SXSW is coming up, and a lot of upcoming bands will be there, trying to figure out how to turn the Internet into their very own marketing machine. And there will be hundreds of vendors and programmers there trying to help them do just that. We’ve gone through the tools on display and found four we think will help change the future of music.
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The big problem with social networking is that it’s unwieldy for small bands: you’ve got a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Tumblr, a Google Plus account, plus any number of other websites. And you have to constantly update with fresh content: log in, check comments, answer questions. It can be overwhelming, especially when your social media guru is also your drummer and has to take his turn driving the van.
PointBurst, however, makes that simple. It consolidates every social media account you have into one website. You can post anything; images, text, videos. You can schedule posts ahead of time, check comments, and keep your fanbase growing. Instead of the accounts being tied to one phone or computer, it’s a website you can log into anywhere, so the whole band can participate.
PointBurst does this by handling the back end. Its software automatically logs into your account, puts in the post, and updates. You just provide it with the credentials and the approval to do so, and the automated software handles the uploading, tagging, and so on.
In short, it’s a great way for bands to control their online presence…without having to spend hours logging in and out of sites.
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Apps are an incredibly useful tool; they can keep fans updated on your tour dates, let them know when new albums drop, link to your social media accounts, and spread the word through their phones. But designing and building an app can be a daunting prospect unless you’re a coder or have a lot of time to sift through APIs and devkits on the road.
That’s where ShoutEm comes in.
It starts with your band’s website and social media accounts; ShoutEm links those to the app you design, and it works two ways. One, it pushes any videos, songs, photos or blog posts directly to the app, so they get in front of your fans right away. Two, it uses Facebook Connect and Twitter to let fans both share photos and messages with you via their phone, and let you reply and interact with them via the app and social networks. Think of it a bit like Mad Libs: ShoutEm has app templates put together, and you fill in the blanks.
Even better is how a ShoutEm app lets you build out your fan network. If you’re playing a gig, you can send out a push notification and everybody with the app will know where you’re playing and when. You can create a calendar of appearances, fan meetings, and other contacts. And, of course, you can include iTunes or Android links for direct sales of your music: fans can buy your album the second it hits the Internet.
Also useful are the analytics: ShoutEm can let you know who’s downloading your app, how often they use it, and what they use it for, letting you figure out where your audiences are and playing to them. And, of course, you’ve got the bragging rights of having an app. “Oh, doesn’t your band have an app?”