What social media does a band like KMFDM use and how do they do it? We probed Sascha K.
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Out now on Metropolis Records in the USA and Dependent Records in Europe is the newest KMFDM album "WTF?!". Instead of the regular interview questions, we asked KMFDM's Sascha K. some questions on how he and the band see the use of social media. KMFDM being quite outspoken on certain matters, they were the perfect match for this. In the interview we discuss MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Reverbnation but also Wikileaks and of course mobile apps. (by Bernard van Isacker)
SL: You have been using a pro Wikileaks song/download that got quite some attention. However, Assange being the manipulator that he is, how sure are you that you haven't been used or even abused by him and Wikileaks?
KMFDM: Well we did this totally independent of any direct involvement from WikiLeaks or him. We were just protesting the politicizing of his private case and also championing the WikiLeaks mission of “revealing suppressed and censored injustices.” We were also applauding the very “white hat” way they struck back at the system when corporations threw them off their servers. It was not done as support of anything specific and since there was no contact there was no way for him (or them) to “spin” us.
SL: Assange is also the person claiming that Facebook is a big evil due to it being open to intelligence enquiries from the US. However i noticed that you guys are rather active on Facebook...
KMFDM: Facebook is just a tool for us to use to reach our fans and supporters and provide them with basic information about what we are up to, just like Myspace before or whatever will come next. We offer it no special allegiance or support. I do not have a personal Facebook page and do not use it for private matters. If there is anyone who is interested in us who does not wish to use Facebook all the same information we have on there (and more) can be found elsewhere, especially our own site KMFDM DOTKOM.
SL: What did you think of The Social Network film? I found it rather inspiring as far as starting your very own business.
KMFDM: The drama in the movie was so artificially hyped and it worked so hard to create a cult of personality for Zuckerberg. These guys are not gods anymore than rockstars or Hollywood actors are. Their “revolutions” are so artificial. As for starting your own business I have been involved in many of those and the truth is far from cinematic.
SL: What are the direct advantages and disadvantages on Facebook for you as a band?
KMFDM: The platform is very static and lacks ability to customize and like all digital interaction for me it will never take the place of shaking a fans hand and for them it can’t replace the energetic high of attending one of our shows. The benefit is simple - distribution of little bits of info.
SL: What improvements should Facebook get to be the ultimate social platform? What opportunities do you see?
KMFDM: Allow people to step through the computer and meet each other in person, that is the ultimate social platform in my book. As far as improvements maybe they could find a way to require you to read a book for an hour for every 8 hours you spend on Facebook. Seriously though, there is a laundry list of things Facebook could do to be more friendly to musicians and artists. BandPage is a pathetic start but at least it is something.
SL: Side-Line declared MySpace dead and was subsequently tackled by people saying its such a good platform. What is your point of view?
KMFDM: The numbers don’t lie. While we have lots of “fans” on Myspace the number of visits to our page and listens of the songs we post there drops by the day. It was a good run and we had some nice fun interacting with fans there before it truly exploded and we could no longer keep up.
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SL: Can MySpace still be saved according to you and how?
KMFDM: It is doubtful, not because they could not come up with a new game changing feature but mostly because the online culture has moved past Myspace. It would take something seismic to change the public’s attitude that Myspace is yesterday.
SL: What do you use the platform for these days?
KMFDM: Really just to repost Tweets and Facebook posts.
SL: As far as i can gather you are rather low profile as far as Twitter goes, I don't see much of a communication going on, why?
KMFDM: Twitter is tough to use when you have as much to say as we do. 140 character blips is a bit too disposable even for the “here today, gone in ten minutes” nature of social networking. We are on there but it is a less important outlet for us.
SL: What social media has had a more than regular impact on the band and what are the lessons you learned?
KMFDM: No particular one has changed how we do anything but social media as a whole has changed how we let people know what is going on in the world of KMFDM. As far as learning lessons they aren’t new lessons, they are old ones that are even more true online. You have to watch what you say and who you say it to and when someone gets foolish they need to be put in their place.
SL: Do you as a band have a social media plan?
KMFDM: Once in a blue moon we will think – let’s come up with something that makes use of this particular feature” but mostly we dictate what it does for us, not the other way around.
SL: It's considered that social media stink at selling stuff but are king when it comes to interaction. Whats your point of view on this?
KMFDM: It is no secret that those who are technically inclined and use social media heavily are likely to just grab a band’s music from a “free” source. We rely solely on the support that comes from our core fanbase who still pay for our releases. They also give us additional support by buying a t-shirt or a special piece of merchandise. Without them we would not be here so we interact with them in the way anyone would when addressing their benefactors, with candor and appreciation. We are a small example of how this can be done effectively but for us it is sincere. The second it becomes a “business model” anyone who believed in you before no longer will.
SL: What about mobile communication? Do you plan an app for iPhone and Android like Side-Line did? Or is that not your first concern right now?
KMFDM: There will be a KMFDM app in the future unless interest in apps fades quickly. We would want ours to be something above cookie-cutter to give the fans what they deserve and it must be programmed for Android as well as the monopolistic and restrictive Apple devices. This will take a lot of time and money so it is something we only want to invest ourselves in if we know the interest is there and will remain high.
SL: Lots of bands go to Reverbnation and related sites to get a sociable website. What's your take on this?
KMFDM: Well it has plusses and minuses. There are good things for bands there. For us it has become a question of how many social platforms are we going to maintain? At some point enough is enough. There are only so many hours in the day and there are lots of other things to be done.
SL: Any sites, platforms we should keep an eye on?
KMFDM: Anyone who tells you what will be next is just guessing. The trend right now seems to be that interesting new services such as Foursquare or Groupon/Groopease end up being co-opted and integrated into the larger social networking platforms as additional features. This makes them more accessible but cuts short the potentially interesting things that could have been done with them.
SL: Thanks for the nice feedback, all the best from Brussels.
KMFDM: And all the best to you! It has been interesting thinking about these rather unusual interview questions.
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