MySpace: You Can Hate It, But Don’t Leave It

Last week there was a "Happy Quit Myspace Day!" which encouraged artists to delete their MySpace accounts. When I saw this happening on Twitter, a part of me said "Yeah!", and I was about to start putting the word out to all of my contacts as well, when I decided to take a few days to think about what that would really mean for an artist, and I came to the following conclusion: You can hate MySpace, but don't leave it.

 

Here's the thing: I HATE MySpace. I've hated it for years simply because of it's terrible usability. If I had a dollar for every time MySpace crashed while I was trying to upload a song, add a calendar date, update a bio, or do anything whatsoever on the site, I would be enjoying an early retirement right now. The site sucks, plain and simple. But, here's the rub: MySpace is still an important part of an artist's overall web strategy that should not be overlooked, and here are the 2 biggest reasons why:

1- Bookers still use MySpace

As program director at the Centre St-Ambroise in Montreal, I still prefer to visit an artist's MySpace page over their .com, and I'm definitely not alone. I spoke to many bookers at the Folk Alliance and OCFF conferences this year and there was still a consensus that MySpace was the site they went to first when considering to book an artist. Why is that? It's just easier to quickly (which is key) listen to a song, read a bio, see an artist's gig schedule, watch a video and see some photos. Bookers are overwhelmed with requests and usually don't have time to search through complicated artist websites that try to be fancy and unique, but that don't clearly map out where to find music to listen to (not purchase), a concert calendar, videos, etc.

2- MySpace Still Rules Google Search Results

Great article about this here: MySpace Still Rules Google Search Results for Music Acts

The fact is that when you do a Google search for an artist, their MySpace page is almost always in the top 5 results.You don't want a booker or your fans clicking on a dead link because you decided to delete your account, or worse, leave your profile there and no longer update it.

For more reasons not to quit MySpace, check out this article: 6 Reasons Not To Quit MySpace

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So you were hoping to finally rid yourself of the burden of using MySpace, but now realize maybe you should keep your MySpace presence? Here's the good news: it doesn't have to take very much of your time at all. Here's what you really need on your MySpace page:

  1. Good profile photo
  2. Short to medium length bio, including a few press quotes (no need for long bio)
  3. 3-4 songs, including a live song or two
  4. 1 or 2 videos (at least one of them should be a live video)
  5. Up-to-date concert calendar (this is ESSENTIAL!)

As a booker, this is all I really need to see. If you want to be a little fancier, you can add:

  • Branding on your page (adding a graphic at the top of the page with your album cover/photo, press quote, etc.)
  • Mailing list sign-up
  • Where to buy your music
  • Twitter Feed (only if you actively use Twitter. If your last tweet was in 2009, please don't bother)

There's really no need to spend a lot of time on MySpace. Keeping the calendar up to date is the single most important thing you need to do, but the beauty is that you don't even have to use MySpace to do it. I actually use ReverbNation to keep the Centre St-Ambroise's calendar up to date on MySpace. After spending an hour on MySpace to try and add a single calendar date earlier this year, I gave up once and for all. Admittedly, I didn't put any calendar dates on MySpace for a while, but quickly realized that artists and fans were checking our MySpace page to see what was going on at the venue, and when they saw no dates, assumed that we were no longer booking shows, which of course was not the case. So again, you MUST keep your calendar up to date.

To do this without using MySpace, I would recommend:

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People have proclaimed MySpace dead many times before, and although it might be dying a slow death, it is certainly not dead yet. That being said, their new logo isn't going to help matters, wow it's awful!

Cheers,

Dave

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