5 things people think makes you get noticed as a guitar player that actually do not work at all
There's a lot of things people say you should do in order to get noticed as a guitar player on the internet, and many of those things are false. Here are 5 of them.
1. "Playing an expensive guitar will get me noticed."
False. For "getting noticed" reasons, it's actually better to play guitars that people can actually afford, such as Squier and/or Epiphone brand. Why? Because there are a lot more Squier/Epiphone players than there are Fender/Gibson players, and they will be searching for the guitars they play on the internet...
...and that is probably the reason you're even reading this now. Would you be following me on the internet if I were exclusively playing expensive guitar brands? Highly unlikely.
2. Producing only "pro-quality" videos only
There are thousands if not tens of thousands of "pro-quality" guitar player videos out there, and very little of them get viewed as much as the "crappy" webcam videos do.
Nobody really cares whether your video is in 360p or HD 1080p. And on your end, the "pro-quality" videos take 3 to 5 times as long to make, 3 to 5 times longer to upload (which is not good if you're under a bandwidth cap by your ISP,) and are generally a pain in the ass to even get done. You're better off making it as easy as possible to record a video and post.
And if people bitch at you for lack of video/sound quality, let them, because in the end you're getting the views and they're not.
3. Using "for musicians" web sites
This doesn't work. Any site labeled as "for musicians" doesn't have anywhere near the draw that YouTube, Facebook or even Twitter do. Don't bother using them.
4. Only releasing "quality" music
Big secret revealed: There is no such thing as "quality" music, because the term is totally subjective.
In relation to music, people think "quality" means "complicated." Well, if your music is nothing but complicated crap, it will never get done. On the other hand, if you keep your songs simple, you'll be able to produce tunes faster and get more traffic from them.
"If I 'connect' with a bunch of other guitar players, that will get me noticed."
No, it won't.
I'm going to talk about this at length, but believe me, this is worth your time to read it to avoid mistakes.
With that said, here we go.
There have been bands and guitar players flying the "SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC" banner on the internet since the late 1990s, and it has never worked. It started with this thing called "web rings," and then later into MySpace, then later into ReverbNation. A bunch of guitar players and bands "supporting" each other but in the end accomplishing absolutely nothing. No new traffic gained, no increased sales of songs... just a big pile of fail.
In musician's circles, networking just doesn't work. Never has, and never will. The only reason anyone does it is because it's free.
Remember: Advertising always trumps networking
Spending a little cash, be it for a promoted tweet, Facebook promoted post (any status update you post can be promoted,) Facebook advertising or YouTube advertising goes a long way.
If you care about your music and/or band at all, spend the money and promo your stuff; it will not cost you hundreds of dollars to do it, but rather well under $100. With the Facebook promoted post in particular, you can go as cheap as 5 bucks. Is it worth it to spend $5 to see if advertising works for you? YES.
Can the free way of networking actually work?
Networking only works if you put a ton of effort into it, and you have to go about it in a very sneaky way which has the high probability of backfiring on you.
Scenario: You're just starting out and want to gain some recognition. The goal for the time being is not to sell a song, but rather just get noticed and build your audience so you can sell songs later. You have a YouTube video posted of you playing your song and you're ready to promote.
We'll use the two options of:
- Promoting a Facebook post
Assuming you have a Facebook fan page with at least 25 fans on it, we'll say that you spent the 5 bucks and promoted a post pointing to a YouTube video you made of your song.
What this will do is expose your post to about 1,000 Facebook users. Maybe 2,000 depending on how far the reach of your post gets when promoted. The end result should be that - assuming your song is any good - you will double your Facebook "likes" from 25 to 50 in 1 to 2 weeks once the campaign launches. That's not guaranteed, of course, but it's a reasonable expectation.
To do the same with networking it will take much more effort.
First, On YouTube, you go to every guitar-style video that has music similar to yours, post comments and subscribe in the hopes they will return the favor, subscribe to you and "like" your page. You will have to do this on anywhere between 100 to 500 different YouTube videos just to make this happen.
Second, on Facebook, you will have to follow suit and "like" a whole bunch of different pages (anywhere from 50 to 250) in the hopes you'll get "liked" back.
Third, you'll have to seek out guitar forums like Squier-Talk and Ultimate Guitar, register accounts and participate in a bunch of threads. The way to advertise there is by putting the links to your Facebook fan page and YouTube channel in your forum signature. You do not say "check out my band" there, because that's spamming and you'll be banned for doing that. For every thread you participate on, your signature will be seen and people will click on it - maybe.
You will have to repeat the above three every day. Comment on hundreds of YouTube videos, "like" hundreds of Facebook pages, and participate in many, many forum threads. You'll have to put a good 1 to 2 hours a day into this.
"Gee, that sounds like an awful lot of work..."
It is. If you're going to use the free way of doing things, you will be doing a whole lot of work just to get noticed. And there's no guarantee it will even gain you the recognition you want from all the time you spent with your networking.
It's much faster and easier just to buy advertising instead.
"But there's no guarantee advertising will work either!"
True, but at least you won't be wasting a bunch of time networking just to find out if it works or not.
You can either spend 1 to 2 hours a day for weeks if not months trying to network yourself, or you can buy advertising and know whether that works or not in less than a week...
...and that right there is what makes spending 5 bucks on a Facebook promoted post worth it. Time is money, after all.