Gini Dietrich

Social Media and Music In the 70s

By: Gini Dietrich | June 8, 2011 | 
167

My friend Rusty Speidel wants to be a rock star when he grows up. A real rock star. Not of Internet fame, but of Jimi Hendrix fame.

Because of that, he’s totally plugged in (no pun intended) to the music industry. And he sends me trend emails all the time…mostly to see what kind of connection I’ll make between the music industry and social media, based on that one email.

It’s a fun little game we play; it keeps both of our minds working and it creates some fierce conversations.

He sent me an email last week, from The Lefsetz Letter, that I want to share with you.

We’re living in 1967.  The same year “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” was a hit single and Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees. You see 1967 was the year the mainstream and the alternative split.  The year the Beatles put out “Sgt. Pepper”, with no singles, and FM underground radio got its start.

By 1968, FM stations were flourishing.  Giving airplay to acts that could never get on AM radio.  In a matter of years all the action was on FM, to the point where AM was a sideshow.  With hits by acts like the Starland Vocal Band.  Which won a Grammy but was instantly forgotten.  It was all about technology, FM radios in cars, and music.

But then in the midseventies corporate rock, lowest common denominator crap, dominated the airwaves and disco came in and in 1979 the whole record business crashed, only to be rescued in 1981 by MTV, a revolution enabled by cable TV, and the mainstream and the alternative became one.

And this paradigm ruled the last two decades of the twentieth century.

And the kids making music today grew up in this era.

As did so many of the executives.

And those executives that are older became enamored of the money mainstream exposure could generate.

So now we’ve got acts and executives playing a mainstream game that no longer exists.

You see, technology broke it.  Destroyed it.  We’re living in ’67 once again.

Cough, cough.

I disagree slightly, from a social media perspective.

Five years ago we were living in 1967.

Five years ago Spin Sucks launched, with no clue on how to write a blog, how to do SEO, or even what building community meant.

Inside PR launched when there were maybe 100 podcasts on the scene; and only one in the PR industry: Shel Holtz’s and Neville Hobson’s For Immediate Release.

There was no such thing as Twitter. Facebook was meant only for college students. Creating your own videos meant a large camera that you could plug into your computer and download, if you knew what you were doing. Sharing photos meant taking them with a real camera (not your phone), uploading to a site online, and printing or emailing (gasp!) from there.

There was no such thing as a social media expert.

Now we’re living in the mid-70s and we’re about to crash.

I want my MTV

MTV isn’t going to save us. But we can save ourselves.

How?

Sean McGinnis and I were joking the other day that our favorite phrase is, “It depends.”

It’s true. One size does not fit all.

Lady Gaga went bankrupt on her most recent tour. Bob Lefsetz says top 40 music doesn’t sell and doesn’t generate a touring career.

Alternative sells. Uniqueness sells. Focus sells. Being yourself sells.

So why would you want to do what everyone else is doing?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.