Metal Band Launches Petition Against Facebook’s Extortion of Bands
Bands and brands have had a love/hate relationship with Facebook over the years. On the one hand, Facebook provides bands a platform to host music, display tour dates, sell merch, interact with fans and reach new ones, all completely free of charge. On the other hand, Facebook has been trying more and more over the past couple of years to charge bands money to reach their existing fans, as we’ve talked about in this space in the past.
Christopher Murray of the metal band Illuminate Me has taken matters into his own hands by launching a petition at Change.org. The petition alleges that it’s unfair of Facebook to keep raising advertising rates on bands who should be able to reach all of their fans without having to pay for it. As of the time of publication of this post, the petition already has 34,055 supporters out of its goal of 50,000. Here’s an excerpt:
Facebook has raised its rates on bands and small business’s promoting themselves through their website several times over the last few years, asking to pay even more money to simply reach the audience the band or small business has already acquired. It’s getting to a point where it’s blatant greed and is unjustifiable. Bands like us for example, (especially the unsigned ones) pay Facebook a hefty amount of money for an ad, just to get potential new fans to visit our page. On top of that now, we must pay a LARGE fee to talk to the fans already subscribed to our page. So we’re paying double on a service that we heavily rely on. It’s an exploitation of what bands need the most: communication with their fan base.
On my bands Facebook page for example (nearly 25k likeswww.facebook.com/illuminatemeband), I have paid up to 3k in Facebook advertising to get the amount of people connected to it that it has now. (On top of the heavy touring that we do) I need to pay Facebook now 150 dollars if I want one of my posts to reach all of the people that I already paid to get in the first place. I have talked to even bigger acts that rely on communication with their fan base to sell their product, and the price can get up to $2,000 or more.
I can certainly appreciate the sentiment behind this petition. Being in an unsigned band is hard enough, and it seems counter-intuitive to have to pay to reach people who went out of their way to proclaim their fandom of your band via a “like.” The bait and switch element is also a stinger: in addition to allegedly raising their ad rates (which I have not been able to independently verify is the case), Facebook’s algorithm has certainly changed many times over the past few years to the point where any given update is reaching a much lower percentage of fans than it used to. Facebook attracted bands by offering a free service, and after establishing itself as THE platform for bands then went back and said “Oh hey now pay us for it!”
On the other hand, Murray’s petition does carry the slight stench of entitlement. Facebook is a business, and OF COURSE they need to make money; ad revenue was always the plan for the service, and they’ve always been very public about that. He is under no obligation to use Facebook; that’s his choice. On top of that, it’s never been easier than it is now to reach existing and new fans. At the risk of being all like “kids these days,” when I was in bands the only way to promote a show was to spend hours and hours in the freezing fucking cold taping fliers to street poles in hopes that some random passers-by would take note. The Internet is fucking awesome, and so is Facebook as a band platform, even if it doesn’t end up having the desired reach and/or it costs money.
I really see both sides of it. What do you think? Check out the petition here and sign it if you so desire. No matter which side you fall on, it seems worth signing to me: perhaps it can capture the attention of the Facebook brass and spark some movement that improves the situation, even if just a little.