Digital Music News recently published some promo fluff from Facebook about music services on the platform. With a teaser at the top, it is followed by some “statistics” showing how engaged Facebook is with music. Looking through these statistics, I was struck by just how “NON-statisticy” these statements/numbers are – they are essentially a list of positive benefits that music services can get by engaging with a social network that has massive amounts of traffic. They don’t point to anything of substance – they don’t show that Facebook is a good place to engage music fans or artists, they don’t show that usage on the site is anything other than a byproduct of normal social networking.
Only 2 lines interested me in this article:
– Facebook-connected users listen an average of 20% longer than non-connected Facebook users.
– After integrating with Open Graph, found that Facebook-connected users were more than twice as likely to become paying users.
The first – from Songza – shows that there may just be a hint of value in integrating with Facebook – perhaps users of a service will use it more if they are connected to Facebook – perhaps because music is inherently social, so that sharing with friends may cause people to engage longer/deeper with a particular service.
The second – from Spotify – is very interesting because it also shows a real value proposition for music services in terms of engaging with Facebook. If Facebook connected users become paying users at a higher rater, I as a music service would pay very close attention to this trend.
I’m still convinced that Facebook has NOT done a great job at becoming a positive place for artists, or a positive place for people to experience music in a social setting – and these two small nuggets don’t really move me from that position.
Road B) Boy George, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna
Road C) All of the Above
Road D) None, She’s Totally Original!
I’m tempted to say mostly Choice A via Choice B, but of course, since it’s Lady Gaga, it’s with a twist. And of course, this is heavily based on my own biases and ideas. For Lady Gaga , despite all her amazingly amazing outfits, is really a blank canvas onto which we project our own ideas.
So those who want to see a brand new amazing pop star are seeing just that. Those who want to see an intelligent, sophisticated, and sneaky critique of pop music and pop stars are seeing just that. Those who want to see a musician being a fashionista are seeing just that.
And this is the true genius of Lady Gaga.
But her videos and outfits are also truly genius. If you haven’t seen any of them please watch them. After seeing them, you’ll really wonder “WTF did I just watch?” and then you’ll go back and watch them again. And again. Just as Justin Timberlake brought sexy back, Lady Gaga is bringing the Music Video back.
Exhibit A – Bad Romance
Exhibit B: Her MTV VMA 2009 Fashion Choices (Slideshow)
And just in case I wasn’t clear earlier – I think she is totally taking the piss out of all of us – ala “old-school” Sasha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G/Borat/Bruno). It’s pretty amazing to watch her work over a whole scene. Kind of like watching those old Ali G episodes from “before he was discovered”. Just wonderful comedy, genius timing, and certainly a sense that it is possible to lose oneself in the world of the character. For just as Lady Gaga won’t appear “out of character” anymore, and the lines begin to blur (is she Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or Lady Gaga?), it becomes both more difficult to take her seriously and also to doubt her.
I just hope she’s able to keep it going for a while – certainly she has injected a certain energy into pop which is positive, disruptive, and sorely needed.
You can listen to her music for free (just register, it’s easy) by going to Lala. And for more videos, check these out. . . (cause I know you’re not satisfied yet)