Spirit of the Stairs and Social Media

I just met one of two drummers in the Witchita, Kansas band, Spirit of the Stairs. Or should I point you to this page? Or their Facebook Wall? Or maybe this video of them playing. Here are their search results on Google:

google search results for 'spirit of the stairs'

So, the good news is, they have TONS of great outpost coverage. The bad news? It would be SO much better if they’d built a simple presence framework such that I could find THE REAL them online, not their rental spaces on all the social networks.

It’s true that outposts improve your ecosystem, but you need a home base, too.

The band is interesting, if you like prog rock, and I liked meeting my new friend, Kyle.

Show me your home base. Okay?

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  • http://twitter.com/highlyinspired Shawn Christenson

    I fully agree with you. I actually think a LOT of bands are choosing to make their MySpace page their actual Home Base. And I wish they didn't – as I don't find MySpace intuitive in the least as far as learning about a band.

    It's a really valid point – one that in this Social Media age can easily get forgotten.

  • http://www.mltda.com Dave Levy

    Great point for musicians, especially since bands are often spread out. Actually, while I own the domain for my band, we actually just forward that to the Facebook fan page. Everything we need to do about promoting local events, uploading video or sharing new demos, we can do right from there.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/Strodtbeck.C Charles

    Great point. Why put all your effort into building other people's business instead of using those to promote your own. Seems obvious but so many are doing just what you pointed out. Try to find them and what do you get? Everything but their own site.

  • http://www.bradmarley.com Brad

    Well, to answer your question, my home base is my website.

    I'm proud to say that I finally knocked Country/Christian/Southern Rock musician Brad Marley out of the top spot. :)

    I notice lots of local bands have links to their Myspace page or their recording label's main site, but not many have a home base.

    Sounds like an opportunity to me.

  • lcdavid

    Good its very informative, Nice

  • http://www.TwentyFeet.com/ Paul Herwarth von Bittenfeld

    Good point, Chris. Not only for musicians, but also for local business etc. etc..

  • http://itarsenal.com/ Rob

    I see this a lot too. Most bands don't have a place to call home, they just push their music anywhere they can, and Myspace for some reason ends up being the closest things to the center. They really should have one spot, a homebase as you call it to aggregate and put out their own message.

    Not for nothing, it would be easy to aggregate a Myspace feed, YouTube, Amazon, etc onto a website/blog…it would probably give artists a more centralized spot to make social media pushes as well, instead of sending people to their myspace or youtube video, it would go to http://www.coolband.com/thenewreleasecd

    Shees, you just stumbled on a nice little niche opportunity…if any artists entertainers out there want to do this with their set up, I'd be glad to help, I love working with small biz/entertainers! http://www.itarsenal.com!

  • http://standstrong.tv/ Filip Matous

    Myspace owns that space. For most fans, who really research and love music, myspace is the main place to start with a band. That being said, the above band is doing fine as I would automatically click on their myspace no matter what position it was in the results.

    Reason is that I know what I'm getting with myspace, I know there will be a music player and I'll be able to assess how popular they are, who they tour with and what label they are on, etc.

  • http://toddblog.net/ Todd

    I was chatting with Kyle (“David”) and he was blown away by today's presentations at Free State Social. He's not a “trained” social media guy, but he's been thinking along these lines for a while. He's been armed with new information and ideas, and was visibly excited.

    Thanks for giving the band a blog-shoutout.

  • http://twitter.com/keithepetri Keith Petri

    Great post Chris! I am a college graduate currently seeking gainful employment. I found that my online presence on sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress and various others were confusing my potential employers. My email signature was approaching 10 lines! So I created http://www.KeithPetri.com as a central hub for my activities. Having a central location to organize a brands outlets online is necessary for success. I would love to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions. I look forward to your future posts!

  • http://www.r4-kaart.nl/ iedge kaart

    Well Chris that's so nice of you that you have shared this here.I have heard about this band but haven't seen the video yet.I think the social networking sites like Facebook,Twitter,LinkedIn are now confusing people by adding the music to their sites.

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    Not just bands. Companies. Speakers. Their blog/website is their home base and should be.

    I think there was a time in the early 2000s where a bunch of consultants convinced musicians that their home base needed to be a MySpace page, then all these consultants went flying off to destroy another industry and musicians never got the memo that the Kool-Aid was bad.

    1. Develop a home base that you own entirely
    2. Develop outposts on rented/benevolent space (twitter, FB, YouTube, MySpace) that bring users back to home base.
    3. Ignore everyone who tells you web sites are dead. They are lying.

