Musicians and the Use of Social Media


Project URL
tuth1jac@live.bemidjistate.edu

Executive Description

Music is a passion of mine, so I am going to research and post about musicians/bands and their usage of social media via twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, and blogs. I feel as if a blog would work perfectly for this project because of the ability to link-out, post images, and get creative while attempting to comprehend social media's affect on today's musicians.

Narrative

The research will not involve extremely popular artists, such as Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Usher, it will be focused exclusively on indie musicians and bands. These bands will include the likes of Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, Local Natives, The xx, Sea Wolf, Animal Kingdom, Blind Pilot, Cage the Elephant, The Head and the Heart, and many more. I know a lot about music, as most people do; specifically the Indie genre. These bands can not generate the huge crowds, the big record deals, and the never-ending sales so they must use the power of music and now more than ever, social media to gain an audience. I will look into the frequency of posts, tweets, messages, and videos. As well as the following each artist has in terms of followers, likes, friends, views, etc. What are types of things are they publishing for our enjoyment? Are they informative, humorous, serious, or perhaps a mix? How are record sales in comparison to previous years (where social media was still an infant)?

I intend on finding as much information as I possibly can over the next few weeks. I like numbers, statistics, and lists, so you will be seeing a lot of that. I hope to find out if social media is actually helping Indie bands thrive, or is it merely just another way to communicate with fans who already have a positive opinion about them? With this project comes knowledge. Knowledge of social media, music, numbers, power, fan-bases, and research. Many bands do run personal blogs, and there are also fanblogs. I hope to find out a little more about the power of each.

My plan is to take a certain social media outlet, say Facebook, and focus on it for one week. Five posts will be made during the week, then I will report back on my findings at the end of the week. I feel this will be more effective for a research project. Jumping around the map and covering an array of topics in each given week could become messy, dull, and repetitive for viewers. If I stick to a topic then they have to something to look forward to on that week and weeks beyond. I will be making alterations to the blog design, name, and widgets before the project launches Monday morning. I want it to feel like a real music study blog, rather than some guy's opinion on the matter. I will keep the same blog because it will showcase my ability to make effective changes, and I have already become accustom to it. We have five weeks for the project, to my knowledge, and the plan is to focus on 1) Facebook, 2) twitter, 3) Myspace, 4) blogs, and 5) Youtube. All these mediums coexist and will sometimes overlap, but I will make it clear what I am focusing on that week. I do plan on using this order.

Research will not be overly strenuous, but it will take time. Each week will start small, but over time the material I produce will gradually become more in-depth, tighter, focused, and better overall. By taking it slow and adjusting to the medium I can grasp it better and produce more effective posts as the week rolls along. At the end of the week I hope to have a good idea whether the medium being used is worthwhile and used properly or improperly.

Here are some of the things I will be keeping an eye out for while testing the waters:

1) Facebook -- I will talk about likes, how many people are "talking about this," photos, tours, and videos posted. What are the bands posting and discussing? What are fans saying? Do they have links? Do they have contact information? Do they have any information about themselves? How often do they post? Do they use imagery well? Are they repetitive with promotions?

2) twitter -- How many followers do they have? Who are they following? How many tweets have they made? I will look into the use of links, images, hashtags, and the 140 characters. Do they re-tweet? How often are they on? Do they talk like humans, make jokes, talk politics and sports, or just post promotions, tour dates, and album news? Tweets per month? What names are used and were their desired name taken?

3) Myspace -- Does anyone still use this outlet? How often are they actually on? What songs are posted? General information? Videos, photos, albums, tour dates? What is the design like? How many plays do they have? How many today?

4) Blogs -- What is the content like? A lot of images? Videos? Is the material a little more personal compared to a Facebook or Myspace page? Do they contain links? How many views or hits do they have? Any feedback?

5) Youtube -- How many videos have been uploaded? What is the quality of the videos? Does the band have a VEVO page? Do they have a "page" at all? Are there any devoted fan pages? How many views does a normal video get?

I believe that in my research I will be able to decipher what is widely considered good usage of social and what is bad. Also, I believe that I will be able to report accurately about music following, reception, and attention gained through the use of social media. With time, I should be able to make statements about the effectiveness of social media. From where I am standing, before submerging myself into the project, I believe that bands and musicians can benefit the greatest from social media. Musicians are unlike actors, public figures, groups, or organizations. They have die-hard followers who would do anything to see a live performance. One song can change a person's life or outlook. One song can hook someone for years and years.

I have not done a whole lot of research on blogs of this nature, but to be perfectly honest I do not care about such things. I came up with the idea the day you posted our upcoming assignment and have gone cold into the idea and believe in it. I have come across a couple of notable blogs in my brief research of the topic. This blog talks about what bands should be doing. I did not find much on the topic to be honest. I found a lot of sites that had top social media bands, and ideas for upcoming artists and the like, but nothing quite like my idea. I am glad of that.

My blog's design is already under construction. I plan to gut some of the widgets, change the images, and incorporate more imagery, links, and videos into posts. I still have not decided but I may create some side bars to liven things up and stir conversation. Polls and lists are likely to be included. Color themes are likely to change as well.

I will use, to the best of my ability, personal photos taken for many of the posts rather than borrowing from other sites. This will show authenticity and bring a little personality. Most people like music, generally, and Indie music appeals to a lot of people because of the wide variety of genres it can resemble. Those who read my blog do not need to be avid Indie music lovers, just music lovers who have open minds. If you enjoy music and social media then the blog should be very readable and hopefully enjoyable. I think there will be a lot to take away from it if you are planning on using social media to gather audiences or inform other people. Musicians can be very sharp-witted in terms of social media usage, which I hope to prove in the coming weeks. The examples of the good and the bad will be educational and entertaining. You might even find some easy listening music that you can learn to enjoy in the process. In a nutshell, I hope to show how social media has changed musicians and how musicians have changed social media.

My project report will likely be posted on this wiki, because it is much easier to read than a blog, simply put. A wiki essay with links out to my blog will be more effective than a long rambling post no one is going to take time to read. I envision the report having final thoughts, numbers, experiences, and predictions. It will include my overall feelings of the project, if it was successful and worthwhile or perhaps not. It will showcase change and growth throughout the five week experience. It will hopefully include some imagery I come across, interesting stories and possibly disasters.

Weekly Reports

I will post the weekly reports on my blog: http://jackrtuthill.wordpress.com/

Contract for Grade

Being that this final project is worth half our grade I could not even fathom not reaching for an A (250 pts), so that is what I will attempt to do. I do not strive to get B's and C's, I am in the business of receiving A's.

I will post five times a week, six counting my weekly report. A normal week will consist of posts on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have school and work all day Tuesday and Thursday. This is not set in stone by any means, things will come up occasionally, and I will make up the difference by deadline. That being said this weekly routine should work out, and five posts will be accounted for.

Every post will be over 500 words. Most will be over 750 words. A good portion should reach 1000.
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