Music Marketing

What Dave Grohl Learned About Reddit When His AMA Announcement Disappeared

Dave-grohlianDave Grohl is holding a Reddit Ask Me Anything event February 8th. He's promoting "Sound City", the documentary about a historically important L.A. recording studio that he also directed. But, big name or not, Reddit is one of those insular web subcultures that requires you to play by the rules or get slapped. Grohl discovered this reality when key details of his initial announcement were removed and his follow-up disappeared from view.

Lee Martin is deeply involved in this Reddit marketing event though I don't have the details on who's doing what. I previously wrote about the Tenacious D AMA he helped organize and have been following his unique music marketing hacks for about a year. He was most recently at SoundCloud but left around six months ago and, after a bit of traveling, seems to be making bigger moves.


Navigating a Community That Doesn't Always Post the Rules

Martin explained what happened with Dave Grohl's initial AMA announcement in an update to his account of the Tenacious D AMA which shared lessons learned from going on an intense web community to be literally asked anything:

"When announcing Dave Grohl’s AMA yesterday I ran into two new unpublished rules that should be avoided."

"1. You can no longer announce your AMA in the IAmA section."

"Reddit says that this is to avoid people from thinking this is the actual AMA and would rather you announce it in an appropriate sub-reddit and via the sidebar schedule. I made this mistake and instead of deleting my post, the moderators only deleted my posts description, which included a promo code for fans and information about the upcoming AMA…"

"2. Do not use links in your description"

"After re-submitting our AMA announce into /r/music, everything was working fine and we shot up to the front page in no time. I then adjusted the post description to include a link to iTunes and the post was subsequently hidden from the front page and /r/music listings."

"This ruined our announcement, as we no longer existed on and the site was no longer directing traffic to our promotional offering even though we were directing all of our social traffic to Reddit. 12 hours later, it still does not show up."

I'm unclear on the current status of Dave Grohl's announcement on Reddit but it is up and visible. It looks like you can keep up with further Dave Grohl Reddit news via his account (or a marketing equivalent) totallynotdavegrohl.

If you're baffled by what's going on at Reddit and you haven't spent time on web forums with their often unstated but widely understood rules of behavior, then check out this post by Vincent Clarke titled "How to Promote Your Music on Reddit." It's a good intro to the complexities of this particularly insular forum-based subculture.

Bottom line: Play by their rules or find another playground.

Ask Dave Grohl Anything on Feb. 8th

Dave Grohl and Lee Martin have adjusted, thinking fast on their feet, and Dave Grohl should be appearing on Reddit February 8th. He'll be answering a bunch of questions that, according to the rules and past history, may or may not be relevant to anything about Dave Grohl but will likely include some less than sensitive comments about Kurt Cobain. Yeah, it's like that!

If you're lucky, they might even eventually tell us what time they're starting. I don't know if that's insider information or not but lots of newbies will be hitting Reddit so it might be a good idea to add that bit of knowledge.

You can find out more about Sound City, which is clearly the impetus behind this AMA, and purchase it DRM-free for $10 with the code: REDDIT.

It's also available on iTunes for rent or sale.

And even if you don't want to get a Reddit account in order to ask questions, you'll be able to watch the action live and unedited at some unspecified time on the 8th.


Lee Martin: Rising Star

Note: In closing, I just want to make it clear that I think Lee Martin is a rising star in music marketing on the web. He's a hacker at heart in the best sense of the word. In fact, being a hacker is what has obscured his shine. But, since leaving SoundCloud, he seems to be doing a better job of self-presentation to those beyond the somewhat remote world of music tech hackers. If you're wondering what comes next, then Lee Martin is one of the developers you should be following.

["Dave Grohlien" thumbnail above created by Lee Martin and available via imgur.]

More: Case Study: Tenacious D Marketing Music On Reddit's AMA

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/ also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Thank you so much for the coverage Clyde. It’s really important that artists realize these two issues because they truly ruined what we were trying to achieve with that announce.

  2. Yeah, it’s strange that they don’t just write it down.
    My “back in the day” experience of navigating the grumpy waters of tech forums taught me a lot but they were always really upfront about the rules. Sometimes it felt like a little much but once you adjusted it wasn’t that big a deal to stay on topic and post your stuff in the right category.
    But having rules like this that are so damaging and so clear cut yet kept secret is totally bizarre and somewhat totalitarian.

  3. Oh god, I totally agree. I use to run the same sort of ship when I managed The Comatorium, but it worked. Reddit is weird though because there are site-wide policies, sub-reddit specific rules, and then whatever the hell the mods want to do.

  4. Pulled my last comment cause it took things in the wrong direction.
    I did not realize Reddit was that convoluted.
    It sounds like an empire of petty fiefdoms.
    Some people can handle power gracefully but mostly it seems to corrupt them even at the pettiest of levels.
    It’s kind of like positioning. It’s not what you say you are but what you actually do that defines your positioning.

  5. I think the lack of obvious rules is part of the culture. Reddit is one of those places you have to visit for an extended period of time to pick up on weird things like the rule. And even then, it’s still easy to miss. It’s part of being a “real” Redditor. That’s the vibe I’m getting, at least.
    Anyone can google what AMA and TIL stands for. But it takes a while to pick up on memes, community habits, and the way they do things there.
    Good job adjusting though, Lee! Looking forward to following your other projects.

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