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The Story Of The Bank Of Muse: Marketing Music With Alternative Currencies

Bank-of-museThis week Lee Martin shared the backstory to his involvement with the Bank of Muse marketing campaign for the band Muse. Based on a previous project he did with Foo Fighters, the campaign involved the creation of an alternative note based on the euro that was distributed at shows. The notes included a link to the Bank of Muse, a web app that allowed fans to unlock new content and track deposits as they occurred.

Lee Martin is known for unique music marketing campaigns that often fly a bit below the radar. Some are visible and promoted beforehand, such as the Reddit AMA's for Tenacious D and Foo Fighters.

Others are a bit more obscure, involve a connection between online and offline worlds, employ a certain amount of randomness and include low key media announcements such as oddball @leemartin tweets.

The Papal Conclave campaign for Ghost B.C. seemed to be one of the more obscure featuring posters at SXSW that were apparently well distributed but still required you to come upon them and respond. You were then directed to a site where you could unlock content though people also simply spread the image without necessarily connecting it to the band.

This kind of stuff is sometimes hard to write about without contacting Martin and asking, "Lee, what the fuck are you doing now?"

Or you can wait and he'll tell you via his Subtle blog.

Muse - Animals Live @ Emirates Stadium 2013-05-26

I didn't hear about the Bank of Muse campaign until Martin's latest post. It was based on the "FOO bill confetti to online campaign" and featured a beautiful note designed as close to a Euro as they could get away with. You can click on the above thumbnail to see a larger version.

The Musos, as they were dubbed, were distributed at shows using a confetti cannon as well as a human delivery system shown in the above video.

Fans could go to the Bank of Muse web app and were greeted with:

"Welcome to the Bank of Muse. Login using Facebook above to join other fans in contributing 20 Musos to a global total which will unlock exclusive tour content as the balance rises. You'll also be entered to win one of 20 signed Muse tour posters and be given access to an exclusive video of Dom introducing the new stage."

Content was unlocked, message board discussions were held and hardcore Muse fans were fed.

Lots of people were involved. Martin's good about giving them credit when he writes about such campaigns. And he also shares technical details for those who are so inclined.

Here's why Martin felt the campaign was a success:

"1. It actually worked organically. Fans were picking up Musos and visiting the website at a steady rate for a week before we even made mention of it online. The reasoning? It was fun."

"2. We allowed our content rollout strategy to be loose but constant enough to continue grabbing fans' attention. We knew when our fans were more or less active because the deposits were a representation of this, so we reacted accordingly in realtime."

As he also points out:

"You may not see the same conversion numbers from a real world campaign that you might see from an email or social campaign, but you can be sure that the fans who are participating are actually paying attention, rather than being simultaneously over-saturated by the inherent nature of the web."

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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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