Rdio and the wired brain

Small columns sit on street corners in Nashville, playing country standards to the downtown foot traffic. They carry the writing, ‘Music is the true barometer of a person’s soul’.

I’m at Hub Melbourne sitting opposite the divine Sam Bell. A mate of nearly four years, after picking up a takeaway coffee from Kinfolk we have settled back into the peaceful dance of dry humour and producing work, driven by experiences that delight the world.

It’s an interesting dynamic sitting opposite someone and exchanging few words, it’s an easy silence. It yields a unique insight into a person’s mental model, especially when layered with Rdio activity.

Sam is listening to Sebastien Tellier. An electric emotional synthesised roller coaster. A subdued style of music to compliment her work style and decaf coffee.

I’m contradicting her with a long black, finding restlessness in Rick Rubin’s stripped back production of Jennifer Nettles’ new album. This tension is mirrored in my leg shakes and clicking fingers.

It’s the magic of multiple layers of data forming it’s own temporary stream. The inputs come from insights captured by the internet and the brain’s wiring, a unique shared DNA that will expire when the moment ends. Brilliant.

Music on the edge

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Summertime in Brooklyn, mustard on your lip. I knew I loved you by the bottom of the fifth.

There is that moment of impact when a song starts playing, you hear a few chords, the downbeat drops in and your mind naturally travels somewhere else.

All cognitive friction is gone. You feel a rush go through your body and for a brief moment everything is tranquil. Your mind is absolutely focused on it’s subtle chord progressions and rich tapestry of words that have now formed a detailed picture.

For three minutes you share that composite character’s experience.

I’m sitting in East Nashville right now, my head is with David Nail in Brooklyn at a Cyclones game, sharing his perfectly detailed heart break. His life is becoming a blur, it’s the end of summer and mascara is running down his lover’s eyes as she ends their relationship.

Isn’t music bloody awesome?

This post was written on October 18, 2013 at Barista Parlor

Colt Ford, Twilight and the power of cultural relevance.

Cultural relevance is a powerful tool. It generates attention, conversation and the almighty revenue stream.

Colt Ford, a country music singer from Athens, Georgia. Ford’s debut album Ride Through The Country peaked at #24 on the Billboard Country Charts in December 2008. The highest charting single of his career so far is “Cold Beer”, a collaboration with Jamey Johnson that peaked at #53. Despite the lack of mainstream support from country radio, Ford has sold over 207,000 copies of his debut album and 123,000 of his recently released Chicken & Biscuits.

Ford has generated an unconventional following through his constant touring schedule and is validation that country radio is not needed to sell records. However, that is not the objective of this post.

This is:

Filmed in Nolensville, TN – this video is a parody of the Twilight phenomenon.

The above is Colt Ford reaching out to Twilight fans via his Twitter account. With this video, he has now placed himself in a circumstance where he can establish mainstream interest on television as well as the Internet. Why is this of interest?

Colt Ford has adopted something that is culturally to the point (Twilight) and that makes people take notice – people that are not simply country music fans.

Is cultural relevance one of the keys to the expansion of your brand and its audience?

The CMA Festival, engagement and consumer impressions.

A little background for the non-country music audience (and don’t worry, there is no boot scootin’, John Deere tractors or dogs dying in this post) :

The CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair) is a major country music festival held in June each year, presented by the Country Music Associate in Nashville, Tennessee.

Why is this at all interesting?

The CMA Music Festival successfully presented brands with the opportunity to connect with individual audience members. The following video provides an overview of how the CMA achieved over 700,000 consumer impressions through activities related to key audience demographics (namely families).

The ULTIMATE Country Music Fan Experience with the ULTIMATE Opportunity for Consumer Engagement!

Quick Stats:

  • 65,000 fans in attendance
  • 55, 000 visited the Exhibition Hall
  • Bigger crowds in free areas with River Stage and Family Zones
  • 56 hours of free concerts
  • A focus on Sport, Fun and Family Zones with ‘fun and friendly activities’
  • Overall, the festival generated 700,000 active consumer impressions through product samplings, dedicated registrations and brand impressions.

Lessons learned?

Corporate sponsors were able to benefit from an established community of country music brand evangelists through a series of activities and events tailored to engage the target consumer: families.

The Johnny Cash Project: Where country music, art and new media collide

The Johnny Cash Project is an online collective project that employs crowdsourced art to produce a video for Johnny Cash‘s “Ain’t No Grave”, a track from Cash’s posthumous album American VI: Ain’t No Grave released earlier this year.

Music and art have the potential to be about participation, engagement and collaboration and this project is a testament to that.

Lady Antebellum is playing with karaoke. How is your brand engaging with its audience?

For me, successful branding equates to three words: connect, engage and enlist.

When you are a music artist – you are the brand. To develop a successful music brand, you need fans or brand evangelists. It’s not simply about using free promotional/social tools including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to spread the word. It is about maximising every impression made between fans and the music product. If the initial music impression is active, then it is more likely to generate the music consumer’s complete attention.

Country music group Lady Antebellum uploaded an audio track of their duet with Maroon 5 titled ‘Out Of Goodbyes’ onto their YouTube account. In the video, they also included the songs lyrics. Why is this relevant?

Lady Antebellum not only increased the likelihood of the potentially transient consumer paying attention to their video by making the music a foreground experience, they also engaged the viewer with lyrics, generating a deeper initial impression. Methods like this are small yet effective ways of prolonging audience attention.

How would you engage your audience with the music product?

Insert Generic Blog Title Here

Alright, this is technically my second blog. My “pioneering” blog Theoretical Country is where I posted my “ramblings about a digital country music honours thesis”. Well, we are now fast approaching November and I am preparing to submit the longest and most rewarding research project in the history of my twenty something life. With that in mind, I feel it is now an appropriate time to spread by proverbial wings and launch a blog that online casino serves a wider purpose than my musings on country music and scholarly communications theory.

In fact, it has been in the last six months that I have truly had an epiphany about my own life – communication is central to the human experience. We function through messages whether we be the sender or the recipient (that would explain my Twitter account). Now, why this failed to occur to me during my five years as a communications student truly is a mystery.

I have also discovered the complication that I am consistently facing: I have a multiplicity of thoughts running rampant in the  24/7 inner monologue that is my head and no platform to share them on. So welcome to Digital Red Dirt.