DIGITAL STRATEGIES TO PREVAIL OVER THE PANDEMIC
Build Your Audience Without Concerts
COVID-19. It is the headline on every website, the topic on every news channel, and the buzzword splattered all over your social media. COVID-19 is a gripping force that is radically changing our daily lives.
If you are an artist, you watched your hard work lead to nothing as your shows and tours were cancelled last week. You struggled to get that collaboration, only to have the collaborator pull out due to social-distancing. You planned a meeting with a record label, to learn that the offices are shuttered.
At Rividia, we want to thank you for honoring the commands of our government. Thank you for social-distancing, for cancelling your shows, for limiting your gatherings.
We also want to give you hope.
You don’t need to take a hiatus from your work. We believe that this unprecedented time can be used for your good and the good of your community. People need encouragement in a world gripped with fear and anxiety. In this blog, we want to show you how to build a digital community that will give hope to those around you and bolster your career.
Respecting Restrictions While Creating a Community
Last week, our President requested that Americans limit group sizes to 10. Even in groups of two to nine, we have been advised to stay at least six feet away from each other.
That means no concerts.
Tours and shows fell like dominos last week. Coachella moved their entire festival to October, and Stagecoach followed their lead. Billie Eilish postponed the rest of her tour, as did Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Michael Buble, The Rolling Stones, and the Jonas Brothers. The I Heart Radio music festival and awards was moved to a later date.
It’s chaos. However, it is not the end of the music industry. With the pandemonium going on in the world around us, it would be easy to panic. Don’t. You are a creative artist. So get creative! Spend time thinking through ways to foster a digital community that can bring some light in this dark time. We have some ideas to get you inspired and get you started.
You Have Been Handed a Golden Opportunity
If we are told to stay away from large groups, let’s do it. If we are told to stay away from concerts, movie theatres, bars, and dine-in restaurants, let’s do that too. But let’s not give up on our community. Instead, let’s take all of that community and put it the only place it can be right now: online.
More than ever, people are at home and connected to their social media. They are online watching YouTube videos, movies, shows, and news feeds. They are craving social interaction and looking for inspiring content. If you have something to share, so now is the time to share it.
Rividia Can Help You Build an Intelligent Digital Strategy
Our team wants to help you develop, promote, and execute your unique brand. Rividia professionals can walk you through every step from idea formation to implementation.
We are equipped to coach you through:
- Building your online persona
- Gaining and keeping followers
- Maximizing the features on social media platforms
- Targeting and reaching potential audiences
- Distributing your music
- Advertising your work
- Connecting with others
Contact us today to get started. We are still open and operating (from our homes, of course!).
Fostering a Digital Community
There’s a lot of loneliness in lockdown. You can help with that. Allow people to rally around your music. Be a friend to your fans. This is a time to ramp up your digital contact.
There are a lot of ways to accomplish this, including:
- Responding to DMs
- DMing fans
- Liking fan photos and videos
- Posting a few videos of your own as you adhere to the “stay home” restrictions
- Suggesting creative ways to bond with those in your household
- Giving a list of things to do in lock down
- Asking your fans what they want to hear from you and responding quickly to those requests
- Hosting online shows
- Creating chat groups where you can virtually “meet and greet” with your followers
- Posting video series
- Talking with your friends using a “live” platform
You could use this time to establish a presence on platforms that you haven’t yet explored. Are you on TikTok yet? Have you developed playlists for Spotify? What other online mediums could further your brand?
The Power of D
You can still perform to an audience of thousands, without leaving the house. Many artists are doing this under the hashtag #AtHomeTogether, which was started by Chris Martin of Coldplay.
You can host concerts “live” from the comfort of your home on a variety of platforms, including:
- Stage It
- Personal websites with livestream capabilities
All it takes is a simple social media blast promoting your concert, a specific time, a stage set-up, and you’re good to go. Let’s take a look at all of those components in detail.
