Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Streets supermarket sweep

Best avoid Asda this week, as the soup aisles may well be filled with iPhone users aiming their phones at tins of tomato soup. Yes, tomato soup. Why?  Well, Mike Skinner, AKA The Streets, is running a cyberhunt, whereby fans have to download the free 'Mike Scanner' app (see what they did there...) and photograph 2 barcodes, one of which can be found on Skinner's website. The other, rather strangely, can be found on the side of an unnamed 300g brand of tinned tomato soup.  Yes, I repeat, tomato soup.  When they do this, it will unlock access to a new mixtape from The Streets.

It's a nice idea, well written and sitting comfortably alongside a very focused digital campaign centred around The Streets blog.  Skinner has been very hands on in the campaign to seed his forthcoming new album, Computers & Blues (out 7th Feb), actively blogging with video clips and photographs amongst other stuff since 19th October 2010.  This date is interesting, because having been very active on Twitter, Skinner disappeared off the face of the earth on October 19th 2009, before returning exactly one year later with the tweet "www.the-streets.co.uk" directing fans to his new blog and a veritable flow of regular content, including new music and the Mike Skinner personality stamped all over the blog.

Whether it's a success will be proven on Sunday 13th Feb when we see if his album has sold well enough.  If it has, then it'll be hi-5s all round at Warner Music on Valentines Day, but if it hasn't then at least he'll have a future in digital content and social media...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Machine to win Xmas chart battle

After last years impressive uprising against Simon Cowell which saw Rage Against The Machine solidly beat the X Factor winner, Joe McElderry to number 1, it's pretty clear that Syco have reigned in the masses this year, with Matt Cardle dead-on for the 2010 Christmas number 1 single, with his renamed Biffy Clyro cover, 'When We Collide'.

He's outperforming last years tracks with over 110,000 sales on day 1, compared to comparative sales of 83,000 for Rage and 77,000 for McElderry at the same point last year.  Cardle's nearest rival, Rihanna, has sold just over a third of the amount he's shifted PLUS the physical CD version will hit supermarket shelves tomorrow enabling the parents and grandparents to make their impulse purchase whilst doing their weekly shopping - so I'd say it's pretty clear that Syco have it in the bag.

Perhaps it's down to the fact that this year there are effectively three different campaigns attempting to rattle Cowell's hold on the number 1 spot:
1) The Trashmen 'Bird Is The Word'
2) Cage Against The Machine '4'33"
3) Biffy Clyro 'Many Of Horror'

At present, The Trashmen are leading their way at number 3 with approx 25k sales, whilst Biffy are at #9 with just under 15k sales, with CATM at #19 with close to 6k sales. The Trashmen are also winning the social media challenge with an impressive 626,000 'likes' on Facebook, compared to 85k for CATM and 39,000 currently supporting Biffy Clyro.  In comparison, the RATM Facebook page had just under 900,000 fans last year.

Momentum is certainly building around each of these campaigns now that we're in the week of release, so hopefully the various challengers will build their support and boost sales to at least give the X Factor winner a run for his money as we near the final chart rundown on Sunday.

I for one have put my money where my mouth is and thrown my spare change behind the Cage Against The Machine track which is raising funds for a selection of very worthy charities (listed on their Facebook page).  So dig deep people and get involved and lets turn this into a real chart battle.

Fight the power and other cliches and watch the Cage Against The Machine official video below.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

"Video no longer available due to a copyright claim by EMI..."
















EMI Music Publishing are on the receiving end of the beginnings of what could become a virtual kicking on social networks for requesting the removal of the recent phenomenon, NEWPORT: State Of Mind from YouTube. This being the parody of the Jay-Z & Alicia Keys track about New York that was created and posted up by some advertising creatives and a bunch of actors recently and went on to top the Guardian Viral Video chart.


OK, it was a fun little clip, but what people seem to be forgetting is that the pastiche uses a track written by somebody else, and therefore owned by a songwriter, who happens to be represented by EMI Music Publishing.  This is unlikely to be a case of 'the man' getting rid of this specific song, more a case that EMI and other major music rights holders tend to request the removal of any use of their music which hasn't been placed by the label from services such as YouTube.

It's a standard system that works to ensure that use of the music is properly registered with the service provider (in this case YouTube) to ensure that the songwriters and other rights holders get paid what's due to them.

Songwriters getting paid?  Sounds fair to me.  The creators of the Newport parody should probably speak to the rights holders of the original version of the song to see if they can cut a deal to share rights on their song and make some revenue from it, so I hope this doesn't become a big deal because the joke has passed now, but at least it raises the issue of copyright and the creators of music needing to be paid fairly for their work. And yes, I'm aware Jay-Z already has quite a lot of money, but remember, without his original, this parody wouldn't have been so funny.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Thom Yorke: The Brand Ambassador...

This story passed me by last month, but it would appear that Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has engaged in an arrangement of sorts with the New York denim brand, Rag & Bone.

It seems that Thom soundtracked the brands New York Fashion Week show last month, selecting tracks in conjunction with their designer & co-owner, David Neville, and then mixing the tracks together - link here

Yorke selected tracks by Squarepusher and Bjork in his short selection, as detailed on Bjork's website - link here.

Thom was also seen wearing a Rag & Bone jacket at his Grammy Awards performance last month - story here.

It's possible that Thom is a fan or friend of the brand, however, whether he's receiving cash or clothes in return for his support, it still seems to go against the vehement anti-brand stance that his band Radiohead are so well known for.

Having said that, his 'partnership' has been delivered very tastefully, without overt exploitation of his involvement and putting his creativity at the fore, so Rag & Bone have to be applauded for achieving this priceless endorsement.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Intriguing music viral

The blogosphere is mildly buzzing about a series of teaser virals that are running on YouTube under the username iamamiwhoami_


UPDATE: A locked Twitter account has appeared that is claiming to be behind this campaign - twitter.com/IAmItsMe - could be a spoof, but who knows.  Lots of Swedish in their tweets...


The videos showcase a selection of brilliantly shot clips featuring a blond lady covered in what appears to be tar, licking trees, whilst a dog frollicks in the snow. They also end with sketches of animals and feature strawberry's for some unknown reason.

Rumours are circulating that it's either Goldfrapp, Christina Aguilera or Lady Gaga, but my instinct is that its the Swedish duo, The Knife. Why? The woman looks a bit like the lead singer and the music is probably closest to The Knife than the three aforementioned acts. Their new album, an opera called 'Tomorrow, In A Year' (out on 1st March - click here to order your copy) has a relevant connection to these clips, having been based on Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species.

Whoever is behind it has delivered a nicely shot viral campaign, that is creating a decent level of interest online.  If it is Christina Aguilera, then a nice move to show a new edgier direction, however, if I'm right and it is The Knife, then the 150k+ people who've engaged with the campaign are most likely mainly potential new fans who may then go out to buy the album.  Nice result.

Watch the full set on the iamamiwhoami YouTube channel