I've said this before, but moving forward, I believe the marketing landscape belongs to the companies and people that are willing to join and empower their communities. This is a big reason why music marketing has always intrigued me, because artists are extremely close to their communities of fans. By default, a music artist is also a member of his or her community, since they are also fans of their own music. The greater the level of interaction with their fans, the greater the level of devotion to the artist.
Take The Beastie Boys. They've been around for literally decades, but haven't been in the mainstream music consciousness in years. To many in the industry, being out of sight, out of mind would represent a career in decline. But the Beasties are smart enough to know that appealing to their core fans is the key to sustaining a career (Paying attention, Jewel?). A classic example of the Beasties embracing their community came in 2004 when the Beasties decided that they wanted to shoot a concert documentary.
The Beasties ended their 2004 World Tour in their hometown at Madison Square Garden. Seemed like the perfect place to film the group's concert documentary, but the Boys didn't. Their fans did. Prior to the concert, the Beasties walked out into the crowd and handed out 50 camcorders, with the simple instructions for their fans to film anything they wanted as long as they filmed it with passion.
The result is the current DVD 'Awesome; I F*ckin' Shot That'. The title came from producer Joe Doran, who explained that in 20 years when fans that were at this show see this DVD, they'll be able to say "Awesome! I F*ckin' Shot That!".
So is this a documentary about the Beasties, or their community of fans? Or is it all of the above?
This is again, the new marketing reality. You don't have total control of your marketing message, you share control with your community. You can fight this reality, or you can embrace it as the Beasties did here, and create something magical. I'm not a big Beastie Boys fan, but I don't have to be to know that this DVD is going to be a hit. Why? Because it is aimed at the people that made it.
Want to create some marketing magic of your own? Then you'll have to do what the Beasties did, you'll have to leave the stage and get out in the crowd.