Why some musicians Hate facebook
I am that musicians who hates facebook. Join my support group only IF you are another musician, have had to promote and beat the social media bushes to get people to attend anything and if have ever had people post that Amanda Palmer Ted Talk, “The Art of Asking” on your wall. Feel me? More on her ruinment of this later.
I have other musician friends, gratefully. Like me they spend ALL their time, except for the two hours we actually perform, booking, soliciting and promoting gigs. It is a non-paying, full-time job. Not whining. Those are the actual facts. No alternative facts here y’all. Once the gig is inked we commence to create a facebook event page, a poster/flyer (I still don’t know the difference), post it on minuscule, our “Fan” page (I know what a joke right?), on every single radio, newspaper, magazine, weekly, online everything, create an email blast, send reminders, messages, beg for interviews, send out press releases and packets….yeah you get the point. We pimp ourselves out just to get you to maybe not just scroll over and actually consider coming to the show.
Then we hear:
Don’t you have a show or something? Did it already happen? When is the show? Where is the show? How much is the show? Oh, I ignore those facebook invites. I was too busy doing (insert anything) to pay attention. I don’t really spend much time on facebook. (right, which is why I see your name on every like above and below my gig.)
Point being, the clamor for attention is fierce online. I mean fierce. I have researched the hell out of all this. I have too. Adult spend over 20 hours a week online. Way conservative in my experience. Website visitors spend between 3-5 seconds on your website before leaving. If people have to leave facebook to view your event, poster, info 99% will not do it. In other words—here’s the shocker—people are Reverberation addicted to facebook. I’ve read more research than you’d think exists about this subject. It is an actual release of hormones seated deep in our approval centers that rush through the person seeing a “like” on their post and equally when someone they think should be liking, doesn’t.
We are addicted to both hormonal rushes. Don’t think so? Just be with those who can’t let 45 seconds go without checking their phone or facebook. I’ve been with them. Trust me.
So for the indie musician just working to get “butts in seats” as we call it, we are not offering anything “feel good hormone” worthy so people don’t click, like, comment. Once I experimented and thanked every single person who liked a post. The response was tremendous. They saw that “they” were special. But that, as Amanda Palmer, exampled can lead to a weird cultish, frenzied, fanzatical following I’ve no interest in cultivating. I’ve already had real stalkers and it is scary. Palmer herself experienced that before finally turning her attention volume to 10 from 11.
We, the musician who must promote promote promote constantly are seen as “ugh, just shameless self promotion again, god what an ego.” I’ve had that said to me many times by friends. Well, no friends any longer but you get the point. What the civilian sees as ego, because they would have an ego if they had talent, couldn’t be further from the truth for most of us musicians. There are musicians, like Palmer, more of a 24/7 performer in my opinion, who promote “themselves” constantly as opposed to their work and gigs. Those are indeed annoying but it eventually becomes effective. A recent study discovered a strong connection between Facebook and the brain’s reward center, called the nucleus accumbens. This area processes rewarding feelings about things like food, sex, money and social acceptance.
See if you can live with the caricature you create for yourself, people eventually buy into it. I’ve done it to shorter extent and the attention I received along with the really persona, uncomfortable phone calls, messages, emails, mail, etc. made me realize that indeed, I am a musician first and foremost. An actual, trained, disciplined, very hard working musician who wants people to hear my music and to come to my live shows. Beyond that I need to make a living at this to keep doing it. Capiche?
Recently, I had the flu. I posted a humorous account of it saying how I was getting abs again from coughing so much and only all of my ached so I was good. The comments of unsolicited advice I received as well as facebook messages caused me more stress than being sick. People told me to stick garlic cloves in my ears, put garlic and oil and chili paste in a netti pot up my nose, drink a box of baking soda, take this herb, stand on my head, smudge, ask forgiveness, snort capsicum etc. For some reason my persona is one people think they need to give advice too. Only when I’m asking for it folks, which is about .00001% of the time. I had to laugh.
Why? Because when I post a new video I will see it has 1500 views and 6 likes. Gig notices? Even less. NPR feature? Less. Print interview or article. Less.
My conclusions are that people don’t notice anything you promote unless it has something to do with them. Period. You must hold their hand through what you need them to do. You must promote everything, all the time, constantly, without ever letting up. I calculated I have to do about 5 hours worth of promotional work for every 1 seat filled at my gig. Think about that.
When Amanda Palmer’s book and ted talk came out the link was shared on my wall and in messages over 100 times. All women. They were telling me see she knows how to ask for help. They thought they were being helpful bless them. If you know her story you know she is a performer who’s “..rise to increased public visibility has come largely care of her willingness to treat the world as part piggy bank, part personal assistant. She stonewalls in the face of criticism. She’s got a large, vocal, and aggressively evangelistic fanbase;” as Wired put it.
She also constantly and I mean constantly was screaming (yes men scream too) for the media especially to “look at me. Look at me. I am not giving up until you LOOK AT ME.” They did, she then went on attack saying quite scrutinizing me you meanies. You get what you ask for. She asked musicians to famously work for “Beer and hugs.” Ahhhh That’s like when I used to play bars and they would say at least you got some gas money. Yeah I’ll tell that to my car loan company, my insurance agent, my utilities, my etc.
For me though, what really hurt we indie musician, and those of use who have used crowd funding, that Palmer’s over the top persona was this: She forced people to deal with her persona. She is a street performer y’all don’t forget that. When she got the world looking at her they said whatcha got? It was as if she said, oh I didn’t think that far through. So then she quits her major record label deal. Let me say that again, she quits her major record label deal, something I don’t have. She said look how easy it is for me to ask my rabid, millions of fans to support my 1.2 million kickstarter. Oh gosh y’all I only asked for $100,000. Yeah uh huh. I barely squeaked my $3500.00 Kickstarter campaign and had to sell couple thousand worth of instruments to make up just the CD productions costs after that.
I’m very grateful for my fan base. It is minuscule by comparison. I work just as hard as Ms. Palmer, oops I don’t know if she took literary luminary Neil Gaiman’s last name or not. I’d take the Kardashian’s last name if they would help me get a record deal. But I’m easy. So I do have some really wonderful and generous fans that help me with House Concerts, shows, booking and offer me a place to stay on the road. I simply could not do it otherwise. That is an actual fact. But, to tell me look what Palmer did. Yeah, it is well intentioned but not thought out. Nuff said before I just get all truthy.
I had a phone call last night from someone wanting to know the information on my House Concert tomorrow? First off. My phone number isn’t on my website nor on the event or poster. Yeah if you look hard enough you could find it. No matter I don’t answer it unless I recognize the number. Anyway my House Concert was March 5th and this gig is March 18th. But the caller wanted all the information because they didn’t recognize the House or street name. It is a church called St. Andrews…..yeah I don’t get it either. Point being, I know not everyone is facebook savvy, but really this is someone, like so many, wanting personal attention and hand-holding so they will feel special. And that, like I said earlier, is what Everyone wants and expects on social media. When I get a staff of more than one, as in me, I will appoint someone to do just that with every YouTube message, email, phone call, post, comment I receive daily. Until then I’ll suck it up and do my best to remind every single listener and potential concert attendee they are indeed very special to me and I couldn’t do anything without them.
Also, that I do have a website calendar with all the information. But then again, you might have leave facebook. Dang.
Smiles all around and much love. Thank you my great fans.