Thursday, February 12, 2009

Limp Bizkit Have Built It...

Limp Bizkit know that the music game has changed, and they're not afraid to change with it.

Or in many cases, ahead of it.

Say what you will about their music - they're definitely one of the most polarizing bands in modern rock - but a textbook can be written about the camp's marketing savvy. Their latest coup?

It's nothing that isn't being done all over the internet, but it's something that isn't being done in the world of hard rock.

And it should be.

Fans can get their news anywhere. And in today's world of breaking rumors rather than waiting for facts, tomorrows news is old today. Hell, it seems like TMZ knows who's getting pulled over for drunk driving before the person even has their first drink of the night. It's information saturation. And it's here to stay.

Go to most band websites and it's the same formula, different layout. Worst part about it is, it's the same mundane content that fans already know, the only twist being the presentation.

Fan is short for fanatic, and it's the fanatics that keep the career gears greased in this depressed economy. If the artist gives the fan something to show they care, the fan will give the artist the support they need to pay for their tour bus.

That's what makes so compelling.

Not only is it for the fans, it's by the fans. And it's so simple, it borders on insulting.

But in true spirit of Limp innovation, they've nailed it.

This is the camp that, when they couldn't get radio airplay for their first album in 1997, bought advertising time on radio stations, played snippets of the single, and then directed potential fans to call the station if they wanted to hear more.

Suburban hard rock doesn't get more guerilla than that.

Then came Ladies Night In Cambodia, a three band bill with Sevendust and Clutch that was not only one of the most enticing tours of 1998, but went one step further by letting ladies in for free.

That isn't guerilla, that's just genius. Let the ladies in free, and the guys follow. When the ladies have a good time, they'll bring three girlfriends with them next go round. Guys go where the girls go. It's the circle of life. And marketing.

And the legions of haters that seemed to grow by leaps and bounds? It's as if it's all part of the plan.

What's a great rock and roll band without a backlash? It's about the passion, and nothing makes someone more passionate about their favorite band than having someone else hate them. It's the yin that every yang needs to keep it going.

Don't get me wrong, Limp Bizkit have made their share of mistakes over the years, but the best hitters in baseball reach base safely less than a third of the time.

You can't swing for the fences and be afraid to miss.

As much as people in the music industry act like there's a formula, the proof is in the album sales. What album sales, you ask? That's my point. You need to take risks to reap rewards, and Limp Bizkit aren't afraid to take risks.

Now, after selling more than 33 million copies of their first three albums worldwide, Limp Bizkit are back, reuniting their original lineup for the first time since 2001.

"We decided we were more disgusted and bored with the state of heavy popular music than we were with each other," frontman Fred Durst and guitarist Wes Borland said in a joint statement released today. "Regardless of where our separate paths have taken us, we recognize there is a powerful and unique energy with this particular group of people we have not found anywhere else."

While I still contend that Cruel Melody from Borland's Black Light Burns was one of the more criminally underrated records of 2007, there's no denying the kinetic energy at play when he and Durst are playing mad musical scientists together.

But back to that website... When you land on the page, you're facing a split-screen, a video player on the left and a real time chat box on the right. Fans log in, and they are the center of attention as they discuss Limp Bizkit, their bad school lunch, or whatever else might inspire them at any given moment in time.

Sure, half of it is absurd gibberish, but that's true of every message board on the world wide web.

The site launched early this morning, and a topic of fan debate throughout the day has been whether Borland deserves to be back in the band or not. This is precisely what makes Limp Bizkit such a heated topic of conversation - they don't give a rat's ass what you, me, or anyone else thinks, they just roll with it.

And at one point today, Durst was even in the chat box, fielding questions.

Anything can happen, and a lot of it will just be made up as it goes along. If you're not there to see it, you just might miss it. It's a band website for a generation with ADD and an addiction to Twitter.

It's all part of the buzz, and the buzz is all that matters right now.

Speaking of Twitter, the entire Bizkit band is on it, you just click on each guy's head on the website and you are redirected to their Twitter page, where you can subscribe to their updates.

And the videos. While the latest video, a webcam of Durst creating beats for 1:28, is about as entertaining as watching paint dry, it's the type of shit fans eat up. And why shouldn't they? It's content that they're not getting on Blabbermouth.

Every video the band's done is up there, including a few rarities like Bizkit's cover of Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home," as well as live footage of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," a stunning rendition done with Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik at the 9/11 tribute concert at Madison Square Garden.

The site is that simple: Twitter, videos, real-time chat and a blog. All on a single web page that doesn't dizzy the mind with too many bells and whistles. This isn't yet another MySpace eyesore. Less is more, and it's more than enough to help fans start revving the engines on the Limp Bizkit hype machine.

I've had more than a handful of people ask me in the past few days, "is anyone really going to care about Limp Bikzit?"

The answer is yes. Because the Limp Bizkit camp know how to make them care. It's not about million dollar marketing campaigns, it's about defining their core and expanding from there.

Build it, and they will come.

Limp Bizkit have built it...

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Limp Bizkit Official Website

Limp Bizkit MySpace

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