  • http://christophercatania.com Chris Catania

    I recently interviewed a band who just released their first EP and played their first live show last night. They have a pretty good home base set up and their music is promising, but I told them that it was really hard to write about them because they didn't have any info on their bio page that told their story or explained anything about them.

    This is all to common with young bands. And unfortunately, many good young bands don't have the basic bio info easily aviable and get passed up by music bloggers because we just don't have the time to hunting. Knowing how long bands spend making the music that they want fans to hear, it always surprises me how often I get sent CDs to review without any kind of story about the band. It doesn't take a big PR firm to create this either. The most simple stories work best. But there must at least some kind of info or band story.

    Bottom Line: tell your story clearly, uniquely and make it easily accessible for potential fans or music bloggers when they come to your site. This goes for anyone too: young bands, brands or personal branded folks.

  • http://www.superdumbsupervillain.com/ superdumb

    I wonder how different my vanity record label would have been in the age of the internet and direct distribution. (Getting vinyl records pressed, printed, assembled and shipped off to stores and marketed… serious pain in the butt back in the day. Especially since few people had email back then.) It's amazing how many channels are available for artists nowadays but you're absolutely right– they all need a simple hub for even the luddites to access.

    p.s. No “witch” in Wichita.

  • http://twitter.com/bobledrew Bob LeDrew

    Great post Chris. And for bonus points, here's what I'm guessing their name means: In French, there's a phrase that goes “l'esprit de l'escalier”, which literally translated is “Spirit of the stairs.” But it's really meant to describe that moment when you're walking downstairs after an argument, confrontation, etc. and you think of the PERFECT thing you SHOULD have said that would have totally won the day for you. Except now you're walking downstairs and it's too late. More like “staircase wit” in translation.

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  • http://twitter.com/HubertGAM Hubert Sawyers III

    I think the void in the music space is there are not enough examples of standard websites for artists to take inspiration. MySpace has been the leading space, but there is not enough in the way of compelling analytics. Many web professionals in the music industry advise bands to start with MySpace to solidify search engine position, since it always ranks high. While this is smart, it still leaves the band at the mercy of the social networking site. If Rupert Murdoch wanted to kill MySpace tomorrow, what would all millions of music acts on MySpace do?

    That said, I am happy to see you highlight a music act, Chris. In the digital marketing space, this is where I set my sights in terms of my niche and you have inspired a new post. I thank you for that.

  • http://twitter.com/HubertGAM Hubert Sawyers III

    While this may be true, Filip. This just shows that there is a huge void in the music industry space. There should be no reason why a band with a distinct name does not have their own website. You can leverage the Google juice of MySpace for promotional reasons, but you should want to drive traffic back to your home base. That is where you really want to be working. Analytics will be better. Branding will be clearer. Adjustments can be made with ease.

    Mind you, there are tons of bands with their own sites that look and load terribly, but that is a totally different discussion. ha ha ha

  • http://standstrong.tv/ Filip Matous

    Often control is not as valuable as community.

    I totally agree that you can get far better analytics and adjustments if you don't use myspace but you do trade a huge music community to do so. Since myspace has evolved into a music centric platform, many musicians network with each other and their fans that way.

    Just like FB fan pages are good for brands that have their target market on FB, those brands are willing to play by FB's rules in exchange for ease of use and strength of community. Similarly, for most bands, they want to connect with other similar bands/tour mates and their fans, and since most music fans use Myspace, they go where the market is and play by it's rules.

    Would you want to play on an independent website with full control, or would you be willing to play by platform rules in exchange for more eyeballs on your music if you were a musician trying to gain popularity and get people to your shows?

    • http://fryinginvein.com HubertGAM

      I would shoot for both and I’m sure you would too. My only point is, you should have both and look to eventually drive your community to your home base. It would be even more awesome if you made a nice place for them to hang as well (forum).

      You’re right – community is the gold. The community on a place like MySpace or Facebook is a distracted one. You need to pull them aside – to your website – and get personal.

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    It depends on their bandwidth. Do you build something completely from scratch and try grow from there? Ideally, yes. Time-wise and recognition-wise, though, sites like MySpace and Last.FM already provide great tools for bands to utilize.

    MySpace has a decent blog system for bands to use, and let's face it, mention online music to most folk and they think MySpace. Facebook is going after Google in a big way, so a band's Facebook presence could (in theory) be stronger than a blog or website that isn't optimized. And there's a lot less work in getting Facebook shares and awareness (especially with the new social options over there) as opposed to gaining traction on a brand new homebase that needs love and attention to make work properly. Something that pre-loaded sites already offer.

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