Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Vortex

A vortex is defined as:
1. A spiral motion of fluid within a limited area, especially a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center.
This is how I look at what we bands need to become in the current music business paradigm. With this said, the most important part of what you do, the center if you will, is your music. You can have the greatest looking website, make the most clever videos, be active in social media, have everything in place and do all the right things but why will anyone want to pay attention if they get to your center and you are just not that good. With that established over and over again let's look at this through web presence. 
The Center: Your Website. This is the place you have the most control of what you do and how you present it to the world. This is where all web content and social media roads must lead back to. This is where you want to build and centralize your fan community. I have been in conversations with fan/friends and heard them tell me how they miss the old Gravity Kills message board. It was a place where fans talked about the band and possibly more importantly, became real friends with others that went there. I have 2 fans that became friends to me that actually met on our message board and got married. They are still married and have a family together. Do you think that this couple will ever discount what my band meant to them in the grand scope of their life? I think not. What does this have to do with music? Gravity Kills will forever be part of this couple's life. The community gave these two people a place to start building a relationship with each other simply based on liking the music of the same band. People want to have things in common. You see this daily on your facebook. Create it with your website. 
We can list the other places you know your band has to be i.e. Myspace (yes, you still need to be there,) Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr , Flickr, Youtube, Reverbnation, Band Camp, etc., etc., etc. (in my Yul Brynner, The King and I voice.) These places are respectively the limited space of water or air surrounding your vortex. For social media, 6 years ago Myspace was THE place to be. Then came Facebook. You upload video to Youtube, upload photos to Flickr and on and on. THESE SITES WILL COME AND GO. What will happen to Facebook when the all mighty Google finally figures out how to create a social media platform that blows up Facebook? If that is where all of your social media cards are, your direct line of communication to your fans will die with it. You need to find creative ways to get all of your social media fans back to the center of your vortex as much as possible.
Here is another way of looking at this topic.
Your hometown shows should be the center of your live vortex. This is the place where you can make the most touches with fans and prospective fans. In this case, think of your vortex breathing in fans as well as exhaling your band to other markets. Make your vortex grow one market at a time. The markets should be a reasonable drive from one another. Make it where fans from one market to the next can actually come see you in multiple markets. If you live in the Northwest part of the U.S. you are somewhat fucked. If you live in Providence, Rhode Island well then, you have it made regarding this. You want to create a situation in which the ripple of the initial splash you make in your home market will carry you out. The further you get away from the splash or the center of your vortex, the harder it will be for you to gain attention. If you can make a splash in one market, the ripple can carry you to a second market where that splash can carry you to the next and so on and so on.
Everything you do regarding your music and live shows should always suck people back into your vortex. If you suck enough people in, you might have a shot at really making a long lasting ripple.



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