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Posts Tagged ‘Rockstar’

Concert promotion blew up in the ‘70’s during the development and heyday of classic rock.  Stadiums or festivals were where the gigs took place as music drove the culture and everybody wanted to participate.

Thirty plus years later and along comes the internet.  Suddenly everyone is no longer focused on the same thing and niche was king.  Yet the major music labels continue to play the same old tune of trying to get acts TV exposure and on terrestrial radio with 22-minutes of commercials an hour, but the public is sick of being dictated to by music corporations purveying artists only in it for the buck and have tuned out.   The end result?

Is today’s modern concert business where the average person feels fleeced by excessive fees and high ticket prices and have decided to pass on most concerts.  In fact, ‘twenty-ten’ might go down as the turning point year that devastated the concert business.  Look at the signs from SoundScan.  Arizona concert boycotts.  Cancelled concerts by the Eagles, poor showing for John Mayer, Bon Jovi downsizes the number of cities, the death of Lilith Fair, winery offers for Court Yard Hounds, and the ever popular $10 concert cash coupons if you can drink a dozen 1-litre bottles of Diet Coke at $1.49.  The list goes on.

H-D Tent @ Mayhem

Disregarding the external conditions of the concert promotion sphere, is Harley-Davidson marketing.  Their demographic ‘machine’ determined that ‘twenty-ten’ is the year to double down on seeking young motorcycle buyers and do so at…music concerts!   Huh?

It’s true.  They launched their H-D Golden Horse Saloon at the Rockstar Mayhem Festival two weeks ago in San Bernardino, Ca., in an effort to market to young, edgy potential customers.  The third concert of the tour was last week at the White River Amphitheater, in Auburn, Wa.  The festival includes Korn, Rob Zombie, Lamb of God, Five Finger Death Punch, Hatebreed and several other bands. Last month H-D had a similar set-up at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN.

Rob Zombie (R) and drummer (L)

The goal of any Harley-Davidson special events marketing campaign is to generate awareness and increase sales among the target audience.  It’s well known in music circles that the concert business is in the toilet.  Sure you can talk about the economy, all the external business factors, but they’re secondary to the acts, the music.  It’s doesn’t matter how great the venue is, certainly doesn’t matter how great the promoter is, it comes down to the quality of the act and whether they can draw a crowd.  Given sky high concert prices and that we live in an on-demand world where you experience only that which you want means this demographic outreach/tactic is unlikely to pay motorcycle sales dividends for Harley.

H-D Demographic -- Young Edgy Potential Customer

One notable item…  Mayhem could arguably be the loudest festival on the planet giving the sparse crowds so much ‘metal’ that many will feel aurally violated after the gig.

Photos courtesy of H-D, Mayhem Festival and Rob Zombie.

Bonus: If you’re into this type of ‘Metal’ music mix there is a free 9-song download via iTunes (good through Sept 30th) using the following code to redeem the songs: 9EL3JJRW3JNF

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lmcJohnny is a veteran member of the LMC…aka… The Lost, a notorious biker “club”. Johnny has been rather busy these days creating “business opportunities” for the LMC in Liberty City.  His loyalty is to the club’s patch and to Billy Grey, the club’s President.  Billy just returned from rehab and is hell-bent on jacking up the level of debauchery.  The LMC is in the middle of a vicious turf war with rival clubs for control of a city torn apart by violence and corruption. Can the brotherhood survive?

Does intimidation, drug possession, trafficking, homicide, drive-by shootings, child endangerment, and gang land struggles sound familiar?  Whether it’s life imitating art or vice-versa this is the new story line developed by the creator’s of Grand Theft Auto IV  (GTA4) – Rockstar/Take2 — the “Lost and Damned” add-on for the game features a new main character, Johnny Klebitz, and an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang plot that some might debate merges with reality. 

As you may recall, Rockstar/Take 2 became world famous for developing the capability of letting players enjoy booty-bouncing lap dances in strip clubs followed with prostitute sex.  Then afterward you could run her over with your car (and now your motorcycle?) or riddle with bullets – it all depends on how you roll.  I’ve written previously HERE about how motorcycle clubs have become the new media darlings of the entertainment industry and this is nothing more than a gaming extension of that trend.

lmc_membersSo, what’s next in the Rockstar/Take 2 gaming world?  Outlaw motorcycle clubs sharing methamphetamine recipes and “how-to” online cooking guides via the in-game chat sessions?!  Where does it end?  Society is bombarding kids with music, movies and video games that glorify all types of gang lifestyle and criminal acts.  Now it’s the outlaw motorcycle clubs time to shine in the spotlight.  Sure it’s a mature rated computer game (meaning all 12 year olds will own a copy), but visit a suburban mall in any size city and you’ll find surprisingly large numbers of teens mimicking real gangs.  From flashing signs to wearing the clothing culture…all of which contributes to the misidentification (false positives) of today’s youth.

I’m not on a motorcycle club witch hunt or attacking all video games.  I acknowledge that this post could be viewed as capitalism at its best – my lamb blasting the lack of social morals at Rockstar/Take 2 will be viewed by many as marketing meant only to drum up parental outrage and make the game even more irresistible to kids.  The video game market is a $20B industry (more than Hollywood box office receipts) and maybe it’s time to establish a motorcycle club advisor role/organization?

Job #1 would be to make sure that all motorcycle club colleagues are portrayed honorably, that no one would be embarrassed by the games portrayal and they would advise gaming companies to be as accurate as possible.  On second thought,  a game based on Hospital Toy Run’s or a Veteran’s Ride is unlikely to garner much sales volume from the teenage buying public, but it sure would have a lot more social redeeming value!

Photos courtesy of Rockstar web site.

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