Saw this on Twitter recently, from Adam Bartlett of Gilead Media (copying and pasting because I don’t trust Twitter embeds will be around forever):
It’s so wild to watch the entire indie label world go from being based around forums and newsletters, to social media, and now on to…what? There isn’t a single platform I can think of that isn’t a complete shit hole right now.
Am I shaking my fist at a cloud right now? Maybe, I guess. But things were definitely cooler before the ALGORITHMS took over and I think that’s probably an indisputable fact.via Twitter
Adam ain’t wrong.
Back in the early 2000s bands had websites and email list.
Along came MySpace, and lots of folks jumped there, and it became the #1 music site in 2006.
In the same year, Twitter launched. I think Facebook opened up to everyone, too. Bands and labels eventually moved the bulk of their “getting the word out” operations to these sites.
So over a decade of neglecting email lists and websites, as social media sites have revealed who they really serve (investors, advertisers, their boards, Elon Musk), and we’re left with a bunch of “followers” and “engagement,” which is about as useful as “thoughts” and “prayers.”
Email still works, regardless of the few people who leave comments saying “my inbox is a wreck, I miss so much stuff.”
These are the same people who follow 3000 accounts on social media platforms, and are probably among the 70% of the people who don’t see your social media posts anyways.
Start an email list, send to an email list.
“Yeah, but my fans don’t use email.”
They use emails to sign up for social media accounts. They get receipts emailed to them for concert tickets and vinyl orders.
What’t the alternative? Are we just going to start making more video content for whatever Instagram is becoming? And TikTok?
A majority of bands and labels can’t even figure out how to use Twitter which has been around for over 15 years, but you’re telling me they’re gonna “figure out” the new breed of social media platforms?
Make music videos.
Post your songs.
Release your vinyl.
But for fucks sake put it on your website, email you fans, and go drink some coffee. Use the countless hours of banging your head against the wall over social media algorithms and go write a good song, or strike up a partnership that will go a lot further than a $20 “boosted” fucking post.