As the #6 most trafficked website in the world, there’s no doubt that MySpace has become an important part of the web fabric, and one that independent musicians should not take lightly. But I’m afraid too many artists either A) don’t use MySpace to it’s full potential, or worse, B) expect far too much of MySpace and overuse it.

There is a happy medium in there, and independent artists need to learn to use MySpace effectively and efficiently. As I’ve said before on this blog, MySpace is but one tool in a giant toolbox, and that tool needs to be implemented in the way that is most useful for you.

It was mentioned to me once that your MySpace profile is like one giant business card. Business cards should give a brief introduction to a company and tell people how to get in touch. Well, if your MySpace profile is your business card, you need to be of the mindset that it should serve the primary purpose introducing them to your music and telling them how to interact with you. Here’s some tips on how to do that:

TIP #1: Your MySpace Profile Is NOT Your Artist Website

MySpace is good at some things, and terrible at most others. Ultimately, you have very limited control of what you can and cannot do on MySpace – cannot use javascript, cannot build multiple pages, cannot place content outside of MySpace’s predfined text boxes. You cannot let this level of control decrease your ability to interact with your fans, therefore, every effort on your MySpace page needs to ultimately be centered around how to get them to your real artist website.

TIP #2: Maintain Your Brand Image

Every artist has a brand image, and that image needs be maintained throughout every piece of product, performance, and website. The design of your MySpace profile – how it is visually perceived – should be consistent with the design of your artist website. This leaves the fan with the sense that everything you do is interwoven. Use the same color schemes, graphics, and fonts.

TIP #3: Reduce The Clutter

Artists have gotten carried away with sticking anything and everything up on their MySpace profile. Widgets have taken over MySpace to the point that the profiles have become unwieldy. Check out artist 50 Cent’s MySpace Page… this dude has got so many banners, and surveys, and icons, and gadgets, and videos, and other ridiculous things. Someone must have set the marketing intern loose. Tone it down a bit – post only what is important… onto #4

TIP #4: Post Only What Is Important

People come to your MySpace page to do two things – discover your music and/or interact with you. Discovering your music means posting songs in the MySpace music player is crucially important. Make sure your most recent or most important song is set to auto-play first. You need to have a bio of sorts, but stay away from those fake third-person sounding bios, where you try to come across like a professional PR person wrote your bio, when in reality you wrote your own sitting in your bedroom at 1:30 in the morning. Hey no offense, those have their time and place. But MySpace is about being personable, and your fans want to hear from you – that bio should sound like you’re writing a personal letter to directly to the person that is visiting your page for the first time. Keep it short and succinct. You do need to have “Buy Links” for fans to purchase your product. Finally, you want to give a few things for your fans to interact with on your page – current news items, blog posts, a short video, a signup for the mailing list. Give a few options, and solicit their feedback on each by asking them to comment on your page.

TIP #5: Limit Your Options To Buy

Far too often I see artists go nuts on the “Buy Links” options… “You can buy our product at iTunes, CD Baby, Aware Store, Amiee Street, Napster, Rhapsody, Snocap” and on and on and on. Too many options can be overwhelming, and not all of these stores may be in your best interest! Ideally, all of your product can purchased from the same online store (hint, MUSIC:NUVO), but if that’s not the case, you want to feature and emphasize just a couple that give you the best bang for your buck – the highest royalty – and point people there. Give people a download option and a physical CD option. Position these boldly on your page, and then if you have other buy options, simply create a link that directs people to a page of your website that hosts a comprehensive list of links: “for a list of other places to buy our stuff, click here”.

Stay tuned for more Tips on “Creating An Effective MySpace Page”. We’ll wrap it up next week with the final 5!  In the meantime, I encourage and appreciate your comments on the blog! I’d love to hear back from you on how you’re making the most out of your MySpace profile.


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I view the vast expanse of the internet as a giant toolbox, and there are tons of effective “e-tools” out there to help you communicate, interact, and build your online presence. From time to time I want to introduce some of those tools as they make sense for the indie artist.

ShoutMix PreviewEnter ShoutMix. I’ve been working with an independent artist recently and in the development of his new website we want to make it possible to post previews of new songs as he’s working on them in the studio, and then allow fans to comment and provide feedback on those previews. I suppose typically you would post an MP3 of a song, require fans to download it, and then if you wanted feedback just list a line and your email address soliciting comments. I suppose a few people would write in, but it sounds like a lot of steps… follow through would be minimal.

I wanted to find a comment tool that fulfilled four key things:

  1. Allows fans to post comments for the world to see directly in the webpage you are listening to the song on;
  2. Allow you to post the tool on multiple webpages with the same comment thread live and active on each one;
  3. Must be free;
  4. Must look slick, have no ads, and work bug-free

OK, I guess that’s six things… but ShoutMix does / is all of these things. To explain #2 a little more… say you’ve got your song preview on your website and your myspace page – I want people to comment on the songs in both places, but I also want the people on my website to see the comments being left through myspace, and vice-versa. It’s real-time interaction across multiple sites.

There are several different implementation options through ShoutMix. On your regular website (where you control 100% of the content), you can implement the tool as an IFRAME. MySpace and other social networking sites don’t allow IFRAMES, so they also offer a Flash based embed option. For the very tightly controlled sites that don’t allow IFRAMES or Flash (like this blog), you can simply link off to your Shoutbox like this.

All in all, this is a pretty cool feature and would come in handy for a lot of bands looking for some immediate and integrated feedback from their fans. How are the rest of you getting fan feedback? I would love to hear of some of the tools everyone else is using!


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