Live music isn’t dead. Far from it. But I come from an area that doesn’t have a huge live scene and a large swath of the population would rather go out on a Friday night to sing along with Bon Jovi covers than listen to original live music. This presents a big problem for lots of acts that maybe can’t take off on tour to bigger markets due to family or work commitments.
So I’ve been really fascinated by the opportunities that the web and social media provide for fans to discover new music but also the big (and largely untapped in my opinion) opportunities for bands, large and small to build a fan base, worldwide, with bits and bytes supplementing stints in the van.
Modus, a rock group that I perform with played a couple of sets a couple of weekends ago at the Utica Music and Arts festival. To help promote the gigs, we sat down and recorded a brand new track called ‘Rocket V8‘. The idea was to bring our friends and fans into the equation and show them what goes into recording a track in a home studio and on the fly. We then would make the track available online for free starting at the Utica Music Fest.
The recording session was promoted only via Facebook and Twitter as well as friends, fans, and family. We streamed (is streamed an actual word?) out live via Ustream, utilizing multiple webcams and a soundboard mix of the entire process to anyone that would listen. While tracking, we took suggestions, questions (and criticisms) from viewers as we built the final song. Above, you’ll see a compilation video I put together of the recording process.
What we created was an event (and a product – in this case the track) that was interactive, authentic and real-time. A gig, really – but without the cover charge, setup, and volume. And by the end of the evening we had logged over 135 viewer hours (not bad for the first attempt).
Webcams were placed in both the control room, the ‘live room’ (basement) and the vocal booth (spare bedroom) while we had a board operator switch between the cameras on the fly to give viewers a taste of how everything was being constructed. After the drums and bass were cut, Rob (our drummer) jumped on a netbook and handled all our interactions with the viewers while the rest of us worked on overdubbing. The final mix was beamed over to our engineer at Gecko Recording for mix tweaking and mastering and the final song was sent back digitally. This is the future, my friends. The creation of albums, songs, and other forms of art is shifting to be a communal process. And it rocks.
The song is available as a free download here. We hope you like it.