How are independent musicians using the internet?

As part of my MSc Studies, I will be joining forces with a fellow student, Danny Haydock (check out his blog here!) to explore the above question. The research will look at the different methods used by independent (and non-independents I guess!) musicians and music-makers to promote and market their music.

It’s not a likely to be a revelation to anyone that the internet has changed our attitudes to how we expect to get our music: file sharing, (illegal and legal!) social networks and pay-sites such as Napster, Spotify and iTunes give us immediate access to old and new music; YouTube, Soundcloud and a myriad of similar platforms allow artists to reach out to us directly with media content, bringing the opportunity to interact and engage with them, ‘person to person’.

Some individuals think that musicians have recently overstepped the mark with over-aggressive marketing and forced download. Mainstream Dad-Rockers U2 recently downloaded their latest album to 500 million iTunes users as part of a new phone launch from Apple, prompting front man Bono to apologise to a non-fan on a Social Networking Questions and Answers session, where the unrequested download was described as being ‘really rude’. Proving that there is the possibility to go too far with marketing.

U2 frontman Bono recently apologised on a social network for the band's automatic download to 500 million phones.
U2 frontman Bono recently apologised on a social network for the band’s automatic download to 500 million phones.

With the huge range of choice facing musicians at the moment, our study will be concerned with gaining information from musicians by way of an internet questionnaire: how many hours a week do musicians spend promoting their music; which platforms they use and how; how much interaction they have with fans, both in the physical and virtual world. We’ll also look at the effectiveness of the internet for different genres of music, with our hypotheses being related to the premise that electronic musicians and DJs may have more success than say, rock or blues musicians.

If you would like to take part in the study, or are interested in the result, keep checking back here.

Don’t forget to follow EmJay Audio on Twitter!

Websites and references:


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