Why Musicians Should Jump on the Twitter Bandwagon

Twitter is not just for tech geek bloggers anymore. (Yes, that was a Scobleizer shout out.) Oh no, my friends. Twitter is for everyone. Especially DIY musicians.

Before you read the rest of this post, open another tab and listen to “You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter” in the background. It’s in the little music player at the top of this page. Just a little soundtrack for ya.

And, while you’re distracted, go ahead and follow evolvingmusic on Twitter.

Now, not everyone agrees with the merits of twittering as a part of an overall marketing strategy for musicians. I, however, would not only include Twitter in my strategy, I would make it one of the main features.

I know, Twitter can be mildly reminiscent of a 90s chat room sometimes. (I never really understood the appeal there). But instead of creepy old men posing as teenage girls and lonely housewives looking for excitement, it’s an entirely different crowd. Twitter is full of intelligent, resourceful, witty people who are passionate about new technology, endlessly curious about a wide range of topics, and more than happy to share helpful information. Twitter has become a great resource for all kinds of things, and perhaps surprisingly, for as-it-happens news as well.

But it seems to me that not very many musicians are taking advantage of this brilliantly simple tool. Yet.

As most of us know by now, the music industry has dug itself into a deeper hole than it can get itself out of for the time being and musicians are pretty much on their own when it comes to creating their own success. Obviously, you need a MySpace Music page. (I hate MySpace. I really do. But it IS necessary for musicians.) Obviously, you need a website, where you post your photos, tour dates, bio, etc. The next steps are also important: your blog (let your fans get to know you), your Facebook page, a Last.fm account, a YouTube channel for your music videos. These are all part of a multi-pronged approach to creating your musical identity online. Let your fans find you in the places where they are already spending their time. Give them the content they are already looking for.

Ok, so if I do all this, do I still need Twitter? Who cares what I had for lunch? Isn’t it a waste of my time??

Absolutely not! And here’s why.

First, it’s another way to broadcast the key things that you already have on your MySpace, Facebook, website etc, like tour dates, album release dates, and what not.

Second, and more importantly, it’s a way – similar to blogging – to get more personal. To let your fans get to know you, the person, in addition to you, the musician. Whereas blogging allows you to rant and rave and express your opinions in a very personal way, Twittering (which is technically microblogging), allows for the same thing. Just, you know….in 140 characters or less.

Those who follow you (presumably your fans) are interested in what you have to say, what you are doing, what you are feeling and thinking. They care. Whether you tweet about what city you’re in for your tour tomorrow or how much you hate the president today or what color underwear you have on, they care. (And if they decide they don’t care, they’ll just unfollow you.)

Say important things, say meaningless things, say witty things, ask questions. It’s all relevant if it’s on your mind.

Next, as a way of rewarding your loyal followers, give them stuff. Much like Obama sent his VIP pick out by text message first, you could announce a small show or party only on Twitter, or include a link to a free download in a tweet so your followers get it first.

Lastly, it’s a way to interact with your fans. Ask them for suggestions, like song requests for a set list at an upcoming show. Ask them which songs they like best on your last CD. Let them show their adulation with their @ replies.

One mistake to avoid: Don’t let someone else produce your Twitter content for you. Letting a PR manager or college intern or your unemployed roommate write your updates for you will defeat the purpose. Only you can mold your online identity and make it actually you.

Another tip: Share music with your fans on Twitter! You can do this by using Tra.kz, which will shorten your long audio links into cute, little links that point fans to a player page for the song; the song’s Tra.kz page  displays all the tweets about the song and makes it easy for people to share.

Which artists are currently on Twitter? Only a few have caught on so far. Here is a sampling: Snoop Dogg, MC Hammer, Jimmy Eat World, Sara Bareilles, Bjork, Brett Gurewitz (of Bad Religion), A Fine Frenzy, and Patrick Wilson (of Weezer).

16 Responses to “Why Musicians Should Jump on the Twitter Bandwagon”

  1. 1 ihatemorningsdotcom August 24, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Thanks for linking my Twitter song. I can say for sure that Twitter is the best way to promote a song about Twitter!

    Great article. I agree that blogging, microblogging and encouraging comments and feedback should be the cornerstones of a fledgling musical career. It takes a while to get followers and subscribers but if you write music that people want to pass on to their friends, and your blogging is regular, thoughtful and interactive, they will come.

    You have a new subscriber. ;o)

  2. 2 Sandra Possing August 26, 2008 at 12:20 pm


    Congrats on the visibility your song is getting! And welcome to the .Evolving Music. community 🙂

  3. 3 Greg Rollett August 26, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Twitter is going to be a great tool for musicians as more and more people adopt over. Using it as a quick response mailing list, giving out gig changes, special appearances and links to free songs will be a huge asset to musicians. Great post!

  4. 4 Trevor August 26, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Tired of having your content all over the place and having to check many profiles all the time? We have created a solution for you. Though still in its beta stage its getting great feedback. Take a look and let us know what you think. I would genuinely welcome your feedback. Thanks. Keep an eye out for our tweets too! Good luck to everyone struggling to adjust to a new music industry. Peace.

  5. 5 Sandra Possing September 2, 2008 at 7:04 am

    @Trevor Keytone looks very interesting. Empowering DIY and independent musicians is where it’s at!

  6. 6 DIYMusicians.com November 23, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    You say gie stuff away…

    What are you giving away?

    Love from all at DIYMusicians.com

  7. 7 DIYMusicians.com November 23, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    We know, we know… ‘give’, not gie

  8. 8 JaWar January 4, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Thank you for the blog. I don’t see why any musician, recording artist, music producer, singer, songwriter, etc. wouldn’t have a Twitter Account. A number of business people that may help there career are on Twitter as well as real potential fans that would probably pay for downloads, merch and live shows.

    Twitter really took off in 2008 and by the end of 2009 many people will have a Twitter Account like they did a Myspace. Those that snooze will loose again.

    Someone is going to emerge from the ashes with a fantastic story of how they used Twitter to hit it big or at least increase their monthly income, show dates and merch sells/sales.

  9. 9 Jessica Mellott August 2, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Awesome post!

    I have been on Twitter over a year now and it is a great way to connect with my fans and so easy to tweet them!

    I didn’t know about Tra.kz and I have a new song coming out! I will be sure to check into this.

    Jessica ♥

  10. 12 Todd Tate August 3, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Tweet blog post! Yep that’s the formula of @lifelovemisery shooting video this weekend for my YouTube channel. Then lining up a “street date” soon I hope. Getting other involved. That’ DIY rock n roll.

  1. 1 Twitter song update: Radio 5 tonight and a new video! | I Hate Mornings Trackback on August 25, 2008 at 7:43 am
  2. 2 Thievery Corporation’s New Album: Early Release on Facebook, iLike « .Evolving Music. Trackback on September 17, 2008 at 11:06 am
  3. 3 Sharing Mp3s in Twitter « .Evolving Music. Trackback on January 29, 2009 at 9:29 am
  4. 4 Oklahoma Rock Newsblog » Blog Archive » A Guide to Okie Musicians on Twitter Trackback on April 16, 2009 at 10:44 am

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