Size matters. Numbers matter. Last week I told a manager friend about a new band he had to check out. The first thing he did was pull out his phone and went to their Facebook Page. Facebook Likes are a quick, one glance indicator of status. It’s not the be all and certainly doesn’t translate directly to downloads, streams or ticket sales, but it’s the first stat anyone will seek out.
Of course Likes can be bought (or, ahem, advertised for). Everyone knows this. But it looks pretty dumb if you have 50,000 Likes and no one commenting on your Timeline.
Unfortunately musicians’ reach via the Page has plummeted (unless, of course, you’re willing to pay for it via a Boost). So, is it worth it to invest money to obtain Likes? It’s the quick way to get people to go one layer deeper with you and invest a bit more time checking out your project, but if you don’t have the actual fan base to back it up (or the music, video, stage chops) then, no, it’s not worth it. Get your act together, work your ground game, build a loyal base, and if you need to jump a tier of notoriety or recognition, then maybe run a couple promotions to attract some new, true fans.
What does the number of Likes say about bands? Read on…
Less than 1,000
Not worth paying attention to. They don’t care enough to even get their friends to Like their Page (or probably come to their concerts). Their only goal is to be “discovered.” By whom? They don’t know. They think “the music” is enough. Sadly, they are lost in the last century. Unless someone comes along to shake them up and makes them pay attention to their business, they will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
They’re a local band who care enough to put some effort into their career. They’ve played around town a lot and probably have a couple EPs or albums out. Enough for someone to head on over to Twitter or YouTube to check some more stats and content.
They’ve toured. Either very successfully regionally or done a few national tours. They have multiple albums out, probably a music video or two and are moving forward. A listen is in order.
Impressive. I need to look deeper and find their story. They’re a touring band or have had some licensing or YouTube success. I’ll watch a YouTube video or two and definitely check out the music.
These numbers compete. Either they have been beating the road touring for YEARS or are starting to kill it somewhere on the interwebs. Most likely YouTube. They’ve probably opened for some bigger artists on a few tours and have definitely put out some pretty high quality music videos. They have albums out and can pack shows regionally. They are their fans’ favorite “I have to show you this band,” band. Word of mouth to the max. They’re growing and are getting little victories here and there like TV placements, opening tours or a viral YouTube video.
Who reps them? Nobody? Damn, these cats are onto something. I need to get as much information about them as I can. I’ll spend some time on their profile, head over to their website, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, everything.
This band can headline national tours and bring a few hundred to every city they visit. They’ve been at the music game for awhile or have had some decent YouTube success. Maybe even a hit a few years back on Triple A, Country or College radio. They tour frequently as an opener and a headliner. They have multiple albums, EPs, live albums and singles out. And their music videos are high production.
They’re most likely repped by an indie label or great management. Definitely have a booking agent behind them. No representation means they have figured out how to make it work and should not give up any more of their career than they have to. People are a-knockin. They can keep the chain on the door for a bit longer.
They’ve had a big hit. Either radio or YouTube, but their numbers are strong. They have YouTube views in the millions. They are touring internationally. They can pack theaters wherever they go. They are on the brink of mainstream. Their fans are hard core. They can sell VIP exclusives at their shows and can get very creative on montization efforts.
They probably have a major label behind them. Or an established indie. If they are still DIY, then by god, STAY THAT WAY. You’ve beat the system and the industry is scratching its head.
Multiple hits. Die hard fans. Life is good. Touring internationally and they have it figured out. Their manager is kicking ass and has “the team” under control. Consistent music, videos and live show. They haven’t quite broken mainstream, but are known in the music industry. Respected.
1,000,000 – 5,000,000
The superstars of the industry. Label support. They’ve either had their day or on the up and up fast. They’re on the brink of mainstream or were hot last decade. They are very wealthy and, if still on tour, play arenas or large theaters.
Beyonce et al. Mainstream. Your mom’s heard of them.
Photo is by Owen Brown from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take. He has 8,500+ Likes. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake
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