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Rolling Stone Plucks Artists From Obscurity, Offers Cover & Record Deal As Prize – #BigMediaFail

image from cdn.buzznet.com Rolling Stone has plucked 16 unsigned acts from obscurity and pinned them against each other in a crowdsourced contest that determines which of them will appear on the cover of their print publication. 

The winner will also make an appearance on an Augest episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and be signed to a label deal with Atlantic Records. And if in a few months after the competition you never heard from said act again and a year later they're quietly dumped from said label to sister label to the street, well, don't say you didn't see it coming. While this may be a hopeful idea, it's woefully outdated.

Jeff Howe, the Wired magazine writer who coined the term crowdsourcing, did so in 2006. Therefore, the fact that Rolling Stone is just now testing out this idea feels nearly 5 years late. Being that they're a print publication, in need of selling issues, it's somewhat understandable that in their 44-year history that they've never asked readers who or what should be featured on the cover. Nor, to be clear, has Rolling Stone ever featured an unsigned band or artist on the cover.

But in making this bold move Rolling Stone fails to realize how sad the terms "Rock & Roll Star", "print publication", "record deal", "magazine cover", "A&R executives", "late night talk show", and "multiplatinum-selling record producers" all sound when used together. The only hip word they used is five years old.

A record deal is nothing to sneeze at, but why not a management deal and digital marketing initiative instead? Even a spot in an Apple iPod ad would've been more hip, yet still outdated, than every single prize in this contest. And sadly, the ad on TV probably would've sold more music than Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will.

Please, let me buy the CD in Wal-Mart too, there's one down the street. Look, this band is going to be pumped and dumped. Big media has failed yet again.

2050 – Rolling Stone starts reader-funded record label and asks for pledges...


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