An Open Letter to Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg,
Dear Facebook, Please Stop Killing Music!
My name is J.R. and I am the Founder of GigDog. GigDog is a streaming music service that only plays the music of bands/artist performing live in your city in the near future. We currently have 6 Stations streaming the music of bands/artist scheduled to perform in Charlottesville, Richmond, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Nashville and the North Carolina Triangle. I recently received a thank you note on one of the many Fan Pages I manage for GigDog. I do believe you are very sincere in wanting to thank me for the advertising dollars I have spent on Facebook, however small that amount is compared to some of your bigger corporate clients. I, however, think its time I illustrated my journey using Facebook Marketing and advertising as the primary avenue to promote the over 700 Bands on my website. Over the last two and a half years, I have had a front row seat to the very damaging side-effects of your current advertising strategy. The following is my view of how Facebook has systematically adversely effected the Musicians on Facebook .
Everyone understands that your new Advertising policy is designed to help you gain revenue. We get that, and no one really expects something for free. But lets be honest. Music is one of the biggest draws to Facebook. Integrated music apps on Facebook have been played over 40 BILLION times. That is one reason why you are giving videos a much higher preference in the Timeline. YouTube is very effective, and you want some of that pie. Everyone knows that. None of what you want can be accomplished without musicians. You have them, and instead of helping them to help you, they have pretty much been left to their own devices. As someone who has a done a deep dive into how to Market on Facebook, I can tell you that it is confusing, daunting and can get very expensive quickly. The only musicians having any effect are the mid-level to major acts that can afford to have a full-time marketing person or are benefiting from their Labels marketing dept.
You are effectively asking the people with the least amount of money and the least amount of understanding of how your advertising platform works to learn an additional business just to be successful in their core business. Good music takes hours and hours of hard work, dedication and focus. I have spent the last two years marketing bands on Facebook, I can tell you without a doubt, that Marketing on Facebook is a full time job that is constantly changing every time one of your engineers gets a bright idea. Musicians are micro-businesses on their way to becoming a small business. That is a lot of money you are leaving on the table. A lot.
So you have a choice. Or better yet, an opportunity. You can (with the help of Musicians please) come up with a sustainable Marketing Model that helps musicians spread the great music that they make in a manner that is straight forward, simple and doesnt break the bank, thereby helping music once again grow from the ground up. Or you can just do nothing and hope that the musicians figure it all out and get with the program. I wouldnt hold your breath for that. Since you guys love data, here is some cold hard data for your consideration.
The numbers dont lie. The biggest players (the ones making the most spendoolicks) in the Music Industry today are Apple, Pandora, Spotify and Google. And none of them spend anything significant on helping grow music. They all effectively say, If you make it here, we will help you get even bigger, but you have to get here on your own. The Major labels are not much better. They have figured out that they can make just as much money on ONE Taylor Swift as they can off of ten Taylor Swifts. Every day someone gets on the internet for the first time in their life and they havent bought Shake it off yet.
So there you have it. Facebook has to decide if a 17-year-old posting yet another Selfie is better for your bottom line than an artist or a band that has the potential to increase revenue. The Music Industry is quite frankly a mess. Fewer and fewer young people are picking up instruments and practicing their craft in the hopes of making something we all love and enjoy. We have a whole generation of aspiring singers who think their only shot at making it as an artist is to get on a TV show and allow FOUR people to decide if they are good enough to have a career in music. We are in the midst of losing a whole generation of musicians and songwriters. This has to stop. We (Facebook, Music Fans and Musicians) can change this. Its time for Facebook to help provide the soundtrack for the future.
Sincerely, J.R. Gentle Managing Director and Founder, GigDog
UPDATE: Since this blog post was originally written, things have actually gotten worse on Facebook. The amount of people seeing your post has decreased to the point of “why bother”. We have come up with 6 tips to help musicians increase their reach online. Click on the image below for your Free Guide!
Facebook versus Musicians July 7th, 2015admin