Is Facebook Advertising For Bands Worth It?

image from www.google.comLike so many quotes from the 1984 movie This is Spinal Tap,
the phrase “Money Talks and Bullshit Walks” still holds up as a truism for the
current state of the music business. The onset of digital music may have created
a deadwood style free-for-all that lasted a brief moment, however, though the
services provided by social media sites remain free, full access to their
millions of users now comes with a price.

The monetizing of sites like Facebook was inevitable. The inexhaustible
numbers of desperate musicians on a quest for fame, armed with a predatory
mindset for friend acquisition, certainly secured the need for heavy policing
of their activities. Hence, we are left with timeline algorithms limiting
connectivity to fans, and leaving the fans frustrated at the selective updates
they receive.

The only real way around this conundrum is to buy your way
into the Facebook lives of others via the sites increasingly convoluted
advertising platform. Delving into Facebook advertising sure is exciting at
first. Setting the parameters of who will see your suggestively placed ad, based on the artists you feel best reflect your sound, gives you feeling that
the road to impending fame could be a few Facebook bucks away.

Alas, reality soon kicks in, as the trickle down from the
thousands of impressions leads to a iTunes sales report bearing a big fat zero,
or a gig attendance more suited to the capacity of a confessional.

Welcome to the world of advertising, where strength in
numbers is the name of the game, and those numbers are always prefixed with a
dollar sign. You want to kickstart momentum for your career then yes, select results
can be seen by sprinkling some magic money dust on your musical beans. But the
truth is, without genuinely generated buzz outside of the lurid lucre of mommy
and daddies credit card, you would get more bang for your buck standing outside
Best Buy, paying people $10 to listen to your album.

The real result of this newly formed “affordable” advertising, is
that we are now all taking less and less notice of the poorly shot promo pic to
the right of our news feed. You know the one, declaring that if I “like the Foo
Fighters” then I am surely going to like “insert derivative band name here”.
It’s taking the same nose dive in credibility that myspace did, except this
time it is costing bands more than just their street cred.

The time to advertise is when you start seeing non-paid results
elsewhere, and as part of a carefully structured bigger picture. If all you are
doing is enticing people into the façade of a buzz, then they are not going to
stay long in the world you have to offer. As a result, your advertising
spending will resemble the downfall of a gambling addiction, rather than the
calculated escalation of a Geico campaign.

Robin Davey is the Director of "Live From Daryls House", VP of Music and Film Development at GROWvision Studios and a member if the Alternative Rock Band Well Hung Heart. Follow him on twitter @mr_robin_davey.

Share on:


  1. Very good article and it reminds me of the dilemma bands/labels faced during the 90’s with Radio did they use it, only used it with no print, and what this new things called Intertubes advertising. Well as it turns out those that use all of them in a coordinated strategy did best and therein is the crux of the matter~ The music business is still a very complicated mess up of something over-riding interests and not one service or app is going to provide the answer so make sure you have someone advising you that actually has some experience in the overall biz not just the online side of it.

  2. So many good points here. Even when advertising on Facebook properly, the results have gotten worse and worse.
    Ask yourself, when is the last time you clicked on a Facebook ad (on purpose) and engaged with that page?

  3. I refuse to click on any Facebook ads. I’m afraid of encouraging spam. And I don’t even look at most of them. Once or twice an advertisement has caught my attention enough that I have gone to the advertiser’s website (I still won’t click on the ad itself), but that is rare.
    The fact is I don’t trust Facebook, so I don’t trust it to deliver trustworthy ads, either.

  4. Yes, but when you do a Cost Per Click ad, and it links directly to an itunes link or point of purchase, it’s a lot more effective than a CPI ad which leads to a general website.
    I agree somewhat, but you completely disregarded that fact.

  5. Hmmm, be very careful with how you take this article. The fact is you can’t say Facebook advertising doesn’t work…simply because it does. All pay per click advertising can work, depending on your offer and what your goal is.
    Take Band “A” who are f*cking awesome…and take Band “B” who are just “ok.” Fire off two campaigns with the same ad budget on the same profiles and I’d wager Band A would see a positive return and Band B will report back that FB ads are a waste of time.
    There are SO many variables involved in PPC, it will more than likely take a huge amount of testing before your campaign becomes profitable…and sending your ads to an itunes page is IMHO a huge mistake. We should all know by now that asking for the sale up front is a no no. Send the traffic to a squeeze page, build your list, build your relationship with that list, then ask for the sale. Value up front, money later.
    Even if you only ever break even on your PPC campaigns, you can still call that a success, because you’re essentially getting free advertising and building your fanbase for nothing. Then, when the time comes to release your next album, you have a captive audience to sell to, where you can actually make a profit.
    It’s been said that successful businesses take at least 3 years to move into actual profit making, so what makes you think selling music will be any different?
    Having multiple products to sell to those people on your list is the key. Whatever you sell them first can be considered a loss leader, whatever you sell them next is money in your pocket.
    Robin, I’d be up for a Skype chat if you like? I dig ‘Devil’ in a big way I’d so would love to chat to you guys and see if I can help out. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to hustle for work or have anything to try and sell 😉

  6. Yup, iagree with you, the Best Buy comment on paying someone to listen to your stuff directly just brought out the basic fact, noone cares, especially in this digital age, more consumption means less ‘quality’
    I am sick of Facebook ads, etc. Just cheasy marketing, and bands look like a bunch of clowns, “check me out”, “the next big thing” I don’t care what ‘industry’ people say, especially ‘social media’ gurus, its just simply dishonest, and the rebuttal these ‘gurus’ use is that “you have to just be honest”, just saying it by default makes it dishonest. Who really trusts someone that is ‘trying’ to be honest, or says that they are honest anyway

  7. I agree with this article, all this is is a game , and all it is is musicians just copying ‘major labels’ and corporations, these same musicians that critize these companies. Bands just look like clowns at the end of the day, and they act like their stars, just be musicians and do something else. I understand you gotta market but does it really have to always look so bad, like you are trying too hard to market. Obviously the music takes a step back. Man, this is just getting stupid now

Comments are closed.