Keep Houston Press Free

Friday Night Noise: Musicians, Get Your Lazy Asses Off MySpace

There's no nice way to say this, so Friday Night Noise will just say it: MySpace is not enough, and if you are at all serious about making music and serious about building an audience of fans/listeners (be it 500 or 5,000 or 50,000 or 5 million) - and by "you," FNN doesn't just mean noisers, we means rapper, rockers, twee-pop imps, dulcimer soloists, 17th-wave punk upstarts, vegan/freegan hardcore nihilists, beardo folkies, classically-trained cellists, scatters, R&B hopefuls, beatboxers and everybody else besides - you've gotta think bigger than MySpace. Launching a MySpace page to rep yourself, your scene or your set should represent a mere component of a larger online promotional strategy - it shouldn't be that strategy's alpha and omega. Look, FNN totally gets why musicians love MySpace. It's free. (Or "free.") To a degree, you can customize your page. It allows you to keep up with friends and fellow travellers, and you can plug in your upcoming tour dates, stream MP3s and YouTube clips, accrue admirers and allow random strangers to relentlessly plug their wares/shows in the comments. (Which, admittedly, has led yours truly to some significant discoveries.) Status as Rupert Murdoch's property aside, it's a pretty awesome tool - FNN will give it that. But relying on a MySpace page as the sole portal for one's art on the Internet is weak sauce. It's sort of like finishing medical school and pitching a pup tent on an empty lot and inviting patients in for appointments. Here's the thing about MySpace; MySpace is a social-networking service that is accessible to people with decent, unfiltered Internet connections. But a lot of people - including FNN, to be honest - aren't able to spend long stretches of time on unfiltered Internet connections. Employers and libraries unfailingly block MySpace. This means that those of us who want to learn more about what a given artist has to offer can't find out much if we don't have a home net connection or have absolutely no time to explore MySpace while at home - being a parent/spouse/homeowner will do that - or if your MP3s aren't available on a non-MySpace page. Bottom line: MySpace-only representation is fucking lazy. Buying a domain name and fronting a dime bag to an HTML-savvy pal in exchange for him/her throwing discography/sample MP3s/bio/pictures/live sets/etc. up on the page won't cost much, and it'll up your visibility and cachet considerably; it'll demonstrate that you mean it. No need to get into a bunch of Java-enabled bells and whistles; that's distracting, wasteful, and stupid. Or, if money's an issue or that's just too complicated/time-consuming, starting a basic blog or Last FM (muso-oriented social networking that's way less likely to be restricted) is free, lets you stream tons of songs and, provided your name/content isn't crude, democratic, allowing Internet café users worldwide to find out what you're all about. Lo-fi examples abound: check out Houston's own Swanshit and Caddywhompus, Jay Reatard or NYC's Religious Knives. Just some food for thought, okay? That's FNN - holding you down and saving you from yourselves.

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