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Not going to lie, I joined Twitter sarcastically in 2008. However, it didn’t take long for me to see how EXTREMELY useful this tool is for artists to communicate directly with fans, other artists, industry folk, and brands in real time and in public. Many readers of this blog are regular Twitter users and well-versed in the service but I constantly run into folks who are not. I wanted to share some thoughts on the Twitterverse for experienced users and newbies alike.
When we started our company, everyone told me how easy Quickbooks was for small business accounting. Well, they were wrong and when I took my frustration to Twitter, Quickbooks customer service quickly got in touch to help us out. Now I frequently tweet at my favorite brands,whether it’s thanking American Airlines for the upgrade or letting VitaCoco know that I’d bathe in their coconut water, I love them so much.
So how does this apply to artists?  Twitter has allowed a tech-savvy classically trained cellist, Zoe Keating, to amass a following of over a million fans, keeping them informed of her every move from creating art to family while allowing them to support her every step of the way.
Back in the day, albums were set up months in advance and of course they still are now, but, via Twitter, Imogen Heap can engage her audience in each step of the creative process.

By the time the album is released, her audience is clamoring for it. Imogen’s fans were actually a part of her most recent album: from the songwriting to the recording to even naming the songs. They witnessed and experienced the emotional highs and lows of creating music, making the final result that much more of a visceral experience. And they followed along when she launched a feed at The Grammys via her dress.
One of the most powerful aspects of Twitter is the search function. What better way to find out what is going on by searching real people’s online chatter? We have interns search for our artists daily to find casual fans chatting about them. Then, they either ensure that the artist replies or the interns will reply and tag it as the artist’s team so as not to pose as the artist. When I say casual, I am talking about someone who posts “Making Thanksgiving dinner listening to Brendan Benson‘s Lapalco,” who may not even know he’s on Twitter, on tour or has a new album, nor are they the kind of fan that might seek that info out (especially since the aforementioned album is from 2002). When we took Brendan on late last year, we found hundreds of fans speaking about him daily in casual conversation. No one had been tweeting back at them with news of his tour and, as soon as we did, tickets spiked.  For example, his NYC show’s sales went up four times in as many days after we’d launched these basic internet marketing tactics. This information is free and available and should be a no-brainer for an artist at any level or a team of any size.
Want to distribute a track exclusively to your Twitter followers? Check out
CASH Music’s open source code to do just that
. Fans obviously love it.

Looking to connect with other artists? At any level, re-tweet and publicly chat back and forth with the artists that you share camaraderie and bills with. Whether you’re just getting started and gig-swapping with other artists in nearby cities or are Dave Matthews supporting The Rolling Stones, it’s important to disseminate necessary promotional info and interesting to watch the dialog. I have also had industry folk come out to shows at the last minute based on seeing a reminder from my Twitter feed.
Twitter tip:
Often people tell me they feel overwhelmed by keeping track of it all. The
magic trick? Just subscribe to the essentials in your RSS reader. That is how I don’t miss a post by my artists, vital industry news sources, and my personal favorite, Fake Bob Lefsetz.  Even Irving Azoff joined Twitter last week and not surprisingly, Fake Irving was hot on his tail. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, than what’s the point? :)
Happy tweeting and see you out there.
Emily White aka @EmWizzle via @WhitesmithEnt


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About Author

Emily White

Artist manager Emily White is partner at Whitesmith Entertainment; she also serves on the boards of CASH Music & Future of Music Coalition. She is a frequent contributor to midemblog and Midem speaker and moderator.

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