Promoting Your Digital Event
Your digital event won’t gather much engagement unless you promote it. Try to pick a date at least a few days out to give people time to get excited.
Proclaim your event from all of your platforms with:
- Video messages
- Instagram and Facebook posts
- Web announcements
- E-mails to your fan list
- Bold graphics
Ensure that your announcement specifies the date, time, and platforms where you will be streaming. Make the show available for later viewing as well. You may want to post reminders leading up to the time of your show- the days are all blurring together for many of us and subsequent announcements can help people to keep track.
Rividia’s Great Gear Checklist
In order to do this right, you need reliable equipment.
Here are a few products that we wanted to highlight:
- Sling Studio: This software allows you to livestream to multiple platforms at once. Instead of only streaming to Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, Sling Studio lets you stream HD-quality video to Vimeo, Periscope, Twitter, Twitch, and more. The Sling Studio is a portable wireless platform that allows you to shoot with multiple cameras and then edit and produce your content. They call it a production truck in a backpack. Very cool.
- Rode Directional Microphone for iOS Devices: This impressive little microphone gives you high-quality sound when filming from your phone. It has directionality, which reduces any surrounding noises and focuses on what you are filming for clear and intelligible sound. It comes with a lightning port, a furry windshield, and a mic clip to keep it from sliding around.
- Joby GorillaPod Action TriPod: Who is going to film for you if you are self-isolated? This handy little tripod can do the job! It will hold your phone firmly and is easily adjustable.
We don’t know how long this contagion will last, but we do know that it will change the landscape of music. Even when we are out and about again, digital communities may live on. Invest in gear now that can help you in both the near and distant future.
The Importance of Good Video Quality
Good video quality is essential to making these concerts work. You want your audience to feel engaged and that won’t happen if they are straining to see you due to fuzzy video quality or a stop-and-go picture.
Make sure that you have the bandwidth to stream to your projected audience. If possible, get a tech crew to help you.
If you are going to have to go it alone because of restrictions, do the best you can by triple-checking your audio and sound quality before your show. You may even want to do a surprise “sneak peek” video before the main event to make sure that everything is working smoothly.
Setting Up Your Stage
With the slogan “Stay Home, Save Lives” running across the internet, the best place for you to perform is probably your own home. This helps to avoid any scrutiny that you are out and about during this season. It also gives your fans a fun little window into the real you.
Find a spacious location with good acoustics and an eye-pleasing background. You can always cover distracting background images with a curtain, or set up a false stage to give yourself some height. Make sure that you are not set up close to your front door, a bathroom, or a window where sounds from the street may drift in and muddle with your music.
Here are a few questions to ask when you are setting up your space:
- Is the lighting soft?
- Are there any noises that will hinder my sound?
- Is there anything distracting in the background?
- Are there any items in the frame that I don’t want my viewers to see?
- Does the location of my phone hinder the sound quality?
If you are self-filming, make sure you can place your phone or camera at a good height that provides you with a flattering angle. We suggest purchasing a tripod… or you could be like Katherine McPhee and just prop up your phone on your Grammy’s.
Learn From the Pros
Lots of artists have been pulling together digital live shows in the past week. As order restrictions in major cities get more and more stringent, these concerts are becoming a lifeline for the lonely.
Some of the artists who have already conducted a digital shows are:
- Miley Cyrus
- John Legend
- Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie
- Chris Martin of Coldplay
- Yo Yo Ma
- Keith Urban
- Katherine McPhee & David Foster
- Neil Young
- Charlie XCX
- Indigo Girls
Each of these musicians is putting a different spin on their “live” shows. Let’s dive into a few to get inspired.
Some Different Approaches to Digital Concerts
- The John Legend/Chris Martin Approach: On March 17th, Legend took to his piano in a bathrobe and filmed his concert casually on his iPhone. He performed covers and originals for almost an hour and took requests from his remote audience. His insta-famous wife, Chrissy Teigen, also joined in the fun (in a towel… are we surprised?). Even little Luna made a request.
