All posts tagged genero-tv

  • Rolling Stone story outtake: Bridezilla

    A conversation with Pia May Courtley, guitarist in Sydney rock band Bridezilla, for my fan-sourcing music videos story.

    Sydney rock band BridezillaPia, how did the partnership with Genero.TV originate?

    Through our label (Inertia). I’m not sure if Genero approached our label or vise versa. Either way – someone approached someone and here we are now!

    Which element of the ‘fan-sourcing music videos’ concept appealed to you?

    I like the idea that there’s a bit of a role-reversal between bands and their fans. As a musician it’s refreshing to engage with new people on a creative level – a charming change from the producer/consumer relationship.

    Do you view this as just a way for you to save cash on video production, or was there a more profound reasoning behind the decision?

    I guess the cash thing maybe plays a minor role but moreso, for us, it’s about potentially coming across ideas we would have never thought of ourselves.

    Any concerns about this method of video production arise before you agreed to partner with Genero?

    There is an element of risk involved. But like a first date or foreign food…you never know until you try…

    Why did you lend that particular song to Genero?

    ‘Beaches’ is our current single, or first single and the only song from our record to be released so far.

    Do you think that fan-sourcing the creative content of music videos devalues the music video medium?

    Not really. There’s lots of young people out there with great ideas making viral videos anyway. And if anything these people don’t have rules as to what sells so their ideas end up being more genuine.

    More of the band on MySpace. Check out fans’ music video creations for ‘Beaches’ on Genero.TV. A live recording of ‘Brown Paper Bag’ at All Tomorrow’s Parties New York 2009 is embedded below.

  • Rolling Stone story outtake: The Temper Trap

    A conversation with Lorenzo Sillitto [pictured below right], The Temper Trap‘s guitarist, for my fan-sourcing music videos story.

    Lorenzo Sillitto, The Temper Trap guitaristHow did the partnership with Genero.TV originate? Was it through your label, or otherwise?

    The partnership with Genero came about by coincidence really. We had done a few videos which we weren’t really happy with and that had cost a bit of money, and we were a little fed up with the whole process. So as an alternative we wanted to see if we could hold some type of competition on our MySpace or the like to see if fans or would be film makers would be interested in making a video for one of our songs. Then coincidentally we were playing a small showcase gig in Melbourne and our manager Tom introduced me to the guys at Genero, which was quite out of the blue as they were putting together the resources that we were desiring, so that’s how the partnership started.

    Which element of the ‘fan-sourcing music videos’ concept appealed to you?

    All of it, I think it is a really good way to get your fans involved in something tangible that the band is doing, it allows them to feel a part of the process. It also gives the band a few options when it comes to selecting video. It is also really good creatively, because you are going to get a set of completely different concepts.

    Do you view this as just a way for you to save cash on video production, or was there a more profound reasoning behind the decision?

    I think this process is great in getting fans involved and even young aspiring video makers and it gives them the opportunity to work with artists which they may not have otherwise been able to work with. It is also advantageous to us as it gives us more options when it comes to selecting a video. Radiohead have been involved in this type of thing before and have had great results. And I guess saving money is good also as videos can often cost a small fortune. This is not to say that we wouldn’t pay the creator if we selected a video that we liked and we would use.

    Any concerns about this method of video production arise before you agreed to partner with Genero?

    There is always going to be a little trepidation going into an exercise like this, such as:will people make a video? Will any good ideas come out of this? Will we get a bunch of young boys or girls jumping on their beds singing one of our songs? But generally you are always going to have concerns with the final product, it doesn’t matter whether it is with novice or a big-time director.

    Why did you lend ‘Love Lost‘ to Genero?

    The Temper Trap: house of cardsThe reason was that this is probably going to be the next song that we hope makes to radio, and we wanted to have a clip to go with it.

    Do you think that fan-sourcing the creative content of music videos devalues the music video medium?

    I don’t think so. there are so many bad film clips out there these days that I think the video medium is already devalued. If anything, I think this could possibly spice up the market as people in the industry are looking for different avenues to connect with the audience, and getting them involved creatively is a great place to start. Some of my favourite videos have either been done by friends of the the bands or people who said “I really love the song” and made a clip for it.

    There is no better way to represent your band than through passionate fans and people around you. I’m looking forward to seeing the entries and what ideas they have come up with…

    Check out fans’ music video creations for ‘Love Lost’ on Genero.TV. A video for The Temper Trap‘s song ‘Sweet Disposition’ is embedded below.

  • Fan-sourcing filmmaker creativity: a counterpoint

    Paul Rankin: packing heatMy latest Rolling Stone story was on Genero.TV, a website that offers filmmakers the chance to come up with a video concept that may become a band’s official music video.

    After I interviewed some of the bands involved and the site’s founder, I sent the link to my filmmaker friend, Paul Rankin [pictured right].

    He didn’t take so kindly to the idea. Excerpt below:

    […] This means that fifteen other bands get a free music video, hand-picked from the entire selection of entries, which becomes a promotional tool (arguably a band’s most useful promotional tool) that they will then use to make money, none of which goes to the filmmakers, the ones who did all the work. That is to say, while your music video may be good enough to have the honour of Official Video bestowed upon it, it’s not good enough to warrant pay. There’s also every likelihood that the bands will then sell the music videos on iTunes, the revenue from which you’ll never see.

    Bend over, assume the position.

    His full rebuttal is here.

    While I asked the bands involved, and Genero.TV’s founder whether the concept was just a way for bands to save cash on video production – indeed, that was the central point of the story when I pitched it – I certainly had an “oh, shit” moment when I read Paul’s response.

    As a result, I feel like a shit reporter for not further investigating that angle. Reading back over the article now, it seems more promotional than investigative in nature.

