Everyone Loves to Be Found

An interesting thing happened to me last night. An old friend from High School who currently lives in San Diego posted a link on my Facebook wall. The link was to a picture of a Wilco concert that happened a year ago in Portland, Oregon. Along with the link to the photo he said “Guess who I found right in the middle of this shot?” Needless to say, I was both intrigued AND suspicious. How would my friend have a picture of me at a Wilco concert I attended a year ago, and that happened a thousand miles from where he lived? Was this Facebook spam or some evil bot tracking my activity and then trying to fool me accordingly?

Turns out, my friend is now a camera aficionado. He was checking out some newfangled device and stumbled across THIS photo on the GigaPan website of the concert. It really is amazing photo technology, taking a crisp, panoramic shot where you can zoom in and out and scroll back and forth. Knowing I was a Wilco fan AND that I lived in Portland, he simply played his own “Where’s Waldo?” game to see if I was in the audience. Then he posted the picture to my Facebook page. I was excited to find myself in the picture, so I scanned the room and found about 12 friends and fellow-musicians that had also been in the crowd. I quickly posted the link to THEIR Facebook pages. My friend had just turned a dozen people into unwitting marketeers for Wilco.

Become an Archivist and Market Your Music at the Same Time

This morning, I saw an article about Fugazi and how frontman Ian MacKaye has been working for 2 years to build a video and audio database of every live show the band has ever performed (thousands of shows). Once the archives go live, I don’t envision the fiercely DIY Fugazi making a big plea with fans to turn this into a social media blitz. But it could certainly happen on a small scale. Hundreds or even thousands of fans could download or stream shows that they attended throughout the band’s history and share it with other friends who were attendance, doubling, tripling, even dozen-ing (in my case with Wilco) the band’s exposure.

The Meaningful Moments

But with the GigaPan photo and the concert archives, Wilco and Fugazi aren’t just getting their names out there and keeping them out there. They’re reconnecting with existing fans, reminding us of those meaningful moments we once shared with the band, moments we helped create. I saw that picture of the Wilco concert and suddenly I was there again! Nostalgia is a powerful force. But we’re not just talking about a time transporter. Seeing that concert photo made me take action. I immediately checked Wilco’s calendar to see when the NEXT time would be that they’d stop in Portland.

Document Everything

Today it is Facebook and Twitter. Tomorrow there will be some new kind of amazing interactivity. But no matter what the technology, it will serve human connection. Right now, however you can, capture the moments you create on stage. Take photos. Shoot video. Bring a portable recorder. Tape off the board. Sometime after you’ve broken your equipment down for the night and gone home (whether it is the next day or 20 years from now), your fans will want to reconnect with their friends, and you, and most importantly, themselves.

-Chris R. at CD Baby

P.S. First person to pick me out of the crowd in that Wilco concert photo wins a free single-song submission for CD Baby digital distribution (to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and more)! For reference, another picture of me can be found HERE. In the comments section below, describe what I’m wearing, how I’m standing, and my general location. If you’re the first to get it right, you’ll win the free single-song submission.

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