Wednesday, August 18, 2010

And The Award For Excellence In Social Media Goes To: "Ready. Set. GRO!"

As the band put it recently, It's been a long journey for alternative rockers Green River Ordinance over the past 10 years.  Speaking from a personal standpoint, I have been following this band since their early release: "The Beauty of Letting Go" all the way through their major label signing and debut album.

Finding them by happenstance during a (now defunct) idea to move to Texas in 2004, I searched for young bands making waves near the city I was potentially moving to.  In a miraculous "Google" search I found GRO stationed in Fort. Worth, TX and was instantly drawn to their talent and (perhaps even more) their then exceptional online presence.  I know that 6 years doesn't seem that long ago, but remember this was long before the inception and success of Facebook and during the initial years of Myspace Music when it was just starting to get some traction.  Regardless, this band was extremely connected as musicians with their fans, and to me, were pioneering along with others an online model that was working. 

Jump forward to 2007 08'-09' and we find GRO's independent accomplishments bringing them potential to reach a larger audience with a much deserved record contract with Virgin Records.  Their debut record continuing to bleed potential more importantly didn't give too much away up front.  In other words, the album was a steady step in the right direction for the band as they continued to progress together as musicians (and friends.)  In their feature on my "Bands To Google" section I did earlier this month, I made a statement about GRO being a "real band" by the traditional definition in the fact that, while their efforts as a band involved media 2.0, they still have been directly involved and associated with every aspect of their growth as artists since day one.  The communications student in me might say that in order to effectively communicate and captivate any audience driving them (the audience) to action (whether it be purchasing a record or concert ticket or anything else) that you need to truly understand the goals and aspirations of your organization and all of your messages need to expertly coincide with these goals.  Getting straight to the point, Green River Ordinance has proven not only that they know and understand their audience, but most importantly understand themselves and where they are heading.

Jump ahead now to 2010, Green River Ordinance announced this past Monday (Aug. 16th) that they have opted out of their record contract in order to do something new:  Merge the experience of the listener (or "fan") and the experience of the artist into one by involving the listener in the whole process of recording an album.  Completely unorthodox in nature, this model proves that Green River Oridinace is not discounting fans as inactive listeners, as many major label's traditional means of promoting a record might suggest.

Immediately implemented by the band was the "Ready. Set. GRO!" campaign which was hosted with the increasingly popular "Kickstarter" Website.  With the campaign, the band is looking to raise money from the people that they have directly paid the most attention to in their ten year run:  their fans and rewarding their donations with realistic and often intrinsically valuable rewards directly from the band.  Using Facebook, Twitter and their main website, GRO raised 7,713 of their 15,000 goal in just 3 days with 27 days left in their campaign.

Green River Ordinance has devoted themselves to being as transparent as possible for their fans over the past 10 years, and this week, in a big way, they have been rewarded for this.  As media shifts and the record industry evolves, GRO continues to demonstrate they are on the upper echelon in terms of staying connected and continuing to focus on their craft, and most importantly, the people who care about it most.

GRO's "Ready. Set. GRO!" campaign link: