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nin trent reznor twitter fuck music 2.0Well it’s done, Trent Reznor just deleted his Twitter account. He was one of the first to be harassed by puny users and other Twitterazzi types, and one of the first to leave ship.

From Rolling Stone: “When Twitter made it’s way to my radar I looked at it as a curiosity, then started experimenting. I thought it through and in light of where I was / am in my career I decided to lower the curtain a bit and let you see more of my personality,” Reznor said. “I watched some of you get more engaged because you started to realize there’s a person (flaws and all) back there, and I watched some of you recoil in horror because I’m not what you projected on me”.

I find this quite interesting. The other day I left some comment on Hypebot’s “Amanda ‘Fucking’ Palmer (Part 1) interview” (which is a must-read by the way). One commentator commented upon the fact that a seemingly indestructible platform such as Twitter clearly has a life expectancy. His arguments, some straightforward and simple deductions that go along the lines of “Twitter is new and fun for now, but the narcissistic social game it engages its community in will eventually get old”, got me thinking about the real impact Twitter has on most people, and if that “social game” is really worth the time spent perfecting the skills required to a “must-follow” type of user. And now there’s Mr. NIN, one of the most influential and “must-follow” accounts, that decides to bail. Although I believe he did so for personal reasons other than “Twitter is boring me”, Trent is also saying “Twitter ain’t for me, at least not anymore”. I think many will come to that realization at one point or another. Not every massively popular service is for everybody, and the more some play the game of opening-up-to-the-world, the more they might realize they just don’t like opening-up to the world.

All in all, Twitter can be seen as a sort of gratification game, or tool. I share my insights, my news, all the while shedding some light on my personality, and when I get that RT or that mention, I feel as if I made some impact, as if my presence on the Twittersphere ain’t useless and that some people out there appreciate it. And by Jove how it feels good to achieve that sense of accomplishment in this absurd world (even if it’s only due to words and not actions). Add to that the fact that Twitter is a powerful networking tool, and for me the game is still fun and exciting, as it is for an increasing number of people.

It seems to me that all the social-media success stories are due to specific traits of character. In that Amanda Palmer interview cited above, one particular sentence struck me as being very revealing: “I simply feel blessed that I’m an emotional exhibitionist right around the time is seems to be expected and en vogue.” Not everyone is like Amanda Fucking Palmer, or Trent, or others, weather they be exuberant social figures or more of the discreet kind.

I also want to quote what that commentator (know as “Old Recod Guy”) said on the interview: “Music, and art in general, is cyclical. Right now, most artists have to engage, have to get close to their fans. This is a new sensation for both sides, especially when it comes to bigger acts, for whom a one-to-one dialogue was never really practical. So fans and artists are learning where the boundaries are, what works and what doesn’t, and what the tolerance levels are on both sides.

BUT…..

Sometime in the future, people will get tired of this. They’ll become used to the interaction, the access, they’ll realize that not every artist has something interesting to say, they’ll suck all the ideas and news and gossip and photos and free downloads out of the trough until they want to puke. And that’s when some artist, or movement, will bring back that sense of mystery, that unattainability, and they’ll be huge. They’ll use the new tools to accomplish the task, but they won’t be Tweeting during their colon cleanse. They’ll rebel against the banal status quo, and legions of fans who are sick of it it too will follow them.

And that’s what’s great about art. The new burns down the old to be burnt down by the new, until we fondly remember the old and burn down the new.”

Since I feel incapable of finding a proper conclusion to this post, I will simply ask what you all think about this. Is Twitter popular for the simple reason that we live in a time where gratification and validation are important? Is Twitter working for music just because the former industry model is crumbling, and that Twitter’s direct-to-fan model appeared around the corner at the right time? Is indirect messaging a la Twitter truly to the new communication medium, or is it just a craze?

Woof!

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The name Amanda Palmer was until yesterday a mystery to me. It kept on popping up sporadically in all the music-media news feeds I read daily, but I never took the time to have a deeper look in this amazing artist’s career, until yesterday that is.

band to fan band 2 fan b2fAmanda Palmer, who is most noted for being the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the “Brechtian punk cabaret” duo The Dresden Dolls and who has now launched her solo act, has accumulated an astonishing amount of buzz these past years thanks to here uncompromising artistic vision. Formerly signed to Roadrunner Records (or maybe she still is. The story is complicated) to whom she gave the middle-finger on many accounts, Amanda seems to have made it her top priority to connect directly with her fans. The phrasing here might sound wrong – I don’t mean to say that she calculates her every move, but her every moves are nonetheless very well calculated.

