Before knowing the “transmedia”, I was already critically aware of the importance of having not just a cohesive online brand, but one that cross-promoted itself. Before starting djalexrose.com (and still now), Instagram was my primary social media platform. I had always promoted my Soundcloud using the business website function and by posting previews of songs, however, now the connection is deeper. My Instagram and Snapchats focus primarily on “story” function engagement with polls, event promotions, and exclusive media.
My Facebook and Twitter are both quite neglected, being automated to post content whenever I upload to Youtube and Soundcloud. I’ve heard from colleagues that Facebook has a much stronger ROI on advertisements than Instagram (which I recently tried) so I’ll be investing more into that platform soon. As of now, neither one has exclusive content.
Soundcloud has shifted to have only my best musical content. From originals to bootlegs to remixes, Soundcloud houses all the tracks that make it Spotify and ones that can’t clear copyright but are still strong releases. It also includes links to all my other social media platforms.
Youtube is the king of my content strategy. It’s home to weekly vlogs, 30-80 minute mixes, exclusive mashups, and much more. As you can see, djalexrose.com remains a focal point being included in my banner.
The final service I’ll mention is ArtistUnion, a download-gate service that exchanges downloads of your music for specified actions. In my case, I require my audience follows my Soundcloud and like and reposts the song they wish to download.
Let’s start off with my User Overview. We will look at my data since the website’s inception in January, including February 20 – March 10th whose data was lost due to a tracking code issue. My traffic is relatively low and consistent. According to 21 Handshake, my type of site has an average bounce rate of 70-90%. Compared to this benchmark, my bounce rate is very good at 38.44%, however, my low amount of users makes most of my analytics insubstantial. The biggest thing I’ve taken from this section is to remove my Youtube videos from my site as session durations are too short for them to be relevant.
Next up: some technology-related data. Most of my users are in the Apple ecosystem and use Google Chrome like myself. Not much to say here other than I may consider implementing an Apple Music widget as well, seeing as my music is hosted there as well as Spotify.
Now for geography. The website follows my Instagram and Soundcloud analytics in that I am predominantly popular in the United States and Canada. Interestingly, the website maintains my popularity from Spotify which is concentrated in Latin America, especially Chile and Brazil. This is most likely due to name confusion with Latin artist Alex Rose (the reason my name is spelt “alex rose”).
How about discovery? Well, there’s a pretty even split between Direct, Social, and Referral here. Most of my social traffic comes from Instagram (my primary social media for engaging my audience) and I’ve also seen a lot of traffic from my peers’ websites referring users to me. I should continue focusing on my Instagram as a traffic source and expand my collaboration to ensure more referrals. Finally, I plan to improve my SEO to see my organic search improve.
Finally, pageviews broke down by page. No surprise that my homepage would have the most traffic. It’s also comforting to see that my shows page, where my audience can purchase tickets and RSVP to events, is second most popular. Shows are a growing form of revenue for me so this is a welcome insight. Unfortunately, my blog doesn’t appear to get much attention. Most of my blog content can be found directly on my Youtube, but moving forward I plan to have exclusive blog content focused on SEO friendly tutorial content.
The first four months of 2018 have felt like the fastest of my life. At the crossroads of doors opened and closed, I’ve developed a digital home for myself to chronical what has begun to feel like the legitimate fruition of my creative pursuits. To say I’ve learned a lot about myself, my industry, my art, and my brand is an understatement. I want to focus the many learnings I’ve had into the 5 most important. Some of these I knew in a different context but had to realize they still applied, some were taught to me by mentors, and some I learned over the coals. Regardless, they continue to inform my decisions about this website and my digital presence overall.
Unfortunately, none of us come out of the womb knowing how to use Adobe Premier, how to produce in FL Studio, or how to design a website. Thankfully we live in possibly the best time to learn ever. Companies like Skillshare, Khan Academy, Lynda.com, and many more have been built with the sole intention of educating people and developing their hard-skills, with the World Economic Forum estimating the e-learning market was worth an enormous $166.5 billion in 2015. The best part? If these services aren’t the content for free, someone on Youtube is.
Here is a short list of hard-skills I’ve become proficient in mostly from video tutorials and with no formal training: DJing (both on controllers and on CDJs), music production (primarily in FL Studio), playing the guitar, Photoshop, Premiere, Salesforce, and so on.
I’ve seen far too many of my peers roll over and die at the discovery of their own ignorance or incompetence. News flash: success doesn’t come from your genes or luck, it comes from closing your Netflix tab and spending that time learning deliberately.
Build a home
I had some initial scepticism about the costs and benefits of creating a website for my brand. As a musical artist, my priority should be directing the public to my Spotify as my main revenue stream and putting clicks in between discovering me and listening to my music could lose potential listeners. I’ve learned very quickly however that this potential cost is vastly outweighed by having my own domain, my own home on the internet.
