Working it for Weezer


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The Internet is an indifferent God. It doesn’t care if it ravages businesses, including the music industry. But it giveth too, especially to music marketers. They are learning more about their audiences and charting their movements like never before (privacy rights respected, of course).

Ben Patterson, featured in our earlier post about the band Weezer and YouTube, is one of them. A modern-day Johnny Appleseed, Patterson has been busy dropping bits of Weezer into social networking websites to spread the word about the band’s new album, ‘Self-Titled.’


On iMeem, there’s a mini Weezer documentary. At Slide, one can find an acoustic version of Weezer’s song ‘Pork & Beans.’ More than 40,000 people visit Weezer’s Meebo chat room daily, which can be found in many places including on the band’s MySpace page.

The numbers astound Patterson, who said typical fan club sites might attract a few thousand people at best. Patterson’s company, DashGo, also tracks media consumption of Weezer material on social networks such as iLike, Facebook and Bebo, to name just a few.

These may be gravy days for music fans, with a ...

... proliferation of ad-supported sites that offer free ways to listen and share music. That ad revenue is shared with artists and recording companies. But at the moment, it takes a lot of listening to ‘Pork & Beans’ to generate the same money Weezer would earn if someone just bought the song on Apple’s iTunes.

And therein lies the problem. ‘Are we losing an iTunes buyer who is happy to just listen to the music online?’ Patterson asked.

He sees the entertainment industry’s salvation in the data. If there’s a sudden surge in album sales, Patterson will try to figure out if there’s something happening on a social networking site associated with it, he said over coffee during his recent visit to San Francisco.

But the data, despite YouTube’s tracking service, Insight, still isn’t enough to chart cause and effect with certainty. ‘You still never know what gets someone to the buy point,’ he said. ‘It’s an X factor.’


--Michelle Quinn