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Archive for Music

Instagram’s New Curated Video Channels

Instagram's new suggested video channel

In something of a muscle move onto the territory of video-sharing giants like YouTube, Instagram have created a new curated channel that collects suggested video content from across the social network. “Videos You Might Like” has now been rolled out on the network’s Explore page for all users.

Back in April, Instagram announced the new video-discovery channel in a post on their blog, and on July 26th, 2016 confirmed in an update that video channels had been rolled out globally on Explore.

“As people share more and more videos than ever before, we’re making it easier to discover the ones you’ll love. To begin, you’ll find a personalized channel called “Videos You Might Like” that collects videos from across Instagram’s global community into a seamless viewing experience…”

The social network has slowly been investing more and more into video. Recently, back in March, they announced the introduction of longer, 60 second videos. According to their research, over the 6 months previous to the update users had increased time spent watching video by over 40 percent. Other developments included the re-introduction of video creation from multiple clips for iOS. In the statement, the network claimed that “longer videos mean more diverse stories from the accounts you love…”

The development of curated video channels makes it clear that they intend to hold true to their promise of developing a user’s video experience, and also shows that they are more than willing to make developments in line with trends in order to complement the natural growth of the network.

Adding features that complement seamless content discovery is integral to the expansion of content-focused networks like Instagram. One of the biggest and most significant developments was their complete overhaul earlier in the year that saw a total re-brand and a new interface that centred on user-generated content.

“Videos You Might Like” will include suggested videos based on each specific user’s activity and will appear on the network’s Explore page. Other featured channels will also begin to appear in the coming months, to complement global events such as the 2016 Olympics and the Cannes Film Festival.

How to do Social Media for Musicians

Social Media for Musicians

If there are two things that have gone hand in hand since the development of digital media it’s music and social media. Social networking can be a vital communication and hype­-building channel between musician and fans. However, these are two constantly evolving industries, and so keeping on top of marketing yourself can be both stressful and time consuming.

Social media is a community­-building tool. That means that it should play right into the hands of anybody pursuing a music career. It doesn’t take a genius to recognise the importance of exposure and developing a fan base for musicians. Social networking gives you a platform that allows you to reach new potential fans, develop that base and keep them constantly clued in on new releases, gigs and news. However, a lot has changed over the past few years, and doing that well isn’t necessarily as easy as it once was.

The digital landscape is awash with people competing to be the next big thing, and many will stop at nothing to encourage users to back them. Therefore, just like any other business, social media for a musician requires nothing less than a careful and considered approach.

Focus your social media efforts

Before you get going marketing your music, there are few things you need to consider. Chances are that not being a fully­-fledged social media manager you won’t have the time to constantly post, engage and interact across tonnes of different networks. The majority of your time is probably taken up by other things ­- things like writing music and playing gigs we’d imagine!

Sporadic posting can look a little lacklustre and a little bit amateur. If users think that you don’t put the effort in on your social pages they might subconsciously think that you don’t put effort into creating awesome music too ­ and nobody wants that. Therefore it’s far better to identify where the majority of your audience hang out and spend time developing your presence their. A winning social strategy calls for consistency as much as it does quality content.

Which social networks should you use

Choosing the right networks depends on a number of contributing factors, including your genre, your location and your proficiency with each network. Back in 2015, musician come digital entrepreneur David Andrew Wiebe identified the top social networks for musicians as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Bandcamp, SoundCloud and ReverbNation.

David’s points are awesome but we’d be inclined to say that out of these we feel the most appropriate are really Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the music networks. Unless you are a marketing guru, you probably won’t have much call for the others. We’d also certainly recommend that you consider adding YouTube and Snapchat into the mix, especially now that daily usage has overtaken Twitter. Soundcloud, Bandcamp and ReverbNation are important for obvious reasons that we won’t go into here, but the other three could prove incredibly lucrative in building hype and developing your fan base.

