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.
Where You’ll Find Them: Stand 1342
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.
Where You’ll Find Them: Stand 339
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?”
Where You’ll Find Them: Stand 335 and 434
Video is great for both getting the word out and keeping records of your best performances. However, recording video tends to be a problem you don’t need when setting up a show. And while fan videos are great, they can be difficult to upload to your computer, and then you’re stuck editing them, which can also take a long time, especially if you’re applying filters or other tweaks to the footage, in which case you’ll spend hours staring at a render bar.
WeVideo takes all of that out of the equation. To begin with, it’s entirely browser-based: you just upload the footage to WeVideo’s servers, and they take care of the rest using cloud storage. So instead of a portable video editing rig (or, more likely, your ProTools set up with a video editor tagged onto it), you can access the video from any computer that can play back a video. This also erases render times: instead of your computer’s onboard processor, it’s WeVideo’s servers crunching the data. WeVideo uses a proprietary “parallelization” technology that makes sure any cuts and renders are seen in real time, on everyone’s screen.
Even better, though, are the networking tools. WeVideo works using “social” editing: you can invite others to upload videos, and then edit them together. For example, if a few fans are coming to a live show with cameras, you can have them record the set, upload the videos, and then just cut it together as a multi-camera live shoot. Your live clips on YouTube will look better and more professional, and your biggest fans have helped put it together. This works with any video, whether it’s professional gear, cellphones, or small personal video cameras like the Flip.
These tools, of course, extend to professionally shot video as well. Instead your director cutting the video and trying to get you YouTube clips on the road, you can just sign into WeVideo, watch the clips, and give feedback.
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One of the biggest problems of being part of a band is, pure and simple, getting people to listen to your music. Palmu makes it just a little bit easier by making music sharing incredibly simple.
You don’t need to give them a link, or an email address, or become friends with anybody on Facebook, or set up a file torrent. Just keep an EP of your music on your phone, and, if somebody says “I’d like to hear your music”, bump phones. It automatically uploads the music you share on Palmu with the phone.
That’s it. It’s a combination digital business card and music giveaway that costs you nothing and is the simplest thing in the world to use. You can get your music into anyone’s hands with a bump. And unlike a band flyer, you won’t see it on the floor getting beer poured on it or used as a napkin; you know people will hear your music and, even better, Palmu’s social networking means you’ll be able to stay in touch.
Way, way better than a band flier.
With support from our partner, Intel, we’re exploring the technology and tools that unleash the creativity and productivity of today’s musicians. Intel is committed to improving our lives with easy to use, efficient technology. Their goal is to develop tools that help put technology in the hands of everyone.