Los Angeles Times looks at the record industry’s foray into consumer generated media (and what it can do for their star generated media).
Last year, Epic Records held a contest offering fans a chance to help create a video for Colombian pop diva Shakira. The contest yielded some 500 submissions of fans lip-syncing and booty-shaking in extremis that were spliced together by a professional editor to create a single video. Posted at Yahoo.com’s music portal in March 2006, it quickly became the site’s most popular clip.
At this MySpace-obsessed moment in culture, the contest gambit provides a cost-effective, buzz-generating alternative to big-budget music videos or costly print-ad runs. Moreover, the contests virally generate publicity and result in virtual “communities” by getting music aficionados to communicate with one another in ways that yesteryear’s fan clubs could never dream of.
It’s an equation that the labels can’t help but love — fans pump in labor, attention and enthusiasm, and artists reap sales. And at least at this point in the cycle, when we’ve yet to see any significant contest backlash, scandal or cynicism, many fans seem energized by the proliferating attempts to pull them into the marketing loop.