Does anyone else think that Bum Rush The Charts is like those chain letters that went around a few summers ago asking people to not buy gas on a certain date?
The idea behind those chainmails was to create a surplus of gasoline so that gas stations had to mark down their prices just to move it all.
Thing is, even if that was very well planned out and did create a surplus, it’s not like people weren’t going to need gas sooner or later. Nothing would’ve changed. Prices would’ve stayed the same – if not actually increased to take advantage of the demand the following days.
I think Bum Rush The Charts is kind of like that.
The idea of Bum Rush The Charts was to prove to media conglemerates and record labels the power of new media (blogging, podcasting, all that jazz). So they organized a date, March 22nd, for participants to purchase a single track off the iTunes store. That track was “Mine Again” by a band called Black Lab.
Why that track? Because the band had been dropped from 2 record labels and had to fight to get the rights to their own music back.
Bum Rush The Charts also set themselves up as iTunes affiliates and pledged to donate their commisions from the track’s sales to college scholarships.
“Mine Again” got to the #99 spot on the iTunes 100 top tracks overall and #11 on the iTunes US Rock Charts.
Does that prove the power of new media? I think what it really proves is that if you give people a cause (such as “fuck the RIAA”) and the motivation (donations to scholarships) you can rally them behind anything that’s well-intentioned. I don’t think the track would have done as well if they didn’t offer the donations. By offering donations they turned music marketing into something more like “Save The Whales.”
Meanwhile, Kate Walsh’s “homemade” album has been propelled to Sub-Timbaland status (that means just below Timbaland’s new album of collarborations) in the UK. What marketing really helped it out?
No new media, like blogs and podcasts, initially – just a free sample. People liked what they heard and wanted more.
Of course, new media will take sales even further by exposing Walsh even more, and iTunes likely falls under the new media umbrella in a way – despite it being run by a large company like the BRTC people tried to show up. But there was no cause behind her sudden succes other than creating what people would want to listen to and getting recognition for it.
At the end of the day when it comes to selling music (or ANYTHING), quality will win over saving whales. People will likely still be talking about Kate Walsh months from now. Will they be talking about Black Lab?