Old Spice? Really?

August 12, 2010

Yep. Old Spice matters.

I’d been thinking about a live launch event for the wee project I’ve been working on lately and I got to thinking about OldSpice. Just in case you missed it, OldSpice launched an ad campaign back during the SuperBowl that was a viral hit – go check it out for a quick giggle if you’ve not seen it.

But the agency behind the OldSpice ads took it a bit further – they started taking random replies to @oldspiceguy on Twitter and filming RESPONSES to them. Some of them were hilarious.

But more than that, the event was an edge-of-your-seat, real-time experience. Could they keep pulling off hilarious videos throughout the day in response to tweets? Would some of them fall horribly flat and SUCK?

The closest thing in my mind in music which captured that “anything-can-happen-will-it-work?” lately was the live recording sessions by Belfast artist Tom McShane (disclosure: I was part of the recording process).

What really became clear very early on, was that no one, not even the musicians, knew what would happen when the recording started. The audience were right there in the room, so they didn’t know what would happen, either. Although preparations were meticulous, there was just no way of predicting what would go wrong, what would work, and what would flop. There would be no over-dubs.

And that, at it’s essence, was why it was an amazing experience for both audience and musician.

This “live theatre” type of experience was lost during the hey-day of pre-recorded media. Mistakes could be edited out, changes in tempo regimented – everything was fixable.

But an audience will always prefer an edge – and as I’ve said before, the audience is the only thing that matters. So take off the safety harness and go try something dangerous.


“When someone demands to know what is going to replace the music industry…

August 6, 2010

“When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.”

The above quote from Clay Shirky, in my mind, perfectly encapsulates the fear inherent in business models effected by the internet, social media and new methods of information distribution.

And it fits perfectly for music – specifically the line “They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place.” If the 10 years (!) since Napster has taught has anything, it’s that even the smartest (cough *Snocap* cough), best funded (cough *SpiralFrog* cough) and even most popular (COUGH *myspace* COUGH) music services/systems invented don’t cut it during a revolution. And they certainly can’t “replace” music sales.

Nothing is sacred.

So what to do? Try. Measure. Optimize. Fail. Try again. Same as it ever was.