A music project cum social media experiment, brainchild of Monica, to create a unique playlist created from songs crowdsourced from people across social media platforms, integrating the services of twitter, facebook, blogger and YouTube.
The result was a 100-song playlist transcending artists, regions and genres, which was shared across the same platforms on 21.12.2012 when the world didn’t end! Let’s find out more about the project and the power of social media in today’s time to encourage and facilitate success of such independent creative initiatives.
What motivated you to start this project?
I’ve been around on various social media from long and all I’ve been doing is idle sharing of personal life updates, jokes and second-hand consuming of information. Going by my level of activity on social media & the people interested in consuming what I share, I decided to use the opportunity to do something creative, productive and something I could give back to the community.
Being both active on social media and a keen explorer of music this was the most simple idea to combine both!
How did you go about spreading the word around? What platforms and tools did you use?
I started the project on about Dec 1st. I had made a blogpost with the description of the project and embedded a Google Doc form in it to collect the music. To share the link, I used Twitter and facebook. Almost everyday, I would post one tweet about the project with a link and overall about 2 shares on facebook until the final day when I put together and shared the playlist.
Why was the project interesting to the participating audience?
Everyday I see people sharing what they’re listening to, the artists they like and generally express keenness in discovering others’ music. However apart from a few indie music pages online like 8tracks, soundcloud and bandcamp etc, there is barely any way to gauge and explore others’ music. And there is a lot to be explored!
There are a lot of playlists on YouTube but they’re usually from one band, artist or belong to a particular genre. This playlist on the other hand, since so many people put in *their* favourite songs turned out to be brilliant mash-up of different genres, artists and languages. So you have a rock riff ending to start a Spanish folk favourite!
Today, almost a month after the playlist is ready, people tell me they put on the playlist when at a loss to play anything else!
This project was called the End of The World Playlist? Did you believe that the world was going to end in 2012?
That was a linkbait! Ha no. Projects like this needed to stand out and it’s just co-incidental the idea came to my head sometime when the talks of the ‘imminent’ end of the world were doing the rounds on the internet, however much in sarcasm and joke.
Hence it seemed like a perfect theme to tie the project into. BTW the project form did include a little snippet about how this playlist was to celebrate surviving the end of the world.
What were the challenges of the project?
The most basic one: spreading the word to a large number of people. I had absolutely no backing from a brand or a twitter celeb ( someone with thousands of followers) to promote this. At that time I had only a few hundred twitter followers and as many friends on facebook so I had to rely on them for the inputs.
Not everybody who sees a link like this cares enough to participate even if it barely requires any time or effort. Some friends were sweet enough to share the link by retweeting on twitter or sharing on facebook.
If I had thousands of followers on twitters, maybe I would’ve received a lot more entries but then it wasn’t about the numbers so much as it was about sourcing good music! At an individual level, I’m very satisfied with the response.
How many entries in all did you get?
Purely at a statistical level, the blogpost on which the form was embedded received about a total of 2500 hits and in the form I received about 200 odd song entries. However to maintain a certain level of musical standard and a decent duration, I had to filter out a few songs and remove duplicities if any and finally settle on a list of 100 songs.
How has the playlist turned out?
It has exceeded my expectations! The best part about the playlist is that almost all the songs are offbeat, non done-to-death and the one of the best in that category. So while you have a track from the Japanese Yoshida brothers, you have a melody from our very own Ravi Shankar. A lot of new artists, for eg ‘the books’ were discovered in the process.
Lessons from the project:
For every social media project, you need to start much in advance before you expect to see any results.
Have your expectations and goals set clear at the very outset. For eg, in this case I had to be very sure that this project was strictly to get music, not followers, aim at participation and not retweets from the people who saw the links. Making it ‘viral’ wasn’t the goal but if it had happened, I wouldn’t complain either! sheepish grin
Have a very good social media mix. For eg, you cannot depend on just facebook or just a twitter. It could be a mix of all the mediums possible to truly include the kind of eclecticness that is required for a concept like this.
People would participate as long as there is something in it for them and is not just an activity to further someone else’s personal cause. In this case, the idea of a ‘bespoke’ playlist and a chance to sample different music was the catalyst.
You need to believe in your concept and dedication around it right through the execution to followup. If at first you don’t see a good response, review your strategy and beef up the efforts till you begin to see response.