Project Writeup

INTRODUCTION:

It is time to officially wrap up “Musicians and the Use of Social Media.” It has been quite the journey. Before I get into the discoveries, problems, and basics of the project I should discuss the project proposal. Much was proposed throughout the proposal, but I kept things as loose as possible because I did not know how the project was going to flow. I knew who I was going to be covering (Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, Local Natives, The xx, etc.), as I stated in the proposal, and what I was going to be covering (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, etc.). I aimed to find statistics and did, especially when dealing with Twitter, Myspace, and YouTube.

In the proposal I wanted to know answers to more grand questions like, “I hope to find out if social media is actually helping Indie bands thrive.” Answers to questions like that are never simple, as I found out throughout research. I stuck to my promises in regards to the contract for grade. Five posts per week, plus reflections, was promised and delivered.

PROJECT DESCTIPTION:

Because I did not reflect on my project as a whole after its completion, I will take this opportunity to do just that. I will discuss each week separately, and then as a whole in the conclusion.

Week 1 – Facebook:

I started research with Facebook likes, post frequency and content. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • The closer bands are to releasing upcoming albums, the more activity on Facebook. Which points to an emphasis on album sales.
  • When bands are not touring they do not seem to have the time or effort to post images, ideas, or videos.
  • Coming in I thought that lesser known artists would use Facebook more frequently and with more purpose, but this was not necessarily the case.

I moved onto post-likes and comments. I wanted to know what types of posts brought the most attention, and how frequent people interacted with the bands. I found that people liked posts with:

  • Large tour announcements with a lot of dates that span across the country
  • Interesting images
  • New or unreleased material (mostly video).

I also discussed sharing links.

  • Early research proved that links to videos and tour dates are used most often.
  • Videos are liked the most.
  • I also stumbled upon an over-usage of links, and the ineffectiveness of sharing random videos and links to pages. Cage the Elephant was actually posting videos of other bands.

I wanted to get a good grasp on popularity and if Facebook is a good indication of that. Here were the two main things I learned from that research:

  • Popular bands post more often, period. They obviously feel they must feed their fans information, ideas, images, videos, links, and tour dates.
  • Radio air-time leads to more likes, but not as many as you might assume. Grouplove is sitting below 200 thousand, which is a good example of that.

Week 2 – Twitter:

This post brought:

  • Proof that Facebook likes and Twitter followers do no correlate.
  • Facebook reaches a wider audience.
  • I also solidified the fact that band inactivity leads to less followers.

And this post helped me discover that:

  • Every band uses Twitter in a different manor.
  • Of Monsters and Men used it as a way to follow people, organizations, bands, and celebrities that they want to hear from.
  • Grizzly Bear used it to tweet and retweet as often as possible. They seemed to care more about quantity than quality.

This post taught us that:

  • You should not get retweet happy. It can get annoying.
  • You can tweet all you want as long as you are producing original and new material, and giving fans some reason to follow via videos, tour dates, etc.
  • Twitter is huge hot-spot for tour date announcements.

This post was all about retweeting.

  • Two bands retweeted over 100 times this year alone, while the rest of the group combined for 77. These oddities were fascinating.

Week 3 – Myspace:

This post proved that:

  • Myspace is basically left vacant by indie bands.
  • I realized quickly that this inactivity on Myspace would make my research harder than anticipated, many bands had not accessed their page in YEARS.

This post here focused on comments.

  • A large portion of the comments were from advertisers and struggling bands looking for attention.
  • It was discouraging to find little to no activity, and I was starting to get very worried about my research for the week.

Finally, I posted about the new Myspace.

  • Myspace is making progress with updated tour dates, a better layout, and easier access to pretty much everything.
  • They ditched the “last login” tag which was a good idea.
  • However, further research led to the discovery that bands still don’t seem to be using the space–it’s pretty empty across the board.

This post was another small step in wrong direction.

  • I dove into the “connections” feature on every page and it was pretty much a dead-end.
  • Research proved band and user inactivity.

The “Discovery” post was the best of the week.

  • The “trending” feature had the most viewed and talked-about Myspace articles front and center.
  • The layout of the feature it pretty hip and colorful.
  • The articles, while not amazing, did link out.

Week 4 – Blogs:

This week went differently than the rest. First of all, we did not have a weekly reflection, but more importantly, I focused on blogs. Blogs are not as cut-and-dry as everything else. I chose five blogs from five bands. They were Mumford & Sons, The xx, Local Natives, Young the Giant, and Of Monsters and Men. These links will bring you to the five posts from the week. Here is what I found:

  • The Mumford & Sons blog showcases everything imaginable. It is amazingly well-developed, informational, fan-friendly, and thorough. Links, songs, videos, tour dates, and everything in between are available.
  • Indie band blogs are hard to find, period.
  • Photo-blogs are more common, but are not as effective.
  • In order to have a worthwhile blog you MUST communicate with your followers.
  • The sites must be kept up to date, otherwise fans will find another source of band info.
  • Images can sometimes talk louder than words.
  • References and links are needed at all times when photo-blogging.
  • Fan-blogs are more effective than band blogs, if the fans have the time to create them.

Week 5 – YouTube:

I started things off with my post on “views.”

  • The research showed the disparity within the genre. Indie rock is a very diverse genre whose followers can span from 100 to 100 million, depending on the band.
  • The raw numbers, the amount of views, made it apparent that bands still need to be using this social media outlet.

For this post I discovered:

  • Videos are overwhelmingly “liked.”
  • It also made it pretty clear that only fans are viewing the videos.

This post looked into the live content:

  • It was much more common for lesser known bands, actually, to post such videos, but not exclusively.
  • Bands on the west coast had a much higher chance of releasing a live or acoustic video.

This research was about “VEVO.”

  • I found out that vevo (which is how it is now stylized) is not related directly with YouTube.
  • I learned that each band has a “profile” which, depending on the band, has a lot to offer.

The week’s finale dealt with the search bar.

  • Older videos/songs/hits were more popular in general.
  • People were not hesitant to search “lyrics,” “live,” or album titles.

CONCLUSION:

That is a very rough, but highlighted outline of what was accomplished throughout the project. I stuck to what I planned on doing, no matter what was thrown my way. Some of the research, especially with Myspace and blogs, did not go all that great (but I pressed on). The five main things I learned from the research are:

  1. Facebook is still the best social media outlet for bands to connect with fans. Period.
  2. Twitter continues to grow, but is nothing compared to Facebook. HOWEVER, bands use it MORE than any other outlet. The audience of Twitter still doesn’t compare though.
  3. Myspace is still dead, BUT is headed in the right direction. Stay tuned for a comeback…maybe.
  4. Indie blogs are extremely hard to come by nowadays, which points towards a dying art (at least for band usage).
  5. Music videos, which can be viewed through YouTube, NEED to be made as often as possible. While MTV and VH1 may be dying, YouTube only gets larger.

It was a learning experience for two reasons. First off, the research led to multiple discoveries about social media and the bands themselves. And secondly, this experience taught me to press on, keep digging, stay focused, and don’t let failures resonate. There is still so much to learn about the subject at hand, but I think (by putting forth approximately 4,000 words a week on each subject) my readers should have a larger brain than they did 5 weeks ago. I sure do.

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