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On Tour With #CNTRL: Beyond EDM - What To Do When A Show Is Cancelled

319075_379356658818969_1015472071_nHypebot’s Hisham Dahud is currently on tour with CNTRL: Beyond EDM (on behalf of his digital marketing company Fame House), a 17-city college tour across North America educating students about the origins and future of electronic music, with lectures and shows at each city featuring some of the genre’s pioneers including Richie Hawtin, Ean Golden, Paco Osuna, Loco Dice and more. These are his stories from behind the scenes.

Many of you might be wondering what I’m doing on tour with techno giants like Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice, and Ean Golden. To provide some context as to my role with these artists and the tour itself, Richard Bishop – head of EDM for Red Light Management – has often said that, “EDM has grown directly proportional to the rise of the Internet and social media." My role as an online strategist for my digital marketing company Fame House is to oversee and execute social media strategy for all 17 dates of this tour. 

The general format of the tour is to stop at a local university, where the DJs offer educational panels about electronic music by day (coordinated with Dubspot) and then put on live shows at a local venue by night. Given the genre that I’m working in, and the specific responsibilities that I have at hand, I knew that social media was going to play a big role in this tour. We’re only a few days in, and it’s already playing a massive role.


The tour kicked off in the northeastern part of the United States, which as many of you know, is undergoing one of the largest natural disasters in the region’s history in Hurricane Sandy and the resulting “super storm” being produced. The weather caused us to cancel the first show in Buffalo, NY (although the university event was able to go on), which resulted in plenty of understandably upset fans.

Not wanting to let the fans down, we decided it would be a good idea to broadcast a live DJ set featuring Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice and Paco Osuna from our hotel room in Buffalo – which we turned into a makeshift TV studio in the span of an hour.

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We then went to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to announce that CNTRL: Beyond EDM was in fact #BeyondSandy, and encouraged fans to spread the word. And indeed they did, as more than 15,000 people tuned in to the live broadcast with less than two hours of promotion – all done via social networks. 

The hashtag #BeyondSandy actually took on a life of its own among fans. They really got a kick out of whole concept:

Screen Shot 2012-10-30 at 2.21.46 PMWe broadcasted the live stream with LiveBeats.com, where the DJs spun a 90-minute set for a live audience with two interchanging cameras, live microphones, and an ongoing comment thread for fans. Here they communicated with each other, asked the DJs to play particular songs, do funny things on camera, and above all, express their gratitude for going the extra mile to ensure that they received something in spite of a cancelled show.

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It actually turned out to be a great thing for everyone involved, as many of the viewers were stuck in their homes anyway from the storm, so we were able to bring our hotel party straight to them in a hyper-interactive way. Many of the once upset fans later messaged us back expressing their appreciation and quickly became empathetic given the extreme circumstances. 

Telling of the Scene

The electronic music scene has long been known to house a rich community built from deep relationships between the artists and fans. Our move to live stream a hotel DJ party to fans and include them in on the fun was testament to that, as it was the DJs themselves who took the initiative to ensure that it happened. Those of us on the tour were just as upset as the fans for the cancellation, but we immediately shifted all of our mindsets to one of action while keeping the fans’ best interest in mind.

The fans recognized this and the overall sentiment quickly became overwhelmingly positive, as our Facebook likes tripled in the span of 48 hours with our Talking About This and Reach metrics seeing incredible stats along the way. Electronic music fans in particular are incredibly tuned in to social media and are likely more engaged digitally than fans of any other genre – which had a lot to do with this initiative’s success.

The takeaway: As a musician, your fans are your most important asset. They are the lifeblood of your business. You absolutely must use all the tools at your disposal to ensure they appear to be taken care of every step of the way. They will spread the word if prompted, as long as you clearly approach them from a genuine angle where it’s all about the music – and it’s all about them.

The CNTRL: Beyond EDM tour moves on to 16 more cities around protions of the northeastern United States and Canada. Hisham Dahud is on board for the entire ride, so look out for more posts in the coming weeks with updates from life on the road. 

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud