Saturday, May 03, 2008

Saturday Poli-Tunes: Teflon John

From Max and The Marginalized - Teflon John:

There's something worth pointing out about this California-based band beyond its music and politics - that is the state-of-the-art model it is using for its self-marketing and distribution.

Fearturing members Max Bernstein, Jon Ryggy and Dave Watrous, the band hosts a blog on Blogger and pages on MySpace and Facebook. Its music videos are all found on YouTube

It brands itself with the tagline, Political Music. One Song Each Week. Indefinitely, and then delivers, giving listeners and fans a reason for returning each Thursday.

With a running spot at the prestigious Huffington Post that certainly drives traffic and blogger awareness, Max announces its raison d'etre:

Max and the Marginalized are a band and a blog. The idea behind it is pretty simple: there is more of a need for political music than ever, but there are fewer political bands than there have ever been. Furthermore, how could a political band write a song about something happening right now and then wait months or years for their album to come out, when the story is long over?

And its monetizing strategy, you ask? A running request for voluntary donations by PayPal - downloads on the "honour system" - to help to pay the stated costs of recording, sixteen studio hours per song at $25.00 per hour.

But if you can't afford to pay, Max tells you:

I must stress: IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO DONATE, PLEASE STILL GO AHEAD AND DOWNLOAD. I know you would if you could. When people donate a little more, what they're doing is buying the songs for you, so please download and thank them.

This financial strategy might or might not make the band immediately rich - but it, and the group's ongoing, newsy musical offerings - could wind up making it famous.

And that, in the vernacular, is what buzz is all about.

Kudos to Max and the Marginalized for getting it right - using everything the Internet now offers to market itself, get its tunes out there, build a following and get on the map.

While major labels will always be the key players promoting the mega-acts - the Britneys and Whitneys of the music world - self-help by social media is now the better way to fly for most newcomers and mere music mortals.

And Max shows you the way to do it.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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