Special guest blog about the “Drive-by” from StreetJelly blues musician: Clifton Printy
An interesting phenomenon occurs every few months or so. I call it “anti-marketing.” There are those who for some reason feel entitled to viewers coming to their shows. Some are atrocious hacks and some are superb artists, but almost all of them are completely without a following. They get on StreetJelly and play for a short while.
As a passerby, they wander through other shows gradually adopting the attitude wanting… no demanding… other musicians’ viewers. Then :bam! They announce in someone else’s show for those viewers to come to their show. It’s the infamous “Drive-by,” the biggest faux-pas you can make in online live streaming.
There are regulars on the site who have shared so much of their crowd. Like Larry, Image and Family, Heading West, and Kelly_Mark who have honed their branding and created a crowd. Larry brought his following with him. He still frequents other shows and introduces many to the SJ family. He advertises his shows on Facebook and talks directly with his followers. Beside him being a professional musician, Larry constantly checks out new artists and encourages them. Heading West spent months supporting SJ members before ever doing a show. Some send out tagged Facebook posts to her followers and her fans every single show. She supports other shows and engages the audience directly from her show. Image and Family has supported everyone, worked to solve problems, created events for other artists, and sends random swag to individuals. Kelly_Mark has done a few shows and has supported hundreds.
The examples are endless and exactly what it takes to relate to a crowd in the modern age. We deliberately build connections with our followers. It helps them identify with us and conversely us with them. We connect and support one another. There will probably be viewers at any given show, as it is at most venues. But we must not forget this is a stage. Your viewership here depends on you, your sound, your ability to perform, how well you engage the audience, and how well you treat others.
The problem I see with the drive-by is not only for the musician getting his viewers barked at, but also for that person committing the blunder. It is very hard to discern the talent level or personal attitude of the individual. They may very well be a person of quality and integrity with a great show to offer. Because of this I think a lot of us are willing to overlook the intrusion into our time, and the disruption of our show’s flow. We try to encourage the other artist to the extent that we pseudo endorse the encouragement of that artist. Our fans also reciprocate the same. So that person then some how has become part of our “brand.” Basically, the people on SJ are so nice that the offender may not even know he has trampled on others.
Further; there are many performers in these virtual settings that feel entitled to a stage. It is important to consider that these shows and the attendance is not always about talent. Sometimes we are talking about long forged friendships and value systems. As an example, would a Christian band’s fan-base be likely to attend a death metal band show? Probably not. So why would an artist expect to solicit viewers from a completely different genre? Also, it does happen sometimes that a great performer sits empty on SJ while at the same time a so/so artist has a great draw. It’s just something we have to accept.
Having witnessed the huge heart of our regular StreetJelly crowd, I know how hard it is for people to discourage certain behaviors. There is, however, no benefit for you as an individual artist to allow this bad behavior, i.e. the drive-by. Go ahead and say, “It is really not polite to come to my show and tell people your are going to play in 10 minutes.” My friends, it is not about attitude nor is it rude. Would you go to an amphitheater and ask the people to come to the parking lot for a show? Would it be polite to walk up to the stage at a local pub and ask people over the microphone to come next door in ten minutes? It is an unethical practice that steals from the moment of the performing musician, and puts the offender in an unfavorable light. The dreaded Drive-by is the opposite of marketing. It’s anti-marketing!