Friday, August 22, 2008

The Path of Self-Promotion

Kristen Peterson's Musical Web Ensnares "Professional Geeks" in a recent issue of the Las Vegas Sun addresses the hurdles that need to be overcome by many seeking a musical career and how Jonathan Coulton skirted them by seeking the route of self-promotion via the internet. There are some lessons to be learned here by classical musicians: very few of us have chosen to take this route, and there is plenty of room for those with the courage and technical know-how to set up their careers in this manner. From the article:
"The story was that to make it big you have to drive around in a stinky van up and down the East Coast and play to empty houses. The van breaks down. You’re eating fast food, you’re up late and driving all day.”

Not for Coulton, whose fans are so devoted, so involved and so technologically advanced that they create videos to his mostly folk rock songs and post them on YouTube. Coulton releases all his music under Creative Commons, a license that allows for the sharing of material.

“It’s great to have someone say, ‘I love your songs,’ ” he says. “It’s even better to have them say, ‘Here’s a music video I made. I spent hours and hours putting this together.’ ”
Although most classical musicians aren't so keen on doing a lot of work leveraging the internet to jump-start their careers, the irony of the situation is that developing a large enough network of supporters online may actually assist you in getting help when you need it.

A great resource for those beginning the route of musical self-promotion on the internet is Andrew Dubber's New Music Strategies. His 100 Questions is a series-in-progress about how musicians can utilize technology to spread their brands and their music.

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