April 12th, 2012
- by Mandy Griffiths
/ Tags: Tags: Brian Solis
, Porter Novelli
, Smashing Pumpkins
, Social Media
/ Comments (0)
How to Stop the Laptop Rock
A new media leader and a rock star come together to talk about The End of Business As Usual –Brian Solis and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.
We are in a new age of music consumption. Napster was a watershed moment for the music business, and Corgan says record labels attacked instead of recognising need, and suffered for it. The net worth of the music industry has plummeted by tens of billions in the last ten years.
So how can artists make money now?
“You can no longer think of the thing you make as your main source of income!” Billy says. “The greatest artists are adaptable. Picasso did movies and plays. What’s wrong with that?”
We are used to seeing movies stars and pop stars selling perfume and coffee and cars. Maybe we need to start accepting that rock bands and other musicians need something “commercial” to keep producing the music we love as well.
Corgan is calling for fans to be more sophisticated, and go on a journey with the artist. Let them try new things, and sometimes mess up. The current culture of condemnation kills this; musicians would rather be picked on for lip syncing than suffer the embarrassment of being a YouTube laughingstock.
And while it might be easier to rise quickly to celebrity status via the “Bieber route,” if you don’t have the talent to back it up, you’re not going to go to the next level. Or even worse, “If your inspiration is fame, then you’re not invested in culture at all.”
Corgan is passionate and clear in his thinking, but one point he made I really disagree with. He says you can’t get people interested who aren’t interested already, and they are going to follow the herd so just let them. He’s not interested in pandering, thanking people for listening to or buying his music, which is fair enough. But I think to completely ignore a section of society because they haven’t heard of you or don’t listen to stations that would play your music is really underestimating people.
We love to be acknowledged, our time is precious, and if you go to the effort of reaching out to us on a personal level, we will give you a lot more attention than someone who doesn’t. There are so many channels and duties and marketing messages flying at us on a daily basis, we need to shut some of it out, don’t judge us. And hey, maybe we’ll like it.
We are Generation Connected, so why not take advantage? Just no spamming. We hate that.
What is the solution?
Corgan is clear – the solution is to create content that goes behind the recording, but this is not the Behind the Scenes video. Five thousand people care about that, but a million don’t. That’s not going to cut it against cat videos.
Spotify is a step in the right direction but it is a “transitional technology,” says Corgan. “Artists need to create their own worlds,” and it needs to be visual and self-sustaining.
The only thing that endures is quality.
My week at the Green Gecko Project
Thanks to being nominated employee of the year at PN Sydney (I’ll pay everyone back), last week I was both honoured and privileged to be given the opportunity to visit Siem Reap in Cambodia – home to the world famous temples of Angkor and most importantly the Green Gecko Project.
The Green Gecko Project was originally set up by Australian-born Tania Palmer in 2004, who read a touching article during a Virgin in-flight magazine about an orphanage in need in Siem Reap. Tania walked off the plane and straight into a travel agency to book a flight. Several years of perseverance and tireless dedication towards making a difference for beggar children resulted in the birth of Green Gecko.
Now a home, school and family for 70 children who previously lived and begged on the streets of Siem Reap, Green Gecko provides security, education, love and opportunities to these children.
Through their younger years into adult lives, it empowers each and every child to achieve their full potential. Not only this, the project also supports the children’s families and the broader community through long term health, education and training initiatives.
Since its inception, Green Gecko unashamedly acknowledges that out of seemingly nowhere came the abundance of advice, support and brilliant ideas –all from simply from doing the right thing.
At Green Gecko, the children’s days are filled with a wide-ranging timetable, from English and Khmer lessons to living values, computers and the ancient Khmer martial art of Bokator. As well as this, there’s a schedule of specialised activities through volunteers – I was lucky enough to meet the pretty impressive pink-haired hoop lady, Jules, who was preparing the children for a hooping hip-hop performance for friends and family. I didn’t realise you could do so much with a hoop!
During my week there, I was taken aback by how much it really did feel like one big family. Every child has suffered a great deal, yet from the small children, right through to young adults – there’s so much laughter, love, smiles and support for one another and the wider community.
Green Gecko describes the children as having ‘boundless potential’ and this is no fabrication. I walked through the Green Gecko gates feeling horrified at the thought of each child’s past and how much they have suffered, but I left wearing a smile, feeling moved. In Tania’s own words ‘the kids are such incredible human beings. They inspire us daily with their strength, courage and their innate ability to roll with the punches and come up with a beaming smile’.
Thank you to the Green Gecko crew and children for such a memorable week and to Porter Novelli Sydney for giving me this opportunity.