Bobby Buscher (aka the Waterboy) really just wanted a friend other than his momma and their family horse. Bobby, like you, knows the value of friendship. I’m hear to tell you how right you are.
I don’t know the cold hard numbers of how many people under the age of 30 have some sort of virtual community profile, but I do know that amongst my peers it is about 90% (it would be higher but some people can’t log on to Facebook from work). Whether its MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn people are “virtually” expressing themselves. As in the past, music is a normal way for any individual to express himself. Now instead of blasting music from your dorm room or dressing like your favorite hair band, people are including their favorite music on their homepage. MySpace profiles are laced with personal media players and Facebook allows you to become fans of your favorite band. So when a friend invites someone to view their page or to become their friend they are not just passing their pictures from their wedding or their latest vacation pics, they are also “virally” passing along their favorite music.
Smart musicians or their management team will allow their music to be added to profiles, but in a streaming only format (don’t want to give it all away without being able to track it). The minute your one fan passes or shares their profile with your music to their network of friends your audience has just increased exponentially (depending on how popular the fan is).
I have written about the viral loop effect of music before (see http://lawyer4musicians.com/2008/06/19/turn-your-music-into-a-virus/), but it is definitely worth writing about again. As our economy suffers and pirated music continues to run rampant, musicians need to capitalize on all of their available resources. One seemingly obvious resource that is consistently overlooked is a musicians friends and colleagues.
Case in point: here in Chicago there has been a huge burst in the “underground” hip hop scene. With the help of the mainstream rappers like Kanye West and Common, other windy city acts have been able to jump on the scene. The Cool Kids, Kid Sister, and Kidz in the Hall have been able to capitalize on the attention Chicago hip hop has garnered over the past several months and launch their own careers. Using the buzz of a growing music scene, brilliant use of community websites, the success of their colleagues, oh yeah, and good music, these once obscure artists have attained national and international recognition.
Now the next generation is climbing on board. The Cool Kids were helped out by Flosstradamus, so in turn they lent a hand to Mickey Factz, Hollywood Holt and Mic Terror. Collaborating on tracks, producing beats, appearing on stage, or hyping each other on their own community webpage, one artist helps out the other. This isn’t just hippy pay it forward crap, this is good business. The buzz becomes tangible and concerts with more recognizable lineups are packed, merchandise is moved and careers are launched.
Check out friendship in action: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfmfuseaction=blog.view&friendID=7240921&blogID=425195126
As Tenacious D brilliantly crooned: “Friendship is rare. Do you know what I’m saying to you? Friendship is Rare.” Think of your friends as friends first and your potentially viral network second and things may go a.o.k. for you and your music.