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Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Lil Mama & The Future of Artist Promotion

Lil Mama calls herself “the voice of the young people”, and judging by her MySpace page she is definitely affluent in all the ways tweens/teens are using social networking tools to communicate.

I have been following Lil Mama’s career progression for a while now, mostly because there’s something intriguing about a young local artist who is relying on her talent rather than strictly sexual appeal to reach a global audience (and these days, would you settle for anything less than global?).*

* I feel the need to clarify this statement -  For an artist trying to achieve mainstream visibility (i.e, Lil Mama doing a remix of Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” – that’s pretty mainstream), building a global fan base is achievable at a much faster rate, thanks in part to the plethora of free online social media offerings.

That said, reaching billions of fans should not necessarily be the first goal on every artist’s checklist. I am definitely not undermining the value of nurturing local/micro audiences. Many people consistently perform for small-medium sized audiences across the country, and are making a living doing what they love. This is respectable, admirable, and essential to nurturing the evolution of musical genres.*

So in terms of Lil Mama, she is currently the best example I can think of, in terms of artist management, where a team is fairly comprehensively harnessing existing social media tools to SUCCESSFULLY speak the language of a new artist’s audience/rapidly growing fanbase.

Lil Mama’s MySpace page is a useful primer in what social media sites kids really use and how to best use them to communicate with an audience. Lil Mama’s team has taken two ingenious steps that I have yet to document among other artists: (let me know if you see this elsewhere among mainstream artists)

* social media site tie-ins (being featured on each site)

* Using the MySpace blog function to promote these tie-ins and encourage fans through personalized video messages to set up their own accounts with the featured site

Lil Mama’s Social Networking Tools on her MySpace page

SnapVine – Voice Commenting. This ubiquitous widget is on practically every tween/teen’s MySpace page and is a great way to easily hear what fans think.

mybridgit – This is currently still in private beta. I don’t even have an account ;P (yet). It makes it possible to display in a customizable table all of your online identities/profiles and leave a personalized video message. …Judging by Lil Mama’s mybridgit, her team really gets around. Smart!

SandBoxTV – Like VodPod (only cuter), displays several video feeds in one embeddable screen with hover previews

Meez – This community site lets you create a neat 3-D profile of yourself and embed it practically anywhere. You can rate other Meez, customize your Meez with several extremely detailed options. Her team has invited fans to build their own Meez and share them, which resulted in a long thread (success)

sodahead – Polls (A no brainer but you’d be surprised how many artists don’t use polls)

gottabet – Lil Mama is betting that your teacher can’t get his/her lip-gloss poppin’ like her

Then there are the staples of online promotion like an E-Card, the YouTube channel, photobucket account, and mobile list. Many artists are going the route of photobucket in lieu of flickr, but we all know why.

Wrap It Up, Daniela

So what does it all mean, you ask wringing your hands and popping M&Ms like a fiend?

Wake up – If you want peeps to know about you, go into their worlds and start learning their language. Understand that there are behaviors/ways of communicating that might fly in one community but not in another.

Customize your message, but don’t be cheesy about it. Be sincere (as sincere as one can be in the business of show), keep yourself aware of the ever growing tools kids use to talk to each other online and beyond, and identify which ones best serve your needs.

“Any tips for Team Lil Mama?”, you ask? But of course.

~ Can you please go claim her LastFM profile and add tracks?

~ Set up a stickam account?

~ A Kyte TV account? (for those on the go cell phone video messages)

These are three worlds that would definitely welcome Lil Mama. Otherwise, keep up the excellent work!


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