INTERVIEW WITH JOEJOEKEYS: How he created and grew his audience

A few months ago I got an email from my dear friend Joe Liedtke, better known online as JoeJoeKeys, wanting to have a quick chat. I was thrilled to hear from him because a.) he and his wife are wonderful college friends, b.) I hadn’t heard from them in a while, and c.) Joe mentioned that he was gearing up to release a new album, which excited me to no end. As you will see in the following interview Joe has been in music for many years, though it’s just been recently that he stepped back into the ring to do his own material. In a short amount of time, Joe has built a great audience by focusing on his social media presence, taking an active part in building his audience, and creating a thriving solo career. I thought you all would benefit to hear a.) how he did that, b.) what he does, and c.) be introduced to another great musician. 

MIXTUS MEDIA: First of all, tell us a little bit about your background, what you play, etc.

JOE: I play piano and computer music.  I started playing when I was 12.  Classically trained as well as a strong background in just about every other genre of music, except new country.  I have toured nationally over and over again with my now defunct band LP Outsiders. After Outsiders I went to work playing in cover bands for a living traveling and playing in the Ameristar Casino circuit for a few years. Now I live in Rochester, New York where I play with the cover band “Me and The Boyz” and write and record all of my own music under the name “JoeJoeKeys.”

MIXTUS MEDIA: How has social media made a difference in your music career?

JOE: Well, it has made the difference in the fact that it has not only restarted my career but literally turbo boosted it to heights I could never imagine. And I haven’t even come out with a “real” product yet.  I have just been releasing singles and my #grooveoftheday as frequent as possible.

MIXTUS MEDIA: On average, how much time do you spend on your social media outlets?

JOE: Ha ha, I don’t know if I should answer this one honestly.  All day, everyday.  I really feel like that the reason I have gained so many fans so fast is the fact that I converse with them on a daily basis and I am consistently “there for them.”

MIXTUS MEDIA: You've been doing music (either as a member of a band or as a solo artist) for a long time. What do you think has been the difference for you this time around?

JOE: Motivation, a creative burst, and the internet coupled with SOCIAL MEDIA is amazing!!! The fact that I can literally gain hundreds of fans a day all over the world on my own is a very surreal but very real feeling that keeps me driven.

MIXTUS MEDIA: Is there a particular site/social media outlet that has worked better than others for you?

JOE: To me Twitter is the best thing since sliced bread.  Facebook is good in the sense that it connects you with people you already know and you can set up your fan page and what not. But it’s hard to reach a broad audience on Facebook unless you spend money on advertising, which is tough to do because who actually has a degree in marketing who is an independent artist? I know I don’t!!  Twitter, on the other hand, allows me to reach a HUUUUGE audience for FREE and FAST.  I can post a tweet, song, link, quote, whatever and receive anywhere from 1 to thousands of “Retweets” or “replies” in a matter of moments.  Of course, 1,000 RT’s in a matter of moments is crazy, but I see my mentions and RT’s on twitter growing consistently, which means people are listening to me.

MIXTUS MEDIA: How long have you been active on your social media sites, website, and blog?

JOE: Not very long AT ALL.  I have been on Facebook the longest but I got frustrated with the limits.  I just started my website/blog, YouTube channel, Twitter, etc. only about six months ago.

MIXTUS MEDIA: How you market and promote your music now is obviously different than what you would have done in the past. Has it been a big adjustment to make or change your mindset?

JOE: No not really, except for now it’s more of a focused marketing strategy in a sense, but still overall the same.  For example, when I was in LP Outsiders we would make tens of thousands of fliers then randomly put them on cars in the middle of winter.  It was ridiculous.  We would seriously get rid of 10k fliers to have 200 people come to our show.  Worth it? Yes. A lot more work than needed? Yes. But, how many people out of those 200 there actually came because of a flyer I stuck on their car? Maybe 5?  I love what I am doing now because even though I have a “marketing strategy” I still consider myself just randomly spitting my “flyer” all over the internet which gives me a better chance of gaining fans, all over the world.  However, the difference that I see is that my reach is global as opposed to JUST a certain amount of people in St. Louis, MO.  Also, I can track things a lot better and with wTitter, Facebook, etc. I can keep a constant flow of conversation going with my “fans” and “followers.”  I promote a lot on Twitter and Facebook, but I also like to Tweet funny, inspirational and sometimes rude comments just to get people to look at me.  If they respond to something I Tweet that is not related to my music I use that opportunity to tell them about it.  If they keep talking to me, fine. If not, fine! I try to get my music on every profile possible on the internet that looks legit.  Of course, that is impossible, but something to strive for everyday.

MIXTUS MEDIA: How long before you saw results from the time you started using your social media outlets?

JOE: Almost immediately! Seriously, it was ridiculous.  I guess my music just hits with people. I really don’t understand it at all.

MIXTUS MEDIA: Do you have tips that you would share with other artists just starting out with social media?

JOE: You HAVE to be consistent.  If you’re there one day and not the next then people will easily forget about you.  Out of sight out of mind.  To cure this problem my goal is to be constantly releasing new songs almost every week or even every other or every few days.  Also, I want to come out with an EP or full length album every six months.  More the better I say.  Even the bad songs get released.  That’s the whole idea of my #grooveoftheday is to work on a song for a set  2-5hrs (depending on my time limit for the day) and when the time limit is up, export, upload and release as my #grooveoftheday.  My audience always has a new song from me to enjoy. It’s really taking hold with many people, especially producers and artists. They love it! It shows that I am motivated and always putting out something fresh. I even have people asking if I’m putting out another #grooveoftheday soon and sometimes I make on just for them for asking! Eventually my #grooveoftheday will either die, or it will turn into an actual song.  I keep my audience up to date every so often if I change something or add a new track.

MIXTUS MEDIA: How have you built your audience? Have you offered incentives? What did you do?

JOE: Basically what I mentioned before, being consistent.  I just started putting out songs and grooves and hoped people would pay attention.  Also, I decided to promote everything I did in my life.  Mainly because I am a professional musician, period.  I teach piano, play in bands that play original and cover music, I record with people all over the world via file sharing and people are interested in that because most people do not get to do anything like that. The youtube thing is the biggest thing I slack on, but when I make a video I really try to make it about something that a musician would be interested in, because that is what I do.  I’m thinking about releasing a youtube series where I give basic piano lessons like how to play scales and basic songs, etc.  I also like to video record how I record.

MIXTUS MEDIA: How are you going to grow from here? What are your next steps?

JOE: I just want to keep growing and maybe someday be able to make a living at this and this only.  I am an artist at heart and now that I am finally writing music again, the sky is the limit.

Be sure to check out JoeJoeKeys! I’ll post his links below...

http://www.joejoekeys.net/

http://www.twitter.com/joejoekeys

http://www.twitter.com/joejoekeys

http://www.reverbnation.com/joejoekeys

http://www.youtube.com/joejoekeys