A Place for All Musicians on MySpace
The times, they are a changin’. Perhaps. Publicity for fledgling musicians has become do-it-yourself in a world where you used to have to get a publicist (or at least a creative-minded friend) to get yourself off the ground and away from the local open mic.
How is this happening? MySpace Music has recently come out as a revolutionary force in the music world; in just three years, the online community has expanded by tens of millions. There are several reasons for this surge in its membership.
First of all, it’s free. And according to its informational page, it plans to remain free. Who could say no to free advertising? In starting a career as a musician, finances are a large part of the battle.
Second, it’s hot. All the Oberlin musicians I’ve talked to have MySpace accounts. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I talked to someone who was seriously pushing his or her music that didn’t have a MySpace account. In my experience, MySpace + GarageBand = an informal, online record.
Third, people pay attention to groups on MySpace. Musicians and music fans alike frequent the site to find new music, something that was previously confined to the local venues. If you wanted to hear fresh, perhaps even unrecorded artists, you would have had to dig around in the local scene, hazarding a guess at what would be good in the small venue in your town.
With MySpace, you can try it before you buy it.
I was online the other day, checking out my cousin’s MySpace page. Living in Nashville, he and his longtime girlfriend have a home recording studio. During the day, he works as a computer programmer, but at night, he plays at local venues, mostly accompanying friends on the drums.
And in the background, while no one is looking, he records self-composed songs within the four walls of his own house, playing all the instrumentals and doing the vocals himself.
It’s clear that MySpace plays a part in the furthering of his career – how big a part, it is hard to know. The verdict is still out regarding how effective MySpace actually is, though bands have made it big using this popular online wonder (see: Arctic Monkeys).
Furthermore, many bands that were already popular have MySpace sites; they like the intimate relationship the site fosters between them and their fans. And I’m talking big names. For example, Ricky Martin pops up in the featured artists section.
Is this accessibility a good thing? MySpace does not filter anyone out, no matter how horrible or wonderful. Painful emo demos can be found alongside musical masterpieces.
However, I do not see this as a negative. If MySpace can open the music scene to more people, so much the better. Besides, the truly terrible will still fall to the bottom in the number of site views tally.
In the meantime, all who are lucky enough to have Internet access will reap the benefits of a richer musical scene. Because even if you haven’t scored a record deal, you can still contribute music that is inspiring, or just plain hilarious, to the world.