I'm back. Since my previous post I've managed to wrestle a couple of fat guys free, half-wrote my next Drowned In Sound column, realised it was completely irrelevelant, scrapped it, started again, realised it was still irrelevant. The fat men, heads hung low, neatly filed back into the room. Square one, here we go again.
I have a question. Hope you can help.
Street teams - What role do they play (if any) in the music industry in 2009?
We've never really had a proper BSM street team, despite offers from some very nice people in the past, as it's something I've never felt completely comfortable with. In theory they're brilliant. Passionate fans going out and turning their friends into fellow-passionate fans. It'll be like a cult, with generations of musical slaves - for lack of a better word - enthusiastically obeying your every whim (remind me why I haven't done this before) and spreading the good word further afield, into regions out of your personal reach.
My problem, however, is like everyone reading this, I'm sure, have previously been bothered by pushy, snotty nosed little brats wanting me to give my email address to a band I've never heard of whilst patiently minding my own business waiting in a venue queue. I've also been on internet forums and witnessed people be torn to shreds for shamelessly plugging their acts to an unwilling audience. It ain't pretty.
So where's the middle ground? Is there one? Obviously a certain amount of common sense needs to factor, as does tact. Flyers are relatively inoffensive, especially if said leaflet offers, for example, a free download of money off from a webstore, but would these things be the difference between you immediately dropping it on the floor or placing it in your pocket for later consideration? And what about online? Friends occasionally sharing links via social networks surely can't bother anyone too much, but how effective can that be on a realitisically achievable scale?
Does anyone have any stories of really positive experiences with street teams? Have you discovered an amazing new band or maybe even made a friend through this avenue? What about bad experiences?
Over the next 12 months we're looking to expand BSM into a couple of big, scary, new territories but as ever we're confined by limited resources, a Tesco Value budget and a team of one working on the label. It's a big world out there and much like The Beatles, I'll get by with a little help from my friends, I just need to figure out how.
Suggestions are welcomed in the comments or via email. Thanks in advance, team!