Music Success in Nine Weeks – IBMA Workshop 9/27/10

This post is a contribution from Terri Holloway, one of our 2010 IBMA correspondents. See her profile here.

Ariel HyattAriel Hyatt, somewhat younger than your intrepid IBMA World of Bluegrass correspondent, gave a wonderful lecture on how to be a musical success in nine weeks following her methods.

Social media is it, boys and girls! Her idea is that with social media we don’t have a choice on whether we do it, we have a choice on how well we do it. And, she’s incorporated this into her presentation very well, driving the message home with plenty of statistics to back it all up.

While this workshop was for those who are active musicians, the lessons are there for any one of us in business forourselves. We gotta get face time and develop the fans. Hyatt herself is not musically inclined, but has spent her entire adult life in the music industry providing public relations and promotions for artists in New York City after being introduced to the business by a college boyfriend.

“The Internet is not a vanity site, it’s a place to make us money” said Hyatt. To be successful, her five social media must-haves are Twitter with its short bursts of text that don’t have to be mundane daily drivel, Facebook with a built-in player allowing fans to “click here” to here your latest hit, Flickr to share photos of what you and the band are up to, YouTube to show the latest music video you’ve just made with your personal video camera (and you can have your very own YouTube channel that fans can tune in to on a regular basis), and Blogging ( or one of the free commercial blog sites like blogspot) to share all the news there is to share. And share all of these sites by interconnecting them with links. Our fans should be able to visit our Facebook site and link over to our YouTube channel.

In order to get ahead we need to take heed to Hyatt’s message. And, remember, she hammered home to us, “MySpace is not dead. There’s 1.5 million pages out there that are still active.” Admitting to our age, it’s a lot to account for, and a huge learning curve to climb. But, says Hyatt, to be successful today we gotta climb that mountain!

Hyatt also suggested that musicians have their own websites. With the services currently available, there’s no longer a need to have to spend thousands on website development or put up with webmasters not allowing them to make changes to pages. One suggested service she mentioned costs less than $299 per year. Another has a rather high learning curve, but is very worthwhile.

She offered to critique the band website of anyone in the room and found a willing subject. This website critique included a kudo to the group for giving something up to the fan within the first one-third of the page in order to keep them coming back for more. (Ask, “What’s in it for me?” The sample given was to offer a free MP3 download in exchange for an e-mail address.) Earlier in the workshop she said that fewer fans on Facebook or MySpace who are “true fans” beats out tens of thousands of “unmeaning fans” – those who just cruise by without really being “followers”.

Hyatt had available the second edition of her Music Success in Nine Weeks for participants to purchase, as well as offering the potential to take advantage of her services through a free drawing for those visiting her Facebook, Twitter and Myspace pages. ( While the cover price of this little book is high, Hyatt’s rationale is to have the book actually get put to use and not be a “shelf place holder,” she said.

With all of the jamming taking place around the Renaissance Hotel and Nashville Convention Center I’m bound to run into someone playing, You Gotta Climb That Mountain