Ellie Goulding recently did a gig at the Cardiff Arts Institute for Xboxeverb. It was an interesting gig, and an even more interesting process before, during and after the event. I thought I’d offer up some of my thoughts on the process for pubic chewing.
Xbox Reverb set up a vote on Facebook and Twitter for which venue should host the event. After a frantic week of mass participation, the votes were counted and Cardiff Arts Institute had won. So had Xbox Reverb’s Facebook page, which had attracted over 2000 new fans through the process, growing from around 1500 fans to over 3500.
Top marks for Xbox Reverb’s attempt to engage with the Cardiff music community before the gig… it certainly did that, but the law of unintended consequences came into play somewhat here. Venue was set against venue, so the effort to gather votes became a blizzard of spam hitting everyone’s inbox… and we had enough real blizzards to deal with that week. While exciting to be involved in the scramble (client interest disclaimer… I was advising CAI)… I couldn’t help but feeling that the people of Cardiff were bloody relieved when it was all over.
Another unintended consequence of the process was that it put the music promoters of the Diff in a very difficult position. As the engines of Cardiff’s music scene, they work with all the venues by necessity, so were put in a position of having to support one venue (and alienate the others) or show their support to none. Bit of a lose-lose situation for them, I think.
The gig itself was fascinating – lots of xbox toys… particular interest in the DJ hero setup, great stage screen backdrop – and decent music. I was particularly interested in how the Xbox crew were experimenting to generate interaction on Twitter, but can’t help but feel they failed.
First off, they asked me for my username AND PASSWORD. Your’e joking right? The old system of linking an application to Twitter is out of date – you need to look into OAuth for Twitter – the username/password system that Xbox Reverb are using will be switched off in June 2010 (see the previous link), so they’d better upgrade their systems by then.
You’re given a lanyard with a pendant that you can swipe across hot boxes placed in different areas of the venue, which then automatically tweeted through your account. The kind of tweets generated can be viewed here. Now, forgive me, but I see my Twitter account as my public channel for communication, and this kind thing feels like a takeover… I’m perfectly capable of tweeting from a gig if I want… I’ve got a phone. Maybe just me, but I felt that they’d not got their Twitter thinking right. I wonder what others think.
After the gig, there’s been ongoing communication from Xbox Reverb (who need to know that if you add “http://” to the start of a web address on Facebook or Twitter, it turns into a link that we can click, rather than having to copy and paste). All good… I like communicative brands, and the video’s that they’ve produced, which have now been released on Xbox Reverb’s website are pretty cool – but you can’t do anything with them. You can’t embed them on other sites, you can’t automatically share them on Facebook or Twitter and you can’t comment on them. All of which is a shame, and will radically reduce the amount of coverage they get.
So… as an exercise in connecting live music events to social media, I really like the experimental spirit behind what Xbox reverb is doing… but there were quite a lot of fail’s in this event. As an experiment, the key is to take a really good look at what worked and what didn’t, so you can evolve and change in the future. I hope they do.
*update. I’m wrong about lack of sharing/embedding for video. I found it. Tis a bit hidden, that’s all.