Thursday, July 17, 2008

@chicagorock: Bands on Twitter

Chicagorock is looking up Chicago bands on Twitter.

ReaderX @chicagorock: There are bands on Twitter?

Chicagorock @readerX: Yeah!

ReaderX @chicagorock: Cool. What exactly is Twitter all about, anyway?

Chicagorock @readerX: I dunno, but check out that awesome whale!

Those of you who have jumped fearlessly into the wild world of Twitter might be able to make some sense of the above conversation, fabricated for the purposes of this post. As for the rest of you, what I'm trying to say is that I’ve cracked and signed up for the latest online social networking craze - and so have some local bands.

Not so long ago, pretty much the only ways to check out a band were to buy their music or go to one of their shows. Then came MySpace and Facebook, and suddenly I not only could listen to almost any band at any time, some of them even wanted to be my friend (OK, if only for promotional reasons…)! Now, it seems indie bands have a new promo outlet in Twitter, a site that allows you to “follow” what your network of friends is doing and also let them know what you’re up to at all times.

Don’t get what makes it so special? I'm not sure I do either, even after playing around on it for a while and listening to multiple people try to tell me all about what makes it so cool. But one thing’s for sure - Twitter is undeniably addictive. It’s a simple concept, yet it's somehow satisfying to let all 3 or 12 or 2000 people in your network know that you’re “totally stoked for the show tonight!,” for example. Apparently, you can even do so wherever you’re at via your cell phone.

Immediately after I joined (“chicagorock” – let's be friends), I searched for “Chicago bands” and “Chicago music,” and actually found that more than a few local musicians have gotten in on the act. I am now “Tweeting” with some of them, including braam, Marty Williamson, Lucid Ground, Overman and Loyal Divide.

Will Twitter become a truly valuable promotional tool for musicians? I’m not so sure, as the novelty of a cool band Tweeting at you might wear off if the site becomes flooded with them a la MySpace. It does seem to be the most simple way to let groups of people know about shows and record releases because users seem more likely to read all their Tweets than they are bulletins or group postings on other networking sites.

What do you think? Is it worthwhile for bands to jump on the Twitter bandwagon? Are you open to discovering new music through the site?

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