Musicians when they could promote to the 2 Billion people that use the internet? That is what the widgets are For, folks! If your goal is to climb in the charts on Reverb, would it not be a good thing to bring in thousands of fans from around the world via your My____ and Facebook pages, and through widget placement? Some of them might even join Reverb Nation and use your referal code… oops probably shouldn’t have reminded you.
You see, all of our movements are tracked on and off of reverb. I am not going to lecture you in search engine, and industry stat counting methods, as there are plenty of better educated people to do that. But I will say that Reverb Nation can afford to be what it is because of advertising. The more people who come to the various pages the more possibility that Reverb will be able to keep paying the bills, which include your “fair share”. So here is another reason to deploy widgets and bring people to Reverb.
I am a fan of a large number of artists. I enjoy using my “Fan” page. I stick by my rule. I must like your work to be your Fan. You should have the same rule. I will not go on about “song play” stats, as we all know full well that your new fan may have just heard your music on the radio, thus he doesn’t need to play it again as he reads your bio. Maybe he will someday…
If you really want to support an artist, deploy widgets for them. Tweet for them. Join their other pages and sites. Go to a show, or buy a record when you can. You do not have to be a fan to leave them an inspiring message!
- If you really want to promote yourself, do it outside Reverb Nation.
- Hire a professional marketing company.
- Make certain you have a clear identity and branding.
- Interact with your fans and constituents in a positive manner, and make friends with them.
- Get these new Friends over to your RN page!
That is the tried and true method that has worked for the past few centuries, and it is not going to change.
- Spamming and begging is unattractive, if that is your business model, you need a new approach.
- You are crazy if you think the “Industry” is going to buy your 7 month rocket to fame .
As for me, I am fine with the new policy. It is rare that I have 2 hrs to listen to 25 new artists in one day anyway. The top of the Reverb Chart is not my goal (as it must be of the fellow who said “we have someone working here 24 hrs a day”), becoming a better musician and expressing myself is. I am a musician because my soul tells me I must be. I share my music because I have been asked to, and that makes me OK with being a musician. It pleases me greatly when I touch someone, and that is my hope each time I perform.
I hope that everyone can get their feathers properly back into place and begin, once again, to use the tools that Reverb Nation has Given us the way they should be used. Do you think the greats became famous by playing to each other in the living room? No! They became famous (and honed their craft) by playing to a New Audience Every Night! So get out there and meet some new people, already!
My credentials for writing this thing?
30 years as a musician.
Owner, Small Barn Sound
Pres. Nashville office – ATUP
Vice Pres. – Mid – TN Music