How To Be Good At The Internet, By Danny Script
Danny from the Script is a very clever man. Not just in everyday life, although I'm sure that's true too, but also because he knows enough to realise that he doesn't know everything. And this is the key to his band's success. That, plus a canny realisation that there are millions of people out there, all talking to each other on the internet, and it doesn't take much to get some of them to talk about you, so long as you're prepared to talk to them back.
And it clearly works for them. Two massive albums, another single in the (virtual) shops this week - it's called 'Nothing' and the video is here - fans all over the world...and it's all thanks to a little chatting and a lot of charm. And some songs, obv.
If you're involved in any kind of creative endeavour, and you're at all interested in how you can build a fanbase of like-minded people around what you do, here's Danny's 10 tips to help you get the most out of the web.
1: Be available
It's the touch of class that really excels you over the heads of other bands. Rather than getting some informative email that says "single's out this week, let's charge it up the charts because it would really make the band happy". No! You guys are really behind the music, and we wouldn't be anything without our fans, we really wouldn't.
2: It costs nothing to reach out to people
For us, it's always been about guerilla-style tactics. Anything like that, you know we A&R-ed the record online. We had a Facebook page, a MySpace, we had everything. And we were putting songs up on a week-to-week basis, saying "look, here's a verse and a chorus, do you like it? Do you think we should finish it? Do you not?" And I think that's the best way as a new band, you get the chance to get your music out to people who are genuinely interested in it.
3: Do your research
More times than not, you send out a mailing list, and you might get 10% of people coming back. But if you've researched these people yourself, going out, finding these people's profiles - it sounds kind of like stalking - but if you look at them and you notice that they like Kanye West, Maroon 5, Keane, Coldplay...nine times out of ten they'll at least listen to your music. They may not like it all the time, but if you just hit them up with a mail saying "listen we've just finished our album" or "we've just finished this song. I'd love for you to give your opinion", a lot of people will look at it and think "they're actually asking my opinion!"
4: Let them have an impact on your work
'If You See Kay', a song on the first album, was directly given birth to that way. We threw a verse and a chorus up online, and people went "it's deadly, it'd be great if it went this way, or that way"...it was a great A&R process because they feel like they own the song. They feel like they really had a hand in getting it there, which they did. I think that's worth gold these days. The fact that you care about what people think. So rather than someone sitting down on the internet and surfing it on their own, they actually feel like "I'm from China, and I've got the chance to comment on this European band's album". And that's really the way it's been.
5: But not TOO much of an impact
You're not going to take lyrical or melodic ideas, because that's what makes you an artist, but if the majority of people are saying "good on you, mate", then you kind of just go "well obviously THEY like it, so we should continue on down that road."
6: Don't worry about the haters
If you listened to every negative thing that was said about you, you wouldn't be here. It's all down to general consensus. If you get 20 people up there [around a song], 15 have said it's great, three have said "who gives a monkeys?" and two of them have called you names, you don't listen to the people calling you names. You go with what the majority is, that's it.
7: Don't pin all your hopes on one idea
You know when your play button is on ten of your songs, and if there's one song where people have just been click-dodging over that one song, you know it's not a good song. If people have been raiding the replay button on one song, you can see it. Then you can go "wow! That's getting a great response, I didn't think it would, but it did."
8: It's a marathon, not a sprint
If you look at any of our networking sites, it's us, we still do it. We're a very multi-faceted band, in the fact that we really enjoy being online. We enjoy interacting with our fans. So if you look at our Twitter feed, we're tweeting four times a day, it's very up-to-date. We follow people as well, so it's not just a one-sided thing. People get the opportunity to know what we're doing and we get the opportunity to know what people are doing. So I love the internet.
9: It's all about transparency
We were in Demark, we touched down and Me and Glen hadn't a clue what to do or where to go. We just tweeted it, like "what's there to do in Denmark?", and within ten seconds there was like 15 different options. It's a great way to keep in contact with your fans and for us, that's what it's all about. We're living in a new industry. All the shackles are taken off, all the walls are coming down from around acts and it's all about transparency. It's about "are you the real thing?" and "is it really you answering your emails?", and not some robotic peon sitting in some office somewhere that is supposed to be Mark Owen or Liam Gallagher. They know it's us, and we've kept up relationships with these people even from day one.
10: Make your own celebrations
We had a show last night in the Islington Academy that we put on for all our fans, it was a free gig. We put it up on Facebook saying "listen if you guys can give us a push to No.1, and tell all your friends, we'll put on a free show." And lo and behold that week we were at No.1, so we came through on the promise and put the show on last night. It was a big success and everyone was there. It was a bit more special than a lot of the other gigs because I was looking around the crowd and I knew literally every person there. All of these people had come to so many shows over the years.
It started with us and a small handful of people in a room, and we wanted to bring it back to that. Islington Academy was one of our first shows when we came to England, that's why we picked it as a ground zero, so we could go back to where it all happened for us.