And yet some more news on Oasis! While Noel was recuperating from his fall last week at the Toronto show, the band kept active promoting their new album. They hired buskers to perform some songs in various locations of New York last Friday since they had to cancel a show due to Noel’s injuries. The event was a collaborative effort with New York’s city officials and Warner Music, the band’s label.
Much like the idea of leaking music sheets, Oasis didn’t come up with busking as a means of promoting an album or an event either, but have put it to good use.
Sony BMG hired buskers to sing Johnny Cash songs In the London metro stations to promote the release of the artist’s greatest hits album ‘Ring of Fire: the Legend of Johnny Cash’ in 2005, and re-enacted the marketing scheme a year later with the movie ‘Walk The Line’. They also used buskers for a Eurythmics’s greatest hits release in 2006.
Another example is Working Title Films, that employed 25 buskers to wear ‘Love Actually t-shirts’ and sing ‘All We Need Is Love’ for the release of the movie ‘Love Actually’ (I hadn’t heard of the movie either, but you get the idea :)
From a business point of view, buskers are usually highly skilled artists that entertain people day in and day out, so to use them as a promotional vector is a clever move. Their ability to attract attention is key to having an audience focus on something real, something that they will remember. A month ago we posted a youtube video of a street musicians named Terry Prince who sold 15,000 CDs in a little over a year playing only part-time. He probably wouldn’t have sold as much records going down the traditional route of playing clubs, and that has something to do with the intimacy he creates with his audience. The more intimate the interaction between the artist and his public, the more feedback he is gonna get. Musicians playing house concerts feel the same way and most agree that the public’s response in terms of validation and generosity is increased in an intimate ambiance.
The Scottish band Travis drew a crowd of hundreds of amazed shoppers when they busked in 2004 to raise awareness of Shelter Scotland and raise money for The Big Issue, both charity funds for the homeless. They were also just about to release a greatest-hits collection at the time but I don’t like to think is was purely promotional, it’s a good idea to correlate both events.
Whether it be to promote your next show or just to get out in the sun and play, busking probably won’t be a waste of your time. I stumbled across a list of famous musicians who have been known for playing the streets. Pretty cool anecdotes.