When it comes to social media, many have looked to music and entertainment as key forces that have helped to shape and evolve this medium.
The below article is from a newsletter that I subscribe to called, The Lefsetz Letter , which I felt provided a pretty interesting view of how social media is being used (or not) and its impact on two of today’s most well known artists – John Mayer and Bon Jovi.
What I like about this article is how it compares how both artists are leveraging social media and using it to navigate today’s cultural landscape. Its a clear demonstration of the fact that when it comes to social media, its not necessarily a question of whether or not to get involved, that’s basically a given, but how well and effectively its being used to build and connect with your base. In short, as more and more organizations get involved with social media, its clear that some know what they are doing, while others don’t have a clue, but feel that they need to be there, simply because everyone else is.
While the below article focuses on a number of different topics, the key theme that runs through it, is that we live in a connected world, where people expect to be able to connect with you and each other, on a personal level. To not acknowledge this, is to not understand the world we live in and how your audience wants to be reached.
Just look at what Bob has to say about John & Jon, and you’ll get my point.
In short, we can’t ignore that Social Media has truly changed the rules of engagement, and if you are going to be successful in today’s environment, you can’t soley rely on what’s worked in the past. Because if you want remain relevant, you need to chart a course for the future by leveraging the technologies of today, which means being open, honest and not afraid to connect directly with your audience.
If older folk still buy music and younger people steal it, why did John Mayer sell almost twice as many albums the first week out as Bon Jovi?
Yes, according to hitsdailydouble.com, John Mayer sold 301,204 copies of his new album, “Battle Studies”, this week. Whereas last week, Bon Jovi moved 165,871 copies of “The Circle”.
Ready for some truly horrifying news? The following week “The Circle” fell all the way to number 19, selling 50,153 copies, a whopping drop of 70%. Whew!
What’s the difference between John and Jon?
One is living in 2009 and the other is living in the last century.
Jon Bon Jovi was positively old media, tying in with NBC.
John Mayer was new media, appearing in concert on Fuse and tweeting up a storm.
It doesn’t matter the total reach, it matters who actually watches and what the perception is.
Fuse would be canceled, the entire channel, if its programming was on NBC. To say the ratings are anemic would be charitable. But Fuse airs music, unlike MTV. And most people watching the shows featuring Bon Jovi on NBC don’t give a shit about the man’s music. In other words, Jon’s shoving it down the wrong people’s throats.
Jon Bon Jovi has a fawning documentary on Showtime.
John Mayer is all over Twitter.
Did you watch any of the Bon Jovi doc? Shot like it was footage for “America’s Next Top Model”, everyone looked beautiful and spouted humble platitudes, like we were still living in the eighties and rock stars were established on MTV and made a fucking fortune. Whereas the truth is everybody’s scrambling, giving concert tickets away in some instances. Bon Jovi reflecting is like Lloyd Blankfein saying Goldman Sachs is doing “God’s work”. Huh?
Wow, someone in JBJ’s camp doesn’t understand Twitter. It’s not for selling, its for CONNECTING!
Meanwhile, the Bon Jovi merch page has 1,540 followers. Google “John Mayer Twitter” and you get the following page: http://twitter.com/jOhnCmAYer John Mayer has 2,657,425 Twitter followers. Furthermore, he’s following 72 people, so you get an idea of what he’s into.
Bon Jovi’s old school, playing behind a wall, just like Doug Morris and Jimmy Iovine, rarely coming out to play and only in circumstances they can control.
John Mayer is new school. Putting it all out there unfiltered, getting into arguments with Perez Hilton, never backing down, not afraid to look like a tool.
It’s the honesty that grabs you. That’s why people are following John Mayer, that’s why they care about him.
Furthermore, in an era where album sales represent only a fraction of your fan base, you want to get attention where you can. Not by batting people over the head, telling them they must endure you, but being so provocative, so interesting that they want to tune in.
Nobody plays the new media game better than Mr. Mayer.
He makes a deal with BlackBerry and it looks cool. Kind of like a rapper, ripping off the man, because you know he uses a BlackBerry anyway! Whereas U2 makes a deal with BlackBerry and you see dollar signs, you see promotion, you see a deal. If you endorse a product you truly use is it a sell-out? The classic rock acts would probably say yes, you don’t want to tarnish your image.
But Mr. Mayer is at the bleeding edge of a new paradigm, where the rules are being made up as we go. He’s so overexposed that he’s establishing a new way of doing it, you almost feel like he’s a guy at your high school, that you know him. Does anybody really know Jon Bon Jovi? Who never has a bad word to say about anyone?
Old school: You’re afraid of pissing anybody off, you’re Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl, apologizing. New school: Dixie Chicks. Fuck with me and I’ll give you the middle finger.
In other words, it’s been a long strange trip, but we’re suddenly back in the sixties. It’s about artistry, it’s about music, it’s about honesty. You don’t triangulate, construct a phony identity for public consumption.
You’re better off being your real self. Hell, the Internet will tease out your flaws anyway, why not admit them? Jon Bon Jovi utters irrelevant platitudes and John Mayer sings “Who says I can’t get stoned?” Politicians have to lie about doing dope. But artists are supposed to speak the truth, and the public has to deal with it. Which is why we love our artists more than any political figure.
That’s a question confronting everyone online. Do you make contact or let the sleeping dogs of the past lie? Bon Jovi, Mimi, all the stars of the MTV era are still living in it, oblivious to the fact that the nineties were ten years ago, and that in Internet time, a decade is equivalent to a century. It’s not a three year cycle, you’re on a day to day regimen. “Any tweet that takes more than 90 seconds to write is not a tweet worth sending.”
Yes, we used to make records in an afternoon and get them on the radio in a week. Now, TV and movies are more topical than music. Let it out, go knee-jerk, don’t massage, don’t focus on the marketing plan, focus on the music.
And stay in touch with your audience CONSTANTLY!