Emerging social media platforms offer musicians unprecedented opportunities to distribute music and engage fans, often circumventing the traditional models of label deals and radio airplay. Today, it is more about creating a community around your music and engaging your fan base than major label deals and platinum sales. For some artists, fan engagement has happened organically, as a result of the quality of their music, years of touring or their innovative sound. Certain bands have always had fans that followed them from city to city, meeting other fans, sharing music and stories. New social media tools, like the location-based social networks Gowalla and Foursquare, can be used as platforms for rewarding fans for desired behaviors.
Currently, these platforms are in their infancy. Their focus is evolving toward event as well as location-based check-ins. Musicians can engage these services by encouraging fans to check-in at shows, offering rewards for multiple check-ins on a tour, providing a space for fans to aggregate photos and videos, and offering a way for fans to develop their own interactions, like organizing meet-ups and creating trips. Once fans are signed up with a location-based service, bands can offer merchandise discounts, meet and greet access, limited edition items and downloads or other incentives. The key is engaging passionate fans wherever they are in the world via mobile devices. Let them help by giving them the tools they need to spread the word. Co-presenting on this panel will be Jonathan Carroll, Community Manager at Gowalla.
11th–15th March 2011