  • Facebook: ​As the world’s biggest social network, you really should be on Facebook. Your Facebook page is the modern day equivalent of what a band’s Myspace was back in 2006 ­ with the added bonus of an active user base exceeding 1 billion daily. That’s an awful lot of potential fans. A regularly updated Facebook page really is the bare minimum for any musician serious about getting discovered.
  • Instagram: ​Instagram has the bonus of a seriously engaged following, and the persistently high rate of hashtags (you are allowed up to 30 per post and a minimum of 11 is recommended for higher engagement rates) supercharges discovery by new users. However competition is high and Instagram users are seriously aware of the follower to following ratio, so growth can be a task in itself. That said musicians are interesting people doing exciting things in cool places, which is exactly the sort of person that users latch onto. So that puts you in prime position for organic growth as your popularity grows across other network and media. The trick is to be completely human and show the full behind the scenes story ­- from songwriting, to collaboration, to studio recordings, right through to live gigs.
  • Twitter: ​No matter what you might hear, Twitter still matters. It’s a great place to be human and get involved in conversations, be active and encourage interaction. It also gives you access to a whole host of different opinions that could (and also couldn’t) prove a great insight into what your audience likes about your set and what they aren’t so sure about. And now with Periscope, you can get people to live­stream parts of your set and seriously expand your live reach.
  • Snapchat: ​Snapchat has come a long way in past years. In terms of popularity among students it recently overtook Twitter -­ so if you are shooting for a younger audience (which a great deal of musicians are) it’s hardly worth overlooking. It is what it is ­- and what it is perfect for drumming up intrigue.
  • YouTube: ​So although YouTube is technically a video sharing site and not so much a social network, it’s nevertheless played an integral role in the formation of some successful music careers. So­-called “YouTube Musicians” seem to be everywhere nowadays ­- really these should be called “Social Media Musicians” as the majority owe it to a wide range of networks that they got noticed in the first place.

When it comes to your social media strategy, the most important things to bear in mind are that you need to be human, you need to be consistent and, just like your music, what you produce needs to be good. Deciding on the right networks and investing in them is just the first step -­ you need to be sure that you have a strategy that works for you.

Create your own social media workflow

This is a lot simpler than it sounds. Basically, you need to work out how each of your offline and online content is going to interconnect and flow into each other. Perhaps you want to do a snapshot of a new tune that you’re creating and share that video via Instagram, or you have a local gig coming up that you need to be sure is promoted well in advance -­ plan and schedule your content in advance so that you know it’s sufficiently marketed to your fans.

Think about how and when you naturally feel inclined to post, such as after a gig, and then think about whether you could benefit from retaining some of your content to post further down the line using scheduling platforms like Later, Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. This could help you to maintain that consistency we mentioned earlier.

Be sociable and get responsive

One of the biggest benefits about social media is that it gives you access to the views of real people. When you engage with and respond to your fans with your human, social voice you can encourage them to be your advocates. It’s the same for big companies, small businesses and self­-employed artists ­- a human voice breeds human interaction which gets humans talking to other humans about something. That something could be your music if you listen and respond.

Developing social media dialogues on Twitter can also be great to get involved with. Interaction is often the cornerstone for growth, and people love hearing the opinions of people they respect. Voice your opinions on industry news and views, and you’re likely to see some good engagement in response.

Don’t feel you need to change your voice

Social media is about being social. Don’t for one moment think you need to alter your human voice. On the contrary, authenticity is what hooks users in. Be genuine, be conversational and be human. A great social media management company will do their best to emulate your voice in scheduled posts but you simply cannot beat your personal voice every now and then.

Invest in creating and sharing great content

You wouldn’t settle for a sub­-standard demo, so it stands to reason that you shouldn’t settle for sub-­standard content on your social networking channels too. Your header and profile photos should tell your story and reflect your noise/style. People want to see something professional ­- remember that new users who have no idea who you are hear your music through the eyes first.

The videos, images and posts that you send out should all be of a good standard. If you start to let that slip either by repeating yourself too much or not investing in it, you will start to annoy people and lose followers. A successful artists settles for nothing less than perfection; let that be your mantra for social media too.

Keep at it

As is the case with everything else in the music industry, success on social media takes persistence, drive and passion. If you focus on making it as much part of your day-to-­day work as song writing or practice then you put yourself in the best possible place for success. If you’re a musician wondering how you can better make use of your social presence and have any other questions that weren’t covered here, feel free to tweet us @GiraffeSM. We’d love to help you out!

Social Networks Explained: Soundcloud

Want to share photos of your dinner? Use Instagram. Want to share every small thought of your mind in 140 characters or less? Twitter. Want to release your creative side in the space of 6 seconds? Vine is for you. But what if you're an aspiring musician, producer, or just a general fan of music, both mainstream and undiscovered? Then you'll be hard pushed to find a better platform than SoundCloud to meet your needs. Founded in 2007 in Berlin by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, SoundCloud is an online music distribution and sharing platform. Where artists set up a profile, and upload their sounds. The profile appearance is clean and simple (not like MySpace back in the

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One problem a lot of people have when it comes to music, is that they become very narrow minded, and only listen to perhaps one or two genres, sometimes even just one or two artists! SoundCloud can not only help artists grow their fanbase, but it can help fans in discovering new music. When you follow an artist, you are shown similar artists that SoundCloud think you may enjoy listening to, or artists who are followed by people that also follow the artists you like.

