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Digital Bootcamp

Presented by Toronto Blues Society, Digital Bootcamp will take place on Monday, April 8th. TBS will be back with 4 free panels on digital and social media topics specifically chosen for musicians. The Bootcamp will take place at Small World Music Centre from 5pm to 9pm. Sandwiches and light refreshments will be available.

Digital Video – Video & Youtube Explained | 5pm – 5:50pm

Video Critique Session | 6pm – 6:50pm

Digital Dollars | 7:10pm – 8pm

Digital Marketing | 8:10pm – 9pm


When: Monday, April 8th
Where: Small World Music Centre – 180 Shaw St., Toronto
Time: 5pm-9pm
Admission: Free!

Click here to RSVP on the Facebook Event Page!


Get yourself prepared with snap information on digital and social media by our Bootcamp leads Dan McKinnon & Gavin McLeod!


Demystifying Social Media for Musicians – by Dan McKinnon

With so many different social media platforms available (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram….I could go on), it is understandable that many musicians have a tough time figuring out how to build an effective social media marketing plan and knowing which platforms they should be on. Fortunately, getting a handle on how to get the most out of social media is not as hard as learning how to solo over John Coltrane’s Giant Steps.

When building a social media marketing plan, I have found useful to think of various channels, from Facebook to Instagam, in a similar way to a band playing a song. Just like a guitarist, bass player, and drummer play contrasting parts in order to serve the song, different social media platforms can be used in their own unique ways in order to serve your larger message. For example, Instagram is built on the compelling visual, Twitter is effective any time you need to get a message out with great frequency, and Facebook is great for targeting specific audiences while having the capability to post any sort of content you can think of, such as photos, videos, and live streams. By understanding what makes each channel unique, you can leverage their strengths to suit your needs.

While it is useful to have a presence on a number of platforms, it is more important to effectively use one or two. And if it comes to just using one platform, Facebook is the one that makes the most sense to be on. Not only does the channel skew to an older demographic than Instagram and Snapchat, but it also allows for you to post a variety of sharable content such as videos, photos, live streams, and posts with an unlimited character limit. Having this ability to diversify what you post has a massive impact on how engaged your audience will be. A musician like Jack de Keyzer does a great job with this, as I often see him posting everything from gig notices to solo guitar videos.

And the best part is that all of this work does not require a large investment of time. One misconception that often comes up with working Facebook is the time required. If you are organized, working on coming up with a consistent posting schedule does not take more than a few hours a week. If you have a Facebook business page, you can even schedule all of your posts to run at any time you want.

On March 18th and 24th, I am looking forward to delving deeper into these topics at TBS’ Digital Boot Camp. If you are interested in learning more about how to effectively engage your audience online, please join us!


Youtube Breakdown – by Gavin McLeod

In the past decade, Youtube has quickly become the world’s largest video consumption platform with a massive market for music-related content. For modern blues musicians, a strong grasp of this platform could be the ticket to accessing a much broader audience.

My name is Gavin McLeod and I will be showcasing tips on making Youtube an important part of your music career. For the past six years, I have made Youtube videos ranging in topics from skateboarding to lifestyle to blues guitar. With over 17 million views and 114 thousand subscribers across two separate channels, I have found online video to be a fantastic tool to promote my music to a new generation. The reason this platform is so revolutionary for musicians is its ability to give us direct access to a worldwide audience. All a musician essentially needs to get started is a camera, an internet connection, and a musical idea. However, with millions of hours of video on Youtube, the online music video market can feel oversaturated. The challenge often becomes standing out in a crowd of other musicians also looking for that viral hit.

Long term success on the Youtube platform tends to come from supplying viewers with a product that no other creator can replicate. In my experience, showcasing personality on video can be a great way to differentiate yourself and keep viewers engaged. In the days of vinyl, artists had the luxury of showcasing who they were on the record sleeve before listeners heard the first song. In the modern age of streaming, however, it is important that artists convey their personality through Youtube instead. If you are technically proficient on your instrument, perhaps coupling your music with online tutorial videos could also help draw in a fan base as well. It is good to remember that the relationship with your Youtube viewers should be reciprocal and your channel should supply your viewers with value beyond just your music. By combining music with unique videos, be it tutorials, play-throughs, or behind the scenes videos, you can maximize your chances of standing out online. Another tip I have learned after years of making videos is that honesty, sincerity and hard work will always prevail in the long term. These days, getting tons of views seems to be a product of exaggerated “click-bait” titles as opposed to quality content. For musicians though, building a loyal fanbase comes from being honest to your viewers. It also helps to be persistent with your posting and adopt a video schedule if possible.

As a creator, there is tremendous value in finding your unique skill set outside of your music and using the technology available to you to broadcast it to the world. Although there may not be a “one size fits all” formula to Youtube success as a musician, using this personality and persistence approach can be a great starting place. Once you find your niche on the Youtube platform, it can provide endless opportunity for the modern blues musician.

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TBS logo and WBR artwork by Barbara Klunder

The Toronto Blues Society acknowledges the annual support of the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and project support from FACTOR< and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Broadcasters, The Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, SOCAN, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

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