101 Fantastic Freebies
Freebies in Action: Web Sites Help a Band Find Fame
If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere...and no, we're not talking about New York, New York. Instead, we're talking about music and social-networking sites such as Last.fm, MySpace, and PureVolume.
Throw the Fight, a five-piece rock band from Minneapolis, has become a well-known fixture on all of those sites. And by collecting a devoted mass of fans in cyberspace, the group has managed to avoid the usual lengthy, school-of-hard-knocks rock apprenticeship, moving from being an unknown, unsigned regional band to one with a national following -- and one that now has a deal with the Warner Music Group's Cordless Recordings.
"The band started about four years ago, and right away we began using those kinds of sites," says Ryan Baustert, guitar player and a vocalist for the band. Baustert says that literally every day band members spend time on one or more sites to build up their following by signing up new friends and posting their music.
The effort quickly paid dividends: More fans who had listened to or heard about Throw the Fight online started coming to their local shows.
On MySpace, the band has signed up 24,000 friends and logged 100,000 plays of its music. On PureVolume, it has received 53,000 plays. In July 2006, Throw the Fight was the number one unsigned band on PureVolume.
A manager in New York came across the group online, and the parties entered a management contract. Then Cordless Recordings approached the manager, looking for a hard-rock band -- and Throw the Fight was signed.
"Without these kinds of sites and the Internet, it takes much longer for a band to become known and get signed," Baustert says. "You've got to be out there at the grass roots and playing as many shows as you can, of course, but using the Internet makes it that much more likely you can be a success."
Though the band now has a label, it has no plans to stop using networking sites like Last.fm, MySpace, and PureVolume.
"We remember where we came from. It just comes down to being accessible to everyone," Baustert says. "And also, we've got to keep the buzz going."