From Myspace to Livingrooms

This story about Quebec musician Craig Cardiff’s use of MySpace and Facebook isn’t really groundbreaking, but if I were a fan of his, I’d be seriously excited by what he’s up to:

Through his website, he asked fans to suggest which cities and bars he should play on his current Canadian tour. Much of the booking was then done on MySpace and another Web community, Facebook. (He also works through the booking agency Fleming Artists.)The venues on the tour are small and intimate — so intimate that three gigs are in people’s living rooms, which he will play just so long as those hosting the performance can get enough friends to chip in to make it economically feasible for him.

Since he is going where his fans suggest, Cardiff asked them to spread the word about his gigs, maybe stick up a flyer or two, all the old-fashioned stuff.

“It’s not unmediated. It’s just more fan-directed, and that’s exciting,” Cardiff says. It’s tour economics on a good-neighbour level. “I think I’ll manage to avoid hotels for most of the tour because of fans and friends who are able to offer spare rooms and couches,” he adds. Keeping tour expenses low is a must.

Cardiff rewards his fans by playing unique sets in which he works through sketches of new songs, singing and composing in front of the audience. The performances are recorded and made available as free podcasts, another element in Cardiff’s grassroots strategy.

Nice to see someone go past friend collecting and figure out a way to spin it into something local, body-to-body, and unique for a particular set of fans. Also nice to see someone using these things as a way to get fans actively engaged on a local level. I’ve been known to note the overlaps between political grassroots activity via the web and online fandom more than once, and this bears quite a resemblance to meet ups, only with someone actually going from place to place singing songs.

I’m curious how many of the final decisions are made via online communication with fans and how much is ultimately decided by the booking agency.

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