Last night I went to see Forever The Sickest Kids at the Grog Shop. The show was insane--sold out to the rafters, and the band had to stop after every song to tell people to do the country dance "take three steps back" to save the girls up front from getting crushed.
After spending time with these dudes on Warped Tour while I was working on their AP cover story, it was nice to see them again and say hey and see what they'd been up to since this summer. If you read the story, you might recall that Jonathan Cook is constantly thinking of different ways to promote the band. Not in a "sellout" kind of way (I so hate that word), but in a way that anyone who believes in his or her music would want to do so that as many people as possible can hear it.
Anyway, everyone knows that the industry is more or less headed online. Bands have been launching online campaigns for quite awhile now--but it's getting to the point where having a MySpace page just isn't enough anymore. Bands are going to have to continue to think outside the box and come up with more creative ways to get their music to stand out from the over-saturated pack.
Many bands are doing this already--Fall Out Boy come to mind, with their hype campaign leading up to next week's release of Folie A Deux. Between their golden ticket contest and CFOB Mania, the band continue to find ways to engage their fans online, possibly creating a new kind of excitement--one that may be able to replace the traditional anticipation of waiting until Tuesday to run to your nearest record store to pick up that week's new releases.
FTSK have also been mastering the art of online fan engagement. While I was chatting with the guys for a bit after the show last night, I noticed a piece of paper clipped to the white board in the front lounge of their bus. The days of the week were labeled down the side, along with at least two names of major recording artists/celebs next to each day. People like Jordin Sparks, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson and Paris Hilton were among them. Curious, I asked Jonathan what he was up to, and he explained that FTSK had asked their fans to post as many comments as possible on these people's MySpace pages on the corresponding day, leaving messages along the lines of "Forever The Sickest Kids love _______"
One of last night's targets were the Jonas Brothers, and you can see a lot FTSK messages mixed in with the JoBros' fans congratulating them on their Grammy nod.
So what does all this spamming accomplish? Probably not that much, other than the fact that it gets the band name in front of more people. The comments don't stay on top too long, but it has been noticed. Apparently Miss Sparks left a comment asking who FTSK were, and supposedly Kanye West disabled his comments after getting all the FTSK love.
It seems this is the direction self-promotion and advertising is headed. What are your thoughts about bands taking to the interwebs, plastering their names all over the place with digital "fliers." It's not like it's that new of an idea, but I think we'll continue to see more and more creative and "out there" ideas as bands try to set themselves apart. Is this the beginning of the end, or just the beginning of the new? You tell us.