[This article was written by Greta Gothard of The Gothard Sisters. It originally appeared on the band's website and is addressed to their fans. I thought it'd be valuable to repost here as Greta does a great job summarizing the frustrations many independent musicians feel regarding Facebook. She also provides a great example of how to communicate to your fans what their continuing support means for your career — and setting the expectation that it might involve less social media and more email communication in the future.]
We have been using Facebook for our band since almost the beginning of time (at least, that’s what it can seem like at some points!)
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and I believe that pretty soon we’ll need to say adieu to Facebook and move on to whatever happens to be next. This is not because I am anti-facebook, or anti-social, or any of those anti things. It has just become impractical to use it for what we have been using it for – a means of communication with YOU, the fans.
We carefully built our Facebook fan page up from a collection of personal friends to where it is now, at over 10k followers who have “liked” the page in order to become a fan of our music and receive our updates, videos, photos, and random musings.
Every milestone has been a huge deal, as we’ve noted in many posts!
In this article from Digital Music News, an artist asked some Facebook developers about this new issue, saying “why do I have to pay to reach my fans?” Their response is alarming for those who have spent a lot of time and effort to build up a healthy and thriving fan base and who now cannot reach those people:
Artist in the audience: Yeah, my question is for Kevin [Carr]. It’s that, I understand that it’s becoming more competitive, but you have bands, artists, labels who have spent tons of money, countless hours… years building their Facebook fan bases. And now, you’re charging them to reach the audience that they paid and spent hours and hours and countless resources to build.
Kevin Carr, Facebook: Sure. I really think it comes down to – because there are artists and there are actors and there are brands that are reaching a ton of their fans though. So not everyone has had that happen –
Artist: — right, the big ones –
Carr: — I think –
Artist: — but, if you have 30 million fans, you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to reach those fans.
Carr: It’s, it’s not a matter of — we’re not trying to punish anyone. And it’s not like we’re trying to turn on a money machine. It really comes down to authentic content, reaching the person.
Unfortunately, we are not a big corporation. We are three sisters trying to make a living doing what we love – in a famously under-paid profession to start with. We are “starving artists.” So we cannot pay hundreds of dollars to keep our content in front of the people who have decided to follow us and who want to see our updates. I know that we shouldn’t be complaining about a free service – it’s Facebook’s right to be able to pursue their company for monetary gain – but it offers the independent musician a tricky conundrum.
I made this post a little while ago about our Spring tour blog video. As you can see, it only reached 1,560 people, which is pretty good, but with the fan page having 10k followers, this is actually only 10% of the people who used to be able to see our posts.
Now, don’t be alarmed, I will not be deleting our Facebook page or ignoring it completely, my focus is just going to move back to the things that we can keep and have some control over without spending a fortune. That has been, and probably always will be, our mailing list and website.
I will be using our website to post most important information and pictures, tour dates, blogs, videos and everything else. This website is our little portion of internet space that no one will be taking control of for money. It is where you can all gather to enjoy new content and future releases. Whether Myspace is the current “in thing,” or Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Google+ or any of the other trends comes and goes, this website will still be here.
Sign up for the mailing list here – add your zip code and other address information to be notified when we’re in your area for concerts and shows:
Thanks for sticking with us through everything – now let’s all ride off into the sunset without Facebook.
Sincerely, your occasionally frantic former Facebook admin,