By John Fitzgerald — founder, Local Band Network
A MySpace account seems to have become a must have for local bands. It seems every email I get has a link to a MySpace page. I won't say your band should not
have a MySpace account but local bands should remember three words when they think of MySpace: fad, focus, and fakery. I'll be honest; I perceive MySpace as a threat to Local Band Network and other local music sites. But I also truly believe that many people are overlooking some of MySpace's flaws. In overlooking some of these flaws I think people dedicate too much time to their MySpace pages. Let's talk about those three words.
fad: (n.) A fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time; a craze.
That which goes up like a rocket will come crashing to earth. Everybody's going to MySpace because it's all the rage... for now. When it first started it was the "cool" thing to do because nobody really knew about it. It's fun to find out about other people. Now I see Carson Daly pimping himself out on his show to get people to become his MySpace friends. Does he really spend time on the site or is it his assistant? (see fakery below) When something is known by only a few it is an exclusive club. It's cool to be unique. How unique is it to be one band or fan in a pool of millions? How long until people are saying "MySpace is so yesterday."?
focus: (n.) Close or narrow attention; concentration.
There are a LOT of sites that do a much better job of providing tools that help grow the local music scene. MySpace talks about community but, really, what is their focus? Their focus is all types of users for all types of reasons. Their focus is on becoming the place for social networking so they can churn page views. Somebody clicking on a band's page then clicking on a picture of a cute person's picture on that page does not help that local band become a regional band or that regional band make it nationally. With so much information it is nearly impossible to gain the attention of people who will actually come to your shows.
fakery: (n.) the act of faking (or the product of faking).
OK, I admit it. I watch the "reality" show Blow Out sometimes. I won't link to it because I don't want to boost their search engine rankings but the URL is http://www.bravotv.com/Blow_Out. So, the main guy comes into his office and his assistant is really excited to show him something. She shows him his MySpace page and tells him he has 18 friends. He asks "What's is that? What is MySpace? Wow, I have 18 friends already? Cool." So 18 people out there thought they were talking to this guy but really they were chatting with his assitant. How many other "fake" MySpace pages are out there?
MySpace has become big business and I'm not even referring to the $500+ million they got when they sold the company. I just read a post in which some guy SOLD his MySpace account with 18,000 friends for $75. Apparently a fake friendship can be bought for the right price. How long until you get sold out? There are tons of sites making money off of pre-fab MySpace layouts. Gee, that's unique. How long until record labels quit even bothering to look because of the lack of creativity? Marketing 101 says that you must do something to be unique to stand out. Keep being unique.
MySpace definitely has a place in your overall marketing plan for your band. Just remember those three words: fad, focus, fakery. The numbers will get too big and people will tire of being just another MySpace account. MySpace is trying to be all things to all people in their pursuit of the mighty dollar. And, finally, if Jonathan's assistant was on TV doing his page how much cred will your page buy?
Thanks for reading.
fitz at localband.net