Facebook: The Battle of the Bands

First: Did you know Justin Timberlake took stake of Myspace in 2011 as part of a 35 million purchase?

Justin Stated: “There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. Myspace has the potential to be that place.”

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Well as we have seen Myspace didn’t bounce back, though artists did have myspace pages back in the day. In an age of constantly changing social media platforms, Bands and artists need to be able to interact with fans and get their music out to larger audiences. Although there is the notion out there that Facebook is for older people, and that it is on its way out, Facebook continues to grow recently with around 2 billion users to date. This makes facebook a key aspect of Bands and artists social media presence, in an age where bands no longer have to only sell physical CDS.

Artists are given the chance to really have conversations with fans on Facebook. This is especially true with smaller bands, where the facebook page is directly run by the band members. Of course and large artist like Ed Sheeran will be unable to respond to every comment or question on his facebook page, but a smaller band like Prawn or The Wonder Years have a chance to really start conversations with the band members. This can really help the band create a brand personality for the band, responding to comments and questions on page. As a fan, it is cool to be able to in some cases reach out to bands and ask questions knowing that you can get responses directly from the band. Large artists like Beyonce or Kanye West can form a brand identity through a more professional facebook page since they have social media coordinators to work their social media pages. I would be curious to see how much time smaller bands spend interacting with fans on their facebook pages, as that directly takes time away from working on their music.

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Facebook gives bands a chance to reach large audiences, but for smaller bands it can be hard to come up in organic search results. Facebook now expects bands and artists to pay for sponsored posts to reach new audiences, and while these posts are not necessarily expensive, smaller bands can’t necessarily afford to be spending money to be promoted. This can force bands to sign to labels, which is not an option for many smaller acts. Sponsored posts are a good way to get more views, but may not return value for smaller bands who don’t have the market research on who to specifically target.

Despite these facts, Facebook pages are still vital for bands and artists, as the facebook user base is so massive. Facebook is a perfect place for big announcements like new albums, upcoming tours, and new music videos. Many bands will link their new youtube videos in posts which helps grow their youtube account. Linking their websites, where merch and music can be purchased also ideally allows for more revenue. Most bands will connect their spotify to their facebook account as well, hoping to gain new fans through the free streaming services. Facebook is a more professional way for a band to organize links to their other social media platforms as well as give booking information for touring.

A difficulty with facebook, as with most social media, it that bands don’t see direct ROI. While a band may be raising brand awareness through their facebook page, this may not directly link to revenues and growth. Having more likes on a facebook page helps you reach more people, but will those fans also be buying tickets to the shows and purchasing merch? In an age where revenue from album sales are dropping, bands are relying more heavily on merchandise sales and concert revenue. For smaller bands without record labels this can be very difficult, as much of the social media presence is simply created through the band members themselves.

I am curious to see if facebook will continue to be the main social media outlet for bands. I know that many bands have instagrams and snapchats which will be used on tour or for smaller announcements, yet there is an organization to facebook that snapchat and instagram lack. However, if a younger audience doesn’t begin to jump on facebook bands may need to find a way to make instagram work as the main platform to connect with fans. I may do another blog post at some point this semester on the other social media platforms bands interact with, as well as one looking more in depth at streaming services and small artists. Bands have to keep their brands relevant in an oversaturated market of artists which I’m sure is a constant uphill battle. 

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6 comments

  1. Tyler — you make a really great point about the lack of ROI seen through Facebook marketing. I’d agree that while liking a celebrity’s page may indicate the size of that band’s fan base, it does not always equate to revenue earned. The graph you provided at the end shows just that — I’d be willing to bet that Beyonce’s net worth is significantly higher than that of Shakira, despite the fact that she has 40M less Facebook fans.

  2. murphycobc · ·

    I wonder too, from some Twitter conversations ongoing, if the change in algorithm affects band pages. Are they considered companies or individuals? I’m sure you could argue either way but for smaller bands, it does appear to only be getting more and more difficult to break through the noise that is the online music scene.

  3. katherinekorol · ·

    Hi Tyler, I think it’s an interesting point that you have brought up. Bands and artists may be using Facebook primarily now, but I think that they might actually shift over to Instagram despite the lack of organization that you mentioned. Instagram gives artists the ability to be artistic with their page aesthetic, as one of our classmates wrote about in her blog post, and it also gives them the ability to link to tickets directly on their posts. They can also post short clips of their music, which I think is smart considering the attention span us social media users have these days!

  4. profgarbusm · ·

    Hi Tyler!
    Loved this post as a follow-up to our conversation regarding Facebooks changing algorithm in class. I think that much the same as athletes, if bands want to really interact with their fans they can benefit from a sort of direct players-tribune like website that the music industry runs as a non-profit and artists do not have to pay for. I know a lot of musicians share intimate connections with their crowds through their speeches and stories at live concerts, it would be great if they could help transition that to page without needing to pay.
    Loved the take! Great concept regarding how this effects the small market players rather than the large ones.

  5. Lucy Wilson · ·

    Going off of Katherine’s statement, I would agree that there is a lot of potential for artists on Instagram, particularly with the rise of “Instastories.” Most of the professional figures and bloggers I follow make use of this feature daily, if not hourly, to give fans a glimpse into the grit and glamour of everyday life.

  6. Particularly for smaller or less famous bands, social media platforms are where they can interact with fans and increase their brand awareness more easily and effectively. I strongly agree with your point that a lot of bands and individual artists have shifted to Instagram to showcase their private life to fans while Facebook these days is filled with public videos. In fact, people are spending more times watching videos on Facebook. It means sharing performance clips, for instance, on Facebook can boost band recognitions after going viral.

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