Music Marketing Author and Course Instructor
I talk a lot in my course about the fact that touring "kickstarts" (I need a better phrase here, I think, one that does not make me thing of Motley Crue every time I write it) all the other marketing efforts: press, retail, merch, radio (some form), and Internet. It not only gives press a reason to write about you, a reason for radio to spin your record, and retail a reason to stock your music, but it's the best way to forge that all important "emotional connection" with your fanbase.
My friend and colleague George Howard talks about the importance of having a foot in both the online and the physical marketing realm (he calls it the Straddle). I think uStream does a great job of providing a platform to accomplish this (in terms of bringing what you do offline, online) via their free webcasting tool atwww.ustream.com. Similar to the most successful online ventures, uStream is extremely user friendly. The setup is simple: once you create an account, you can embed their video player on your site, use your webcam or plug in a firewire camera to film your live event, let folks know about the show through the scheduling tools on your uStream page, and you are off to the races. You can record and archive past live events as well. All for free.
uStream has some community based features that allows fans who are watching your Webcast to chat in real time with one another (hopefully positively) about your show. Superfans can embed the player in any social networking site, too. Take a look at the player in action www.rendtheheavens.com