Relaunch of Metal Bandcamp Giftclub

I had fun putting MetalBandcampgiftclub back together again. I had been tasked by one of the helpers of the thing to take over the Twitter posing over the summer, and I totally dropped the ball.

What the heck is MetalBandcampgiftclub? Well, back in 2016 some friends of mine were having a rough time, and instead of wallowing, they decided to gift some wishlist items to friends on Bandcamp. Positive motion, you know? We were all interviewed for it in Bandcamp back then about the whole thing.

And I happen to know on good authority that the whole thing generated tens of thousands of dollar in revenue.

I’m relaunching it via an email list (you can sign up here) because not everyone is on Twitter these days. And, I really didn’t want to grow this again by expanding into Facebook and Instagram. My thinking; if you have a Bandcamp wishlist, you have an email address.

Now whenever there is a birthday (or a few birthdays), I will send out an email with links to those wishlists, and a recommendation or two.

The site was built using WordPress.com. New logo images from Vecteezy. For the emails I’m trying out Revue instead of Mailchimp since I wanted to play with something new (try it for yourself using my referral link).

Build When You Can

Love this message from Rebekka Dunlap:

Not every post will be a hit. Not every song is a hit. Until it is.

That’s why I try to put up three LATER episodes per week. If I just put up one a week, I’d have less feedback, less interaction, less momentum. Is each episode a hit? Not at all. That’s not the point. The point is to ship, even when it’s not perfect.

My blog posts aren’t perfect, nor research for hours. They’re published quick, just to keep things moving. Perfection is the enemy of done, so I’m okay if everything isn’t gold.

Websites Should Sell Stuff

We’ve seen sites we love sell.. shirts, sure. But I mean, there’s sooo much to be sold out there.

Apparently New York Magazine opened a shop, which seems odd, right? A music site could sell music (like Bandcamp’s store in Oakland, CA), but what’s a magazine sell?

In the beginning of 2018 I envisioned opening a shop for Skull Toaster based around classic metal magazines, like a museum of sorts, which then of course would have merch to buy to keep the lights on.

And heck, existing store can do it backwards! They already have the store, now start a site! I think of the countless record shops and music equipment stores and metal-themed restaurants that could use their brand to pull in artist and bands and designers, interview them, then put all those assets on the website for people to see for years to come (rather than disappear in the river of social media posts that are gone in 3.2 minutes).

Do websites still matter? That’s pretty much where you buy tickets, and do your banking, and emailing.. yeah, websites still matter. Make sure you got one in 2019!

Podcasts and Blog Posts

I wish more podcasts had blogs, and vice versa.

It doesn’t have to be a site with 14 updates a day, but it’d so nice to read some of the highlights of an episode before diving in.

I’m thinking beyond “show notes,” too. Podcasts are hidden and out of sight. It’s hard to stumble into an episode, whereas social media makes it easy to randomly find interesting ideas, or stories.

It would make sense, too, for weekly shows to post daily, because that just builds the brand. What news items do you cover? Maybe reviews, or instructional posts? Blogs get sticky, and when you have repeat visitors, whammo, you have a new episode up, and people click play (especially people who aren’t quite into podcasts, yet, and that’s a lot of people).

And how many quotable items are inside a podcast? The stories and insider information are just tucked away in an audio file, and maybe the episode gets one post of like, “hey, here’s our new episode.”

Pull out two items, that’s two more posts, that’s two more items to post to socials, and include in your email newsletter. One podcast could practically get you five posts that you can spread out over 2-3 weeks.

Reply to People First

How do you “increase engagement” on social media? Reply.

If the first thing you’re doing when getting on social media is tooting your own horn, consider this; start your day by replying to three people.

Be a part of the conversation that already exists, instead of always trying to announce and lead. If you want to grow in a community, build a fanbase, or just meet cool people, listen and be a part of the dialogue.

I talked about this on episode #78 of the Dumb and Dumbest podcast right here (it’s time stamped, so you don’t have to listen to the full episode).

Social Media is Not Rare

From “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It,” by Cal Newport, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, over at the NYTimes:

“In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable. Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article.”

I’ve met great people via social media in recent years, but so much of the amazing dialogue got washed away in the river, never to be seen again.

Compare that to an article on a website, an interview in a magazine, an EP… these things are increasingly rare. A catalog came in the mail yesterday that, yes, it wanted to sell me a new puffy jacket for $300. But the catalog has stuck around for a few days now. It hasn’t washed away in a sea of other catalogs because catalogs cost money to send, which makes them rare compared to a Tweet.

Social Network Changes

Somehow it’s the default now – you’re either on social media or you don’t exist. Forgotten. “Where have you been,” is the question, “I haven’t seen you online lately!”

It was only a few years ago when I ran a music site that published 20+ items per day. Now it’s the norm to publish 20+ updates per day about what we eat, what we read, and anything else that pops into our head.

For me, lately, though it’s a text. A phone call. Swapping emails into the night. All out of sight, at a much slower pace, but with a greater impact.

First Ten is Still Relevant almost Ten Years Later

I love this bit from Seth Godin, riffing on his 2009 post, ‘First, ten.’ There is no sense trying to win 1,000 fans if you can’t see the 10 right in front of you.

“Do your first 10 see your thing and thank you and move on,” asks Seth, “or do they go tell more people?”

If they don’t tell anyone, you need to work on that. Back the drawing board. No amount of tactics or tricks is gonna make it spread, you need to bake that into what you’re selling.