I have been thinking a lot about connection these days. Namely what makes people connect.
The Internet has become a relatively new catalyst for connection. The written word has become just as powerful as the spoken word and all over the world, people are connecting in ways they never thought possible.
Now not only do I get to go see a new or an old favorite, I can check out any social networking site to find others who enjoy the same and make a new friend by writing to them and sharing experiences near and far; good, bad and ugly.
When I think of the new ‘raw’ entertainment era that we’re in, I look at ways entertainers are reaching out to their people. No longer does a person have to pay for the latest album or movie; it is readily available for download somewhere on the net where you are not supposed to go, right or wrong. I believe, for an entertainer, creating an experience online and offline is the next level of attack and the entertainers are getting it.
NIN seems to think so. Instead of taking the Metallica road to warfare against piracy, they embraced that their fans are loyal, educated and smart; they gave them the experience of free music on BitTorrent, but in addition to that, they told them in writing exactly what to do to get it. This created camaraderie and a good feeling for all, not to mention buco bucks in their other offerings.
Buckcherry on the other hand, has recently played their audience as fools by having their manager, Josh Klemme, release their new track from their upcoming album on a torrent site and fake that it came from God knows where, knowing radio stations monitor the popularity of downloaded songs as a gauge on what to play on mainstream radio. Better yet, that band had the gall to blog about on a July 3rd MySpace posting stating they felt their fans were cheated because they wanted to bring it to their deserving public first.
I understand, publicity is publicity; now they are being talked about and maybe that is what they wanted, but I know that today’s fans are not going to put up with that type of trickery. What fans are looking for is a connection to a group, not deceptive marketing. Time will tell if they bit the hands that feed them and I personally hope they get disengaged but it teaches us all something about true connecting and how a band will hit the next level or maintain their status.
Personally, I want to see bands playing out on the street corner for free once in awhile where they can entertain, interact with humans and share their gift with the world. If they are good, fame, money and respect is sure to follow. If they are well established, they will be reinforcing a bond. Even with the power of the Internet, the lure of true connection will never be replaced.