Preview to an Experiment
On Tuesday, I’ll be posting a review of the forthcoming Mark Bishop album (streetdate: June 17), The Fields of Love. It will look and quack (and yes, probably snark) like a regular review. But it will also include an experimental component I’m piloting with Crossroads Music, Bishop’s label, and because, should you choose to involve yourself, it will include you, I want to let you know ahead of time what you’ll be seeing and perhaps doing.
Here’s the deal: starting today (May 23) Crossroads Music is selling Bishop’s album on the Crossroads online store for $5.99 (full artwork/jacket is included, as a separate free download; follow the instructions on the website). My review will be posted on Tuesday, May 27, and the album will remain available at that price until Friday, May 30, for any late adopters who want to get in on the act. As many of you who’d like can go buy it for that (discounted) price. (After May 30, it’s my understanding that Crossroads will remove the download altogether from the website until the June 17 streetdate.)
The idea here is that readers will listen to the same new music I’m reviewing immediately before or after my review is posted and comment in ways that are not purely (or even mainly) reactions to what I’ve said (see Song, His for examples of what happens when comments react only to what I’ve said and bother not a tittle to engage the music or the ideas of the reviews). Additionally, executives from the music label plan to comment, and my understanding is that Bishop himself will be involved to some extent in the discussion, should one take off.
Of course you don’t have to comment to get the album at a discounted price. And this is probably an excellent time to note that, besides getting the album comped, I’m not being paid or remunerated in any way or form for my involvement. Crossroads and Bishop may or may not make money off my participation (and yours). That’s really not my concern or my interest.
So why I am doing this? There is a lot of talk these days about the “viral” spread of new media online and tribal marketing that I could go into and use as foundational concepts underlying my interest in this experiment. And as an academic, I’m curious about what this tiny little test of some of these theories reveals. But mostly for me, this just sounded like something interesting to do. Averyfineline has been one long experiment for me in making rules, breaking them, remaking and then breaking different ones, and generally figuring things out as I go along. Thus, this idea felt vaguely like the way so many ventures have begun for “Avery”: an unsought idea that glimmers with just enough possibility and differentness to be tantalizing. Because you can only talk about ministry vs entertainment (or divorce!) so many times, before it starts to bore the hair off you.
Still, different doesn’t always = worth doing in the long run. And honestly I’m more than a little skeptical in this case of being able to engineer or “seed” a viral spread of a southern gospel album (don’t viruses work by precisely not being planned or expected? And do southern gospel and viral sound right at all in the first place?). And even if it succeeds, I may not even want this album to “go viral.” But at the very least, by this time a few days from now I’ll probably have gone long enough without being spectacularly wrong about something, so maybe if this all blows up or melts down or just sucks, it will be the re-proof of my serial fallibility that I’ll need for that day. And anyway, I have the time during the summer to do this kind of larkish thing, so yeah … I said yes. And who knows, it might not suck. So there’s that, too.
Why Crossroads? Conspiracists will be very disappointed, but it’s simple: Crossroads (namely, Mickey Gamble) came up with the idea and asked. But I’d have just as likely said yes to Daywind or
I didn’t choose the album and frankly, I’m not a Mark Bishop fan, which Crossroads is well aware of (but then I also haven’t ever really listened to him that much either). So everybody’s gone in with their eyes wide open. Including, I trust, you.Email this Post