Originally published on the Global Rockstar Magazine on 06.09.2015
Ronny Steibl is CIO, Head of New Business Development and co-founder of Global Rockstar. He has worked with musicians for years, as well as in IT and Telecommunication and as a marketing specialist. Ronny is the brain behind the Global Rockstar website and all marketing activities.
Not long ago we were brainstorming about the launch of the new platform, that will go online at the beginning of September, and the start of the Global Rockstar 2015 contest on October 1st. We wanted to produce a promo video to introduce and explain the novelties, like we did last year with the first Webisode. We are on a tight budget and I absolutely wanted to obey the golden rule of small budgets: if you have limited resources be sure that everything you do is consistent. Don’t waste money, no matter how little, on activities that differ from your core business, both in terms of content as well as corporate identity. Our motto at Global Rockstar is Believe in Music but we think of it more like our belief than a mere communication claim… we really believe in music! Not in promo videos. (giggles) I combined the two things and thought it would be perfect to produce strong and unique content to be used in all our communication activities.
Everybody immediately caught onto the idea. It felt somehow natural for Global Rockstar to produce music instead of a constructed infomercial, especially if you consider the huge artist pool we have on our platform.
It was a risky decision
It was indeed a risky decision, we’re the first to try and being first is both an honor and a risk. We had the plan on paper but of course we didn’t know exactly what to expect.
Then the artists arrived, real people, and the paper came to life. We were so overwhelmed by the energy and freshness of these six men and women, meeting in person for the first time and hitting it off like old friends. They started creating music right away, not only in a very high quality but also with such respect and understanding for their respective skills and background… really, I have no words. Around the second or third day everybody agreed that even if To the Moon is a flop the whole experience is still a win! Every single one of us, artists and team, emerged from Global Rockstar United a better person.
What is Global Rockstar United? A music production or a marketing campaign?
Global Rockstar United is both a music production and a marketing campaign. Let’s say that the marketing campaign allows us, in monetary terms, to fulfill this dream of gathering six talented artists from six continents, lock them in a room and watch them be creative! (laughs) The idea is not new, many producers had the same fantasy but nobody has tried it yet. The reality is that it would be way too expensive to produce a single this way.
Global Rockstar United worked first from a social media point of view. We like to say that we offer unsigned artists a stage to present their music, and indeed Global Rockstar already reaches millions. During the contest (NB Global Rockstar 2014 started Sep.1 and ended Dec.20) these figures increase significantly and we observed that the fan bases of different artists come together and artists get attention from countries they couldn’t reach on their own strength. We wanted to bring this phenomenon to its limit, intentionally putting together artists, as different as possible, and stir up the interaction. Musically speaking, of course, but also for the fans to follow.
Together with the release of To the Moon we will also release a Making of Global Rockstar Uniteddocumentary that will be available on network television. Our partner Puls4 will broadcast it in Austria and we have inquiries from TV stations all over the world as we speak.
For the start of the Global Rockstar 2015 contest we will have two TV spots airing, one targeting the artists during the upload phase until October 15 and the second targeting fans until the end of the contest. Both are based on the To the Moon music video.
We’re very proud of being able to use 100% original content for all marketing and communication purposes.
Were the six artists happy with so much exposure in your content?
We were a bit nervous about this aspect, we are not producing a reality show and exploiting the artists, of course, and this was made clear from the beginning. Still, one thing is putting things down on paper because there are contracts to sign, another is arriving in Vienna and be instantly caught up in the action with the camera crew, interviews and people constantly taking pictures and uploading them on Facebook. At least at the beginning it was difficult to digest.
As soon as we met in person we simply explained to the artists our reasons and we all agreed: social media exposure is not a bad thing per se. In the end we all – Global Rockstar and the individual artists participating – profit from Global Rockstar United in terms of image, awareness and social media reach. So maybe we are squeezing this story like a lemon, but the artists are squeezing too! (laughs)
Can you tell us more about the social media aspect?
Global Rockstar is a social media platform for unsigned musicians and music lovers. You could see Global Rockstar United as a social media experiment within social media. What happens if you do the social media thing in real life? Does it really have to be stupid? Like those viral videos of people stopping strangers on the street and showing them pictures of their cat or of their meal…
We believe that social media is a tool, and you can do whatever you want with it, stupid things, fun things, intelligent things, creative things. Global Rockstar United was – of course – an intelligent and creative thing to do, but still there is no guarantee it will work. While the six artists were in Vienna we followed them on our Facebook page and posted the whole story while it was developing. We started straight away with them arriving at the airport and followed the development of To the Moon in real time until everybody left. After that we’re still updating our fans with the development of the production, at least until September 16 – when To the Moon will be released. There was no way for us to know how Global Rockstar United would develop, if everybody would get along well or if major problems would arise. We didn’t even know if the song would turn out to be good or bad!
How did you share the story with the Global Rockstar community and the rest of the world?
We followed Global Rockstar United on Facebook and Twitter and shared the progress of To the Moon as it happened. We have two hashtags, the first #grsunited is meant for everything that’s related to the project. We added the second hashtag #grsunited_rightnow when we shared content in real time. Type #grsunited_rightnow and see the whole story developing – I already did it a couple of times alone for the great memories!
We also have TV and radio stations covering Global Rockstar United during and after the artists’ stay in Vienna.
Together with the release of To the Moon, on the new platform you will also find our new magazine with a lot of information, interviews and all the Global Rockstar United stories. (NB you’re reading it right now, btw!)
What does Global Rockstar United mean for the six artists?
We, at Global Rockstar, invest in the future of these artists and they invest in us. We not only share the copyright of To the Moon, but Global Rockstar United also blends and mixes very different fan bases. After a couple of days in Vienna the artists started coming to me all excited “Ronny, look! My Facebook post reach has never been so high! Look, look, I have fans from Argentina, Canada, Sweden, Africa and Oceania now!!”. Global Rockstar United demonstrated, in an unmistakable way, that together we create a much bigger network than the sum of the single ones. That’s the definition of synergy, actually!
The synergy is not limited to social media though. Global Rockstar United is a special business accelerator and generator now, in terms of market understanding, expertise, network sharing, partnerships and openings for new markets.
Further on, we all became not only co-workers but also friends. Each of us is willing – no eager! – to help the other with all music related activity.
Global Rockstar United is a positive experience, then?
Oh yes, for so many reasons!
From a professional point of view we realized how huge the differences are in how music is made and produced around the world. The artists were able to share their personal experiences and to compare them to each other. This was not only enrichment for them but also for us at Global Rockstar. I can say now that we better understand how the different markets work and what we can do in order to support artists efficiently.
What amazes me – in times where marketing seems to be a dirty word – is how easy it is to create something special if your intentions are pure.
We had this idea of a song about music without borders, about love and respect. By living those values ourselves during Global Rockstar United we were able to bring them to life effortlessly. There was no need to push it on the artists and force them to write a song they didn’t feel or want to do. They actually delivered more than we would have expected. In the same way, if you share your content and this content is real, not staged, the public will understand, see through it and appreciate it.
From a personal point of view I learned so much and made incredible friends. I now have a free bed waiting for me in each continent! Legendary.