PRESS RELEASE 6/20/12:
CLEVELAND WINS ROCK N’ ROLL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: How Hey Monea! Used Social Media Fan Engagement To Conquer The World’s Largest Battle of the Bands…
Cleveland, Ohio may not have Lebron James or a sports team that’s competing for a world championship, but they do have the title of home to the world’s largest battle of the band victor in the band Hey Monea! The 4-piece band representing Cleveland recently beat out 12,000 bands globally to be named the winner of the world’s largest battle of the band competition; Hard Rock Rising with the grand prize being opening the main stage of the Hard Rock Calling Festival in London this July headlined by none other than Bruce Springsteen.
How they did it:
So how does a band set itself apart from 12,000 other bands? Hey Monea! would tell you it’s combination of great music and performance combined with a large dose of social media fan engagement. While the bands music and performance are a main factor throughout, the early stages of the competition rely heavily on fan interaction with the contest through engaging with the competition and voting. The band launched a multi-tiered social media-based fan-engagement campaign which included song downloads for votes, laptop voting stations at every live performance and a Youtube campaign where the band would acknowledge hitting voting goals by performing agreed-to stunts often of the self-deprecating nature. Stunts included getting slapped in the face with dead fish, dressing up in daisy dukes, tied-off shirts and cowboy boots prior to a night of bar-hopping and “superman” shots. Nothing too over-the-top and all in good fun and it really showed the light-hearted nature of the band. Singer Danny Monea expressed it as; “we are a fun-loving band and we’re a social band. We’re not above our fans and we want to engage them even if it means making light of ourselves and putting the rockstar egos in check”. The final judging of the grand prize was done by a panel of industry executives including Little Steven Van Zandt of The E-Street Band and Sopranos fame. The final round was based solely on the music, which ultimately ties together the credibility and the hard work ethic.
Why Fan-Engagement is so important to music artists today:
The days of the mysterious, introverted artist are long gone much to the dismay of many a bedroom Pro-Tools master. Today’s music fans want to know their favorite artists on a much more personal level than ever before and they demand social engagement. Constant Twitter updates and VIP meet-and-greets are becoming the norm for musicians today. Those that choose not to embrace it will likely lose out in many ways because of it. In the case of Hey Monea!, the band considers themselves a “lifestyle band” anyhow, much like established acts Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish and 311 and more recent acts like Skrillex, My Morning Jacket and Mac Miller. Being fans of these bands means more than just liking the music. It’s more of a way-of-life/community feeling which alone makes the artist’s brand far more marketable, and of course more extensively monetized. This is something that record label A & R reps look for. Drummer Nate Monea adds: "Social networking is critical for us. We’re able to interact with fans in a way that was impossible for bands even a few years ago. I think it also gives fans far more insight into what we are actually like outside of the music. You can log on at anytime and see exactly what we have been up to that day, or hear our thoughts on subjects outside of music, and we’re ok with this. This is what we’ve signed up for and if it means being able to get out there and do what we love, we embrace it. It brings everyone closer together, which makes the experience much more personal, much more intimate." Hey Monea! understands that it’s a relationship and it’s about giving and receiving. For better or worse, the internet has given anyone the ability to get their music out there and the competition for fans is fierce as bass player Adam Orin eloquently puts it; “fans are like girlfriends… you forget about them and they forget about you…”
About Hey Monea!
Hey Monea! was born as a band around 2005 when teenage brothers Danny and Nate Monea made the life-decision to step away from the world of fundamentalist religion and into the world of rock n’roll. It’s a classic story of parents instill religion at an early age, kids rebel as teens and form a rock band. The brothers were raised as strict Jehovah’s Witnesses and were living it to the extreme of going door-to-door preaching the message. Music was part of their upbringing, but whenever a record they really loved was successful snuck into the house, it quickly found itself an unpleasant demise. Danny Monea tells it as “we loved Metallica but unfortunately the Black album became the cracked album”… The brothers are at peace with the religious upbringing however adds Nate; “It’s part of what makes us who we are and we accept it and move on down the road…”
The gospel the band preaches today is one of classic rock songwriting roots replete with blues-based piano and guitar riffs and dead-on harmonies. Rounded out by bassist Adam Orin, the band’s sound is familiar yet at the same time refreshing and has a very high “likeability” factor as is apparent with the victory over 12,000 other bands. Danny Monea ends the discussion with “We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel with our sound here. We love rock n’roll and that’s what we play. We’re just happy we get to do what we love and make people smile along the way…” And that’s what they intend to do this July in London in front of 50,000 music fans.
InfiniteDecibel - John Gaenzler
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