Reddit is a powerful tool for musicians (with caveats)

I must have had three whole accounts muted with Reddit now. Citations later that I “spammed” the Music sub and “posted self-promotion links” …on a Saturday …where rule 7 of their sub condones it.

The first two accounts were kind of throwaway accounts, I’d only posted maybe a link on the specific Saturday and tagged appropriately, yet the admin (not the mods) seemed to close down my accounts within a few goes at this. Had I posted every hour, over a given period I would understand, but the dynamics of such a big site have been really quite confusing. Despite this Soundcloud stats suggested I had anywhere between 5-30 plays from said links before they were shut down.

So I tried another tactic.

I set up an account that was obviously linked to my music. Using the moniker “TiredHorizon” I decided to pay for some advertising. I kept it simple. “Here’s my music” and “Experimental musician seeking listeners!” That sort of thing. I didn’t spend much, and as I have little knowledge of how web advertising works had to do some basic reading and watch some youtube tutorials beforehand. I learned how to target audiences and spent a total of about £100 just to see what would happen.

In all reality Soundcloud stats suggested each ad brought in about 30 plays. Pretty poor. Reddit’s own stats were a bold “hey, 100,000 people saw this advert!” But none of that matters unless someone actually clicks on the link (click-thru-count iirc). Are they seeing the ad, or is it simply on a page they’re scanning.

So using the same account I went back to Saturday posts on the Music sub yet again. And yet again – closed down, but this time by a moderator on the sub who accused me of “spamming”. The reality was this was more open – my username and my music were clearly linked. I only posted on the allocated Saturday and I tagged (“flaired” or whatever they call it there).

What made it more irritating is how said moderator immediately blocked me, so I couldn’t even get a polite message back to him and ask for more info or appeal. Immediate shut down.

So what do I think this means for musicians who use Reddit? Well in reality advertising is expensive and ineffective on the site. There are just too many damn users. It is another case of noise-signal ratio. I also think there is some bias at play – a similar encounter with a mod on the “Bleep Boop” forum had a mod message me to say my post was being removed due to the fact that he didn’t think anything other than Deadmaus was electronic and a former metal band who had dabbled in sampling “didn’t count”.

Do. Not. Pay. For. Ads.

If accusations of spam and kill-switch moderators are the norm – hell, spam the hell out of their subs. Truth be told you’re going to face problems. I tend to use “throwaway” accounts now, both to engage in conversation and to post the odd link to music I like. Weirdly the interactions I have had have meant I ended up acting like a spammer – a cavalier account name, anonymous, multiple low scores and not really giving a fuck if they decide to remove me, I can always create another account.

So yes. Reddit is a powerful tool for musicians. Just not for promoting your own music.

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