When we started this blog, we said it would not only cover community management in journalism, but also in other areas if we felt it could offer something new, or that could be taken back and applied to journalism.
This week, I chatted with two pioneers of community-based projects within the music industry for a feature I had been working on about fan-funded music, and a lot of the stuff they came out with seemed incredibly relevent to this blog and had echoes of what we have been talking about on here already.
My two interviewees were Benji Rogers, CEO of ‘fan-involvement’ website PledgeMusic, and Rich Huxley, a lecturer in Creative Entrepreneurship at , guitarist with Leeds band Hope and Social, and founder of the first ever fan-funded record label, Alamo Music.
While my questions focused mainly on new business models in the music industry, and more specifically, fan-funding, the overriding message from both guys was that to get the most out of your project (in this case, a band or artist), you have to involve them in what you are doing.
Rich, who has organised events where fans can be involved in the recording of songs, said that fans can “become the greatest PR team you’ve never had to pay for”, in that what compels them to share the music with their friends is the fact that they’re proud of their own part in its making.
Similarly, Benji pointed to social-networking to explain the way that the focus in today’s society is on sharing experiences:
“If you look at Facebook, it’s all about sharing what you’re doing, not what you’re buying. Music is a social experience and people want to share it with their friends if they have their own involvement.”
It’s safe to say that the recorded music industry is in decline, with dated business models not keeping up with changes in technology and human behaviour.
Does this sound familiar? The parallels with newspapers are undeniable.
Can journalism learn from guys like Benji and Rich, by thinking outside the box and learning to involve their audience more to create a richer, more involvement-focused environment where people will finally care about the news sources that are heading for extinction?