Summer’s winding down, and I’m sure most of you have heard Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” roughly 2,000 times by now. Maybe you’re sick of it. Maybe it’s still catchy and you love the endless stream of lip-synced tribute videos. Maybe you wonder why this song, of all the songs out there, has caught on like wildfire.
A few years ago I heard an interesting NPR piece positing that this kind of popularity might be attributed to derivative content, citing Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK” and Avatar as examples. A recent New York Times article about “Call Me Maybe” by Ben Sisario focuses instead on a change in the process by which songs become hits, crediting social media’s increasing influence with altering the standard progression of a track from relative obscurity to “song of the summer.”
Commercial music obviously comes with a different business model than that of a nonprofit arts organization, but I think most nonprofit administrators are aware that these types of changes have also impacted their work. In a past reading list post, we looked at changes in commissioning and producing that stem from increased use of technology and social platforms. Ballet Austin’s Cookie Ruiz and her team use social media to engage audiences before they come to a performance (hear her talk about their work in this video), and in another recent video interview, Sean Malone of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation told us about how new media has changed the way he engages with performing arts organizations.
We know that arts organizations are embracing social media as a relatively low-cost way to increase awareness and engagement, but what does social media’s increasing influence on the way we learn about and consume cultural offerings mean for your business model? Has the process by which your work achieves success changed? What are you doing to best utilize social media and technology available today to ensure your continued success?