In here eternal struggles with Roadrunner, Amanda accomplished where many others had failed: gave her major label that middle finger (Roadrunner is part of the Universal group), rallied and wrapped her fans around it, and still managed to keep her “job”. And by rallied I mean the real thing. During what is called the “Fans Rebellyon” where her label wanted to cut-out part of her “Leeds United” music video because of her “fat stomach”, she proceeded to tell her fans about the controversy leading to a massive movement of people photographing their own bellies and sending their pics to the record label. Since then a website with belly pictures has been created - http://www.therebellyon.com. Since then, Amanda has made a couple of attempts to be dropped by her label, one of which is a song simply called “Please Drop Me“.

That and other stories has turned her into a rebellious role model that the music communities are relishing.

Now the story that caught my attention yesterday is about Amanda’s recent twitter experiments that have garnered illustrious amounts of buzz, and have illustrated the very strong bond she has with her fans. These improvised operations generated $19k without the sale of a singer album. This story is told in three parts. Below is part one. I highly recommend reading all of it in the Techdirt post here (couldn’t find it Amanda’s website).

1.
FRIDAY NIGHT LOSERS T-SHIRT, $11,000

about a month ago, i was at home on a friday night (loser that i often am when i’m not touring, i almost never go out) and was, of course, on my mac, shifting between emails, links and occasionally doing some dishes and packing for a trip the next day. just a usual friday-night-rock-star-multi-tasking extravaganza.

i twitter whenever i’m online, i love the way it gives me a direct line of communication with my fans and friends.

i had already seen the power of twitter while touring…using twitter i’d gathered crowds of sometimes 200 fans with a DAY’S notice to come out and meet me in public spaces (parks, mostly) where i would play ukulele, sign, hug, take pictures, eat cake, and generally hang out and connect. this was especially helpful in the cities where we’d been unable to book all-ages gigs and there were crushed teenagers who were really grateful to have a shot at connecting with me & the community of amanda/dolls fans.

i’d also been using twitter to organize ACTUAL last-minute gigs…i twittered a secret gig in LA one morning and about 350 folks showed up 5 hours later at a warehouse space….i played piano, filmed by current.tv, and then (different camera crew) did an interview with afterellen.com.
the important thing to undertsand here is that the fans were never part of the plan..,i basically just INVITED my fans to a press day, the press didnt’ plan it…i did.
i was going to be playing in an empty room and doing q&a with afterellen on a coach with only the camera watching.
it was like….why not tell people and do this in a warehouse instead of a hotel lobby or a blank studio? so i did.

it cost me almost nothing. the fans were psyched.

but back to the bigger, cooler story….

so there i am, alone on friday night and i make a joke on twitter (which goes out to whichever of my 30,000 followers are online):

“i hereby call THE LOSERS OF FRIDAY NIGHT ON THEIR COMPUTERS to ORDER, motherfucker.”
9:15 PM May 15th from web

one thing led to another, and the next thing you know there were thousands of us and we’d become the #1 topic trend on twitter.
zoe keating described it as a “virtual flash mob”.

the way twitter works (if you don’t have it) is that certain topics can include a hashtag (#) and if a gazillion people start making posts that include that hashtag, the topic will zoom up the charts of what people are currently discussing. it’s a cool feature.

so anyway, there we were, virtually hanging out on twitter on a friday night. very pleased with ourselves for being such a large group, and cracking jokes.

how do you “hang out” on the internet? well, we collectively came up with a list of things that the government should do for us (free government-issued sweatpants, pizza and ponies, no tax on coffee), AND created a t-shirt.
thank god my web guy sean was awake and being a loser with me on friday night because he throw up the webpage WHILE we were having our twitter party and people started ordering the shirts – that i designed in SHARPIE in realtime) and a slogan that someone suggested: “DON’T STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT, STAY IN FOR WHAT’S WRONG”. neil gaiman and wil wheaton joined our party. the fdnas felt super-special.

by the end of the night, we’d sold 200 shirts off the quickie site (paypal only) that sean had set up.
i blogged the whole story the next day and in total, in the matter of a few days, we sold over 400 shirts, for $25/ea.

we ended up grossing OVER $11,000 on the shirts.
my assistant beth had the shirts printed up ASAP and mailed them from her apartment.

total made on twitter in two hours = $11,000.
total made from my huge-ass ben-folds produced-major-label solo album this year = $0

Don’t forget to read the two other parts on Techdirt’s website.

