Microsoft is right, music is social. There, I said it. Even if you’re listening to it alone in your room it’s about connecting with someone else. When we listen to music we’re always searching for some sort of connection to the artist. Sometimes we’re looking for someone who has felt the same way we are feeling; sometimes it’s just about a fun sound or a sense of humor. That connection extends beyond just the artist though. There’s a reason we play music at parties and there’s a reason bands are so much more fun to see live. When you’re in a group listening to music you all like, you automatically have something in common, you start with a connection. It doesn’t hurt that there is often alcohol involved either.
Most popular bands and artists understand that music is social, not all of them understand how social is changing. Social networks are starting to become a big part of social interaction and their starting to become a big part of music. MySpace is all about sharing your favorite songs, Facebook lets you become a fan of the band. Just about every band you can think of is on MySpace and Facebook. However, the bands who really want to do something social are on Twitter.
I do not follow my favorite band on Twitter. While Counting Crows does twitter, it’s boring news updates, there’s no real conversation there (and they very rarely update). There are two bands I do follow on Twitter. One of them is Death Cab for Cutie, one of my favorite bands. Death Cab has two twitter feeds, one is pretty mundane, just site updates and such. Recently they started tweeting from their tour. The tweets from the tour tend to be personal and talk about whatever venue they are playing. That’s the one I follow, the one that really seems to be interesting. Their primary feed is pretty much just a news ticker. That tour feed though shows that they are really trying to connect with their fans, it could use some work but they’ve got the right idea.
The other band I follow on twitter is Josh and the Empty Pockets, the band I blogged about a few days ago. What I’ve come to realize over the last week or so is they get it. They don’t just twitter silly news updates, they actually engage in conversations with their fans. They spout off random facts sometimes and they acknowledge people. Those simple things really make that connection to the band stronger. Josh and the Empty Pockets are the little guys right now, but if they keep up this networking and connecting with fans they’re on the right track to building a loyal following and combined with their musical talent (which they’ve got in spades) and a little luck (because it always takes some luck) they won’t stay the little guys for long.
Music is social and as technology and society change bands need to learn to adapt. Right now we’re at the beginning of this social networking revolution but social networks are growing everyday and more and more people are joining. More people are getting their news from these networks and finding recommendations for new things to try. I wouldn’t have even heard of Josh and the Empty Pockets if it weren’t for Facebook. The internet isn’t just changing how we get our music; it’s changing how we talk about it and how we enjoy it.