How Do Classic Acts Use Social Media?

This post is by Alison McCarthy (@aliiimac). She's an intern at Hypebot.

Led-zeppelin As a child of baby boomer parents, I grew up on classic rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac. Over the years, I've grown to love music from this "classic" era as my own, as many members of my generation have.

Some of these artists have completely retired, though most continue to tour and release new albums in some form or another. Either way, these artists continue to generate a massive amount of income for the music industry. While so much time is spent discussing how Justin Bieber, Kanye West, or Odd Future utilize social media to gain and maintain buzz, we should also take a look at the issue of what our "classic" artists are doing to market themselves online.

First, it's worth questioning – since the majority of fans of these acts attract are of an older generation who may not be as integrated into digital culture as perhaps, Millennials are, is there a need for the elaborate online presence that younger fans desire?

When comparing the Eagles' online presence with Katy Perry's, obviously, one can find major differences. While Perry's official website and Facebook page are jam-packed and constantly updated with interactive features including her Twitter feed, tour diary, fan photos, contests, and iPhone app downloads, comparatively, the Eagles official website seems to be at a standstill. Though they'll be embarking on a European tour this June, their last News update was over a month ago. There are links to their Myspace page and official mailing list, but it seems that they don't post updates to either Facebook or Twitter.

Though some of these "classic" acts such as Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, and Pink Floyd do maintain active online lives, none of these hold up in comparison to what our most successful artists of the present day are doing to interact with fans. For a newly emerging mainstream artist, an inactive online presence would be almost unthinkable today – but already established bands such as these may not need to worry about this. They're household names, and many of their fans have been with them for the past three to four decades.

However, as our offline lives are becoming more and more integrated with our online lives for both Millennials and Baby Boomers, could updated efforts such as these – a highly active Facebook page, Twitter feed, tour-related iPhone app, etc. – be valuable to classic acts? Or would they be a waste of time and effort? It's a curious issue to deliberate over, and I'm not sure about the answer myself.

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