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SERFA Tech Workshop Review!

2016 May 21

Thanks so much for attending! Here’s a recap of what I addressed, and a few points I wanted to share.

1.  The music industry is like high school, it changes every four years! So don’t get frustrated with technology and social networks changing on us. Remember, we are always surviving your stories. Tech is just the tool.

2. We need to be as creative with our social networking and promotional stuff as we are with our songs. I’m going to list some anecdotes of my examples, but remember, you will find your own ideas! Robert Frost wrote, “way leads on to way.”

3. We need to plan our technology schedules with the same organization and attention as we do our tour schedules and gigs. You know how some gigs take a year or more to book? But others are booked three months out? Then there are the last minute pitches? Plan your tech ideas a lot!

4. The Tunecore tip is one small thing a week, one big thing a month. Write a blog might be a small thing. Releasing a single, or a five day tour could be a big thing. However, it’s a sliding scale: What’s big for you might be small for another artists. That’s OK! Pull out a calendar of months. Plan out one small thing a week and one big thing a month.

Here are some tech tips: 
Songkick – it’s my widget on my website for my gig calendar. But it also sends out to Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc.

Mailchimp – this is my email list builder. I recommend you sign up for a lot of musicians’ email lists (have a separate email address for this task.) Find out which lists encourage you to open. How often they send. Then get creative and find out how to make it work for you.

If you post once a month, you should post about the same time every month. Some artists post more regularly. Don’t only post once every three or six months, for your followers will forget you. – I used to use this to give away free music from an iPad for an email list and other promotional stuff for releases, but I’m moving a bit away from overly focusing on downloads now.

Twitter – I know engagement is low, but I still use it. For example, at SERFA here’s a way to tag other musicians that I see! On Facebook, we can’t over post our feeds without losing engagement. On Twitter, it’s a different format, and posting more regularly is possible. Here’s how I create lists and watch what other venues, publications, and radio shows that my musical acquaintances play. It’s like a river! It’s a daily stream! Facebook is more of a lake to throw the big rocks.

Facebook groups – I’ve never really used these, but there’s a great opportunity to network with a solid group (like Michael Kornfed mentioned).

Or get creative! I’m going to host a little songwriting challenge the month before my next album comes out and make it an open group. Each week there will be a songwriting prompt. I might make some fun prizes. I’m going to pull some words from my songs. The group would be a cool way for people to share their songs.

Instagram – I do a little goofy thing called #giglifehaikus, and I write these poems when silly things happen on the road. This gives me another chance to talk about my life as a former English teacher before being a traveling songwriter.

Did you know you can embed your photos into your website too?

Concert Window – I hosted an online concert for my 1000th gig. This was a way for me to highlight that notable milestone and try an online concert for the first time. Having a story behind it helped draw some attention. I also had a videographer named Charlie Steen there to capture high quality videos for my next release.

I’m nervous about Facebook’s live videos that are happening. Will this cut out some opportunities of the online formats where we get paid?

Blogging on my site I’ve been doing this a lot over the years. I come in waves, but I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin. I’ve had some bigger moments with my blogs, like when Lefsetz featured my blog about “the new rules” I’ve also taken a break from time to time.

Bandcamp – I use Bancamp as a way to offer a deal on buying all of my music at gigs, by selling from my Square reader on my iPhone, and emailing out download codes.

I do offer the traditional merch: CDs, shirts, etc. But I also try to have one unique, even handmade piece of merch that I’ll sell.

Clint Alphin at SERFA 2016!

Clint Alphin at SERFA 2016!


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