Micheal Masnick, the brain behind Techdirt, theorizes that if an artist connects with  his/her fans and gives them a real reason to buy something, then that artists drastically increases his/her chances of selling that something. Very accurate theory.

If we take a look at all the B2F techniques used by bands lately (B2F=band to fan), most of what is for sale and has the true potential of generating money is the exclusiveness of the content sold or distributed. For me that is where lies the true power of social tools used by artists these day: the potential to create exclusiveness anytime, anywhere with anyone. In the olden days, the closest a fan could get to experiencing exclusiveness with a band was going to a show, buying that show’s t-shirt, getting a backstage pass for that show and buying a limited edition record from the band that played that show. Other than that, fans didn’t have that much to hope for in terms of connecting with their favorite band. Now all that has changed – absolutely every bit of it – and the talented, tech-savvy artists out there have the communication tools to leverage their career. Although this type of statement may seemed re-hashed, it’s a fact that is becoming more apparent as time goes by,and more applicable as those tools are perfected and exploited.

Exclusivity+Immediacy+Quality music=potential to middle-finger labels and make it on your own.

Mruff.

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reznor fuck web 2.0Mr Reznor is one of the last artists you could expect to put his web-based networking activities aside. He is one of the most influential and inspiring social gurus out there, and now he seems to have officially announced that he’s taking his leave from it all:

“I watched some of you get more engaged because you started to realize there’s a person (flaws and all) back there, and I watched some of you recoil in horror because I’m not what you projected on me. All expected. I’m not as concerned about “breaking” your idea of NIN at this point. It is what it is and I am what I am. The relationship between artist and fan is changing if you haven’t noticed, along with the way we consume and experience music and even communicate since the internet arrived.The problem with really getting engaged in a community is getting through the clutter and noise. In a closed environment like nin.com a lot of this can be moderated away, or code can be implemented to make it more difficult for troublemakers to persist. It’s tedious and feels like wasted energy doing that shit, but some people exist to ruin it for others – and they are the ones who have nothing better to do with their time. Example: on nin.com, there’s 3-4 different people that each send me between 50 – 100 message per day of delusional, often threatening nonsense. We can delete them, but they just sign back up and start again. Yes, we are implementing several changes to address this, but the point is it quickly gets very old weeding through that stuff.”

Reading Reznor’s quote made me realize that being in his position reflects an awkward situation.

Bands or artists or whatever who are “unknown” and who enter the social media game will put in time and effort to get online exposure. Whether it be via Myspace, facebook, Twitter, Bebo, blogs and what not, networking not only takes time, but requires know-how, and a good deal of creativity. Seeing how every single platform has its own social-mechanisms, once you start getting into it you realize the amount of work it represents to start grasping just for an couple of extra “true fans”.

For some people, like Trent, the whole process is very natural, and social networks became popular after he did, so he just surfed a wave that suited him well.

Now he is taking a step back because he’s been chocked by “Twitterazzies” to the point where he just can’t take it any anymore. As in show-business, where an unknown actor or singer dreams of being harassed by photographers, the social-networking-inclined band or brand ravishes the idea of getting re-tweeted, mentioned, linked, pod-casted, blogged etc.

Trent Reznor’s statement just goes to show that, past a certain point, being too “social” just ain’t worth it.

Woof.

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Kanye isn’t happy at all that someone impersonated his name on Twitter, stealing a tincy bit of his spot light. “Isn’t happy” in this case, is a euphemism.

I DON’T HAVE A FUCKING TWITTER!

shrieks the poet. And he doesn’t need one either ’cause he’s too busy being creative. Here’s what he had to say about the whole twitter tantrum:
kanye west blog twitter

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untitled-1Ben Walker is a music 2.0 whiz. He has tried out and experimented with almost every social-media, web 2.0 tool he could find. He has got a website, a wiki, a couple of blogs, a twitter song and account. He’s signed up to countless music social networks and video hubs. He’s done songwriting contests and crowdsourcing events, and I’m most likely missing out stuff. His latest buzz-worthy idea was his Big Gig that we have talked about and tweeted many times before. Ben’s idea was to take the media tools that made him famous online and use them in an offline environment.

His Big Gig went live in Friday (1rst of May) at the North Wall theatre in Oxford, and was streamable online on http://bensbiggig.rezpondr.com (that’s where you can go to see the video recording of the whole event). The gig was planned ina  very professional manner, and its outcome was clearly successful.

