The way artists engage with their fans is changing for the better.
An unending array of social media means musicians can keep their fans informed of all the latest developments from artist HQ. But between sites offering promoted posts to reach your whole audience and the public becoming much more sophisticated consumers of social media, the chance of your message being heard is rapidly diminishing.
The race to tell your story is hotting up and there’s been some really interesting journeys into fan connection that have excited audiences and boosted artist credentials as a creative and imaginative force.
Firstly we have north American experimentalists Xiu Xiu, who have been drip feeding their new album via streams for tracks ‘Laurence Liquor’ and ‘Stupid In The Dark’ – so far so ordinary – although the dark nature of Stupid In The Dark’s video gave some indication of what was planned next as they premiered their latest very NSFW video ‘Black D*ck’ on a porn website (decency dictates we don’t post the link). Queue worldwide music blog praise and hyperbole.
Similarly Chromeo advertised their forthcoming album with a Missed Connections listing on Craigslist - http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/mis/4333310537.html
In a more playful twist on a similar theme hip hop artist Childish Gambino promoted his Deep Web tour by tweeting a surreal link that directed you straight to a webcam chat with adult star Abella Anderson followed by ‘ask her about tickets’. Once ‘tickets’ is typed into the dialogue box you Arabella sends you the website link. But don’t let that spoil your fun, go have a little natter at abella.xxx
Little Dragon also have a new album out and they want to tell you about it! Go to their website and give them your phone number. Then each member of the band will call your mobile to tell you a bit of info about the album and watch as they perform their single Klapp Klapp direct from their living room.
Finally to Because label mates Metronomy who teased their new album with the free track I’m Aquarius. Rather than make this a straight forward free download, the offering was a previewed via The Sky At Night app. Once you point your smart phone in the direction of the Aquarius constellation the track is sent directly back to you, direct FROM SPACE!
All the acts mentioned above have an inherently indie/pendant musical direction and fan-base which gives them the freedom to experiment more online than the average pop star. But the fact artists and labels are creating little jewels of wonder embedded deep in the internet leads to an element of discovery and deeper meaning with their audience. It’s the online equivalent of a secret gig that the band have invited you to. You’re not reading a status, you’re sharing a moment and it breeds loyalty. In today’s digital world, the battle to be heard isn’t won by what you say, but how you say it.
Written by Mike Lightford, Music