About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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How Indie Artists Are Beating The Big Boys
Thursday, January 07, 2010

Just a handful of years ago I remember interviewing the likes of 50 Cent, T.I., Lil’ Wayne, Ludacris and Robin Thicke for online outlets, but nowadays the big names are doing less and less press and the few that are doing press seem to be doing only a select few publications and even skipping some interviews. It’s a little odd to me that in an age where the internet has become so responsible for creating buzz and, in many cases, stars, that major label acts aren’t putting in a little more work to maintain their status. The plethora of independent artists out there aren’t complaining, though, as the major label artists’ sloth has led to a fantastic opportunity the smart indie acts are already taking advantage of.

Last month I featured underground emcee Warren Britt as an Artist Of The Week. Not only is Britt a talented artist and performer, but I found out after the interview went up that he also has one heck of an amazing fan base. Britt, like any smart artist with a new interview online, jumped on Twitter and tweeted the link to the feature. This set off a string of re-tweets, including a few more by Britt himself who made sure that people would see the interview no matter when they signed on during the day. As of the last check I did on Topsy.com, the article had been re-tweeted 31 times. Let’s take a second to break down what that really means.

I have 500+ followers on Twitter. Britt has 700+ followers. Factoring in some potential follower crossover, had just the two of us posted the link it would have reached around 1,000 people. Not bad, but thanks to the support Britt has of his fans, and of his artistic community, all the re-tweets of the link resulted in it reaching five to ten times that many people (TwitterAnalyzer.com had the number from the first day at over 5K and there were re-tweets after that, as well). So, while big name artists aren’t scheduling interviews, Warren Britt is reaching over five thousand people with his message. The major labels still don’t understand how to play the Twitter game correctly and because of this are potentially reaching LESS people than the Warren Britts of the world.

The music industry is no longer a place where artists can do a couple interviews and expect those interviews to do all the work for them. They need to put in just as much promoting themselves as their publicists do because people want a personal connection with the artists they listen to. Warren Britt gets this. He’s part of a segment of the NYC hip-hop scene where everybody treats everyone like family and that rubs off on the artists. They understand the value of a relationship, and in the case of Britt he has plenty of evidence that it works - 31 re-tweets of an interview. His fans aren’t sitting idly by, they’re out there telling other people about him, not only because they’re passionate about his work, but also because it’s so easy to do it. It only take a few seconds to re-tweet a link.

Big name artists have significantly more followers than indie artists, and although a lot of them have Twitter pages and Facebook sites, they don’t seem to understand the concept of truly connecting with their fans. I’m not sure if they realize it, but if they don’t start doing more interviews, and then utilizing all the tools they have to get those interviews to people, pretty soon the only news we’ll hear about them will be from places like gossip blogs and TMZ. They all have the opportunity to be heard by not just A large audience, but by THEIR large audience. Few are taking advantage of that opportunity, though, and that’s just fine with all the independent artists out there, because while the major label artists sleep, the Warren Britts of the world will continue to gain momentum and show em how it’s done.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:30 AM  
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