22. Juli 2010

I’m With the Band: Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda Talks About Online Fan Collaboration Contest

From kara.allthingsd.com

It’s nice to hear enthusiasm on the part of Linkin Park band member Mike Shinoda about an innovative-for-the-music-industry effort to give fans a chance to be part of the iconic Grammy-winning rock band.

That’s because most artists or content creators–while making all the right sounds about the Internet’s impact on their business–often privately cringe at the ongoing flood of user-generated material that has drastically changed the industry.

Not Shinoda, who is certain he will find some real talent via a new online contest, called “Linkin Park, Featuring You,” that gives anyone an opportunity to collaborate with the band to produce an original song based on some of the tracks from the forthcoming single “The Catalyst.”

The song is on Linkin Park’s next album, “A Thousand Suns,” to be released September 14.

“We looked at it as both risky and fun to save a spot on the record that could be just anything,” he said in an interview with BoomTown earlier this week. “It’s creative, lets the fans be heard and, of course, is a great way to promote the album.”

Of course it is, but Shinoda said he is not expecting to have to put any bad-quality music on the record just to sell more music.

“The album could not be any more sacred to us and this is certainly an X-factor, which is kind of a move against the grain for us,” he said. “But the Internet has actually given a lot more people a chance to be heard and, as it has turned out, amateurs are so much better than we ever expected.”

So far, Shinoda said, he has just sampled a few dozen of the thousands of submissions so far, either selecting randomly or via a popularity ranking system the contest uses. He said he’s also using a range of people who are part of the Linkin Park team to filter material.

But, ultimately, Shinoda and his bandmates (pictured here) will pick the winning submission, with either the song to be included on the band’s new album or the winner to be invited to perform with the band on a song on the upcoming record. Either way, a pretty good prize for an aspiring musician.

Shinoda said he is hoping to hear a lot of different sounds from electronic music to keyboards to guitars and even horns (“No one has submitted a horn version so far,” he laughed. “But I hope someone does.”)

Linkin Park is using a group of Internet companies to carry out the massive user-generated effort, including: MySpace Music (platform, promotion and direct fan messaging); Indaba Music (hosting the MySpace application that allows musicians to auto-syndicate their remixes on MySpace); Top Spin Media (using their email for a song widget to deliver audio stems to all participants); and Ning (the back end to Linkin Park’s Web site, where they are also distributing the audio stems to push back to the contest)

There have been remix contests online done before, such as Snoop Dogg’s “That Tree” Remix Contest, which had 8,000 entries and generated a lot of fan interest.

But this effort is clearly more ambitious, perhaps because Shinoda is clearly a techie, with an ongoing interest in filling the Linkin Park Web site with puzzles, games and other interactive features.

In fact, Linkin Park had already conducted a smaller contest for fans to submit designs for characters used in a game the band released in April, called “8-Bit Rebellion,” for the Apple (AAPL) iPod touch, iPhone and iPad. And, after the game was completed by a player, it unlocked a new song, “Blackbirds.”

Shinoda said the band hopes to do even more digitally, trying to involve and engage fans in ways that they never would have tried before.

“There is a huge unknown factor and this is not something we would have done five years ago,’ he said of the latest collaboration contest. “But I am not afraid of my fans being good at music, even if it turns out they are better than me.”

Until a winner is selected, here’s a most excellent music video of my favorite Linkin Park song, “Shadow of the Day,” because I wish I had written the perfect and simple line, “Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple/Sometimes goodbye’s the only way” (maybe some fan will write something as good)

read more here