Here is why I feel there is a monumental need for a uniform, workable calendar platform for independent artist when entering calendar dates into multiple social media accounts. More research forthcoming, but believe one can build a better vehicle for entering dates, whether in the form of application, working software or online gateway.
After mentioning ArtistData.com and somewhat “throwing them” under the proverbial band short-bus in an earlier blog post, chose to delve deeper into the inner workings of the platform. Instead of saying “oh, it does not work for True North,” thought I might elucidate WHY the platform is more cumbersome than workable. It is easier to enter information into one social media calendar at a time, with multiple browser windows open (did I mention really enjoy using Google’s Chrome browser?), than the current ArtistData format.
If you click on the link below, can view a PDF of the Profile Sync page. Note: If one is not an approved ArtistData artists/ independent musician, will not get the privilege of viewing the site.
ArtistData Dashboard Circled items do not sync (add Twitter also).
MySpace, Purevolume & Twitter syncing work. Problem, MySpace is a ghost town, I like PureVolume, but not signed up on for an artist page yet (another site to maintain) and Twitter is not calendar driven. Well, scratch Twitter working, when logging back into the ArtistData account, there is a message stating, “Problems posting to Twitter. Very sorry, but because of a change at Twitter, a lot of users are reporting unsuccessful posts. We are working on this right now and hope to have it resolved in the next week.” Is it me or is this site looking less and less artist friendly and useful?
Facebook, ReberbNation and Sonicbids are not supported or have internal ArtistData programming issues which “may be resolved in time.” OK, that was helpful, in time, what about right now? Will an artist take time to visit the “help desk” graciously provided by ArtistData in order to learn how to create Comma-separated Files aka CSV files, create formats which may work with the non-syncable platforms? Maybe True North will play upside down at the next performance, in the hopes we can upload calendar content into Sonicbids or other sites? Sonicbids (I suspect ReverbNation) imports EVERYTHING on a CSV…writing over other dates if an artist makes a mistake or creating duplicative calendar entries. Have fun cleaning up the mess, while cursing and frothing “it would have been simpler to enter the calendar date manually in the first place!”
True North does keep the yearly calendar in an Excel spreadsheet; a running list of dates and available opportunities. The calendar is populated with a variety of other data, contacts, prospecting, new venues and places the band would like to play as well as member time off dates. It would take further energies to maintain a second calendar, simply for CSV export or import into the other platforms. Doable, yes, but again, more work than necessary (reference above Sonicbids hot mess CSV duplication).
Case 2: Social Media Targets and Appropriate Artist Online Locations/ Sites
There is something to be said for being everywhere on Web 2.0, but managing that everywhere-ness is the trick. ArtistData provides once per day linking to AdvaMobile, FanBridge, Bandzoogle, FourFour, LiveMusicMachine and Scout66.com. All above listed sites are excellent for artists to utilize, most are not a fit for the True North online model. If an artist needs a low cost, effective website, get to Bandzoogle or utilize FanBridge to communicate with fans. The fantastic problem for independent artists is that there are a myriad of options, some work, some do not; it is choosing the right fit for the artist or group which is key! Trying each site out, then figuring what the band can reasonably maintain, what is manageable with time constraints and then build the social marketing/ networking fan communication platform from there. If ArtistData works for your band, then more power to you for making the site work!
Anyway, my two cents on a rainy Friday afternoon. Have a wonderful weekend fellow bloggers and artists. True North is not playing this weekend, members are catching a little well deserved R&R. Road trip to Wichita next Saturday, May 01, for the Artichoke Sandwich Bar acoustic show which promises to be a fun new experience. Signing off for the week, hope to see you at a True North show in the very near future. –Will Gladhart