Twisted City by Chris Singleton - album sleeve

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Entries in Myspace (8)



Budding - or not-so-budding - musicians are naturally drawn towards social networks. In fact, I'd say the explosion in the popularity of social networks owes a lot to bands and artists going round 'befriending' people (a misnomer if ever there was one - and that's coming from a musician - 'bespamming' would be more appropriate!).

It's easy to see why: since their earliest days, social networks have offered bands (and indeed brands) a cheap way to connect with other people and to display their wares easily on a digital plate.

However, social networking has got to the point where there now are multitudes of communities to focus on - or worry about. Bands will know that keeping people engaged with these communities relies on there being interesting content regularly posted on these sites. But keeping tons of social networking presences up to date is extremely laborious.

Thankfully, there is a way around this, and it comes in the form of syndication. Recently I made a decision to use this blog as the main source of my content, and to feed it through to all my profiles. I started off by doing this mainly through importing this blog's Atom feed into Facebook pages, Last FM etc., but I'm now going to be using a tool called Ping to spread my blog's content all over the interweb.

If Ping does what it says on the tin, when I post this blog it should show up literally anywhere I've got a social networking presence - and that's a whole load of places: Myspace, Facebook, Last Fm, Twitter, iLike and more (it's getting faintly ridiculous!). Ping has been around for a while and I'm possibly a bit late to the party, but my hope is that from now on if I write stuff here, anybody else who has a whiff of interest in what I'm doing should get updated...without me having to worry about using javascript to import RSS feeds or copying and pasting content. There's a whole load of other snazzy (but probably pointless) stuff I can do with Ping too - for example, I think I can just text Ping if I want a message about the poo my cat is currently doing to appear on 20 social networks at once.

I'll let you know how I get on. If you're reading this successfully, it's probably worked!

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Hmnn...interesting. Everybody is currently talking about Twitter the way that we all went on about Facebook a couple of years ago. Even though Twitter's been around for a while, I think it's only now that widespread take-up of it is starting to happen. Maybe it's something we've all got to do in a recession.

For the uninitiated, Twitter is basically a way of telling people what you're up to at a given point in time. It's pretty much like a Facebook status update, but I think what makes it a little bit more interesting than that is the way you can syndicate your twittering quite easily across the web. One status update can be broadcast across a wide range of networks - say what you're doing on Twitter, and it can appear on your Facebook page, website, blog and so on.

I'm not sure what the advantages of this are yet, compared to syndicating other content, but more and more people are twittering, so there is probably something in it - at the very least, some sort of market. As such, I'm going to find out how musicians can use Twitter to flog albums and gig tickets. If I come up with any interesting 'learnings' (to use a horrible management-speak word that should be banned) I shall think about letting you know.

If you are arsed, my rather uninteresting twittering can be heard at

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New Chris Singleton songs

A quick note to let my devoted following [sic] know that I've put 3 new tracks up on my Myspace page, These are

Lose It
Bad Ambitions
Let Me Out

and I hope you like them (despite the quite awful Myspace compression).

Unlike my last album, 'Twisted City', my new stuff has a lot more musicians on it (I'm not, hardy har, playing with myself quite so much).

The first two tracks feature the velvet backing vocals of John Gibbons; the third features the soulful sweetness of Jane Fraser. On bass for 'Lose It' and 'Let Me Out' we have the one and only Zane Maertens; the prince of precision, Ben Woollacott plays drums on 'Bad Ambitions'. Our electrician Peter Rollinson, who is also a damn fine trumpet player, is the boy behind the brass on 'Bad Ambitions'. I'm on the vocals, axes (guitars) and keys.

Do let me know what you think of the songs by posting a comment - I'm interested in hearing what people make of the new stuff.

Also, please excuse the silly adjectives employed above to describe my musicians - I went to see Leonard Cohen the other night and he introduces his musicians with such hilarious flair that I felt compelled to use some of my own daft phrases in this post. Apologies to all involved.

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Music by numbers

A while ago, I wrote a blog post about the increasing importance of data to musicians. The gist of it was that in the burgeoning 'free music' era, bands and musicians should aim to capture the details of people who are downloading their songs for free. The idea being that even if artists are not making money directly from recorded songs, they can generate income in other ways by marketing merchandise, tours and so on to fans whose email addresses they have obtained.

