June 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Musician Q-and-A: Headliner.fm Helps Bands Promote Each Other


Headliner dashboard

Headliner makes it easy to reach thousands of fans through your artist network.

We tend to focus on the digital music revolution from the listener’s perspective here at Evolver.fm, but musicians have a lot to gain from these technological advances too.

In the case of Headliner.fm, a social media web app that taps into a networks of artists, they’re finding easier and faster ways to get their message out and onto the web, by working together.

Boston pop singer Kat McGivern has used Headliner.fm religiously over the past three months. In that time, she’s reached over 200,000 fans while cutting the time it takes her to run her social media campaigns down from five hours a week down to five minutes per week. Better results in one sixtieth of the time… what’s not to like?

McGivern used a small portion of her newly-discovered free time to tell Evolver.fm how she likes to get her word out to her fans; the difficulties surrounding “single stream” social media campaigns; and why Headliner.fm is “truly a brilliant idea.”

Chase Hoffberger, Evolver.fm: How did you first hear about Headliner.fm?

Kat McGivern: I learned about it through Sonicbids, a press kit service that a lot of artists use to book gigs and submit to contests and stuff. They were recommending Headliner and had a discount trial offer. I’m in love with it. It’s a brilliant idea. Artists already tend to promote each other over their social networks. When I put out my album, I wrote all my friends and was like, “Can you please go promote this?” It’s a lot of work to find bands that you like, that like you, that have the same genre of music, and that are worth promoting. Headliner makes it a five-minute process.

Evolver.fm: What does Headliner do to make it so easy?

Headliner campaign

You can use Headliner to set up social media campaigns for Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace (for now).

Kat McGivern: You can create a campaign on Twitter, Facebook, or Myspace. You can choose a social network, what types of bands you want, you can request certain bands, or run what they call a “Set and Forget” campaign” where they match you with bands. That last option is super-fast, and I love it.

Evolver.fm: So you can enter in the type of music you want to match up with and they’ll find the right bands for you.

Kat McGivern: Exactly. When you’re doing social media marketing, in between the time periods when you have things to say to your fans, or music to put out, Headliner actually gives you the opportunity to earn points by promoting other artists. You completely control which artists you promote. You can listen to the bands, check the links, and decide whether or not you think your fans will like these artists. It completely streamlines social networking platforms between artists and lets artists exchange social network promotion.

Evolver.fm: What were you using social media-wise before you started using Headliner?

Kat McGivern: I was doing Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Myspace — I did a lot of Myspace promotion. I’ve done a fair amount of radio promotion, too. But again, Headliner is so easy. I’ve done a lot of pay-per-click campaigns on Facebook, and your return-on-investment is a lot bigger with Headliner. And it’s faster. It’s just really fast and easy to use. I go on once a week, approve a few bands, and make sure that my campaigns are running. It maybe takes five or ten minutes every time I log on.

Evolver.fm: Before you started using Headliner, how much time would you spend on all your social networks doing promotion?

Headliner browse artists

Browse artists in your genre to add bands to your network.

Kat McGivern: With Facebook campaigns, I’d sometimes spend up to five hours tweaking campaigns. With pay-per-click campaigns, you run a lot of tests to see which campaigns people respond to. I find that with Headliner the analytics are easier; the whole process is streamlined. You don’t have to tweak or nitpick. If I were to run a Facebook ad, I’d have to run a pay-per-click campaign, and then I’d run five or six ads and run the ad with the highest click-through rate. When it came time to promote something else, I’d do the same thing. It’s very time consuming, and Headliner’s not. Plus, Headliner will remind me when I have a lot of pending stuff, so it’s easy to avoid getting lost. It’s very helpful.

Evolver.fm: How do you go about setting up a campaign?

Kat McGivern: Let’s say you have a band, and I want you to send out a message to your fans about a new video I’ve made. I create a tiny URL for that video and I put in a message that says, “Hey! Kat McGivern’s new video is the bomb! Go check it out.” Then you’ll receive an offer from me asking you to promote it. You’ll see the message, preview the message, and decide whether or not you want to post it on that date. If you approve of it, you’ll see the message go up on whatever social network I’m posting it on.

Evolver.fm: How big is your network on Headliner right now?

Kat McGivern: I reach a couple-hundred-thousand people through Headliner, and my personal social network community is something like 24,000 fans. I’m not sure what my number of networked bands is up to exactly, but I know I’ve linked with several thousand.

Evolver.fm: Have you started to establish relationships with these bands outside of Headliner?

Kat McGivern: Not yet, but I have found some bands that I’ve really been interested in. A lot of the promotion that I do isn’t in my local area, but I have definitely come across some independent bands on Headliner that I personally like and am happy to promote and would love to book gigs with. It definitely builds your personal network if you need an opening act or something like that.

Evolver.fm: Have you tried using any other sites that are designed to streamline the promotion process, like urthots?

Kat McGivern: Before I got into Headliner I was on Reverb Nation, and they advertise all these affiliate deals. They ran an ad for Twitmob, and I was going to start running a campaign there until I found that it was a bit more for the corporate end. And it’s significantly more expensive. Like, if you wanted to pay a few hundred dollars you could have Kanye West tweet your album — but there’s no way to measure your return on that. There’s no way to see how often it’s viewed or retweeted. You get a lot of bang for your buck with Headliner. It’s truly a brilliant idea.

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  • http://twitter.com/slainson Suzanne Lainson

    This sounds interesting. However, I know that numbers often don’t translate into a financial reward for music. You can reach a lot of people and they still don’t buy your music or come to your shows. In the end, what seems to count most are true fans, who then tell their friends. So while Headliner.fm can increase reach, has it been useful in terms of finding true fans?

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