Web 2.0 Hype Unravelling
I've always been very suspicious about many of the claims made about Web 2.0 changing paradigms and got into a spat some time back with a number of bloggers who were just regurgitating stories that chimed with their personal spin without daring to look into them. The specifics related to the alleged role of myspace.com in the rise of new Britpop sensation The Arctic Monkeys.
My instinct borne of working on the peripheries of that industry in the past was that they broke through because they are a good band and that any myspace presence came after they'd built up critical mass elsewhere. I'd seen the queues outside their gigs long before the mainstream media seized on the myspace angle. For me, myspace is just too big for anyone to emerge from it organically and that will be all the more true now that every band in the world has its account.
Thus I was interested to read PR director Julian Henry airing his doubts in today's Media Guardian. Registration may be required to read all of his extensive conspiracy theories but it was this paragraph that chimed with my views.
"Legend has it that the site is somehow responsible not only for breaking the Arctic Monkeys but is also the force behind the upheavals taking place in the music industry. This all sounds logical. But if you quiz music journalists and fans of the band on the chronology of its development you quickly discover that they had built up a large and vibrant following amongst spotty northern teenagers some time before their music found its way on to myspace. Their trick was to ignore the usual paranoia many new bands feel about copyright and theft of original material and to give away their songs to their fans, firstly on free CDs at gigs, and secondly on any swap or file sharing website that would have them."
Old school promotion and hard work then - albeit cleverly leveraged via new media. But for me that's an evolving paradigm not a new business model.