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A Brief Conversation with Michelle Peters of FriendsofLive.com (Rock band Live's Fan Club)

by Brian Freeman, author of BUZZ YOUR MP3! To find out more about this interactive workbook, please visit BrianFreeman.com!

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Even if your music is gathering rave reviews and you’re selling out venues all over the world (not to mention selling millions of CDs), you can’t stop working on the promotion end of things. Buzz is important whether you’re pressing your first CD or your last release went Platinum. In fact, once you gain popular success, you’ll need to work even harder to stay in the front of the public’s mind. You don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder, so your fans will be very important to your long term goals. They are the people who Buzz the most about your music, after all! The smartest musicians out there understand that they can’t do it all. You’ll probably need a group of dedicated people to help keep up with the needs of your fans.

This is where someone like Michelle Peters, website and project coordinator for Friends of Live, enters the picture. FOL (http://www.friendsoflive.com) is the official fan club for the band Live, whose five albums have sold well over ten million copies in the U.S. alone. But Live’s fame and success hasn’t lead to the band distancing themselves from their fans, a mistake musicians sometimes make when they gather a large following and think the good times will last forever. In fact, Live has gone to great lengths to keep in touch with the people who support their music.

The attitude of the people who work at FOL couldn’t be any better for creating Buzz. They know who the fans are and how to reach them. That’s why I asked Michelle for her inside view on fan clubs, Street Teams, and how bands can reach people without being pushy.

Q) How much time is spent maintaining the website every week? How long does it take when you completely revamp the website for the release of a new CD?

A) It is hard to give any exact number for the amount of time spent on the website in a week’s time. It all depends on what is going on. As far as maintaining the site, that is fairly automatic, except if a problem arises in a specific area. Correcting the problem can be something as quick as a few minutes, to something a lot longer depending on how complicated the problem is. The largest chunk of time spent on the website is working on new projects or improvements to old parts of the site. We are always brainstorming for new ideas to implement into the site to keep it cutting edge. Since I’ve been here, we’ve gained the discussions boards, chat room, Homespun online, and at times we even had short term projects such as “Live calls in from the Road”, where the band members would call and leave messages during the tour for fans to listen to right on the site.

As far as revamping the site for a new album, that is actually something that begins months before the album is released. A lot is discussed in terms of what will change, what will remain the same, what artwork will be applied, etc, so a lot goes into the redesign even before the actual redesigning even begins!

Q) How much input does the band have on the website content?

A) The band actually has a lot of input for all parts of FOL, including the website. We come up with ideas for new projects and we present it to them, but they also come to us with new ideas and things they’d like to see done. So it is pretty much FOL and the band working together, along with the management, to insure that the website is kept fresh with new ideas.

Q) For those who are up and coming in the business, what do you think are the most important elements for promoting a band on the web?

A) I think that an up and coming band needs to put a lot into their web site, but not necessarily make it extremely flashy. The websites that have all the glitz and glamor can still lack a good foundation, which is the most important part of the website. Building a website is just like building a house, you can’t have a stable house without the basic foundation, and you add all the “extras” and decorations later. I’ve seen so many sites that look cool, but are extremely lacking in functionality, which is a shame since those sites have such potential. Once you have the basics, promoting the band from the site is a piece of cake. Just be sure to keep it up to date, and always try to include some fresh material to keep fans coming back to check out the site. I think that chat rooms and discussion boards are also a great way to promote the band, because it is these sort of elements that keep the fans coming back to the site, even when nothing new is occurring...

This article is continued exclusively in BUZZ YOUR MP3 by Brian Freeman If you would like to reprint this piece for free on your website or in your newsletter or magazine, please click here for more information!!

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Brian Freeman has been promoting online his entire life. He is author of the acclaimed interactive workbook, BUZZ YOUR MP3. This guide to promoting music both online and off is packed full of articles, tips, checklists, interviews, and brainstorming activities for every kind of musician who wants to create BUZZ about his or her work. Check out http://www.brianfreeman.com for more information!

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