This post falls into the category of "thinking out loud." From time to time, I use this site to ponder aloud about worship culture and what it means for the place where I lead. I don't know if I'm correct in the post below...I'm just wondering and thinking and trying to use my brain as I plan and lead my people. Feel free to weigh in with a comment or two, just don't yell at me.
I can't think of a more obvious BECAUSE-INTERNET than behind-the-scenes promotion for music. Twenty years ago, what little footage we had of bands making records was confined to shows on music-related television or band-released DVDs. And most records didn't even have that. You might read that an artist was making a project or catch an interview on MTV, but you pretty much had to wait until the record came out. You'd go to the record store, buy it, crack it open in the car and listen to the whole thing over the next few weeks. We didn't know what went in to making these albums...they just appeared magically and we gobbled them up.
It's not that way anymore, though. In fact, behind-the-scenes/making of videos seem to be a standard part of most every album release. It makes a lot of sense - if we love an artist and want to know what his/her/their process is, why wouldn't we want as much of their content as possible? But has it lost its allure? Do we still excited about studio footage or daily blogs about music-making? And if so, why? Why are we numb to pre-release content from artists we support? What's happening?
Behind-the-scenes marketing is build-up. It's intention is to get you and me excited about the new music that's coming. It seeks, in effect, to make the release of music an event, a happening. But by now, we're kinda' burned out on that. Maybe we've got jaded because so many buzzworthy albums haven't lived up to the hype? Maybe we've been disappointed too much to get excited about black-and-white-filtered-video of drum sessions or vocal takes?
THE MIXTAPE MODEL
Remember when Beyonce dropped a full length album and nobody knew it was coming? Kinda' made a splash, didn't it. And what about Miley's release a brand new project on Soundcloud immediately after hosting the VMAs? That got buzz before anybody even heard it! We live in the mixtape model, gang. Artists are constantly releasing things on their own and when we least expect it. Suddenly, surprise is a part of music again.
WE KNOW TOO MUCH
We're an oversaturated people. We follow musicians on a whole host of social media platforms and have constant - and intimate - knowledge of their lives. We don't get excited about sneak peeks of the songwriting process if we've already watched a dozen videos of the songwriter's dog on Instagram. We know so much about musicians that there's no more mystery. What's a guitar player gonna' say in a behind-the-scenes video that's going to hit us unaware? We know too much. We need mystery in our lives, don't we?
As a guy who vlogs, I feel all these frustrations. Building a community is great (and fun!) but it's a lot of work to keep up a promotion schedule in addition to making and releasing music. We use what we have available and most indie artists like myself center around the same tools - YouTube, FB, Twitter, Instagram.
Can there be balance? Can we still manage all those online identities and still release music that takes people by surprise? Does every song need a backstory or explanation? (And isn't the fun of seeing a performer live or even talking to them backstage - hearing that stuff in person. Like, actual communication?
You tell me in the comments below? Anybody think the behind the scenes stuff has lost its punch?