Monday, July 2, 2007

Event Review from Sonicviz of The Metaverse Music Blog - Second Fest

From The Metaverse Music Blog

Posted by: sonicviz
Suckerfest and Marketing unTruths
Disclosure: I am a regular SL Live musician, and this critical analysis has nothing to do with the fact I was not "invited" to play Suckerfest. Apart from a fully booked weekend in rl and sl gigs, this analysis is related to my overall coverage of the metaverse as a new type of performance medium for new types of artists, from both business and artistic perspectives.

"Secondfest is a virtual three-day music festival inside Second Life realised by The Guardian and Intel, featuring live music from offline and online performers, theatre, ballet, cinema, animation and general chaos."

I think Itnel and the Grauniad's marketing departments need to read the 7 Biggest Marketing lies site , specifically Marketing Lie #4 which states that "Getting attention is the SAME THING as effective marketing."
[Given the cheap studio the poor bands were in, basic filming/edits, and retro dot matrix printed posters on the wall I'm guessing this was a "No-Cost/Low-Cost marketing strategies" campaign and the above site reference may have some other tips for them;-)]

Last I heard, LIVE music is produced by a human being [or beings] in real time. Anything outside that is defined as PRE-RECORDED. Therefore calling PRE-RECORDED music LIVE music is, ta-da, a marketing unTruth!.

How much of the festival was actually LIVE I don't know. I guess they will cover their arse by focusing on the word "FEATURING", while failing to highlight that chunks of it were pre-recorded. Specially pre-recorded for the festival does not make it live I'm afraid;-)
Typical marketing bait and switch tactics...that leave a bad aftertaste, at least in my mouth.

My own "festival" experience, apart from the SL Live performers on Chill Island, was a decidedly non-interactive experience and imo could just as well been done via youtube or facebook music with a chat system...and better performance all round.
R3 build was nice enough, if not a little mundane being just a virtual clone of a real life festival site sans mud and flies.

To her credit, Aleks Krotoski, the Grauniad's SL Blogger does mention this in her report on day 2 "although the sets, exclusive recordings for Secondfest, did undermine some of the live interaction many of the attendees had hoped for."(sic)

An additional marketing untruth is her assertion of "Secondfest, the world's first virtual festival" is also incorrect, with a number of festivals of different sizes having been held in SL over the last two years.

It appears once again that marketing droids come up with a concept and drive it into production without bothering to understand either the medium or the communities already embedded in it. The token nod to the SL live artists in a sense backfired as it turned out to be the only place with any real vibe and INTERACTION happening.

From a business perspective I can understand the need to balance a cost effective marketing campaign with the technical risks of the platform etc etc, but it was a flawed implementation of a good idea that could have been pulled off much much better. I suspect the whole point was to show how hip and kewl both Itnel and TeH Grauniad are technology wise. Or maybe it was designed to sell Itnel Core Duo2 systems by enticing people to upgrade their current computers so they can experience the next worlds "first" virtual festival? I have news for Itenl...I have a CoreDuo2 E6400 overclocked 25% with an overclocked High end graphics card that runs smooth as...and guess what? SecondLife can bring it to its knees easily. Well, actually the whole thing was more than likely just designed to attract mainstream media coverage and act as boredom relief for Itnels marketing dept.

All that aside, I love SecondLife - I've drunk the Koolaid at the Metaverse fountain by the gallon, especially in relation to its potential as a performance medium for new technologically savvy artists willing to learn and experiment instead of being spoonfed by the usual suspects.
But it does not stop me being critical of the platform and associated development issues, or projects that ignore the obvious risk factors due to an unstable technology and fail to design for or around them, or excessive marketing hype that ignores reality - virtual or otherwise.

I guess they will be trawling over the survey results, but who knows how many people actually gave truthful answers?
If they filled it in at all.

This recent story on the BlueBird Cafe in SL, Bluebird of Unhappiness, also highlights a number of similar issues albeit on a smaller scale.

Onwards and upwards.

Cu in the bitstream!

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