Firstly, let me say that LinkedIn is good & has many benefits; this isn’t a rant. I do want to highlight the issues many people in the Music Industry face whilst using LinkedIn and common things I hear all the time.
LinkedIn first and foremost, is a good resource for advice; there are some really good groups and amongst the self promotion posts, which you will get anywhere online, there is some very good advice from some top business professionals.
Building connections in any business is fundamental; none more so in the music industry. They provide a good vehicle to connect to people within your industry & it is free after all. First impressions are very important, especially if you’re selling a service or a product or yourself for that matter. With LinkedIn you have a very easy way of presenting yourself as a business professional, which is then supported by your own personal website & the way you communicate.
Don’t make the mistake that it doesn’t matter what your profile looks like, it is important, like any brand, you have to be consistency, so invest a little bit of time with your profile, and do have a decent profile image, if you don’t, anyone viewing your profile, will probably get the impression, you couldn’t be bothered, well if that’s the impression you want to give, fine, but think about it, if you’re going to have an account, use it to your advantage.
In summary, I personally think LinkedIn is good, however the advertising to far too expensive, especially for SME’s, which in mind LinkedIn have got it totally wrong with their business model.
The following issues may be familiar to you as they are with me and so many people I talk to.
Making connections – Obviously this is a good thing; however connections in the main, are made with no real reason, purpose or driven by an end goal. Ok so you connect to someone, maybe an A&R person at a label and you email them your music to see about a license etc and it normally ends there. Why? Because, in the whole what you are doing isn’t very targeted & being honest A&R people like to be the one who do the finding, not the other way round.
If you are connecting with someone specifically to work with them, ok, that’s fine, but what if you have just produced or written a new song and you need to connect to a singer or a musician outside your network? During a Project & recording process you need to work with several people, of course not all the time, but working with others is inspiring & co-writing is very rewarding. With LinkedIn, this is where it gets rather tricky. LinkedIn is best designed for sales people in the whole to connect and convert people into customers, simple, but they won’t admit this, I very much doubt.
When it comes to Music & Projects, LinkedIn just doesn’t work.
1. You can’t review people’s music, without having to jump through various hoops & links to other websites, which is very time consuming & a pain in the backside.
2. There’s no way of posting up a Project and defining your need. Yes, you can pop something up on a Group, but it generally doesn’t work, it’s the same process as popping something on a forum or an advert in gumtree, it’s too hit and miss. There’s no way of filtering & targeting you to the right person for your project & group posting rely on others to keep checking them for themselves, rather than receiving a direct notification that’s targeted at your skill set.
3. There’s no functionality to help you, even if you do find someone to work with, you have to use third party websites to transfer and share project files & audio. All very long winded and lacks any great security or protection.
4. To negotiate terms for the Project, you’re left to your own devices, so you run the risk of having potential issues, especially if you are working with someone for the first time. You aren’t able to check their past history, who they have worked with before, was there any problems? Ultimately can they be trusted.
5. If you find someone through LinkedIn, and start working with them, there’s no workflow, no function to monitor timescales, commitment and what about payment, how does that work, who & when do you pay people and as a worker, how do you know that after doing the work, the other person will paid you ok? A lot of unknowns and issues which waste your time and money.
Look, this isn’t LinkedIn’s fault; it wasn’t designed for the Music Industry and project work, but is there an alternative? Do read on…
Endorsements -Sometime ago now LinkedIn introduced a new system of endorsing people for their skills, the boffins at head office obviously wanted to stimulate engagement, it worked, but in my opinion had a negative effect in the opinion of value, let me explain.
Previously you could only receive & accept recommendations from people you were connected with and you had to put in a fair amount of effort to write something bespoke for that person, this still exists on LinkedIn and in my opinion is much better than their big push on the new skill endorsements.
With the changes we see now, the issue is people you don’t know, never worked with and not even spoken to you are endorsing you for skills, just because it’s in your face as soon as you connect. LinkedIn are very good and influencing you with their clear call to actions, which you then feel obliged to use.
Without showing off, I do have a lot of connections, but I have only ever endorsed people I know and more importantly worked with. This isn’t a major issue; I just find it a little annoying…
Advertising -In my opinion, LinkedIn advertising is far too expensive and alienates small to medium sized business. I’ve tried it a few times and the returns are low, ok like most advertising channels, but if you compare it to Adwords, Bing, or Facebook, the ROI is not good. Having said this, if you are selling big products & services, and your margins are high, then you can cope with the CPC rate (Cost per click), but again, LinkedIn seem to be missing a trick here and not catering for the much larger market with the SME companies.
So, what’s the alternative?
Well, first of all, don’t stop using LinkedIn, like I say, it does have its benefits, but as far as making connections in the Music Industry and conducting Project work with purpose, direction & an end goal, there now is an alternative, Music Gateway.
Music Gateway is 100% focused on workflow and functionality to get you connected to the right professional for your project. You don’t build up connections at all; you only connect when you find the right person for your project. It’s designed for B2B professionals and has nothing to do with social media, distribution, licensing or direct to fan services. The site handles the legwork with various Project Types & features like their Workspace area’s which allow you to transfer, upload & download audio & project files. There is an account wallet system, so you can send, receive and withdraw funds securely. It works as a targeted market place & generates work opportunities.
I could go on and explain more, but I suggest you check the overview video on their homepage, which you can check. www.musicgateway.com
I hope you like the site and see the clear differences between LinkedIn and Music Gateway.