Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2013

Capstone Advisor

Ulf Oesterle, Assistant Professor in Bandier Program

Honors Reader

Robert Kucharavy, Public Relations Professor of Practice

Capstone Major

Public Relations

Capstone College

Public Communications

Audio/Visual Component


Audio/Visual Location

Honors Library

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories



The Internet, and particularly social media, provides many opportunities for musicians to promote their music at no, to a relatively low, cost. Artists can build a fan base using a variety of different platforms, like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, among hundreds of other music-friendly social media sites. Superstars like Justin Bieber, who got his start on YouTube, have proven that it’s possible to not only get discovered, but also cultivate a career, using the power of the Internet.

Since August 2012, I have managed YouTube artist Kara Della Valle. As an independent singer-songwriter, this was the first time Kara had someone working with her to help promote her music. Kara first started posting YouTube videos of both original songs and covers in 2010. Her original music gained popularity, especially among tween and teen girls, after being featured in many beauty and style how-to videos. She built a sizeable following on YouTube, with around four thousand subscribers and nearly half a million views, but the numbers did not translate to much success beyond that platform. Although her song “Tonight” and debut EP Out Loud gained notoriety among the YouTube and Tumblr communities, Kara’s social media following across the web did not grow.

Opening New Windows (and Doors) for Independent Artists Online explores how I created cohesion among Kara’s social media properties, scored a viral hit, translated her YouTube success into a larger following and ultimately increased digital sales. I will outline the social media practices used to gain, retain, and cultivate connections with fans online. This case study goes through six phases of an album cycle, chronicling ten months of promotion on a limited budget, partially funded by Syracuse University’s Renée Crown University Honors Program as part of my Capstone Project.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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