It used to be that when you formed a rock band to seek fame and fortune, all you had to do was find a lead singer, a guitarist, a bass player, a drummer, and maybe another guitarist or a keyboard player if you wanted a richer sound. But the digital age presents a level of complexity and opportunity that John, Paul, and Ringo never had to deal with.
If video killed the radio star, or tried to, then YouTube will certainly finish the job.
In the old days (come on, rock music is less than 100 years old), bands played at their local high school, then maybe the local club circuit, recorded a demo and sent off demo tapes, and finally if they were lucky they were ‘discovered’ by a record exec and signed to a record deal.
In the digital age, aspiring rock stars need to consider the social media and marketing skills of potential band mates as much as they scrutinize their skill with a particular musical instrument. In the digital age your skills with YouTube are almost more likely to make you a rock star then your skills with a guitar.
Just look at Pomplamoose – nearly 80 million video views and 340,000 subscribers. They have more YouTube subscribers than mega-stars Coldplay.
If we look at a new song as an invention and at my Innovation is All About Value framework through a music lens, you will quickly see why social media and creativity are so important in the music business and why new singers and bands can seemingly come from nowhere on the Internet.
1. Value Creation
- A new song (Is the song any good?)
2. Value Access
- How easy do you make it for people to find this new song, listen to it and buy it?
3. Value Translation
- Do you do a good job of making people want to add the song to their playlists and to share the song with others? Do you engage them and make the song a part of them?
The power of #3 is magnified on the Internet (both if you do it well or poorly). Just look at the fact that Gotye created an AWESOME song ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ and the video for it has received 600,000 page views, but a little known Canadian band Walk Off The Earth released a YouTube video covering the song and their cover has generated 83 million page views and an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
More passion, and a better, more engaging story (ultimately better value translation that was worth sharing).
So all you teenyboppers out there putting together the next great rock band, beware. In this new digital reality we all live in, you can’t think just about guitar, vocals, bass, drums, and keyboards. You must also think about who in the band you are considering putting together (unless you actually have money to pay someone) will make you look awesome on:
2. MySpace Music
5. Band Web Site
6. Other places (Spotify, iTunes, etc.)
Yes, I said MySpace. The site remains incredibly relevant despite being eclipsed by Facebook thanks to its understanding of how to help bands create valuable pages for fans. Facebook still sucks at this. If I were Google and didn’t want Google+ to die a slow death, I would buy MySpace and incorporate the Music capabilities into Google+. It would make a great pairing with YouTube. They might want to buy Spotify while they are at it to bolster their unfortunately pathetic Google Play offering.
One other interesting contrast to draw between the successful bands spawned by YouTube versus the successful bands spawned by the old guard. YouTube successes tend to be very human and engaging in their approach, while old guard bands tend to be very aloof, distant, and well-packaged.
What kind of musical band and social media band will you be?
Here are the two different ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ videos, starting with the original by Gotye:
Followed by the Walk Off the Earth cover:
Image Credit: Foxhound Studio