You’re expected, first, to have a website and to keep refreshing it. Then you have to appear on social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Tumblr, Wynken, Blynken, or NOD. (Okay, I made the last three up, but trust me, if they don’t exist right now, they will within the next 4 microseconds.)
You also have to get your music up on sites so it can be bought (you hope) and downloaded from the Net. And you have to video your latest gig so that it too can go up on YouTube, because the one you put there of last week’s gig is, well, so last week.
And then of course, you’d better blog about the gig and tweet about it, both before and after—and preferably even during!
And you must also learn how to DO all of the above. Some of it’s easy, some of it’s harder, especially if, like me, you weren’t born with a digital device in your hand.
So recently, and belatedly, I learned how to use Windows Movie Maker. While a couple of other people have done videos for YouTube for songs of mine, I’ve been told my YouTube presence is sorely lacking, so it was time to try my hand at one myself.
Now I could have just put the credits up with the audio track and no images at all, but I wanted something that would stand out a bit more (on the Web we’re all competing for eyeballs and earballs, after all), especially since this song honours the memory of one of my sisters.
But it wasn’t easy, in part because I didn’t want to steal images from other people’s websites or Flickr streams, etc. (which I’m sure millions of others do). And contacting them to ask permission would have been time consuming. I was finally able to find a few images I could use because they’re licensed with Creative Commons, and then I added images of my own.
Movie Maker 7 isn’t that complicated, but I still spent many hours fine-tuning this little video—hours I should have spent trying to get gigs, practising new chords, or working out harmonies for the CD I’m recording. But this is 2012, and this is the current reality.
Or is it? If you’re a musician, how much time do you spend on your Web presence? Is it helping? Do we have to be digital slaves? Please share!
Marie-Lynn Hammond is a co-founder of Stringband, a seminal Canadian folk group, and a critically acclaimed songwriter living in York Region. In past lives she’s written plays and magazine articles and hosted national CBC radio shows. In between working on two new CDs, she freelances as an editor of both fiction and nonfiction. http://www.marielynnhammond.com/