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Arts and Culture

It's a Fan's World

The music industry doesn't know its ass from its elbow. Guess who benefits?

By Thom Wong 27 May 2010 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He can also be found ruminating about the state of menswear at The Sunday Best.

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It used to be that you had to belong to a fan club to get extra content from a band. Special edition 45s, postcards with band art, even T-shirts would wing their way to your mailbox. The Internet saw a sudden surge in the number of bands with fan clubs, if only because it was easy to set up an info page with a sign-up form. Then fans started making their own pages, and eventually official fan clubs seemed like the exclusive domain of Disney-backed artists that started as TV shows.

The fans, it turned out, were often better at keeping track of a band and its press than the band itself. They're certainly better at it than the record labels, who still seem utterly mystified by how the band/fan interaction works. (For a representative story, see the recent debacle involving OK Go)

Where once a Myspace page would have sufficed now stand blogs and wikis and, almost certainly, Twitter accounts. Amanda Palmer, of the Dresden Dolls and currently touring as Evelyn, Evelyn, organizes Friday night sit-ins and has established a Twitter-based economy of sorts, running sales through her site.

Artists can connect to listeners more than ever before, but what does that actually mean for the fans? Well, if you like The Morning Benders, it means an entire album of covers... for free. The collection is a little hit or miss, but of admirable quality for something recorded in a bedroom. The stand out track comes courtesy of the Crystals in "He's a Rebel"; lead singer Chris Chu's voice is remarkably well suited to girl-group power-pop. Can a Motown collaboration be far behind?

Want more? They've also covered the Jungle Book classic "I Wanna Be Like You," found on music blog I Guess I'm Floating (where I also found the cover album.)  [Tyee]

Read more: Music

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