Posted by: Dave | July 2, 2008

Bongo Beat takes In-Game Promotion to the Next Level

Posts on this blog are dwindling lately, mostly because I keep getting paralyzed by indecision on which of many projects on back burners I should work on first.

I’ve got plenty in the works, but here’s a quickie for now:

Earlier today I flipped on the TV and watched a few minutes of the ill-fated G4 show The Lab with Leo, (RIP). The episode (#146) featured the couple that owns Bongo Beat Records, and explained the unique way they use Second Life to promote their artists. From the show notes:

Ralph Alfonso and Alison Rogers, owners of Bongo Beat Records, started the Second Life Bongo Beat store to target a new audience and reach people who wouldn’t normally discover a label like Bongo Beat, treating this virtual community as a new territory (like England, or Spain, etc) and adapting strategies in communicating with a population/demographic that isn’t necessarily human.

They started integrating virtual appearances by some of their artists – performing live within the Bongo Beat Second Life area.

They created weekly club nights with virtual DJs to build traffic and familiarize them with our area and the online store and Bongo Beat’s music (DJs play whatever they want and integrate Bongo Beat tracks into their DJ sets).

The use of Second Life to advertise real world products and services is nothing new, but the way they go about it is what intrigued me, as I’ve never heard of anyone doing something quite like this. On camera they talked about playing a “concert” from the comfort of one’s own home to an audience of about 60, (and not more for game-mechanic reasons) in Second Life. There are a bunch of interesting factors at work here, such as the immediacy of having new entertainment-oriented music thrown at you during your gaming experience, and the hypermediacy of these art forms sharing one space. I’m sure I’d be right in saying that remediation is at work here, but at the present moment I’m not sure how exactly. Your thoughts?

Whenever I “report” on something like this, my instinct is to throw out some vague inquiry like, “what are the implications if this trend continues?? will it impact our precious world for good or ill??” But McLuhan says that when we’re examining something, rather than asking if what’s happening is good or bad, we should focus on the question, “What’s going on?” I’m trying to do this by pointing out when I see remediation possibly happening, but so far my observations haven’t led me to construct any grand meanings. My gut feeling is that that’s ok, at least for now.


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