Friday, 24 April 2009

This is the greatest concert sponsor promotion I've ever seen

Thanks to threebillion for this one:

Trident Gum are the UK sponsors of the Beyonce I Am tour, and to leverage this partnership (and celebrate the announcement by Trident of it's free Beyonce gig in November) they staged a 100 Single Ladies flash mob in Piccadilly Circus.

The Trident website is also covered in Beyonce promotion - including a ticket giveaway with 500 pairs of tix, every week, for 6 weeks. Entry is via a Trident pack barcode - and with 6000 single tickets being given away I'd say that massive numbers of people will make the small investment of a pack of gum for a pretty good chance of winning tickets.

I love this promotion! What a great way for a brand to create a buzz about their tour sponsorship.
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Thursday, 23 April 2009

When bands & brands go wrong : Billy Corgan

So far this year, Billy Corgan has lent his music to Superbowl car ads, a Visa commercial (titled 'Let's Go'), and now to a promo for a wrestling pay-per-view event.

I've talked about the concept of 'selling out' previously on OMG - and it usually upsets me more when it is an artist that I feel is emerging and is on to great things. Granted, Billy Corgan and The Smashing Pumpkins have had their success, but even so, this support of a variety of brands that seem to have no 'tie-in' with an artist sometimes makes me embarrassed to have ever loved a band like the Smashing Pumpkins (although it was way back in 1993 when I bought their album on a cassette!). It makes me feel as though an artist no longer respects their musical integrity... particularly when they ruin one of their biggest tracks by freestyling it in a wrestling cage! But Billy Corgan himself has a very different view on the concept of musically 'selling out'.

Newsweek: The notion of “selling out,” licensing songs, how has that changed? Fifteen years ago, that seems like it would have been unacceptable. Career death. Is all this completely different now?

Billy Corgan: I’m not romantic about the notion of “selling out.” People who are not in your position deciding what is and isn’t selling out I always thought was a crock of s—. The song I wrote, “Today,” which ended up being a pretty big song — that song literally saved my life. I was completely suicidal, and I wrote that song in a cold bedroom on a day where it was like, “I’m either going to kill myself today, or I’m going to live because I’m sick of thinking about this.” When I played it, it was an intense, extreme feeling. Last year, I was offered heavy, heavy money to license that song. I actually turned down two huge, huge, seven-figure-plus deals last year for two songs.

Newsweek: For “Today” and for which other song?

Billy Corgan: “Tonight, Tonight.” That’s a fundamentally difficult position to be in. At this point, it’s just free money. Song’s already been played. It’s been exploited. The record company’s literally begging me: go ahead and take these commercials. At this point in my life, I don’t feel comfortable. Those songs are the reason I’m alive. If your music is not sacred to the point where it’s a really, really, really heavy decision about whether or not you would allow somebody else to exploit it, then what’s not for sale? For a long time there was this dream that you could hit this utopian point The Beatles hit. “All you need is love.” You’d write that song that would change the world. That seems to have gotten lost. Now songs are just vehicles for personality. The song is not the sacred thing anymore.

link: Newsweek

I don't agree that once a song has already been played, it's been exploited. I think that many songs can still be sacred. But once you sell a track to a corporation, and a fan views that song in an alignment with a brand (no matter whether they like or despise the partnership), it takes away from an element of personal meaning that fans may have placed on it - and combines their feelings for a track with their feelings about the brand with which it is associated.

Brands themselves are always thinking about their audiences / consumers. And I believe that as a popular artist, you should put some kind of consideration into what your fans are going to think of your brand alignments - even if it's just so that you don't alienate them (they are, after all, your consumers - and the reason you are able to make a living out of music).
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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Making an announcement unlike any other

Lollapalooza announced their 2009 lineup yesterday.

Most festival do this with a press release, a poster, and a website.

But this year, Lollapalooza has done something a little bit different - releasing a great video (see below), and an mp3 mashup from Lollapalooza artist Car Stereo (Wars) which features samples from over 30 others off the lineup!

I'm sold (and so excited to see a promoter doing something original)! Now to find a way to get to Chicago in August...

Lollapalooza Lineup 2009 from C3 Presents Video on Vimeo.
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MTV's Earth Day with Cherry Girl

Today is Earth Day, designed to inspire appreciation for the environment. And just in time for Earth Day, comes MTV's Cherry Girl.

Cherry Girl's role is to raise awareness of environmental issues across MTV's range of youth programming. Created by the social responsibility department of MTV Networks International, audiences can find out more about her views on the environment and life at

(I don't know why she works in a dry cleaners... not a very environmentally friendly occupation!)

MTV will launch Cherry Girl today on-air, online and on mobile.

There are lots of opportunities via the website to connect with Cherry Girl on facebook and twitter, and the audience is encouraged to upload photos if they've spotted Cherry Girl out and about.

The major problem is that all the content that is currently online (and easily accessible) is so boring! Why would you launch a new campaign with nothing that engages or entertains the audience? Why would you have a facebook fan page with such exciting status updates as "Cherry Girl is thinking. it's almost tomorrow"...? Yawn!

Her blog only has two entries so far, both of which are pretty pointless and don't engage me at all. The first includes a paragraph that reads:

So, I got out my pad and wrote a note. It said “By sitting in this seat today, April 21st I have become part of the story of this bus. And for this one day, by reading this note, I have agreed to make this bus a better place. All I have to do is say one nice thing to the next person to sit down opposite me. When it’s done, I must sign this paper. I will have made history. And I am a great person. And the sun will shine extra hard on my head today.”

Ummm... ok.

The website promises so much - with Cherry Girl being described as "Our newest, sexiest, freakiest girl and she is about to go global". And yet, any content that is posted by Cherry Girl herself is bland.

MTV do some great social campaigns (I am a huge fan and supporter of MTV Exit which aims to prevent human trafficking), but Cherry Girl is not one of them.
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A guide to finding new music

Not sure where to go to find the most popular new tracks?

I have always been a huge fan of Hype Machine to see what people are listening to. The 'popular' tab on Hype lets you check out what is being listened to or favourited, and also allows you to stream all popular tracks via the net (or you can click onto the individual blogs to download mp3s).

The Shazam website also lets you look at the most popular 'Shazammed' tracks, and lets you segment them results by country...

And now, there is We Are Hunted.

We Are Hunted aggregates online discussions (blogs, social networks, torrents, twitter etc) to create a chart of the 99 most popular tracks daily. You can stream tracks, sort the most popular by day / week / month, and purchase the tracks via iTunes.

I love that you can sort tracks by most popular over time - making it easy to spot trends. And as the site aggregates it's data from other forums, it is one of the more accurate music popularity 'charts'. Far more accurate than Shazam, which only looks at tracks that are popular with Shazam users (which I imagine is quite a small percentage of the population). Plus, it's a great looking site, with a simple 3x3 grid... and it's Australian!

However We Are Hunted does not give you enough info on the tracks - it should link back to the blog posts that have been written. It's great to know that the track is popular, but I'd also like a bit more information on the songs and artists.

I'd also like to see the ability to stream music as a playlist, rather than having to click on each individual track.

The other major benefit of being able to link back to blog posts, is that you can download mp3s. This is a big advantage that Hype Machine has over WAH... once you stream a track, if you love it, you can download it for free (even if it is terrible quality!).

If you like the idea - subscribe via email. It's still in Beta, so I expect it will improve over time.
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