How To Win Friends…and a GRAMMY Award

There’s an interesting conversation going on over at one of my favorite music communities and both the topic and the related location are near and dear to my heart.

A couple of years ago I helped develop the digital and content strategies for an online community called GRAMMY365 that would serve the members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, otherwise known as the group who awards GRAMMYs. This online community was designed to help the 18,000+ members of The Academy keep in closer contact with their regional chapters, share resources and jobs, and network with other members. Think of it as a LinkedIn for music professionals.

What many non-members don’t realize about the GRAMMYs is that there are strict parameters around lobbying for yourself or an artist you represent, especially during the balloting season. What you also may not know (but might assume) is people either ignore these rules or find work-arounds and end up directly or indirectly soliciting votes for their projects all the time.  And here comes the source of our discussion at No Depression.

As Tom says all the time, the social sphere is really just a venue to extend our otherwise naturally occurring habits. As such, what happens in real life is likely to happen online. Now, it’s true that there are some anomalies and exceptions to that rule—especially when considering the distant and sometimes anonymous nature of online social interaction—but generally speaking, it’s true. And this is something the No Depression crew (and by extension, The Academy) are discovering.

It seems a little-known Americana artist by the name of Linda Chorney was able to leverage the power of social networking to get herself none-other than a GRAMMY Nomination. While debate rages over whether Chorney has delivered a product worthy of that nomination, the fact remains that she realized and exploited one of the oldest rules in business: it’s not what you know (or do, in this case) but who you know.

With a dogged effort and a keen understanding of the unspoken rules of social networking, Chorney has virtually come from nowhere to get herself nominated for the biggest award in music (regardless of how many people say they don’t watch or care about the GRAMMYs). It’s something gritty songwriters and session musicians have been doing for decades in real life; forging those real-life connections and relationships in order to climb out of obscurity and maybe—just maybe—grab the brass ring.

Whether Linda Chorney wins the GRAMMY or whether winning an award in such a niche genre will catapult her to stardom is irrelevant. She’s clearly shown that she understands this brave new digital world better than most, and that is likely to serve her well. Lana Del Ray best watch her back!

UPDATE:
The Recording Academy’s CMO Talks to Brian Solis Re: Social Media

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