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Why Refusal to Engage Is No Longer Acceptable?

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In the constantly evolving digital music world, it has become clear that artist engagement is key to ensure successful career development and survival for artist, manager and recording labels. If an artist is unwilling to engage with there fans online and via mobile it is TMV’s view that perhaps they should re-consider being an artist as a career path.

Gone are the days where an artist could keep an arms length from engaging with their fan base. This is the 21st century now, and fans DO expect more from the artists they idolise. Artist have to rise to the challenge or risk having their fans move on – finding an artist who will satisfy their craving for artist engagement. Fans can no longer be taken for granted and artists need to earn fan loyalty.

Whether we like it or not social media has changed the game of breaking an artist forever. From the early Naughties and launch of Myspace into the stratosphere, Last.fm, Bebo, Facebook and tweeting on Twitter, social media has changed the way in which we all engage. 

Yes established and up and coming artist’s have busy schedules on tour, doing PR! However what is five minutes out of everyday to post a little picture from backstage or a rambling update? The value it brings in driving fan loyalty and sales cannot be understated. Labels, realise this, managers realise this, yet still some artist’s are not getting the message. 

Obviously, the music has to be good. But social media traffic and engagement is playing an increasingly important role in the decisions record labels make in signing artists and the same goes for booking agents.

Why should an artist make a commitment to engage with their fans? Artists want their music to be purchased by fans right? Well in this new digital world, artist’s fans expect to be shown respect from the artist. If that artist is not engaging with there fans, than that artist risks losing their fans, who are the same members of the public who purchase tracks, merchandise and tickets to said artists concerts.

Yes there are so many tools an artist needs to engage with. And yes that does take up valuable time. Using record company staff to post on behalf of bands is in TMV’s view anthema…most fans can smell a fake a mile away. Record companies, if your artist will not engage, with their fan base using all the social tools at the tip of their hands and mobile phone – Drop them. They have no place in today’s music world. 

With today’s technologies and tools it only requires a 5-minute per day commitment from your artists. If they do not see the value in fan engagement, quite frankly they do not deserve to be artists. Building a career in music is costly and a lot of hard work. With the advent of social media competition increased and has left no artists whether established or not, with the option of non-engagement.

Furthermore, as a finely tuned and engaged with their audience artist, as you have numerous options at your fingertips. You do not necessarily have to even sign to a label. A number of artist’s built up fan bases using social media and have used that to leverage deals whereby they do not necessarily require little own want a record deal. Check our Noush Skagen (find link and link back to here twitter or website) for example who has over 1.5 million twitter followers, yet has turned down recording contract offers. How does she survive you ask? Film, TV and advertising syncs, its all in the publishing folks…

Without mentioning names TMV are very aware of a number of popular global artists that have staff posing as artist and generating social media engagement with their fans. However, as an artist spare a minute to think about how you would feel if you were a fan and you initially believed you were communicating directly with the artist you idolise or respect. Then you find out that you’ve been fooled/cheated and that that engagement was all a lie. Not a very nice feeling is it?

Numerous mobile apps (like mobile backstage for instance – link back to Chris Mclellan’s post on Mobile Backstage) allow the artist to upload a comment, photo or even track via their mobile phone and it is instantly accessible across their social media footprint. As previously stated all the artist needs to commit to 5 – 10 minutes a day. Is that really too much to ask? If an artist answers yes to that question; it really is time that as an artist they question whether they are cut out for being an artist in the 21st century…



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