Track 3: Don’t Label Me

As previously explored, individual bands stand to benefit from communicating with their fans on social media outlets such as MySpace Music and Twitter. It doesn’t stop there, though. The record labels that pick up bands and support and manage also utilize social media in the modern society to connect with the audience. As the large majority of alt-music listeners are in the younger demographic, social media really is one of the best ways to reach them.

Knowing the Fans

It’s becoming of growing importance for record labels to acknowledge that, while all fans may have equal weight in whether or not they “like” something, all fans are different. Emotionally dedicated fans, sometimes referred to as tribe members, have been found to spend more money towards an artist or a label when they feel an personal or emotional connection to the artist. Labels are having to focus on what and who their niche audiences are, in regards to their individual bands as well as their own personal brand.

The key factor, labels are realizing, is to make social media about more than just promoting new releases. Prior to the onslaught of social media that is now omnipresent, fans of bands would have to meet in person in some previously-coordinated way to talk about their common interests. Social media have made it easier than ever for strangers and friends alike to virtually meet over common ground, and labels have started to take note. At the very least, by having the bands within the label communicate more effectively and consistently with the target audiences, the brand of the labels themselves seems more authentic and fitting with the “cool” and young listeners.

Indie labels, whether they are just taking off or if they are established and thriving, have had the general tendency to focus on niche audiences more than the large and most-well known record labels tend to. Each label has a genre with a niche audience and even more specific niches developing with each band present in the label. Successful indie labels have been able to capitalize on the capability to collect data on audiences in this digital era, to make sure they are targeting the ideal audience in the optimal way.

A Success Story

One such example of this is Mom & Pop Music, an Indie Label started by a former large-label worker who desired more autonomy in his work. This desire for a maintaining-of-the-self has struck a chord with several big names in the indie music scene, helping Mom & Pop grow to be one of the most successful current Indie Labels. Mom & Pop as a label, as well as the bands it hosts, has a strong Twitter presence where they further their current success by engaging with the fans consistently about music releases in addition to interesting things going on with the bands and the label.


Track 2: I’m With the Band

In today’s ever-expanding music scene, genres and bands outside of the Top 40 have to think outside the box to be noticed and followed. In the similarly constantly expanding social media world, there are more ways than ever for bands to engage with their audiences. MySpace Music, a medium previously thought dead in today’s day and age, has been shown to have a substantial effect on music sales. In addition to this finding, it’s been discovered that this increase in sales is occurring due to not advertising but through personal messages. The effect has been found to be as much as six times as large as the effect of other forms of communication. This has especially been prominent when the artists at hand are disclosing personal statements about what they’re doing outside of MySpace Music.

Raising Their Voice

There is a growing call for bands to take initiative and reach out to their fans, as their fans are the largest factor determining their overall success. In particular, it is becoming a necessity for bands to find their niche audience and target them on the best platform.

Whether it’s done in an effort to increase attention about a new album or to just humanize the individual members of the bands, audiences have generally positive reactions to the notion of being able to communicate with artists in this way. By using Twitter in particular, bands and artists encourage fans and consumers to respond and react in an immediate way.

Artists in Action

Indie singer Amanda Palmer found personal success through Twitter when she took advantage of the hashtag feature to gain increasing amounts of attention to a tweet that eventually got her a gross of $11,000 on Sharpie designed t-shirts she casually made.

On the other end of the spectrum, social media has made it possible for the audience to provide feedback to individual bands in a way never before easily possible. Through outlets like Facebook and Yelp, consumers have an opportunity to create User Generated Content in order to review artist’s albums, however there is no proof of correlation currently between artist-generated content and reciprocated User Generated Content.

Indie, alternative and start-up bands have been able to utilize all that social media, especially MySpace Music and Twitter, have to offer. While this may not seem necessary after bands have found success or a sponsor with a brand, it is evident that many artists and bands have found benefits in continuing to have an active online social media presence.


Track 1: Intro

Welcome! This blog features the methods in which alternative music labels promote music and communicate with consumers. Each post focuses on a different proponent in the alternative music hierarchy and attempts to show how they use social media in order to engage with their consumers and audiences.

What to Expect

The posts go through the ever-growing music industry by starting at the smallest unit and working up to the press and publications. The first post looks into the impact social media has on individual bands and artists. The second post expands to look at how Indie Labels in particular use social media when expanding their brands and promoting their bands. The third post looks at how channels such as alternative and indie radio use social media to promote the bands. Lastly, the fourth post looks at how music related publications (specifically magazines) feature indie music and utilize social media to get their messages across.

The posts are named as a track number on a CD but are representative of what the article is about. You may notice that the track numbers aren’t in the most traditional order, but in this day and age you can listen to any track in any order you want. In a similar way, the posts are user-friendly and can be read in any order.

By approaching the music industry this way, the final post builds off of previously explored information about the smaller proponents that make up the music industry. With the combination of the constantly evolving social media sphere with endless mediums and the ever-growing music industry with a plethora of genres, the indie or alternative music scene is thriving with media possibilities.

Final Thoughts

This blog shows how the focus with social media has shifted from being just about how many followers you have to what the individual followers really think about you. In the current day and age, communication is no longer one-way, and the audience or consumer view has never mattered more. Social media has provided consumers with a huge way to engage in immediate feedback, and indie music is no exception to this phenomenon.