Dear Viewer:

You may have been directed here from a link posted directly to you as a comment on a social network. This is probably an ironic, 'automatic' response to:

- an unsolicited link to your music/work
- an innappropriate tag to a promotional image.

Although the article argues a fair point, it is designed to be nothing more than a light-hearted taste of your own medicine and an innovative method of spreading an article that I advocate. Please don't take it personally.

Your referrer

Please don't spam me!

I am not a booking agent, promoter or manager. It is not part of my job to comb through links in my inbox deciding what is 'good'. Where possible, I like the music I find to reach me on it's own merit, not on it's own marketing!

There are varying degrees and some very fine lines and grey areas. However, if you stop and think about it, it shouldn't be too hard to tell whether what you're doing is dignified promotion or spam.

'Spam' is the context in which you find it.

You may have created a new track, of which you're very proud. If you then post it as an unsolicited link to my Facebook Wall, you've just fallen somewhere between 'me stumbling upon it organically' and 'me having an interest in the link through an ongoing private conversation'. This no-man's-land does not have the benefits of either.

The best way of sharing song without looking desperate and intrusive is to perform it live. The best way of sharing a link to a song/Page/etc. is to either post it on your own Wall and let your viewers choose to share it for you or to bring it up in a private conversation when relevant.

You care more about your art than you do spreading it, right?

Facebook in particular have worked very hard to create 'designated spamming areas' like groups and Pages. For the most part, they do not leak into other areas and this is probably a big key to their success. Stick to these areas for your promotion. If somebody has consented to receiving your links in their news feed by clicking 'Like', that's the best place for the links to go.

Why spamming isn't worth the time:

Spam is intrusive. The (sometimes first) impression you are creating is done through pissing someone off by wasting his time. Think that's what I'm doing with this article? I'm glad you now understand my point! Through trying to promote yourself you could be damging your reputation.

There are so many people doing it that the chances of it leading to a new customers are tiny. Your time should be worth more than to spam. If you spent that time making music, you would make more real fans.

Spam looks desperate. It definitely connotes that you don't have enough fans to support you and that you still have too much time on your hands and that your still near to amateur level.

Consider that even massively successful bands can't get away with spamming (depending on your definitions). If they can't and don't, what makes you think that you can? 'Would my favourite band absolutely not do this?' is a fairly good starting point if you are unsure about promotion.

Spamming devalues music. If it did work, music would never be chosen on its value; only on the power of its 'spampaign'. In my opinion, people shouldn't sit back and wait for music to find them. Do you really want your fanbase to consist of people that like whatever is shoved in front of them regardless of its merit?

My least favourite type of spam is the kind that pretends not to be spam - Smalltalk that is obviously there because the person posting it is too embarrassed to post just spam. You cannot polish a turd. Why make up some bullshit conversation? This is blatantly obvious in every one of these situations. Are you going to write comment after comment that looks like a desperate cry for attention and popularity? Really? On the Internet? Everybody can see it! It can damage anybody's view of you. It can even cost you your existing contacts or at least a portion of their respect.

There are alternative ways to promote effectively

Promotion is fiendishly difficult. I worry that a lot of people spam out of frustration because it's so difficult to find a way of doing it that is creative and effective. How frustrating it is to have finally finished an track/video/album and then find out that this is just the start of a whole new job.

If this is where you're at:

If you don't have your own website, a good logo/motif, a well customized and content rich Facebook Page, a PRS-For Music membership, a Musicians' Union membership, a well written biog, good promo-photography and an entire set of tight, brilliant music that is recorded and ready for live performance, why are you posting to three-hundred differnt Walls instead of getting all that done? If you do, why are you sharing it publicly with me instead of emailing promoters, venues, festivals, agencies, record labels, publishers, managers, radio stations, magazines and blogs‽

If you stay on the right side of promotion, a lot of your marketing should sort itself out. Leaving flyers in venues, giving them to people that you think will already be interested and sending out e-mails to a mailing-list or a status update from an artist page are all fine in my books as they all involve the 'target market' having already volunteered their attention in some way; they always have the option of clicking 'Unlike' or 'Unfriend' without sacrificing their entire account.

Posting a Facebook event invite to all of your contacts used to be OK but now they appear as notifications and it isn't. Save event invites for birthday parties and leaving dos.

In some situations, not trying to promote yourself at all is the best promotion you can do. This can create a sense of mystery and dignity.

Having a backdrop of some kind with your name on it is a much more subtle way of promoting yourself on-stage than shouting your website out. People are more likely to remember it too. Nothing spoils the atmosphere quite like hearing: 'and, if you liked the music tonight, you can check out my website...' or worse 'Facebook/Youtube/etc.'

The music needs to come first. There's no point having excellent marketing campaigns, websites, photo-reels, logos, equipment and contacts if it's not at least working towards supporting brilliant music.

Blog Index:

- Oct 9th 2012 -

- Jan 9th 2012 -

"Websites, Tools, Apps and Software - Get Your Online Presence Together
- Aug 9th 2011 -

How to Deal with Bad Sound Levels
- Apr 9th 2011 -

Should the Artist Bring the Audience?
- March 25th 2011 -

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