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September 09, 2009

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strategyweb.wordpress.com

Yes I am sure there are many other businesses that can learn from this story.

It is a 'bottom-up' rather than a 'top-down' approach that many of us find refreshing and stimulating.

Thank you so much for sharing the story.

Simeon Margolis

I understand the point you're trying to make here David, but to me, this is just more of the same.

There are hundreds and hundreds of bands trying cute bottom-up tactics to gain a following. Hey, a few of them have even succeeded on a small scale. But do you really think this would have been successful if it wasn't Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and John Paul Jones? I worked with the Foo Fighters for a few years, and although they always had big money behind their album launches, they always started their album promotion with similar tactics to what Dave is doing with Them Crooked Vultures.

In my opinion, this is just technology catching up with the same mass marketing masked as "viral" that's always gone on. As a former "major label guy" I'm still waiting for a real example of musical emergence without either financial intervention or built-in celebrity to leverage - after all, you don't really think those "home made" signs we used to see in Times Square outside TRL were actually made by the fans, do you?!

Color me a pessimist, but just like politics and the media, big budgets are still king.

Jon Mueller

It is a great story, but Simon's comment sort of rung the reality bell.

However, the point I think David is making is that there are different ways to approach things than the standard practice. Sure, some of them require big budgets to pull off big things, but that doesn't mean an impact can't be made by trying something different.

For me, this scenario says more about "super experience" than it does, "super group." Perhaps that's what Grohl was trying to present? Regardless, that's something we can all think about on our own terms.

Steve Jones

Great post David.
Compare that to the story of another "supergroup" called Chickenfoot, who spent millions on an album, publicly declared it to be better than Zeppelin and Van Halen, and then let the world down with an album that was just "decent". The advance hype killed the project. A approach like Them Crooked Vultures would have worked so well for them. http://brandlikearockstar.blogspot.com/2009/04/hagars-hype.html

Adam Zand

I've been following this one too David, but given my cynical take on whatever is left of the music "industry" I'm with Simeon (although I got the take away from Jon too). I'm wondering if this is more an example of using the tools and techniques we all love as a way to manipulate and game the results? Big fan of Grohl (& JPJ getting a paycheck), but I'm more partial to social media music tweeps like @jodyg @MatthewEbel, @matisyahu @ylove @nossonzand (my bro) and @NatalieGelman or even the wider influence of Radiohead, NIN or experts in community building Anni DeFranco and Pavement.

In answer to your question about what businesses can learn, seems like another industry under threat - US auto makers - is embracing social media.

By the way, putting on my official "High Fidelity" book badge, all rock super groups suck ;).

David Meerman Scott

Simeon, Adam, Jon - sure, you couldn't pull this tactic off without the star power of the musicians. But I still love the alternative approach and the use of social media in this case. And I do think that other organizations with "star power" (Microsoft for example) can learn from this.

I do like the example of Bec Holcraft using alternative tactics to launch. She was 17 when she started and unknown. She's still not a household name but has potential.
http://www.worldwiderave.com/2009/02/bec-hollcraft-and-her-world-wide-rave.html

Many thanks for the comments.

David

Matt Dyson

This approach is becoming more and more common among bands. Without a doubt torrents are making bands music more widely accessible and easier to obtain.

If people can get music for free after hearing about them on their Myspace, Twitter feed word of mouth, or random blogs, they can 'test it out' on torrents for free.

The marketing of the band is sound and keeps evolving using new tools. The means of obtaining the product have changed and are only getting easier for the end user.

Jonathan Kranz

Sounds like they've taken a page or two from The Grateful Dead playbook. After all, they sustained decades of success, built not on "hits" (didn't have one, "Touch of Gray," until relatively late in career), but on fan engagement: encouraging fans to make recordings they could swap

Tim 'Gonzo' Gordon

Great article, David, especially since it tackles one of my favorite subjects: music and the challenge of promoting it. I think if John Paul Jones of Zeppelin were not a part of the band, there wouldn't be nearly as much attention paid. Dave Grohl is fairly well known, but Josh Homme is not a mainstream name (well, at least to me!). Still, whoever is behind the promotion is quite savvy about what they're doing.

Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. You predict that they'll eventually come out with an album that will debut in BB's Top 10 - maybe even at #1. We'll see. As big of a Zep fan and Foo Fighters fan I am, I didn't hear enough in the admittedly limited videos to inspire me yet. 'Supergroups' are notorious for imploding from expectations (Asia or Blind Faith, anyone?)

I actually liked Chickenfoot on the first listen through...but will it wear? After spending 25 years in the radio biz - much of that as music director - I can tell you that predicting the success or failure of any act is a fool's bet. I would like to see your follow up after their first album has been out a couple of months!

Amelia Vargo

I have to agree with some of the other comments here, without those big names in the band this probably wouldn't have been such a success. However, I love the approach made by them and if this is the way that new bands will start to get known then I think that it will be great for the music industry.

David Meerman Scott

Tim - You are right. I should get out of the prediction business...

All - great discussions. Thanks for your participation.

I still feel that the approach taken by TCV is interesting because it is alternative. Build fans first and then do an album is not a mainstream approach.

David

EngagoTeam

Pop stars go even further:
Get pictures into the gossip magazines for any reason.
Best gossip about nothing winner:
Lady Gaga

She appears dressed special clothes or outfits and the gossip maginzes print them.

Whatever you think of her music, but she made a splash headstart.
Not exactly low profile entry into the business and she sold records.

dig bands

I feel that the approach taken by TCV is interesting because it is alternative. Build fans first and then do an album is not a mainstream approach.
http://www.digbands.com

Jeff Ramos

This is great. This is essentially the same as The Grateful Dead formula you mentioned in World Wide Rave. A little love and sharing between fans goes a long way!

Funny how time hasn't changed a thing!

ian

There's a word missing here. Conversation. If one engages in a conversation with with a fan or a 'customer' and they do most of the talking - you've hit the jackpot :)

Good article though.

sikiş

thanks admin exciting blog
information is the most beautiful treasures

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I worked with the Foo Fighters for a few years, and although they always had big money behind their album launches, they always started their album promotion with similar tactics to what Dave is doing with Them Crooked Vultures.

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I'm still waiting for a real example of musical emergence without either financial intervention or built-in celebrity to leverage - after all, you don't really think those "home made" signs we used to see in Times Square outside TRL were actually made by the fans, do you?!

Spy on a phone

Sounds like they've taken a folio or two from The Grateful Dead playbook. After all, they abiding decades of success, congenital not on "hits" (didn't accept one, "Touch of Gray," until almost backward in career), but on fan engagement: auspicious admirers to accomplish recordings they could swap

Band Promotion

We're starting to see shorter and shorter promotion windows in today's crowded music marketplace. Cultivating a core following for your band using Facebook et al is the way to go.

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