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Want another example of how your customers can communicate your message for you? Check out upcoming new Australian band Wolfmother, which is asking fans to snap and send mobile video clips that will form the basis of the act's next promo.

It's supported by a moblog powered by the London-based moblogUK service, which was popularised when survivors of the city's 7/7 bombings posted camera phone pictures to the site last summer.

moblogUK head honcho and all-round black-rimmed individual Alfie Dennen says:-

"We have created a moblog for Wolfmothers new album launch, specifically around the release of the single ‘Woman’. With the Wolfmother moblog, the band are I think creating a complete first in the sphere of mobile (v)blogging; fans are invited:

“….To celebrate the release of Wolfmother’s blistering new single ‘Woman’ we want YOU to create your own 30 second version of the new Wolfmother video … published instantly onto this very site for everyone to see, whilst the cream of these videos will be edited into a brand new Wolfmother video that will be run exclusively through Kerrang online the week prior to the release of Woman on 10th July."

"On-top of this, the best video sent in – as chosen by the band – will win a pair of VIP tickets to the Carling weekend Reading Festival!”.

moblogUK, which has previously created moblogs for Maximo Park and Goldfrapp and is angling to capitalise on the meltdown of rival service TextAmerica, is opening the site to take contributions from anyone's mobile; the finished product will form a very cheap extra promotional vehicle for the band.

It's a growing trend; artists are using new media technologies to get closer to their fans and establish a low-cost online presence. Although EMI slapped Gnarls Barkley co-conspirator Danger Mouse with a cease-and-desit when he mixed The Beatles' white with Jay-Z's black to blend his Gray Album in 2004, bands themselves are now quite happy to mix fans' own material in with their own to create new product.

Linkin Park offshoot Fort Minor, with help from Warner Bros. Records director of technology Ethan Kaplan, this year gave away a complete track under a Creative Commons license and invited fans to submit remixes - the best picked for re-issue by the band's lead singer.

The video for a single by R.E.M., for whom I have helped Ethan create community content over the last few years, came together after the production company asked fans to submit video of elevators.

You can go farther back, too. Feeder's 2001 video for Just A Day included a large cast of fans performing the song to webcams in their bedrooms, strengthening a relationship with the band so close that 700 fans wereinvited to drummer Jon Lee's funeral a year later.

Now, many art academics will, I'm sure, ask - when your purpose is merely to republish the work of others, what is your own art?

But what is evident is the degree to which grassroots communication is emerging from geek circles and coming to the fore.

Have you created a campaign wholly dependent on contributions by your listeners/viewers/customers? What tips would you share for making it work right?


Published 28 June, 2006 by Robert Andrews

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