Monday, December 15, 2008

Catching Up

Finals are over and my computer is back to normal. Now it's time to catch up on everything that has happened in the Billies world that I missed over the past couple of weeks.

Although finals week was rough (i.e. two business proposals as final projects, one 30 pager and one 15 pager), there was one grand light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to complete the first installment of the All The Billies Radio Hour. That will be posted as soon as I can work out the legalities and make sure that the RIAA won't burn down my house for posting the show. The first show is a historical view of the development of Billes music.


Of course the Billie world was hit hard by the loss of one of the most iconic figures of the genre, Bettie Page. So much of the "kitten" style was made popular by her. However, it is hard to say that she will be terribly missed because the last half of her life was spent in hermetic isolation (she gave her life to the Lord and refused to have any pictures of her taken of her in her later years), and her wonderful pictures are all we ever really had of her. We still have the pictures. We still have the style. We just don't have Bettie.

However, living a life shrouded in secrecy leaves me curious about a few things with regards to Miss Page. The movie adaptation of her life made her out to be naive as to the full extent of what she was doing. She just thought that she was modeling for exotic pictures for shutterbug clubs, or doing naturalist style photos? Did she really pose for all of those pictures without the slightest hint that what she was doing was being distributed across the country for men of all ages to....well, you can fill in the rest. Something tells me that half way through the millionth photo shoot where I'm being whipped by a women in a leather studded corset with a ball gag in my mouth, I might get a little suspicious as to the true intent of my photographer.

Either way, if there is a Bettie Page expert out there who wants to shed some light on the truth of her big screen depiction, please comment and set the record straight.

This is all for now. Check back for the posting of the radio show and I will be more vigilant in my keeping up with the blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nurturing The Tribe

More than ever, touring is becoming the most important aspect of being a band. With P2P file sharing turning the album into little more than a social object of exchange, the “bread and butter” of being a band in the future will hinge directly upon making the best of their touring schedule, and ensuring that their tours are as efficient and effective as possible. The result of this is the need to reach fans in new and innovative ways.

Opportunities for interaction with the band need to be provided to fans whenever possible. The gap between the old model of “untouchable, idolized rock god” and the newer model of “leader of a close-knit tribe of invested fans” has vastly shrunk in the past few years. All efforts henceforth need to be aimed at nurturing this tribe of fans to bring them out of the realm of idle bystanders and into the realm of voracious consumers of all that you provide.

The best way of doing this is to give your fans a stake in what you, as a band, are trying to accomplish. In order to do this, bands must provide what fan want most of all; access. If you don’t believe me, lower the price of backstage passes at your next few shows, or giveaway backstage access for joining a mailing list. The number of fans who simply want their interaction with you to go beyond the simple, “I see you on stage playing for me” will surprise many (even young, not yet popular) bands. All that needs to happen is the breakdown of the cognitive dissonance between the stage and the floor.

The best means for providing access to your fans outside the venue is to grant them a chance to participate in what you do. Your fans have talents that will amaze you, and most of them would be perfectly willing to utilize those talents (pro bono) for the opportunity to see their work being used for the good of your band.

Try this example: have an online contest for fans to design a new t-shirt for your band. Once a winner is chosen, give them a few freebies. Then say that you want to post pictures of your fans wearing the new design on you website or blog. Track how many purchases of the new design are made and by whom. You would be incredibly surprised to see that, not only did the person who designed the shirt bought more shirts, but how many people would buy a shirt just to have the opportunity to be on your webpage. Furthermore, every person who gets their picture on your page will tell their friends, “go to so and so’s page and see my pic.” The tribe is now at work.

This is just one example (and I’m sure it’s already been done several times over) of how building your tribe can help sustain your band in the new music paradigm. Now it's up to you to come up with your own ideas of how you can nurture your tribe. Just ask yourself, "what do my fans want?"

Please comment and let me know what you think!!!