Centricity Blog

5 things that attract me to an artist (part 3)

Posted April 8, 2010 by in A&R

Online Presence:

Since part 1 of this blog, I’ve often wondered if one topic outweighs the other? Does great music trump everything else? Some would say absolutely. (If you have great music everything else will fall into place.) Or, if you make average music but are touring extensively isn’t that enough? If you’re making a living on booking shows I think it can be argued that you’re successful, right? Obviously success varies depending on the artists need and vision for longevity but in todays economy a long term career in music is interdependent on many facets, including web presence.

The name alone, ‘web presence’, still makes some artists cringe. Most artists just want to create and perform. However, there are some who embrace the idea and in some cases do better jobs at branding themselves online than some do with management or label help. What does having a strong ‘web presence’ even look like? Does it mean having 30k friend on myspace, … or even building your fan page on facebook? Perhaps. I do believe that’s part of it but if your efforts in creating a connection with your fans ends there you’re missing the bigger picture.

I was recently pitched an artist from someone who sent me a link to a bands myspace page. I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. 3 of the 4 songs in the jukebox were full blown demo’s and the other a piano/vocal. 2 of the 4 songs were extremely well produced, hooky, vocals sounded great, lyrics were strong. I was intrigued to say the least. I scrolled down the page in hopes to find a video link or two, … some tour info, a blog, a twitter embedded widget, …  something. THERE WAS NOTHING! Just the music and couple thousand friends. The first thing that came to my mind was, … this is a producer made band. They went into the studio, wrote some tunes and the producer made them sound great. To that I give them credit. Job accomplished, …  they made great music. I googled their name, … checked facebook, … went to Youtube. Nothing. A ‘flat line’ of web presence. Let’s take it out of the A&R perspective for a moment and think a little bigger. If I were a booking agent, concert promoter or an activities director at venue ‘X’ and wanted to bring you in and pay you for a gig but couldn’t find any information about you, the opportunity would most likely be given to someone else. (They’re not going to book a band they don’t know very little about.)

And that’s what fans want. They want to know you. They don’t just want to like your music. They want to see you, hear what you sound like when you’re not singing, they want to feel like they’re a part of your journey, (of your career). They want interaction. Yes, the music should be the centerpiece by which everything else revolves but what happens if they like the music and want to stick around a bit?

The opportunities are limitless for an artist to engage their fans through the internet. Writing a blog, twittering, uploading video content to Youtube, creating fan contests with your facebook fans are just a few examples of the obvious ways you can build your brand. Is pursuing a career as an artist what you’re called to be? If so, these elements to what you’re already doing with your music are critical. It’s way more than just some gimmick to help attract an A&R person to your music. The ability to think about who you are outside of your music, … what you stand for, … what your ‘brand’ is, … should all be reflected in the content you provide. You have to start thinking of your music career with all parts being equal. So far I’ve touched on ‘the music’, ‘touring’ and ‘web content’ and once again am having a hard time deciding which is more important? I’ll let you decide for now.


About The Author: Guy Zabka

Guy Zabka provides the eye candy at the Centricity offices. Also, Guy is the label's A&R director, helping their artists hone their songwriting and craft them into successful recordings. He's a songwriter himself, with songs recorded by Natalie Grant, Brian Littrell, Joy Williams, and Kenny Rogers. Guy also composed the score for the Academy Award nominated short film, Most. He devotes his spare time to his wife and their three genetically-blessed children, and to fine-tuning his Amazing Race tryout video.

  1. Jennifer Grassman said

    I love, love love this blog entry. Especially the quote: “And that’s what fans want. They want to know you. They don’t just want to like your music.”

    As an independent artist, it’s really hard to fund and book tours on my own. I can write the songs, manage my website (and myspace, facebook, twitter, linkedin, formspring, etc), design graphics, and produce CDs, but it’s TOUGH being a one-girl-show.

    The first week I released my latest CD, I got sales in Germany, France, England, The Netherlands, Japan, and all over the US. I even lately had a Belgian composer arrange one of my songs for orchestra just for kicks.

    I’m not saying this to brag, I’m just demonstrating a point:

    An internet savvy artist = and international artist.

    When you are online you are instantly connected with people around the globe, and not just the nerds at your local coffee shop who are REALLY there for the free wifi (o:

    Obviously, I’m not going to tour Japan or Russia this summer (unless God has a surprise in store for me!). So instead I am considering doing a “You Tube Tour” or “UStream Tour.” All my fans from around the world will be able to “attend” the concerts, and beforehand I will have them submit questions through my website that I will answer during the concert.

    For sure, real face-to-face concerts are the best … but hey … If you’ve got a fan in Paraguay and you can’t make it out there in person any time soon, I think modern technology offers us a myriad of exciting and fascinating possibilities!

    Applying those creative juices to outreach instead of just songwriting is the best thing (IMHO) an artist can do for themselves.

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