A cool feature of SoundCloud is that you can put comments in songs at certain points, for example, if at 1:42 in a dubstep song, there is a filthy bass drop, you can comment at 1:42 "Filthy drop man!!".

Content Assistant - Tom Cornall

How Social Media is Affecting The Music Industry

Over time music has evolved in ways we could never imagine. From vinyl to cassette and CD to mp3 who knows what could be next? Social media has also played its part in how we share and experiment with music. The introduction of MySpace back in 2003 was the first world wide networking site for established and amateur artists to share their contribution to the music scene.

MySpace has since been pushed to one side to make way for other forms of social media. Facebook decided to branch out from personal profiles to specific pages for bands and other artists. On here they have the ability to share free downloads and deliver other information. It also allowed for new and unseen artists to promote themselves. But it's not only Facebook that has added to the Internet music scene, Spotify and Sound Cloud pay their own contribution with ways to share the music you love without paying a penny, or recording your own ideas and sharing it with your followers.

Twitter has also played its own part in many ways, giving us an up-close and personal insight into the lives of famous bands and musicians. With a simple hashtag search we can find out who Harry from One Direction is talking about or who is talking about him. Twitter also gives artists a way to personally connect with their fans by retweeting, replying to them or both. This means that fans  feel more appreciated than ever, although being ignored by your favourite musician could leave you feeling down in the dumps (quite likely if they have millions of followers begging for a retweet!) 

It's not just sound that has evolved through social media, but video too. YouTube provides a quick and easy way for aspiring musicians to upload their homemade music videos and possibly be the next viral sensation. It also provides a brilliant platform to see musicians performing live in concert. Smart phones make it instantly acceptable to record and upload your videos of a gig seconds after you've seen it. My personal favourite thing to watch is artists falling over whilst performing, Justin Bieber namely.

Despite all of the positivity that comes from being able to connect musically,  free digital downloads and free music streaming services have also had a negative impact. Less people are buying music the old fashioned way and in recent years we have witnessed the likes of Zavvi (previously known as Virgin Music Stores) and a select number of HMV stores disappear from our high streets.

From record player to boom box, iPod to iPhone who knows what could be in store for the music scene. Social media is making music more accessible than ever. How much longer will radio stations last? Will we see more unsigned artists grow into world wide phenomenons purely because of the way they use social media to their advantage? Probably.  Cheap, quick and accessible, the future of the Internet holds great potential for aspiring musicians.  

By Content Assistant - Astrid Hall  @Astrid_Hall

How can Musicians use Vine for Self-Promotion?

Twitter’s 6-second video sharing app Vine has gained 13 million iOS users since its launch in January2013 and has since been released on Android devices. With millions of users uploading, sharing and viewing short videos, promotional potential is huge! So how can musicians use a mere 6-seconds of video for self-promotion?

Live Performances  

Uploading Vine’s of live performances allows fans to relive the experience on their phones, tablets and computers, which attracts a lot of “I was there!” type comments.  It is a great way to promote future concerts and allows musicians to create a buzz around their gigs. The Script used Vine throughout their #3 World Tour. Click here!

Use Hashtags

You may have noticed that The Script used the caption #Script3Tour on that last link. Including a hash tag in a Vine is likely to get more retweets and it is a great way to increase discussion and interaction between musicians and fans on Twitter.

Remember that sharing to Facebook will also enhance online reach.

Be yourself

Upon launch in January, Dom Hofmann (Co-Founder & GM of Vine) stated that these short videos are “little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life”.

Fans want to know what you get up to in your day-to-day life and that is sometimes more appealing than performing to over 10,000 fans at Wembley Arena. Making a Vine of a band rehearsal or whilst hanging out with your mates will give audiences a glimpse behind the scenes. If you make time for fans, they will make time for you.

Be Creative

The ability to stop and start recording has allowed users to produce extremely artistic Vine’s. For musicians this can be used to create short album trailers or sneak previews of upcoming tracks.

Competitions

Utilise the networking power of Vine and start a competition that gets the audience creating Vine’s as well. If PSY were to begin a ‘who does the best Gangnam Style’ competition thousands of people would be uploading 6-second videos of them dancing along to the track (I know that I would!), which promotes the song and the culture of the musicians followers. Paul McCartney asked fans to Vine themselves finishing the riff of ‘Live and Let Die’.  It was shared to twitter and received over 250 Retweets - Click here.

Vine is a great way to connect with audiences and increase your social profile. Do you have any ideas on how musicians can use Vine for self-promotion? Or do you think Vine has seen it's reign with the introduction of InstaVideo? Tweet me to let me know!

Content Assistant - Ben Hunt - @benhunt92

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