When Paul McCartney joined Instagram on Aug. 28 to promote his new single and forthcoming album, the Beatles member joined an elite club of club of veteran musical artists like Prince and Robert Plant, whom in the past month have embraced the modern world of social media.
Indeed, many legacy acts are now adopting social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram because of their unprecedented ability to reconnect with old fans and gain new ones.
Below, Billboard social/streaming chart manager William Gruger breaks down the opportunity for veteran artists on social media, as well as some of the key reasons to participate.
FREE PROMOTION, FREE DISTRIBUTION
On Aug. 8, Led Zeppelin singer Plant created an Instagram, Twitter account and Google Plus page to complement his newly revamped Website. To celebrate his newly created Twitter account, Plant offered an exclusive free download to the first 25,000 people who followed him. The track was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be,” performed by Plant’s current band, Robert Plant Presents the Sensational Space Shifters. At press time, Plant had more than 52,000 people following him on Twitter.
CONTROL YOUR BRAND (OR SOMEBODY ELSE WILL)
In mid-August, Prince, who is notorious for his aversion to technology, took to Twitter to tell the world about the band he’s currently performing with, 3RDEYEGIRL (@3rdeyegirl). A Google search of “Prince Twitter” will find that the second-from-top result is @PrinceTweets2U, a Prince parody account whose timely quips are surprisingly similar to what the real Prince tweets from @3rdeyegirl.
Prince represents a clear example of what can happen when an artist doesn’t claim their online social media territory. If you don’t, somebody else will. The tweets from @PrinceTweets2U are fairly harmless and don’t do Prince much harm, they certainly mislead fans who follow a fake account, which could be damaging to an artist’s credibility. In recent times, Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Kate Middleton, was forced to take legal action against a fake Twitter account that was damaging her reputation by posting advice on her behalf. The two-way dialog facilitated through social media between artists and fans is too great to ignore.
IT’S WHERE THE FANS ARE
Legacy Recordings, Sony Music’s catalog division, is a company that creates new box sets, reissues and greatest hits collections. The label works with numerous artists, managers and artist estates to maintain numerous social media sites.
“Increasingly, people are using social media more and more to find information,” says Sam Gomez, who oversees digital marketing at Legacy Recordings. “Facebook now has over 1 billion registered users and YouTube has over 1 billion unique visitors per month. We try to be where people are consuming information and entertainment.”