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Why Music Won't Be Saved By Social Media

Rescue-me-with-social-mediaBy Wes Davenport (@wesdavenport) from his music marketing blog.

In a guest post for AT&T, Brian Solis drops a bomb: “Hostess baked over 400,000 likes on Facebook and yet the iconic American brand is now shut down.”

Social media gurus/ninjas/mavens hail the power of social media to radically change a business. They write e-books, produce blog posts, and use their own networks to amplify that viewpoint.

Let’s look at the bigger picture. I love social media, and I think it plays a role in any musician’s career. But that role has been grossly inflated.

Social media doesn’t single-handedly:

  • Negotiate licensing, publishing, or record deals
  • Make your live performances better
  • Enhance your studio recording sessions
  • Plot out a tour
  • Send out press pitches
  • Assemble a strong financial plan
  • Prepare you for unexpected growth

Yes, it can give you leverage on these things. Yes, it can open doors in these areas. Yes, social media is an important piece to any artist’s career.

Will social media alone be your saving grace? No.

Any single aspect of running a music-centric business is not enough to buoy the whole operation. It takes a combination of many things, including money, experience, killer music, and a healthy network.

In fact, the most underrated, least discussed aspect of music business success is money!

Financial information targeted at musicians is much less readily available than social media resources. I’m a marketer and publicist, but I want you to be aware of other elements at play in your career.

Jon Ostrow of CyberPR and MicControl is one of the most trusted voices in the arena of social media for musicians. He puts things into perspective, saying, “Social media is a conversation tool – that’s it.”

“It should be a critical component to any brand’s marketing strategy because it helps them to connect and engage with their fans, but if there is no plan to leverage that growth in conversation into something that can actually make money, all is for nothing.”

So next time you see an awesome new social media e-book for sale, buy a boring financial planning one along with it.