Let's hear it for the fans! They make or break any celebrity.
The Recording Academy, the folks who bring you the Grammy Awards, know it, and are doing all they can to involve music fans in this years' awards, scheduled for a live telecast at 8 p.m. on Jan. 31 on CBS. There's an iPhone game, a traveling widget, a Web site dedicated to fan interactivity and live tracking of a musician's popularity.
"The Fanbuzz Visualizer will give a real time view of what fans are doing," said Evan Greene, chief marketing officer for The Recording Academy, during a special event at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. "It will give a real-time gauge of an artist's popularity on the Web. If we make an announcement about an artist we can monitor the real data from the Web."
The visualizer tracks comments and content generated by an artist's fans across many social networking and user generated content sites, like YouTube, Flickr, FaceBook and Twitter. It is part of the We're All Fans site (www.wereallfans.com), the online home for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards.
"It's the first true intersection of social media and advertising," Greene said. "We're refining the Grammys brand, with the ultimate goal of compelling people to want to watch the show."
The site uses small images of actual posts from the social media sites to build a portrait of the artist on the home page. Rolling your mouse over the images explodes individual posts, making them easy to read or click into to view fan created videos about their favorite musicians.
The visualizer tracks the top 20 Grammy nominees and the portrait builder on the home page includes eight artists. "In the next phase you will be able to upload a photo of yourself, choose your favorite artist and we'll build an image just for you," Greene said.
The site includes no music from the artists. The audio and video content is all fan-generated, Greene said. All the content first goes through a screening process, he said. The newest content replaces older posts as they are approved.
Grammy fans with iPhones will want to install the free Grammys application. It features the Guess the Grammys game, letting players take their shot at predicting the winners in 21 categories and challenging their friends to do the same. There are also links to purchase the music via the Apple iTunes Store.
The combination of the Web site, the fanbuzz visualizer, the iPhone application and game and fan interaction all bears the same graphical style. "This puts ahead of the digital curve," Greene said. "Fans are the building blocks of celebrity and iconic personality. Social media is changing the way we interact and it's changing music.
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