Corgan versus Bourdain: Two Social Media Perspectives

March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment


March 20. 2011. After taking a couple of days to recover from the craziness that is SXSW, I am finally getting some thoughts down on the experience. As a starter, I watned to talk about two of the keynote session I was able to attend:

Individually each keynote brought an interesting perspective on how today’s digital consumer drives change. From Billy’s perspective, the change was not all positive. For example, musicians and labels are struggling to find a business model that works despite the fact that people still love music. Furthermore, social networks and other digital interactions (i.e. ratings and reviews, blogs, etc) provide more opportunity for artists to be criticized. As it relates to Smashing Pumpkins, this has given Billy reason to think hard about what happens in his live concerts.

However, it was not all doom and gloom from Billy. Despite the fact the music industry is going through massive change, Smashing Pumpkins is embracing its fans to select what tracks should be released from archives and how those should be priced. However, he places the burden of figuring out a new economic model on up and coming artists and those that support them. For Billy the future is quite open and the music industry has some work to do.

While Billy looked at social media and digital evolution as a mixed bag, Anthony Bourdain and his production crew took a more open arms approach. Anthony’s TV show, No Reservations, travels the world to experience food and culture. While this probably did not happen over night, Anthony’s team uses just about every social network to extend the experience of their one-hour produced program and continuously connect with audiences.

These extensions come in the form of exclusive digital content (such as streaming live on Facebook or shows that would never make it to network cable – see Krampus), crowd sourcing new show locations, using blogs for location scouting, and much more. Further, almost all members of the production crew, and Anthony, are active on social networks. The culmination of this allows No Reservations to be an always-on experience with a one-hour highlight each week.

To me, this is new media! It is not just about old production paradigms moving to digital channels, but content taking new forms. It is about embracing technology and the digital lifestyle that consumers lead today. Using new channels did not come easy for the crew, but the investment and learning seems to be paying off in that the show is reaching audiences in a new way.

Overall, the contrasts and comparisons between these keynotes were remarkable for me. I see the same differing opinions from one company to the next in the same industry and form one person to the next within the same company. However, it is fascinating to see this phenomenon take place beyond just the typical large corporate culture.

As usual, any thoughts or comments welcome.

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