Artist interview: Musician Jon Magnusson
Jon is an indie folk artist from Stockholm, Sweden. He’s just released a new EP, Always A Rebel. He also blogs, curates Spotify playlists and publishes great tips for other independent artists.
Do you work exclusively in the indie folk space?
I mostly devote myself to indie folk but I also dip my toes in and get inspired by punk, jazz, soul, new wave etc. Thanks to all the different social media I have also been able to collaborate with electronic music producer and not to forget I made a hip-hop collab with a Brazilian rapper. My passion comes partly from the music itself, how music affects us emotionally, and also the people behind the music and their stories. Besides my own music, I'm putting a lot of work in promoting other artists and building a community of independent artist of all kinds of genres.
What’s the latest thing to come out of the studio?
At the moment I'm promoting my new EP that just went live on the 9th of March on all major platforms.
What is unique about the work that sets you apart from other indie folk artists?
I'm always looking for an edge in my music, like adding a bar in 5/4 beat in my music or a distorted glockenspiel. My device is that "Interesting is better than good".
Also, I am a true DIY (and Do it Together) kind of artist. I co-produce all my music and do all my promotion myself by building relationships with other artists and others within the music scene, spending my money on investment in myself rather than pointless PR-campaigns.
Do you promote your work on social media? What platforms are you on?
I’m also on new blockchain-based platforms like Musicoin and Steemit that actually give you the chance to earn a decent amount from your work.
On which platform do you have the largest audience?
Twitter is my main platform for connecting with people. But since it's so big and can be a bit messy I try to direct people to subscribe to my Messenger channel which lets me both interact 1 on 1 with my followers but also to send out updates and other bulk messages.
How have you grown your social media audience?
Interaction, interaction, interaction. I'm way too restless to have a schedule. So I have a basic idea on how to connect with people no matter if they are fans, other artists or journalists. And then I try different tactics like writing a personal DM on Twitter, sending an e-mail, making promotional videos on Facebook and Instagram etc.
But most of all, I interact and try to be as social and genuine as I can and really give people a bit of my personality and so far it has proven very effective.
What would you say to other musicians who are working out how to make a go of this music thing?
Network. Join Twitter tags like #MusicHourUK (four times a week) or #UnsignedChat and do not only promote yourself but also show interest in others.
Do you pay for advertising either online or in other media?
Nope, I pay for a mentor and to educate myself.
Where do you make the most sales?
I haven't really come to that place in my career where I need to sell a lot of music. I'm building my career small and steady by building a fan base and I have some small streams of income from streaming and some micropayment sites like Channels.cc but at the moment it's my day job that pays the bills. I'm focusing on building my following. Selling physical CD's and merch is just a bonus and nothing I depend on.
How would you sum up your overall marketing philosophy?
It's all about relationships.
Do you use any tools or apps to help you market your work online?
What are your top 3 tips to help other creative people learning to market their work?
1. Running the risk of being repetitive, build relationship with others. No one wants to get a Twitter DM from someone with a link and "Hey listen to my new song, it's DOPE".
2. Find out why you wanna make money from your art. If you don't have a mission you won't have the persistence to keep struggling when you do those things that aren’t that fun.
3. Learn from others. Take in as much inspiration you can from other artists but also creatives in other fields and apply the things that work out for you. Test new ideas and strategies and if they don't work, just throw them in the trash can and try something else. "You either win, or you learn".