Saturday, 27 June 2009

Be the first to hear my new album

Ok, so the new record's nearly done. It's 99% mixed. One more track, the dubiously titled 'Lady Gasoline' (a daft title and no relation to 'Lady Madonna' - I swear), needs to be recorded but then that's it...and then off to to master it and put it to bed.

Things being the way they are however, it's going to take a while before it gets released. I've got to work out how to actually put it out. Do I go physical? (That's not a sex thing, it means manufacturing cds!). Do I just put it out digitally? Do I encourage punters to buy it on iTunes or just ask them to buy it direct from my site? Do I tell people to listen to it on Spotify? The whole way that artists flog albums these days is a minefield and, while we're at it, an enigma wrapped in a mystery too.

Well that's for me to worry about. However, if you'd like to get a copy of the album before anybody else does, here's your chance. Anybody who posts threads on my messageboard - http://www.singletonmusic.com/messageboard/ - between now and 31 July will be automatically entered into a competition to get an advance copy. The more interesting your posts, the greater a chance you've got of winning.

Incidentally the judge's decision on who is the most interesting poster is final and I'm the judge. Get posting!


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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Thrifty Styley

As you probably know I'm a big fan of music promotion on a tight budget, and have come up with all manner of ingenious ways to spam - sorry "befriend" - you in various online contexts.

I'd just like to give a shout out to a blogging accomplice of mine who has recently started a blog about how to be thrifty when it comes to doing stylish things with your house. I've yet to follow any of the sage advice on her blog, as my idea of a stylish home is one with lots of guitars in it...but for those of you who are interested in being funky with your home whilst keeping the purse-strings firmly shut, the blog is full of very good and credit-crunch friendly tips.

Please check it out and subscribe if you can at http://thriftystylishhome.blogspot.com/

(Normal rock and roll and hyperbole services will resume shortly).


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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Syndication

Budding - or not-so-budding - musicians are naturally drawn towards social networks. In fact, I'd say the explosion in the popularity of social networks owes a lot to bands and artists going round 'befriending' people (a misnomer if ever there was one - and that's coming from a musician - 'bespamming' would be more appropriate!).

It's easy to see why: since their earliest days, social networks have offered bands (and indeed brands) a cheap way to connect with other people and to display their wares easily on a digital plate.

However, social networking has got to the point where there now are multitudes of communities to focus on - or worry about. Bands will know that keeping people engaged with these communities relies on there being interesting content regularly posted on these sites. But keeping tons of social networking presences up to date is extremely laborious.

Thankfully, there is a way around this, and it comes in the form of syndication. Recently I made a decision to use this blog as the main source of my content, and to feed it through to all my profiles. I started off by doing this mainly through importing this blog's Atom feed into Facebook pages, Last FM etc., but I'm now going to be using a tool called Ping to spread my blog's content all over the interweb.

If Ping does what it says on the tin, when I post this blog it should show up literally anywhere I've got a social networking presence - and that's a whole load of places: Myspace, Facebook, Last Fm, Twitter, iLike and more (it's getting faintly ridiculous!). Ping has been around for a while and I'm possibly a bit late to the party, but my hope is that from now on if I write stuff here, anybody else who has a whiff of interest in what I'm doing should get updated...without me having to worry about using javascript to import RSS feeds or copying and pasting content. There's a whole load of other snazzy (but probably pointless) stuff I can do with Ping too - for example, I think I can just text Ping if I want a message about the poo my cat is currently doing to appear on 20 social networks at once.

I'll let you know how I get on. If you're reading this successfully, it's probably worked!


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Monday, 15 June 2009

Facebook vanity URLs

The eagle-eyed social networkers amongst you will no doubt have noticed the launch of Facebook's vanity URLs on Saturday; individuals can now register a Facebook URL with their name plonked at the end of it - i.e., www.facebook.com/chrissingleton. If you've got a page with over 1,000 members, you can assign a Facebook URL to that as well.

I'm trying to work out what the benefits of this are to musicians (or indeed anybody else trying to flog stuff on an unsuspecting public). One of them is convenience. If you've got a Facebook page or profile, you can now just whack www.facebook.com/yourname on your marketing material. More importantly, there are probably some interesting search engine implications associated with having a vanity URL. I reckon that when you google a band with a Facebook page / profile associated with them, we'll now see the Facebook page come higher up in the rankings, because URLs that contain keywords have a positive impact on search results.

How useful the latter will be depends on how the band in question use Facebook; if it's your main marketing tool then search results displaying your Facebook page more consistently are unquestionably beneficial. If Facebook is not your main way of communicating with your fans, then it's better to use search engine optimisation and a lot of linking to ensure that the web presence you really want to push comes up top of the tree.

Very famous bands (or indeed brands) will be able to benefit from vanity URLs for another reason: people are lazy and will expect top-selling rock acts (or companies) to just have a Facebook page by default. So they won't bother searching for a band or brand's Facebook page, they'll just type www.facebook.com/u2 (or similar) directly into the browser.

Regardless of the benefits to those of us who wish to use Facebook to flog our wares, I've got a feeling that the whole search engine thing is ultimately more about Facebook than its users...the more Facebook can get associated with other people's content in search engine results, the more visits it will get to its site, and the more advertising revenue it will generate.

Anyway, now that I've waffled on about vanity URLS, do feel free to befriend me at mine: www.facebook.com/chrissingleton. It has a certain ring to it, don't you think? Makes me feel kinda vain. If you want to register your own vanity URL go to www.facebook.com/usernames.


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