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Label “Street Teams”

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So some piracy is okay, as long as we control the distribution: playing both sides against the middle much? According to the NY Times:

    The bass was thumping at Spa, a club in lower Manhattan when Baby Paul Ambroise swaggered through the doors at 1 a.m. on Wednesday. He quickly eyed his targets — a montage of stylishly clad downtown clubbers — as he made his way upstairs to the closet-size D.J. booth.

    Mr. Ambroise greeted Supa D.J. (Peter Parker) and slid him a CD, the latest unreleased single by the popular female hip-hop group, 3LW, “Neva Get Enuf.”

    About 20 minutes later, the single was rocking the house. Slowly, a tall man in baggy jeans, a black ‘do rag (a mesh scarf tied around the head) and a baseball cap worn backward, sidled onto the glimmering dance floor and bounced feverishly to the beat while monitoring his two-way pager. This was Big Rudy (Rudy Chery). His dancing may have been sincere, but it had another motive: to create excitement inside the club about 3LW’s single, to be released on Oct. 22.

    Mr. Ambroise, 27, and Mr. Chery, 22, are members of a street team unit, and full-time employees, of Epic Records, a Sony Music label. Their job is to persuade D.J.’s at trendy clubs like Spa to play new singles and generate a buzz on the streets. This way, when the music hits the radio and the store shelves, their young listeners already “know the hook” — the chorus of the song.

    It is not easy selling CD’s these days. World sales declined 5 percent last year. Music executives blame Internet piracy, and the growing media clutter that makes marketing far trickier. The situation is making street-teams like Mr. Ambroise and Mr. Chery — and their contacts with buzz-generators like local D.J.’s — more essential than ever, though such tactics have been around for more than a decade. The key is marketing that does not look like marketing to reach young customers who are turned off by the corporate taint of traditional advertising.

    Mr. Ambroise has honed his sales pitch about his own importance.

    “You can’t take the record and just put it out anymore,” he said. “You have to come to us, and we have to break the record for you in the streets. If you just advertise it and there has been no work behind it, no one is going to buy it. Just because I read on a billboard that so-and-so’s album is coming out, I’m like, ‘I don’t care,’ especially if I don’t know you. That’s what I do. I educate the consumer about the music.”….

Sounds like marketing under false pretenses to me.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://asmallvictory.net michele

    My husband used to work for an independent metal-based record company located in New York City. He worked with the street team and would occassionally take on street team duties if they couldn’t get enough people to fill the jobs.

    Basically, a street team is a record company exploiting fans for free publicity. The kids never mind because they get free tickets and swag, but I think they all go into thinking they will land a job with the band or label.

    They generally come away from the experience with a few bumper stickers, tales of meeting Slipknot unmasked, and a new sense of cynicism towards the music business.

  • http://www.angelfire.com/80s/mr_t_vs/fightclub/vs_fight_club.html Chris

    I’m on a street team for a growing hardcore/metal label. I don’t really expect anything out of it. I just want to help them out. They put out quality music, and promote a message I strongly believe in (the Gospel of Jesus Christ). So it’s not always so bad for record labels to ask kids to help them out.

  • http://www.jzip.org/ adamsj

    I guess I feel two ways about this.

    On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine any business more disgusting and loathsome than the music business. It doesn’t surprise me a bit that they’d do anything to promote a record.

    On the other hand, when one of my great heroes, Wayne Kramer (once of the MC5, now solo) started his own record label recently, I visited his site and read his appeal for street teamers.

    Having seen him here in Atlanta in a not-packed house, and knowing that he’d had an extremely poor turnout in Birmingham, and having experienced his patience and friendliness after both times I’ve seen him, I wished I’d seen that notice in time to try to get more people to his show, not out of some fantasy of working for the label, but because I love and respect his music.

    It’s not that different from when I used to put up posters for causes. In fact, I still do that, too.

  • Annette

    I am part of tons of street teams and I love it. I do not expect to land a job or become best buddies with the band. I am part of it because I love the music all my favorite bands put and and just really enjoy promoting them and letting other people know about them. Plus, getting free stickers and pins from bands I love is a huge perk. It’s also a neat way to meet other people on the team who like the same music you like.

  • http://www.logicmarketing.net jawahar mohanty

    Street Teams or Street Marketing: There is a big difference between the two. If you are part of a street team assume you’ll walk away with some stickers, cd’s, t-shirts and chances of meeting bands. Street Marketing is a completely different game. The person who wrote this article is someone who is involved in street marketing. Street Marketing is a paid job within the nontraditional marketing field. Branding can include flyer distribution at concerts and lifestyle retail locations, guerilla marketing with sniping of stickers, posters or spray paint with stencils and online guerilla marketing.

    It’s a big business: SRC- founder Steven Ripkin (misspelled) made over a million dollars providing street marketing.

  • mike

    i have recently been apointed head of a street team in the hip hop game, wondering if anybody had fresh ideas to get people on board

  • Billy Johnson

    I work on a street team for Intolerance Records and I love it! I love all the music they release and I get cool free stuff to give away to people and they love me for it!