I wrote Ben an email on Saturday asking him to do a little recap on his Big Gig. Here’s the lowdown he sent me the day after:

What web 2.0 tools did you use at your Big Gig?

  • Twitter, 12seconds, Flickr, Vimeo, Tumblr for promotion
  • Bambuser for video streaming
  • AudioBoo, 12seconds for interviews and audience reactions
  • Twitter for displaying #bensbiggig tweets on the big screen
  • Rezpondr for pulling it all together into the bensbiggig live page

How did you make fans online and offline interact?
We delivered a different experience to the online and offline audiences:

  • The offline crowd got an evening of great entertainment and saw the Twitter messages etc. happening around them.
  • The geeks used the Twitter screen for Heckling 2.0 and general backchannel chat.
  • The audience in the venue also got to sing along. ;)
  • The online crowd got to watch the video stream (which was generally ok, but a bit choppy in places), see the Flickr photos, 12seconds updates and Twitter stream, and interact using the chat room.

What was the turnout of the event?
I haven’t scoured the log files yet, but at our current estimate we had about 180 in the venue and over 250 watching online.

How did people react
The reactions I’ve seen have all been very positive. The audience in the venue had a great night, and were all smiling on the way out. The Twitter messages were all positive, and even when people had trouble watching the stream they were happy to be involved, Twittering about it and checking out all the secondary content.

Are you satisfied with the outcome of your first Ben’s Big Gig?
Absolutely. We built the idea up from scratch, and intentionally used user-level social media technology (where more pro technology would have delivered a more reliable result) so that Ben’s Big Gig can act as a proof for musicians who are worried that they will have to play smaller and smaller gigs that we can bypass labels, promoters and press and still pack out a theatre gig twice over!

Congratz to Ben on his Big Gig!

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untitled-12Twitter is getting uncontrollably big and viral, and having a twitter profile is becoming a must for bands who want to increase their online exposure. This one band from Silicon Valley called Moonalice (whose lead guitarist is an investor for a venture firm) has experimented on different accounts using Twitter to promote their gigs, and on April 3rd they tried something pretty cool that paid off: their sound guy captured, exported in mp3, uploaded and tweeted their songs… all of this during the gig one song after another. The tunes went viral in their twittersphere amounting to more than 3000 downloads in the last week. What I find a little compelling is that Moonalice’s Twitter account only has a little under 400 followers, but downloads are more important than followers (or are they?).

Twitter is indeed opening many doors for the creative bands, but it’s not as intuitive or as easy to exploit as many people tend to say it is. It takes times to create a following, and Twitter ain’t big everywhere. Oh, and it also garners a rather active community of geeks, and not everyone (and especially not all fans) are “social media friendly” (or whatever geeky expressions used to defined those who love to spend their time connecting with others behind a screen).

For now it seems that using Twitter effectively is a question of knowing if your fan-niche is web-savvy. If it is, then you are encouraged to create an account and tweet away. If it’s not, it will be in a not so distant future :)

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Last August, we wrote a little post on an up and coming live concert listing called HearWhere. Well I just wanted to give an update on this very cool website that has been constantly evolving since we discovered it last year.

HearWhere is originally powered by Myspace, so all the gig listings were fed directly from the Myspace Users’ profiles. Now the concert indexing has expanded out to other sites as well, so with HearWhere you are sure to find a great amount of gigs in your city for any given night. The site has undergone a lot of re-designing lately, and it’s founder, Peter Field is implementing features to make it more social. You can now share and promote gigs via Twitter and Facebook, and developers can now get HearWhere’s API to use its data as they see fit.

Pete explains:

I’ve been very busy with the redesign, but the big news is all back-end stuff, as I’ve expanded the sites which get indexed much broader than just MySpace and Stubhub, and there will be much more of that to come. HearWhere is really becoming a search engine for live music, covering a broad base of music sites, and working with algorithms to rank artist popularity and make it easier to find the right show for the right audience.

I’ve also done a beta release of the HearWhere API which allows other sites to integrate HearWhere concert listings. Blender.com jumped on that opportunity right away and have put the HearWhere music forecast (which they call the “Blender Live Music List”) right on their homepage. Other sites will be launching with this functionality soon.

I’m really excited about the API, as it should really help bands garner more attention from a broader audience, and introduce more fans to the concerts they are oblivious to happening all around them.

hearwhere-post

It’s great to see this site still in action and perfecting its service. As I Mentioned in last year’s post, “if ever you’re bored one night and wanna listen to some music, I would suggest browsing through this site over any other”.

Keep it up Pete!

Bark.

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