Making offline hay from online fans: the Street Team approach

Street teams have been used for a long time to organize fans to engage in (usually) local promotion in exchange for some kinds of rewards. I’ve recently run across two sites, one European, the other American, that are adapting the street team concept to a social networking approach. focuses on European bands in Europe. One fan of Norwegian band My Midnight Creeps reports:

If you have been to you might have noticed they have a link to which is some sort of street-team collection that includes MMC and several other bands. For some reason I signed up for it, but I figured I would never hear anything about it again. But today I received a package from them, with MMC stickers, flyers, a signed “Histamin” CD (specified to me by name) and a free ticket for the Stavanger concert on Wednesday! How cool is that? (link)

FanCorps seems to be up to the same thing in the US, though explicitly tailoring its message to emphasize converting MySpace friends into people who will actually work on your behalf. They seem more stringent about who gets to be a member of a street team and really emphasize that this is a means to reach, organize, and work with “hard core” fans. I dislike the militaristic motif of the site, fans are not soldiers, this is not war (thank God), but I think I like what they’re doing.

Stickers, flyers… the materiality of fandom maintains its appeal. For all the ‘they’re just forming empty allegiances on MySpace and then stealing the songs’ that may be going on, the fact remains that fans want STUFF and will do things in exchange for it.

I suspect I’ve got at least one reader involved with FanCorps, and I’d love to hear any reports from promoters, fans, bands, about their perception of and experience with how well these web-organized street team sites work.

Update:  Reverbnation, a music social network site that has focused on helping touring regional bands connect with their own and potential fan bases, says in a message sent to users: In the coming weeks, look for our new Street Team feature that will more closely connect artists with their most rabid fans to carry out promotion activities all over the web.

Comments (4) to “Making offline hay from online fans: the Street Team approach”

  1. But are the testimonials for real? I always have a hard time believing that stuff considering the lengths some PR companies go to nowadays when it comes to viral marketing.

  2. I suppose I might be at least that one reader involved with FanCorps. My promotions company just recently moved four of our music street teams over to the FanCorps site and so far, we’ve actually had a lot of success. As you mentioned, some have been turned off by the militaristic approach, but mostly we’ve had positive results and feedback. The fans seem to be more motivated and the FanCorps software seems to make communicating with the fans and giving them “orders” a lot easier than anything else we’ve used. In fact, I feel that we’ve been given a tool that helps us connect with the fans on an extremely close level, which is something we feel is important for our artists.

    Offering points for incentives, as well as incentives for street team promotion isn’t a new concept (we’ve been doing it since we’ve been in business), but FanCorps does organize it in a way that makes it understandable to the fan and easy for us.

  3. Avi, in general good question. In this case, I trust the source (especially since he revealed in a later entry that the second package of flyers they sent him arrived the day after the show the advertised!).

    Robin, thanks for the comment, I was indeed looking at you, and it’s cool to hear your take on it. Keep us posted.

    Any fans or other promoters or bands out there with tales of street teams (online or off) to tell? I’m all ears.

  4. i’m a member of the Bowling For Soup street team (the BFS Army) on Fancorps. it’s totally cool, really active if you want to be, plus we get special merch and meet & greets with th band, all kinds of stuff, but more than anything we get to help spread the word about BFS! yay!!!