Promoting Music and Shows with Web 2.0: Bassnectar

 From Jessica Forrester:

A  web presence is important for any business; this is particularly true for musicians.  How do I decide whether or not to attend a show at The Lantern in Blacksburg, Virginia by a band or DJ I don’t recognize?  I look them up online.  A poor web presence or unappealing recorded tracks can easily dissuade me.

When I met Lorin Ashton of project Bassnectar in August of 2007, he was already a frequent MySpace blogger and a YouTube hit with a large following on the west coast, including what SF Weekly described as “The largest cult following of any DJ in San Francisco.” 

Bassnectar at the STS9 afterparty in ATL on 12/30/08.
I'm on the right in the blue wig.

Lorin was gaining Internet presence, and breaking in on the east coast.  He paints a picture of the music business today.

“Nobody makes money selling albums anymore,” Lorin explained, referring to the way the Internet changed the scene.  “So, the whole industry is adjusting, and the focus is back on live music and trying to sell out shows.” 

Aware of this reality, Lorin uses his tracks and videos as promotional tools, saturating every outlet with content.  His website has links to MySpaceFacebook, YouTube, Twitter, and iTunes, plus two RSS feeds: one for his podcast, and one for a frequently updated blog.

Lorin’s music can also be found on LastFM, PandoraImeem, and Grooveshark.

Lorin owes the internet (and his web-savvy marketing team) - much for his now widespread reach.  His 2007 album shows his devotion to the Internet as an activist tool and a means for spreading information with its web-loving title:  Underground Communication.

Today, Lorin sells out show after show in venues across the country both big and small.  We've heard rumors of a Blacksburg show in the Fall.  We will, of course, find out if they're true online.


Jessica Forrester is a content creator for Handshake 2.0.  Specializing in marketing and advertising, she is a writer, researcher, graphic artist, and graduate of the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.  Jessica Forrester's blog is Mini Fad: Not Trendy Yet, But You Bet It Will Be.

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  1. Great post, Jessica. I can’t remember the name of the band who was one of the first to act on the realization that CD sales were no longer the money machine they used to be (Dave Matthews, maybe?) but whoever it was made the switch to building their brand and growing their following through email, e-newsletters, concert alerts, and by selling branded merchandise online. The savvy ones have been able to keep and grow their following so they can keep making music. YouTube gives us a taste of what we can get at a live performance. Encore!

  2. Thanks, Kelly! Not sure about DMB, but I do know Radiohead had a very cool “pay what you want” technique for their newest album– You could download “In Rainbows” off of their website, and a little button allowed you to decide what you thought it was worth.

  3. But the great thing about Radiohead is that they realized if people wanted to pay for quality they could and those who just wanted it for what they thought the low-fi was worth, they could do that as well. Offering incentives to buy into your band by luring them with free stuff is a great way to earn money I think.

  4. I completely agree with you that the industry is redirecting back to live shows. There’s only so much an artist can do when piracy is so big. I think it’s a good shift though. It encourages the fans to attend concerts/parties which gives them an avenue to form a more intimate connection with the music.

  5. So true. But besides listening to their actual music online, I find performance and venue reviews helpful. I’ve been to boring shows by artists that sound great in recordings. An example would be Bright Eyes in Constitution Hall in Washington, DC in 2006. I could imagine seeing a string quartet in that space, with its plush seats and columns and rarefied feel, but an increasingly drunk Conor Oberst was just desperately out of place.

  6. Wonderful post miss Jess! I agree Glenn, there is a beautiful thing about enjoying music in the moment. That can’t be encouraged enough. People making a more intimate connection with the music and one another. Internet marketing is being honest about the industry and living in the moment. I feel like it’s empowering to the artist and consumer. Gives the musicians a chance to share their talents with a greater array of people.

  7. we are now at a time when there are people who were not alive when the modern internet didn’t exist, which is wild. i personally no longer listen to the radio in my car. with mp3 decks, mp3 players, streaming radio, and so on, we are almost completely independent of music industry dinosaurs like payola, which is why there is so much effort to constrain internet radio. Dieselboy is a textbook example of how to “make it” by utilizing online mediums. And he started well before web 2.0 when it was just BBS and listservs. There’s almost no excuse therefore Not to have an online presence with the tools available today. Considering that cellphones now have internet connectivity, and we are even getting our news online more than from the paper, i feel it’s no longer just an additional bonus to utilize web 2.0, you’re at a disadvantage if you’re not. Forget Dave Matthews, no offense,one of the pioneers here is Trent Reznor. Here’s an interesting interview he did on Digg that dealt a lot with web 2.0 and the music industry, how things are changing for studio and live music and musicians, live events broadcast simultaneously online, the new mopdels of distribution and so on.

  8. Kendra- Couldn’t agree more. Not just reviews, but videos of live shows on YouTube to give you an idea of what you’d see (like the one on this blog). I loved the Flaming Lips til I saw them live… Now it’s hard to say.

    Dave- Thanks for the great link!! And I definitely agree– web presence definitely isn’t optional anymore!

  9. Dave, you are so right. The web, and esp. web 2.0 tools, allow an artist to reach a much larger audience. There would be so many performers I would not have found were it not for the net. I can’t imagine a business in any industry that could exist without a web presence.

  10. Hey Jess, you are so on the money..ha! Seriously, web presence is mandatory for marketing and branding musicians today. It also allows the virtual unknowns with talent to thrive without all the overhead costs. It’s a win-win for all!

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