Magnetic Magazine puts it best in saying “one of the biggest advantages of running a website is that the artist has full control over it”. Unlike social media platforms like Instagram where I am at the whim of the algorithm about whether or not my tribe even see my content, every piece of content on this website is created and designed by myself. I can experiment and change as much or as little as want at any speed. The agility and freedom of having a website has allowed for me to engage my tribe how I see best.
The other huge benefit to having a website is the consolidation of the many platforms I use. Instead of linking people my Spotify, Soundcloud, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, I can just tell them to come here. It’s fantastic. Especially as I learned to integrate widgets throughout the site instead of hyperlinks, djalexrose.com became the easiest way to follow me on Spotify, subscribe to my Youtube, and much more. My blog and media pages are also filled with relevant content that is well organized, meaning my tribe can explore the site and find value throughout.
You are not your audience
Many creatives say that they make their art for themselves and that their desired audience is “people like me”. While the response may come from a place of wanted to seem authentic and empathetic, it can’t be true. If it were, any content you produce would have 0 value to the audience as they’ve already thought of, known, or seen it. It’s possible to have a past version of yourself as an intended audience, but to say you are your audience is a failure to understand your own potential and the variety of interests people have.
Take me for example. I am, as of writing this, a 21-year-old male from a major North American city who produces bass-heavy / ghetto house music at an intermediate level, DJs multiple genres at clubs downtown, is classically trained in music theory, and a vocalist. If I only targeted myself as my audience I would miss a lot of opportunities. For example, my experience as a classically trained musician who is literate in music theory is unique in the dance music production industry, meaning I can teach those who do not have my level of theory. Being a vocalist means I can attract other vocalists from outside of the dance music world. If I only focused on my own age range I would miss a huge potential audience of teenagers who consume dance music. Finally, as an intermediate producer, I can’t teach other intermediate producers but I can teach novice producers techniques I find valuable.
Your target audience should be value-aligned to your brand, meaning that they can extract value from your content, but that target is far larger than you as an individual. Accepting this fact does not come at the cost of authenticity, in fact, it amplifies it by making you seem inviting and accessible to the public.
Make it easy
After 4 years of a Communications degree, my writing and speech heirs more on the side of quantity over brevity. My tendency towards purple prose is still noticeable in my writing which is a huge problem when communicating with a general audience. Thankfully, the medium of a blog incentivizes concise content over the 3000-word research papers of my university faculty.
When it comes to creating content for my audience, I always keep in mind that I target beginner producers and dance music fans who have little-to-no technical knowledge. This manifests in my content in a couple key ways. First I try to never have videos go over 10 minutes to make sure my tutorials are focused and streamlined. Second, in editing I simplify sentences as much as possible. The more density of meaning and the less repetition the better.
This philosophy even impacts my UX design. Compared to other DJs, my website is very minimalist and visually simple. Take a look at Dutch superstar DJ Hardwell’s website. It is so cluttered with carousels and text boxes it leaves me nauseous. Of course, this is due to the challenges of being world famous and having multiple music labels to promote, but for an artist who is always so cutting edge, his website is surprisingly unfriendly. I try to do the opposite of Hardwell with my website. I am okay with having more than 2 pages for the sack of accessible and we as designers should always have the user’s ease in mind.
Don’t keep secrets
The world of music production like any art is prone to copy-cat’ing. Once Tchami and Oliver Heldens combined the worlds of deep house and mainstage electro to invent the genre of future house, Youtube exploded with tutorials on how to make their bass synth patches and percussion patterns. The same would happen with future bass, future bounce, and now Confession-style ghetto house. Because of this, most producers are reserved about sharing their techniques out of fear of being copied.
I believe that an artists sound goes beyond just the bass they use (see Tchami’s evolving style from 2014-2018) or the shaker they prefer. Videos titled “How to make music like _” or “How to sound like _” equip developing artists with new tools to add to their arsenal in developing their unique sound. Personally, learning to make percussion like Oliver Heldens, kick patterns like RICCI, basses like Tchami and Malaa, and melodies like Martin Garrix have allowed me to craft my own sound in my productions like Drank.
Sharing my techniques with other only works in my favour creating a stylistic movement behind my music. If someone produces a track similar to Drank, others will say “hey that sounds like Drank! I like it!” and both myself and the other artist benefit.
There you have it, my top 5 learnings from developing a website for my artist brand. I expect to continue learning more as this site and my career progress, but I’m extremely happy with where its come in such a short time. If you’re a returning reader, thanks for sticking with me, and if you’re new, welcome to djalexrose.com.