Holding up a lighter has long been a staple of any concert-going experience – an experience that has stayed relatively stagnant by wrapping up live music, dancing and outrageously-priced food and drink into one great night. Enter: Twitter. While this microblogging monster is not going to change any of that, it IS adding a whole new element to what many of us previously considered routine. And if it’s any indication of things to come, you might hold off on buying that $250 pavilion ticket – you can simply log onto Twitter and hear the live version, mere minutes after it is recorded.
Leading the charge in this online digitation is Moonalice, a band fronted by venture capitalist and co-founder of Elevation Partners, Roger McNamee. Roger is also co-founder of the band, which played 102 shows in 2008. His Bay Area crew is comprised of GE Smith (former band leader of Saturday Night Live, Bob Dylan, Hall & Oates); Pete Sears (Rod Stewart, Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna); Barry Sless (Phil Lesh & Friends); Ann McNamee (Ann Atomic, Flying Other Bros.); John Molo (Bruce Hornsby, The Other Ones, Phil Lesh & Friends); Roger McNamee (Flying Other Bros.); and sometimes Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), with an album produced by T. Bone Burnett. And while McNamee is filling that need to rock on the weekends by manning the guitar, bass and vocals, he and the band are also showing others how they can incorporate Twitter into their music outreach.
How does Moonalice do it? By being the first band to employ the use of Twittercasts, which are live Twitter broadcasts of their shows. Upon completion of a song, Moonalice’s sound team digitizes and uploads it before tweeting out the news. Followers click on a TinyURL link and are taken to a site where they can listen to and download the track – it’s as easy as that. This novel idea is helping the band cover some real ground. After first testing the Twittercast in April, they decided to continue the approach through a couple more concerts. And according to an April TechCrunch article, “because of the live Twitter integration, Moonalice says that its seen 3000 downloads of its music in the past week and a half (from just the tweets and retweeting)” – a number that has surely increased the listenership of this slightly south of mainstream band.
With more than 90,000 followers on Twitter and 6,000 on Facebook, the band has pioneered music broadcasts over social networks. These results are impressive, as is the band’s success at using social network tools to build its brand. In fact, Roger McNamee is currently slated to address the topic of the mobile Web prior to a performance in Bend Oregon this August – which further solidifies him as some on the forefront of this trend. I expect this is one trend that really will take off. Music fans are a crazy bunch, and this is one more way they can get closer to the source… so groupies and SoNet junkies alike, rejoice.