Going Viral

17 Jan

At Ebenzer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA...Martin Luther King, Jr. time.

Part 1: Happy Martin Luther King Day! Here is a zitty college photo of me at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Dr. King’s home church.

Part 2: We just read an article in the New Yorker about viruses and the study of how they spread. Turns out humans have been infected with lots of things we can’t handle because of contact with bushmeat and game blood in Africa. Unsafe cleaning practices with hunted game coupled with the increasing connectivity of the world – globalization, transportation, all that jazz – have made viruses more…viral than ever. Joy.

The interesting thing is the very technological innovation that has unleashed this exposure upon us can also be the thing that saves us. Scientists have goals of setting hunters in Africa up to a twitter-like system of reporting groups of dead animals and also symptoms of illness…all things that could trend toward the start of a viral outbreak. Posting these trends in real time helps pin down when things start. Very cool indeed.

All this to say…as musicians, we actually WANT things to go viral. And the means of transporting our message, sound, image are more accessible than ever and are more useful than ever, as with the medical example above. It’s quite a bit less pressing than viral outbreaks in Africa, but it’s important to understand that you and I, the consumers of music and content online, control the trends. It’s no longer a case of us getting spoon fed the popular thing from the big 3 record labels. They still try for sure, and they succeed on some level, but not on the level that they were.

Now it’s communal. Part of our marketing work for The Boss’s new album is a new street team…using fans who like to talk about her music to, well…talk about her music. They are the core of the grassroots promotion we are doing. Paying radio promoters to get songs spun so that they chart on some chart somewhere…doesn’t really make people go buy an album these days.  Having their friend say, “Hey check this out, this is cool,” works more.  Having their friend say it 8 times works best.  It’s one at a time, but it creates long term fans instead of non-committed flighty half-fans.

So what do we do?  We do what we do as music lovers and buyers.  if we like it, we share.  If you like that Switzerland video below, post it on your Facebook.  If you like Susan’s music, tweet it.  If you like Dan’s band porterdavis, go see their next show and bring 2 friends.

You control the outbreak, and in this context, we want it to spread.

And don’t ever eat bushmeat.

2 Responses to Going Viral


susan gibson

January 17th, 2011 at 11:44 pm

hey~ i thought you were the Boss~ you can make anything relate to anything 😉
thanks for the food for thought. It tastes better than bushmeat.
susan gibson
CEO, For the Records



January 21st, 2011 at 7:12 am

thanks for calling me the Boss, Boss! 🙂

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