Legend made a point to request donations for FeedingAmerica.org and encourage his audience to visit GlobalCitizen.org to become better informed about the pandemic. His setlist was far from curated- in fact, at several points he even needed to look up the lyrics to his own songs.
He took his cues from Chris Martin, who also played his #togetherathome concert while sitting at his home piano. He recorded the show on his phone and also took requests. Martin jokingly “thanked his stylist” for his look, which consisted of a casual sweater and a beanie.
- The Ben Gibbard Approach: Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie hopped onto his Facebook/YouTube livestream and started off right away with a song about the COVID-19 pandemic. He plans to perform his acoustic mini-concerts daily and accommodate requests from his fans.
- The Major Lazer Approach: Major Lazer definitely gets some points for creativity with his performance. In “A Very Lazer Sunday,” the artist spun tracks with (less than 10) backup dancers in sweatpants. The one-camera production was filmed in his living room.
- The P!nk Approach: P!nk decided on a shorter performance, simply releasing one cover of “To Make You Feel My Love” for her fans. She filmed and recorded the song on her phone, which was propped up near her piano.
Another Option: Create an Entire Show
The English rocker, Yungblud, recently created a show for his YouTube channel that includes performances by the artist and his friends. The concerts are held on a stage with lighting and a full band. They are filmed by a professional camera team and edited before they are released. Miley Cyrus also recently debuted a YouTube show called Bright Minded where she partners with other musicians.
Creating a show with weekly installments is a unique way to engage your audience and draw in other followers.
Here’s some brainstorming fuel for YouTube or social media shows:
- Create dance videos: Do you write catchy music that makes your audience want to move? Give them a dance to do! You never know when a dance video will go viral, and you’ll give your audience a reason to get up off of the couch.
- Offer music tutorials: Many quarantined Americans are looking for a hobby, so consider posting a music tutorial. Hinds, a rock band based in Spain, posted a step-by-step tutorial of how to play one of their hit songs on the guitar. This allows people to feel a deeper connection with your music, while teaching them something new.
- Film songwriting sessions: Let people look in on the magic of making a hit. The Hulu reality TV show Songland proved that the general public is interested in this process.
- Tell the stories behind your songs: This could be a great way to let your audience get to know you a little better. Explain how you come up with your lyrics and dive into the deeper things that make you who you are as an artist.
- Host a playlist show: Highlight a song (by another artist) every episode and dissect it for your audience to help them gain some music appreciation.
Other Ways to Engage with Your Fans During the COVID-19 Outbreak
In addition to performing live shows, now would be an excellent time to:
- Release a new single: If you have a song that you’ve been waiting to share, this is the time to promote it and release it. People have all the time in the world to browse the internet and listen to new tunes. Can’t make it to your studio because of the lockdowns? Consider unveiling a sneak peek acoustic version.
- Re-introduce yourself on social media: Engage your followers by letting them get to know the real you. Introduce yourself, your family, and maybe even all of your quarantine buddies.
- Remember back: In hard times, people tend to get nostalgic. Do you have some old hits? Now would be a great time to re-record them or perform them in a livestream.
- Reach out: Spend some time making direct (digital) contact with your fans. You can’t do a meet and greet right now, but you may have some extra time to engage online. Ask your followers questions, like their photos, and maybe even do a few giveaways to keep spirits up.
Contact Rividia. Maximize Your Digital Presence.
At Rividia, we love to help our clients invent creative ways to engage with their followers and build up their presence on social media. We are a full-service marketing and management agency. We can help you with everything, from finding your audience, to promoting your tour, and generating revenue. We use social media marketing, organic search results, and targeted ads to locate your ideal audience. Then, we can help you to best communicate, serve, and endear those listeners. Let’s talk shop. Give us a call today.