I love music, but I don't have much time to seek out new bands anymore. Good thing I live in the 21st century. Because now the musicians are coming to me.
No, I don't have ska bands knocking on my door asking if they can come in and play a set...though that would be kind of cool, wouldn't it? Ska bands in the Bay Area, contact me if you want a gig in my house. I love that you're still plugging away at the skanking and all, but let's face it -- my den might be the biggest room you play all year.
The musician who did contact me won't be doing a show in my den anytime soon. And not because he prefers the garage. Nope, the dude's in England. We haven't met face to face, and we probably never will. Yet he managed to track me down because he had a hunch I'd like his new single -- and he was right!
Step with me, friends, into the future of marketing music. Oh, and books, too, I'm betting.
A couple weeks back, I got a message from one James Henry. James had been cruising around the Squeeze page on Facebook and...let me pause for a moment to explain to the uninitiated that Squeeze is a band, so please don't get the wrong idea about someone who spends his time "cruising" a "Squeeze page." It's all quite innocent! James is a singer/songwriter, you see, and Squeeze is one of his influences. So naturally, given that he's got a new album to promote, he was looking for folks who enjoy all things Squeezey. Which is what brought him to me.
I've got a soft spot for a certain brand of polished, melodic English pop. The Beatles, Madness, the Beautiful South, Nick Heyward -- that kind of thing. (If you've never heard of Madness, the Beautiful South or Nick Heyward, you might want to check 'em out. If you've never heard of the Beatles, there's no hope for you, so don't bother.) Well, no one's more polished, melodic and poppy than Squeeze. (Being an American, I can't vouch for their Englishness.) So I gave their Facebook page a big ol' "LIKE." And that's how James found me.
Now, James did a very brave thing. He wrote to me out of the blue to introduce himself and suggest that I check out the single from his album. I don't know how many folks James approached or what percentage were pissy about being "spammed." But I wasn't pissy at all, because his message didn't feel like spam to me. James was very polite and forthright and did an excellent job explaining who he is and why he thought I might like his song. So I followed the link he provided and I did dig it. I dug it a lot. I dug it so much I bought the whole album. I dug it so much I'm going to embed the video for it right here.
I know the song's not going to be to everybody's taste. But that's the beauty of what James did. He wasn't trying to win over everybody. He was trying to win over me -- a stranger, yes, but one he knew would be receptive to his music...thanks to a button I'd pushed on a social networking site.
If you're a musician -- or a writer or a painter or an itinerant mime troupe -- that's got to be exciting. Hell, if you're anyone who likes music or books or art or itinerant mime troupes, it should be exciting. We've been given a new way to connect with what we love (melodic pop songs, say, or paying customers) that isn't at the mercy of marketing departments and sales reps. All it requires is a little time and chutzpah. Both of which I've lacked, actually, but I'm hoping to change that soon.
The only question for me now is "Which Facebook pages should I be cruising?" Well, that and "I should stop talking about 'cruising' Facebook, shouldn't I?" Yes, social networking sites offer all kinds of possibilities, but I don't want someone from To Catch a Predator getting the wrong idea....