Social Media Epiphany at a Neal Morse concert
The other night I went to a concert in Chicago, with multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse and his extraordinary percussionist Mike Portnoy. Between Neal’s band and two guest bands, it was five hours of Progressive Rock musical bliss.
I noticed something strange and interesting during the concert:
Scarcely ANYONE was sitting there scrolling through Facebook on their smart phone, or even using their smart phone much at all.
Sure, people used phones on breaks. But it was utterly, completely different from what you’d see at, say, a Justin Bieber concert, where tween girls would have their phones out all the time.
Why is that?
Because a Neal Morse concert is one of those odd places where the line at the Men’s room is 5X longer than the ladies’ room. Prog rock is a male sport and 80% of the people who dig Neal are men.
Neal’s fans are men age 35-60.
And on top of that, Neal’s music is “Head Music.” Neal’s lyrics are more heartfelt than most in his genre, but Progressive Rock is still a head trip.
Weird chords, non-stop time signature changes, polyrhythms, complex arrangements. You might get elements of jazz, blues, heavy metal, Broadway show tunes and flamenco, stir-fried together in one 15-minute epic.
Rock for insatiable, stimulation-hungry brains. It’s the musical equivalent of a giant Excel spreadsheet with 1000 columns and 16 tabs.
(It’s darn impressive that anybody can play it for 2+ hours. Especially from memory. It’s more complex than most classical or jazz.)
Well guess what:
Head Trips + Middle-Aged Men = NOT Facebook. This is just not the kind of crowd who wants to sit there and “like” and “share” and “emote.”
But make no mistake, they’re hungry wolves. The first band started at 7pm and Neal’s band didn’t finish their encore till 12:45am. Most stuck around for the whole shebang.
Now… if you thought I was going to say Facebook is not useful for Neal Morse, you’d be wrong. Because almost all those fans ARE on Facebook and most of them use it every day. They just don’t obsess over it.
Free Status Updates in the Facebook News Feed will not get anywhere near the results that are possible from other media. Mike Portnoy has 680,000 Facebook fans and I bet you less than 100,000 actually see his status updates. Only 10-20% of your fans see them.
If Neal was asking me for advice, I’d tell him he should be super aggressive about building his EMAIL LIST through Facebook ads. He should be targeting fans of Dream Theater and every band Mike Portnoy’s ever been in. And YES and Emerson Lake & Palmer and King Crimson and Porcupine Tree and probably Rush and Metallica.
And yes, he should get Facebook likes, and he should absolutely *advertise* to fans of his page 24/7 before every album release and tour. (That’s critical. Otherwise most won’t even know he’s on the road.)
I have *many* customers who sell various kinds of music and entertainment who are doing very well with Facebook ads.
But most important of all is, he should give away free music and other goodies in exchange for email addresses, and aggressively build his EMAIL LIST.
Middle-aged men are email-driven. The guy who wins this game is the guy with the biggest email list with the most interesting stories and updates. That’s the guy who’s gonna have sold-out shows.
Bonus video for today (scroll up): Neal Morse’s band playing his prog masterpiece “Author of Confusion” – with drummer Collin Leijenaar sitting in for Mike Portnoy. Enjoy!
Subscribe to “Marketing Secrets of Rush”