MyBand, MyBar, MySpace
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Ever read about some unknown band playing at The Camp with a funny name that sounds interesting enough to check out? All you have to do is hit MySpace.
Starting a Limp Bizkit cover band, but aren't sure how to promote yourself cheap and easily find places to play? Most would tell you to get your band on MySpace ASAP. And speaking of cheap and easy, MySpace even makes life easier for the venues, making interaction with bands (and potential customers) a snap.
"In a town like Cape I think it helps out a lot," said James VanDike, guitarist and keyboard player for the Otto Modest. "In bigger cities I think there's enough advertising through newspapers and publications and that's where most of the information comes from. But in smaller places I think it helps out a lot."
MySpace has become the global juggernaut of social networking Web sites. And locally bands and bars are using it to reach out to customers and fans and generally make live easier in the live music business.
"When I first got into this, all the bands were on MySpace even then," said Jennifer Cabaniss, booking manager for Schock's Pub in Scott City. "It's just amazing how quick networking is through MySpace. It's nothing for me to hear from five to 10 bands a day now when, before, I would spend hours on the phone every day."
Many other local clubs, bars and places of interest can be found on MySpace, including Buckner's, Double Nickel II in Sikeston, Mo., and the Show Me Center. At Port Cape Girardeau's page you can preview new Yacht Club regulars Whiskey Creek and then post a comment about how awesome you think they are. But Bob Camp, manager of The Camp (one club that is noticeably absent from the site), said that although it is a great tool, MySpace doesn't have as much power, ultimately, as talent.
"It gives you an opportunity to hear what a band sounds like, but it can't tell you whether or not they will draw a crowd," Camp said. "It doesn't take away from the process, and I do use it. I'll probably get one eventually. But bands that have something going on will still get crowds -- MySpace doesn't change that."
But it's not just about the music -- it's about the money, too. And as Paul Schock, owner of Schock's Pub, points out, MySpace is a global advertising opportunity for free (act now and they throw in infinite networking possibilities at no extra charge).
"There is no question it is a great promotional tool, and it has definitely helped business. Not only can we get in contact with bands easier, but other venues and customers will contact us now online," Schock said. "Some people will go online looking for clubs and bands that they like and, because we can post specials and events online, I think people are finding out about us more."
Seemingly every local band -- even those with "official" Web sites -- now has a MySpace page. Fill bassist Wes Ables said the site is much like "six degrees of MySpace Bacon for bands."
Local music scene veteran John Thurman has even set up a MySpace page to promote local music, myspace.com/capemusicscene. Thurman's page lists local bands in alphabetical order, along with contact information.
Moodminder singer/guitarist Danny Callaway says so many bands gather at the site because, simply put, it simplifies everything for the little guy.
"It provides us with all the necessary tools to book and promote shows, sell music and merchandise in addition to communicate with fans all for no charge," Callaway said. "The advantage of being in an indie rock group is that I can do what I want, when I want. And yet, technically, Moodminder still possesses the ability to reach millions of potential fans, just like many of those crappy bigwig-corporate owned 'do as your to told' bands."
And MySpace's networking capabilities have bands claiming the site has played a big role in expanding their fan base.
"It has far and above increased my fans," said singer/guitarist Kris Baronovic of Warchalking. "I've got fans now in places of the country and in the world that I've never seen or ever even heard of, but they like my music and they send me messages and I mail them records."
"We have people all the time who come out to shows and tell us they saw us on MySpace and wanted to check us out," Ables said. "Our crowds are much better than before ?-- there's a huge difference."
MySpace is also great place for bands to sell music. Mainstream acts Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age have prereleased albums on MySpace with great success, and local bands like Drivin' Rain can get their music to fans just as easily.
"The music biz types are in trouble all the way around because of the internet and MySpace," said Timexx Nasty, Drivin' Rain front man. "Bands such as mine use the Internet now. We can lay out our own CDs, record our own CDs, print our own CDs, and send them out worldwide. This cuts out the need to pay some recording company thousands to do it for you."