There's another type of data which is of increasing significance to musicians, and it doesn't necessarily involve email addresses. It's statistical data.

With the rise of social networks like Facebook, Myspace, iLike and Last FM, musicians now have a plethora of ways to measure how many people are listening to their music. For example, any band with a Myspace page will be able to see how many plays of their songs they are getting; which tracks tend to be more popular; and how many songs are downloaded (as opposed to just listened to). On iLike, there are similar statistics, which again let musicians see how many plays their tracks are getting, and other interesting counts, like how many people are adding a band's songs to Facebook pages and how many people are sharing particular songs with friends.

These statistics tend to focus on two things: popularity of songs, and listeners' behaviour. Both are of enormous interest to musicians.

The popularity measurement is fairly straightforward. Thanks to Myspace and Facebook a band can put up, say, five tracks on a profile and run an unofficial focus group on which of their songs would make the best singles (depending on how commercial-minded the band is, the tracks that get the most plays).

Looking at listeners' behaviour is more complicated, but extremely interesting. Thanks to social networks (and other sites) you can examine what listeners are doing with music. With a bit of investigation, you can find out who is

  • adding your song to their social networking page
  • dedicating your songs to friends
  • listing themselves as being a fan of your music
  • recommending you as an artist to online communities
  • feeding back on your music
  • talking about you behind your back
The list goes on, depending on which websites a you are using, but essentially, when you look at the data, pictures of behaviour emerge that can influence how bands and artists communicate and build relationships with fans.

All sites are not equal when it comes to music statistics though. Of all the social networks that I've used to promote my music, the one I trust the most for music statistics is Last FM. This is because it doesn't just measure online plays of music - it goes far beyond that. Every time a registered Last FM user plugs their iPod or MP3 player into their computer, it looks at what they've been listening to and uses it to compile statistics; the same happens when a user plays a cd on their PC. The statistics are extremely comprehensive too, with charts being compiled on a band's most popular songs overall, by week or over a 6 month period. And you can see exactly who's been playing your music, and how much.

Crucially, Last FM distinguishes between listeners and plays. This is not the case with Myspace, where you can only look at the number of plays of songs - there is no listener data. This is pretty useless really; generally, once a Myspace page is visited by either a human or a search engine webbot, the play tally goes up, regardless of whether the song has been listened to by the human or, er, webbot in question. And unlike Last FM, none of the data is stored; once you've removed a song from your page, the data goes with it.

In essence though there is a lot to be gleaned from the musical information that the web provides - by looking at who is playing your music, and what they're doing with it, I think it is possible to grow fanbases and understand what makes people tick musically. But it's hard work, and you have to be able to work out the good stats from the bad.

If you want to check out some of my statistics, my Last FM profile is at



Ways you can support Chris Singleton

Hi all,

Here's a post about how you can support my music. Thanks to all of you who already have helped out! Please do as many of the below as you can, as it will help spread the word about new indie music.

1. Download my 'Twisted City' album free
You can get it at

2. Tell all your friends about the album

3. If you like the album, please consider making a safe, secure donation
You can donate as much or as little as you like using my Paypal honesty box. This really helps finance the recording and promotion of my music. (Note: Paypal pages sometime takes a few seconds to load, please be patient).

4. Play the album to friends, colleagues and family
Play 'Twisted City' to people you know whenever you get a chance - put it on at work, at parties or in the car.

5. Support me on Facebook.
First, put "Chris Singleton" in your favourite music section. Then...

  • Add me as your friend here
  • Become a fan here (and remember to click iLike this artist button)
  • Join my group here.

6. Become a fan on Myspace
If you use Myspace, add me as your Myspace friend. You can also add one of my songs to your page and post a bulletin about my free album to your friends.

7. Support me using iLike
Go to and click the 'Click to iLike' button.

8. Support me on Last FM
If you you use Last FM, become my friend and scrobble me whenever you play one of my tracks on your computer.

9. Subscribe to my blog for news, more free stuff and ways to help
Just go to for details.

If you do the above 9 things, I can't guarantee you good luck / sex / health (delete as appropriate...) for the rest of your life...this isn't one of those dodgy chain letters!

But you'll be doing me a big favour and helping me to make more independent music available.

Many thanks for your support,