Isn’t it time for the music industry to figure it out?

I’m about to write a blog that is not likely to win me friends in high places. Then again, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.

Yesterday, Marvel did something that ultimately endeared them to movie fans, particularly superhero movie fans, but movie fans nonetheless, worldwide. They announced a series of movies, nine of them actually, to a house packed with media and fans alike.  Marvel had sent invites, super “secret” invites to a mysterious announcement type event, and then turned around and invited fans in the Los Angeles area as well, making sure that audience was completely filled.

Those that couldn’t make it weren’t left in the cold. Marvel live blogged the event, and encouraged those in attendance to tweet using a specific hashtag. That way, as the announcement of the next nine movies that Marvel is working to release was made and events unfolded, fans around the world were included in on that excitement. Marvel had set up an entire team of social media to cover the event, knowing that in order for this announcement to go over huge – which is exactly what they wanted and needed – they had to win fans over and create that same sense of excitement whether or not you were in the venue, reading about it on Twitter, or even seeing news of the event in the following days. You see, fans run the show. They are who buy the movie tickets and the merchandise, and they are who shout from the rooftops about the things they are excited enough about to share. They just need to know what to yell.  Marvel gave them exactly that, and more.

Now, this event wasn’t just a static announcement of movies, dates, celebrities and so forth. It was a celebration. Actors were invited out onto the stage, logos were shown, dates were announced, and immediately following the event – new accounts for individual  superheroes hit Twitter.

My friends, THIS IS PR IN THE YEAR 2014. This is using social media the way it is intended to be used, and this is what it means to utilize the power of fans. Getting the power of fans behind a project matters FAR more than the old, tired retweeting what another celebrity said in passing about a 20-year old album or video. Fans post and tweet about what they like. Fans TALK about what they like – and that reach can be huge if given the encouraging environment in which it can grow.

On the other hand, Warner Bros. announced a series of eleven new superhero movies earlier in the month. At a investors conference. No fans were in the seats cheering. Nothing was mentioned about it on social media until a press release made it’s way across the web. The news was basically bookended with announcements of three new Harry Potter spinoffs and another Lego movie. In order to see the movies they were announcing, you had to scour the article…which wasn’t necessarily effective PR.

Don’t get me wrong, the news of more Harry Potter is exciting. If you’re into Legos then I’m sure that news is certainly welcome as well, and the rest of the movies mentioned will definitely interest people as well. I have no doubt that fans will go to see the movies once they appear in theaters….but what I am more interested in at this point is the LEGS that the news had (or lack thereof). Is it getting chatted up in the same way the Marvel announcement from yesterday seems? I’d argue no. Absolutely not. Let’s face it, Marvel knew that they needed to grab the attention (and loyalty) from fans. This isn’t about just sending out a boring PR announcement, this is about shaking the trees and getting Marvel’s voice heard above all else. It’s about using the power and passion that fans have, harnessing it and making it do a good portion of the work. It’s about investing a little to get a huge return…one that goes on beyond the announcement event itself, and it works. I highly doubt a single person who came out of that Marvel announcement didn’t at least send a single tweet, photo, make a Facebook announcement, or comment to someone about the event itself. I know I saw hashtags about it all over Twitter yesterday, and more on Facebook today.

From my point of view, there is much to be learned from this single example. You can release an album that you’ve been working on for a couple of years with a bunch of promo appearances and let the media do the work – because well, isn’t that the job of the media?! A few fans will show up at these appearances, they’ll tweet here and there and hopefully, radio will kick in and maybe something will get some play.  The more interesting alternative; however, is to do something completely out of the box, get fans to the event and excite them so much so that they turn around and shout that news out to as wide an audience as possible, and so on.  Something like that, has real legs. Talking about the event will go on for many days AFTER the event, and that’s what you want as a PR person. Go ahead, do the promo appearances. Use the media….but don’t forget the biggest built-in publicity tool you’ve got. The FANS. Movies and TV are doing it with great success, using announcements similar to Marvel, events like comic-con and others…isn’t it time the music industry caught up?

-R

 

 

Today in Duran History – Terroristen

On today’s date in 1998, John Taylor’s band, Terroristen played the Birch Hill nightclub in Old Bridge, New Jersey.  This date was included on their tour, named Baby Steps.

You say you don’t know much about Terroristen?  Well, this is a band that John started in 1998 while he was taking…let’s just call it an extended hiatus…from Duran Duran.  The line up featured John on bass, Gerry Laffy on guitar, Michael Railton and later Tio Banks on keyboard, Larry Aberman on drums and John Amato on saxophone and flute.

You might be able to find some songs and video on YouTube, but as for CD’s…I wish you luck. They’re pretty rare.  For now, here is the audio to Planet Earth/Good Times:

My favorite of this period though is Hey Day, which is included on the Terroristen EP 5.30.98….and you’re getting that here as a bonus because well, it’s my blog.  You’re welcome.  Listen to the lyrics, because the song is about Duran Duran, and in turn, it’s really kind of about being a Duran fan, too.

-R

 

 

ban-polls

Question of the Day: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Yesterday’s winner:  Picture Y

ATY

Today in Duran History – Viper Room, Voodoo and even UCLA…

On today’s date in Duran history….there has been a few exciting things to happen.

The thing is, we have a spreadsheet that we use to create this blog each day. I won’t go into a ton of detail (because it’s boring and none of you care), but we’ve got a ton of different things to share, so each day of each year we try to share a different “thing”.  For example, next year on October 30, I’ll be sharing something different than I will this year.  In any case, for this year I’m supposed to be following the tidbits for each date in column “C”.  Well, if you know me, you realize I don’t like following all the rules. So I’m not today.

On October 29 of 1995, Neurotic Outsiders played the Viper Room. Now that’s exciting because…well, it’s John Taylor. Enough said, right?

Except that, also on October 29, but in the year 2006, Duran Duran played the Voodoo Festival. The memory of this particular festival lies close to my heart because my friends – I survived Voodoo. I stood in the heat all day. I moshed (mostly against my will) along with thousands as My Chemical Romance took the stage. I sweated while praying that “the human hamster ball” would come nowhere near me while The Flaming Lips were onstage…and then, I was pushed, shoved, nearly tackled and CERTAINLY defiled by a very tall man’s arm pit as Duran Duran took the stage that night. What’s more, I can laugh about it now. But I’m still not doing another festival. Well, at least not sober. Probably.

ALSO on October 29, but this time in the year 2009, John Taylor spoke on a panel at UCLA for the 40th anniversary celebration of the internet. The topic was how the internet has changed music, or fandom…or all of it…and this, my friends, has everything to do with this blog, our research and manuscript in many ways, and even the fact that John Taylor joined Twitter and social media… until he apparently left Twitter (and social media) for the most part, because some people just do not understand boundaries or little things like common decency. Regardless, I strongly urge you to give his portion of the panel a listen. John is a fantastic orator, and it wasn’t long after this talk that he suddenly appeared on Twitter for the first time.

In fact, I found his speech on YouTube…check it out:

So, October 29th has historically been a pretty interesting day for Duran Duran…even if this year seems to be a bit quiet.  It’s the calm before the storm….

-R

 

ban-polls

Question of the Day: Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yesterday’s winner:  Picture X

ATX

 

 

 

 

"Maybe you think you're above it, but baby we know that you love it." – Red Carpet Massacre

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