Our last few posts on the Radio Crème Brulee blog section have been devoted to how artists and bands are reinventing their outreach to fans in the midst of the global Covid19 pandemic. Many have hit the pause button on releasing albums that were originally meant to see the light of day in either the spring or summer of this year. In our current collective reality, the world is battling a mix of problems that range from health issues, unemployment, financial hardship, uncertainty, anxiety, and social isolation (for those that live alone). Music artists run the risk of upsetting and alienating fans if their outreach is not adjusted to reflect the current reality. Incorrect messaging could tarnish their brands if they come across as being tone deaf. The path of least resistance is to take a backseat and to be away from fans until the dust around the pandemic (and the protests in the US) settles. That being said, a crisis can offer a true opportunity for music brands to connect with their audiences in a way that adds value to their lives over and above just the music. The bolder approach (as opposed to retreating from the public eye) is one in which music can be the vehicle for this connection but it should NOT be the end goal. In our article about Take That frontman Gary Barlow’s daily Crooner sessions, we focus on Gary Barlow emphasizing this idea of a commitment to a structure at a time when days, weeks, and months blend together through his daily duets. With our review of “Good Intentions” by Norwegian trio D’Sound, we honed in on the ability of the band to inspire through example by triumphing over impediments to in-person band chemistry that social distancing and quarantine life have created and using the tools at their disposal to create on the finest singles of a career that spans over 25 years. With our reviews of “Spirit of Love” by Johnny Hates Jazz and “When the world stops turning” by Chris Malinchak, we highlighted the healing touch of lyrics that speak to the moment that we are currently in. There is another flavor of audience connection that some music acts have leveraged to forge connections with their fans. This flavor involves crowd-sourcing content from fans for their new music videos.
Social media’s relevance has skyrocketed in the last ten weeks and people have resorted to various types of self-expression to stay connected with the world. This ranges from people posting video music covers (we are most certainly guilty of posing piano covers on our Instagram page!), photos of food they have cooked in quarantine, to screenshots of family Zoom calls, to snapshots of adapting to a life that requires many of us to stay indoors until Covid19 testing capacity and contract tracing become ubiquitous in our respective cities. This highlights the need for people to feel connected. Self-expression on social media is the seed for that connection. In view of this, what better way is there for artists/bands to cater to this than to ask fans to submit videos and photos of what they believe captures the essence of joy or the spirit of love (for their music videos) – which is so critical in these times and it might be the only source of mental strength that gets us through these dark times.
Irish pop star and Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating led this pack of artists/bands and crowd-sourced photos and videos from his fans for the music video for “Little thing called love” – the second single from his upcoming album “Twenty Twenty” (slated for release in July 2020). The video features Ronan Keating walking through a forest with large photo frames showcasing videos and photos from fans. The seamless juxtaposition of the serenity of the forest (with Ronan Keating walking through it) alongside these bright spots of joy and celebration makes for a compelling music video that frankly far surpassed my expectations. The weaving together of fan contributions and Ronan Keating’s meandering through the forest in a single frame is a delectable taste of creativity. Here is a full-length of video clip of “Little Thing Called Love”:
Veteran pop-rockers Johnny Hates Jazz took a slightly different approach to weaving fan contributions into their music video for the lead single “Spirit of Love” from their upcoming album “Wide Awake” (slated for release in August 2020). Many remember Johnny Hates Jazz for their 1988 hit album “Turn Back the Clock” – which featured hit singles such as the timeless “Shattered Dreams”, “Turn Back the Clock”, “I don’t want to be a hero”, and “Don’t say it’s love”. Their stylish music videos were an intrinsic component of the brand they had created with a single album at the time. The style and swagger of a Johnny Hates Jazz music video was also punctuated by symbols of escapism despite the seriousness of the themes explored in their song lyrics. They have revisited this element of their brand heritage on their new music video. The video blends video clips from their recent visit to Japan (where they performed live), live performances of “Spirit of love”, and fan contributions that capture the essence of love. The Japan component of this video is the source of escapism. Scarcity induces value and a community that attaches a common value to this scarcity is a tight-knit one. The short-lived chapter 1 of Johnny Hates Jazz (1987 – 1990) left fans wanting more. Those that waited long enough were richly rewarded with “Magnetized” – the 2013 comeback album of Johnny Hates Jazz. The online fan community that sprouted as a result of this comeback is quite a tight-knit one and their contributions have been featured in the video. Needless to say, the video for “Spirit of love” may have served as a catalyst to bring this community even closer. Here is the full-length music video of “Spirit of Love” by Johnny Hates Jazz:
Incidentally, both “Little thing called love” by Ronan Keating and “Spirit Of Love” by Johnny Hates Jazz are getting high-rotation airplay on our 24/7 global online radio broadcast. Are there any other music acts that have taken a similar path in the mist of Covid19 pandemic? If so, please share links to their music videos via the comment section below!
In case you did not pick up on this earlier, the blog you are reading is affiliated with Radio Creme Brulee – an online radio station that features an eclectic mix of current pop and rock music from both sides of the Atlantic alongside hits, forgotten gems, and rarities from the last three decades. Alongside newer artists, we also play plenty of newer music by bands that rose to prominence in the 80s and the 90s. Noteworthy examples include Simply Red, Wet Wet Wet, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, Camouflage, Spandau Ballet, INXS, Depeche Mode, Suede, The Corrs, Jamiroquai,Johnny Hates Jazz, Simple Minds, and Culture Club.
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