Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mr. Anonymous Addresses Growing Attention Deficit - Personally

This morning I invited Mr. Anonymous, AKA "Jeep" from The Samples, to talk with me about Mr. Anonymous, attention and promotion. 

First, an introduction from his website: Mr. Anonymous is a.k.a. Jeep Macnichol. 

Jeep started his music career as founding member and drummer of the Colorado based pop/jam band The Samples. For a decade, his musical journey included 6 national album releases, national touring for 9 months a year in every venue imaginable in every state, sharing the stage with Sting, Dave Mathews, Steel pulse, Flaming Lips, The Wailers, Sonic Youth, Blues traveler, the Horde tour, and a performance on the Jay Leno show.  After 10 years, Macnichol decided it was time to follow new creative endeavors and dive into his love of Jamaican dancehall and reggae music. 

This in turn has spawned a flurry of activity, including two album releases under the Mr. Anonymous name, a radio show, numerous performances and more. 

Since Mr. Anonymous seems to be everywhere lately, I wanted to ask him a few questions about how he thinks about promotion. Some of the answers are what you'd expect. Others are surprising. 

He started the conversation by talking about what he doesn't do. He's old school. He doesn't text. 

Tom: So, you seem to be everywhere these days. What are you doing in terms of promotion?

Jeep: 

"Facebook is my #1 thing," he said. Of course I also use my mailing list - from my website - and a bulletin I send out regularly. I try to keep things short and simple. People appreciate short, simple emails with no art. They don't want to work. They have a short attention span. That's why the title is so important. The other thing I've learned: making it personal. It comes from me. 

The biggest feedback I get on promotion is from the radio station. We ask them to login now, tell their friends. And we can see the results! It's almost as if we were playing a video game, watching the numbers rise! 

I owe all of this [success with promotion] to the band Pretty Lights. Their music was free. And Mr. Anonymous has taken the same approach: more people are buying now that it's free. 

Tom: In terms of promotion, what has changed the most for you in the past 5 years?
Jeep:

I basically feel like the combination of YouTube + Facebook has caused most people's attention span to decrease from 10 seconds to 1 second (or less). And you want people talking about what you're doing. I think of my fans as my record label. They're the promoters. 

Tom: What do superfans of Mr. Anonymous want from you?  
Jeep: 
A personal relationship. 

Tom: That sounds a lot like that notion of "authenticity" we were talking about. But it seems like you might have a little trouble scaling that over time . . . 
Jeep: 
Grins.

Tom: Anything else?
Jeep: 
Well I have my music on CD Baby. I'm sure you know Derek Sivers. I learned a lot from him and his "Leadership Lessons from a Dancing Guy."

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