Rob Thomas: Rock star, digital marketing guru

While the Grateful Dead didn’t mind recordings being made of
their concerts, most musicians are a little less enthralled with the idea.

Not Rob Thomas. Whether it’s at his solo shows or his gigs
with Matchbox 20, fans can pick up a copy of the live show they just attended
on the way out the door – and do with them whatever they’d like.Robthomas1

The concerts, which are sold on Flash Micro SD wristbands,
are just one of the digital tools Thomas is using to promote himself and his
music these days, making him one of the industry leaders of digital marketing.

“Fans on the Web site are trading their favorite nights,” he
says. “Some fans have gone so far as to make their version of a live greatest
hits album. When you see that sort of application, you get closer to your
fans.”

The wristbands not only bring in a little extra income, they
help fight the inevitable. With cameras and recording equipment so small today,
bootlegging is one of the facts of concert life. Fighting it is essentially
repeating the industry’s folly with downloaded music in that it can alienate
fans.  Embracing (and quietly
controlling) it, though, establishes a bond.

“With YouTube, you can’t shy away from bootlegs,” says
Thomas. “I’ve done a show and on the bus, I’m able to see parts of it on
YouTube before we leave the venue. [But] I’ve got a great band and I’m proud of
what we do. When people see it on YouTube, they say ‘oh I’d like to go see them
live’.”

Beyond the wristbands, Thomas has also established a
partnership with Research in Motion to launch the Blackberry’s first mobile
artist app. And he is the premier artist on Atlantic Records’ Fanbase app for
the iPhone, where fans can listen to clips, read lyrics, leave him voicemails,
chat with other fans and see a feed of both official and unofficial news and
photos. Coming soon are a pair of games: “Inner Beauty” and “Reverse
Barbershop.”

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  1. A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

  2. People are not only unlovely; they are helpless. I often felt lonely.

  3. Nike Shox says:

    The reply is quite simple. It is allin how they perceive their problems. Yes, every dwelling individual has troubles. A problem-free everyday life is definitely an illusion-a mirage inside the desert. Accept that fact.

  4. Bryce Frees says:

    its all about the art and connecting with fans.

  5. dtye says:

    “It would be really great if that was completely interactive, like if each page had its own little game”
    -He should check out They Might Be Giants’ album “No!” which has a flash animated album on the CD-ROM.

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