    Lesson learned. I need to spend more time considering and seeking alternative viewpoints, rather than blindly chasing a desired outcome.

  • Rolling Stone story: ‘Genero.TV and fan-sourced music videos’, November 2009

    Here’s my second story for Rolling Stone, from the December 2009 issue. It’s 600 words on an Australian website called Genero.TV, which allows fans to create music videos for bands for a chance to become their official video, and win $4000. The article was illustrated by Simon Noynay.

    Story below – click for full-sized version.

    Rolling Stone article, December 2009: fan-sourced music videos, by Andrew McMillen

    The Future of the Music Video

    Fans making official film clips for their favourite bands – is it sharing the love or just a way for artists to get something for nothing? By Andrew McMillen

    There was a time when a major artist could easily drop a few million on a music video; from Michael Jackson’s amazing $7 million “Scream” to more restrained efforts like the Gunners’ $1.5 million “November Rain”. These days, of course, it’s very different, and a modern classic like OK Go’s aerobic masterpiece “Here It Goes Again” is proof that even if you don’t have a budget, a good idea can go a long way.

    But what if you’ve got no cash and no big idea? Well, there is a solution. Melbourne-based website lets bands post new songs online and then have fans create videos for them. Submissions are judged by the bands and fans alike and the winning entrant becomes an officially approved, internationally distributed music video. The winning clip from each round also receives a $4,000 cash prize. launched its first round of songs in September this year with the support of 17 artists, including British electronic act Unkle and New York reggae group Easy Star All-Stars and an Australian contingent of artists includes The Temper Trap, hip-hoppers Hermitude, and up-and-coming Sydney-based indie rock band Bridezilla.

    “As a musician, it’s refreshing to engage with new people on a creative level,” she Bridezilla guitarist Pia May Courtley, who is an enthusiastic supporter of the role-reversal (and collaboration) between bands and fans. “There’s lots of people out there with great ideas making viral videos anyway. If anything, these people aren’t governed by ‘what sells’, so their ideas end up being more genuine.”

    For young artists, the Genero approach makes perfect sense, tapping into a movement that is old hat to every kid on the planet. As Elgusto of Blue Mountains hip-hop duo Hermitude reasons, “Our fans have been uploading YouTube videos set to our music for years, so we’re well aware of the untapped talent of filmmakers out there. Entering the Genero.TV contest could be their way of getting their foot in the door.”

    But it’s not just a curiosity about what the public can come up with that is driving artist involvement – frustration played a big part in The Temper Trap’s decision to join, reveals guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto.

    “We’d done a few costly music videos that we weren’t really happy with,” he admits, but stresses that getting good results, not saving money, was the major motivation. “Our involvement with the site isn’t to say that we wouldn’t pay the creator of the video we choose,” Sillitto clarifies. “We were fed up, and we saw Genero as a good way to get our fans involved in something tangible that the band is doing. It allows them to feel a part of the process.” director Michael Entwisle underscores Lorenzo’s statement. “From our perspective, deepening the fan-artist engagement is a main benefit for our featured artists. More engaged fans are going to be the ones who will pay more money for concert tickets, merchandise, and music. What we’re doing shouldn’t be seen as a disruptive model for the music video industry. We’re hoping it just becomes a complementary platform that suits some artists, songs and labels.”

    In a similar move this July, Sneaky Sound System announced the winner of their own online video contest for the song ‘It’s Not My Problem’. While it didn’t offer the same creative clean slate that does – entrants were supplied with green-screen footage of singer Connie Mitchell – producer/songwriter Angus McDonald states that the band would run a similar fan-sourced video contest “in a heartbeat”. “Music videos are such a lottery, even with experienced directors and producers at the helm,” says McDonald.

    As for whether the lottery is made even riskier by entrusting creative control to their fanbase, Bridezilla’s Courtley admits there’s always a chance it could turn out to be a disaster. “But,” she says, “like a first date or foreign food, you never know until you try.”

    Here’s my original pitch, sent September 1 2009.

    Crowdsourcing Fan Creativity
    Rolling Stone December 2009 cover: Them Crooked VulturesIn August 2009, a service called Genero.TV launched a business model that allows fans to create music videos for artists. This is how it works: artists contribute the songs and upload them for the fans; the fans create the videos and upload them to; then the world watches, votes and spreads the word.

    They’ve just released their first round of 16 artists and songs, which each feature different prizes. The overall prize for this round is US$4000, which will be awarded to the director of one of the 16 final videos. As I understand it, videos submissions are judged by the bands and, and all of the winning videos will become the artists’ official video for that song.

    Of the 16 artists, such as UNKLE, Easy Star All-Stars and Casiokids, 6 are Australian:

    • The Temper Trap
    • Bliss N Eso
    • Birds Of Tokyo
    • True Live
    • Hermitude
    • Mirror House Antics

    Cool idea. Let’s take a closer look.

    • Who’s behind Genero.TV? I can’t find any info on their personnel or the country where they’re based.
    • Who funds the site?
    • What kind of licensing is required for this kind of business model?
    • Who’s funding this business model?
    • Why did these Australian acts decide to jump on board?
    • What are the acts’ expectations of the quality of submissions?
    • What’s the value of the music video in 2009? (I’ll speak to some Australian acts who’ve had viral video ‘success’, to determine the outcomes)
    • Is this just a way for lazy bands to turn creative control over to their fans for cheap, or is it a genius idea to shorten the distance between artists and their fans?

    Coincidentally, Sneaky Sound System last week announced the winner of a $10,000 fan-sourced music video competition that they ran through their website. They’d provide a good supplementary viewpoint to this article.

    As with my first Rolling Stone story on streaming music subscription services, the interviews I conducted far exceeded the article’s word limit. Check back for outtakes from these articles here soon.