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What Google+ Can Do for the Music Industry

July 14, 2011

With the rapid growth of Google’s new social networking site, Google +, many people are asking “What can Google+ do for me?” (And those who aren’t are probably thinking “Oh great, another profile I have to manage….”)  Once that’s answered, the next question becomes “What can Google+ do for my band?”

Short answer: As of now, not much. But that will change quickly.

Google has already stated that business profiles will be permitted at a later date.  So unless you run a site like Mashable, you’ll have to create a personal profile for now. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sign up. By the way, don’t try to work around this whole “personal profiles only” thing. Google is taking this seriously and you really don’t want to go through all the trouble of setting up a profile only to have it deleted. Be patient and in the meantime get used to Google+, become familiar with the features, get your Circles organized, build your network, etc.

Long answer: Given Google’s dominant presence in almost every aspect of Internet use (business, tech, entertainment) they have an amazing number of resources they can integrate into Google+ which translates into constant growth and improvement for users. Unlike MySpace and Facebook, Google will most likely give users more of a choice in what gets added to their profile.

Two major Google services that are going to benefit bands on G+ are YouTube and the recently launched Google Music. Those are pretty self-explanatory.  My guess is that sharing videos and music are going to be much easier and more seamless than they are with Facebook, which requires apps from outside services like RootMusic and Reverb Nation, and MySpace with its built-in players.

Hopefully you’ve done enough online promoting of your website to know what SEO keywords are. (If not, leave a comment letting me know and I’ll answer questions in a future post. I’d be more than happy to explain the basics.) And you know how huge Google is when it comes to searching the web.  Since Google+ requires profiles to be public, they’re going to be accessible through searches. Side note: many people were freaking out over the whole public profile thing. No worries. The content on your profile can be private; you just won’t have the option to not have it show up when people search for your name like Facebook allows. The only thing that will be required to be public is your name and the fact that you have a profile.) G+ profiles just may end up getting priority billing, showing up at the top of the list when someone searches for things like “Omaha music” or “bluegrass bands.”

The biggest difference between Google+ and Twitter or Facebook is Circles. Circles, while similar to Twitter and Facebook lists, are a great way to organize the people you follow. Whenever you add a post on G+, you get to choose who can see it. For example, you can create circles like Local Fans, Street Team, VIPs, etc. Then if you want to send out a promo code for street team members to get your new single for free, you have the option of posting it so that it’s visible only to the people in that circle. Or if you’ve got a show coming up, you can choose to promote it only to people in the area so you’re not bombarding your contacts that live 500 miles away with flyers for shows they can’t even attend.  The possibilities are endless and give you more control over targeting your posts. Don’t worry, you’re the only one who knows what circle someone is in, who is in it, and what the circle is called. So go ahead and make that “Promoters to Avoid” circle.

There’s also a Hangout feature, live video chats. Want to collaborate with another band in another state? Trying to audition for venue owners to book a tour? Play that new song you wrote for your friends back home? Do it via Hangout.

Google+ puts Google just another step closer to taking over the Internet. Remember AOL? Remember how you’d log on and everything you did – getting the latest news, email, chatting, reading music reviews, looking for businesses – was all done from AOL’s pages and channels? That’s where Google is heading. Google Calendars will replace Facebook/MySpace Events,  contracts will be shared and revised and finalized through Google Documents. Blogging, photo sharing….Google is everywhere!

Here are some other great posts I’ve read about using Google+:

Chris Brogan – The Google Plus 50

Vincent Wong’s slideshow about how Google is more than just another social network

A Google+ Cheat Sheet (pic) on Mashable

25 Google+ Tips to improve your G+ experience

P.S. If you haven’t already done so, add a +1 button to your site right next to those “Tweet This” and “Like” buttons on your profile. Get the code and instructions here.



Midstarz Mag – Issue # 2

May 24, 2011

Issue # 2 of Midstarz Magazine is now available online.

My articles:

Black Squirrel Tattoo

Interview with model Brandie Copeland

Two other articles that I wrote for this appear only in the print version. If you’d like a copy, contact me about obtaining one.

Thanks so much to Jason Fischer and Yolanda Williams from MM and to Mel Judkins and Matt DiNovo from Black Squirrel Tattoo, and Brandie Copeland for working with me.

Books About Music

March 16, 2011

I love books about as much as I love music. And right now, I have a big stack of books about music. They were sent to me by Omnibus Press with the intention of reviewing them for a previous employer but I ended up leaving that position before I got the books. So there they sit, in my closet, waiting to be read and reviewed. Now that I have some time to read them and a place to write about them, I think I’ll make this yet another project. So here are the books I’ll be reading and reviewing, not necessarily in this order…

Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life (not a big fan but the guy is a legend)

Holy Rock ‘N’ Rollers: The Story of Kings of Leon (interested in finding out how they became so successful so fast)

Bloody Reign of Slayer (my type of music)

Sex Tips from Rock Stars: In Their Own Words (this ought to be fun!)

Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley’s Wailers (love Bob Marley, looking forward to learning more about the Wailers)

Pink Floyd The Music And The Mystery (I am a HUGE Pink Floyd fan, as if you couldn’t tell by the name of my blog)

So where should I start?

What I’m doing now…

March 15, 2011

I gave up all of my other sites and blogs because I wanted to focus more on writing articles. But I wanted to still have my own place where I can sort of collect those articles and still add some of my own stuff aside from what I write for other people.

Lately I’ve been working on articles for two different publications – and Midstarz Magazine.

I did an article for back in late November covering the Pandora “town hall” meeting hosted by the founder Tim Westergren. Got a lot of good response and feedback on that one. Then just as soon as I got started on that column, I had to take some time off from everything to tend to some personal stuff. Now that things have finally mellowed out again, I’m back to writing. Right now I’m finishing up an article on the annual Maha Festival after interviewing the organizer, Tre Brashear.

This month will be the first time I have articles published in Midstarz Magazine, a print and online publication that covers urban entertainment in the Midwest, particularly Omaha. I should have three articles in Midstarz this month – a feature on Black Squirrel Tattoo in Omaha, an article about being a better indie artist, and another on avoiding a ticket when you get pulled over.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Aside from sharing those articles, I’ve also got some stuff to blog about….thoughts on various subjects relating to the music industry, reviews of shows that I go see on my own rather than for writing assignments, etc.