Case Study: Periphery

You could argue that the music industry was brought down by web 2.0 developments. Bands and labels were both shriveling up by their inability to adapt and keep up with the technology. And to this day, their is massive culture of consumers who don’t even consider the concept of paying for music. However, a few new bands would take the cards dealt by the new technology and exploit it rather than be submissive to it. One of the bands that have thrived in this new environment is Periphery.

Periphery is a progressive metal band based out of Maryland and brainchild of Misha Mansoor. The band itself could almost be considered a direct result of 2.0 technology. Their web presence didn’t really solidify until 2012 with periphery.net. Up until then, the site was either inactive or under construction. While the band started as a 1-man project, Misha immediately had an active presence at soundclick.com and several musician forums. Another aspect of their 2.0 presence was bringing a streamlined, almost minimalist approach to periphery.net. Their website launched in 2012 and rather than have a site multi-layered with bio pages, news, links, etc., it was simply a splash page with links to itunes, facebook, twitter, and instagram.

Musically, the members of this project took advantage of remote, home recording technology and file share services to collaborate with other musicians on compositions without even being in the state often times. This ethic remained once a solid lineup was established and they became a band in the official sense. A theory as to why they don’t have the same struggles as many other bands is their insertion point into the scene. By simply never knowing the luxuries of record label advances, marketing, and revenue from music sales, they simply used what was available. Marketing consisted of webisodes of recording sessions and playthroughs and heavy interaction with fans through messageboards which created a real accessibility to them that other bands may not have provided. It’s not unusual for a fan to contact a member of the band and receive a prompt reply that is personalized to them. This has helped create a large, dedicated following of fans that would later be used as a leveraging tool when the time came to actually sign to a record label.

The detrimental side of this new approach may come in a few different forms. By starting off as easily contacted and amiable to fan interaction, there is a chance this can come back to haunt them. They now have to either maintain that interaction, or spend a much larger chunk of time and effort to maintain that “we’re just one of you guys” type persona. Technology has made this easier with how accessible communication is through portable devices. Of course, no one can fully predict what may happen down the road with the music industry. For now, Periphery seem to be taking it in stride and making a good living doing it as well. That’s more than can be said for the majority of musicians out there.

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