May 30, 2006
Fascinating Debate about Fan Sites

Thanks to Siddiq Bello from our partner Turner for passing along information about a review of a Web site called What Is A Piece of Strange?.

The site is a fan-created examination of the album A Piece of Strange, by southern hiphop group Cunninlynguists. The review, written by Rafi Kam, appears on the Oh Word blog and focuses particularly on the site as a blog marketing case study.

Rafi's in-depth discussion of the album and the positives and negatives of the fan site's execution of studying the debut of this new album is interesting and appears in great detail, looking at the strong start for the site that fizzled due to lack of updates and a lack of starting places for nascent fans. However, what I found at the end was far more interesting, with both someone who posted for the site and a member of the band joining in the conversation.

While I'm not personally that familiar with this group or even the genre of music, the Web site is proof of something I wrote about last December, the limits that mainstream taste often put on our understanding of fan communities and transmedia content. People choose not to look very often outside of what is perceived as mainstream taste, for instance at an underground fan marketing campaign for a southern hiphop group, even if this may be an example which gives the rest of much to learn about.

Also, it's proof of what I labeled in February as the most important discussion in the entertainment industry today, that being the relationship betrween fans and producers. As with the example in that post, this blog post by Rafi Kam became a site in which fans, critics and the artists themselves all come together to debate and discuss these issues openly. From the example that the comments to Kam's story provides for us, we see both the rationale for fans working on fan sites, the perceived relationship of performers, and Kam's theories about where fan sites like the one for A Piece of Strange need to be headed in terms of creating the most impact, both for the group and for the fan community.



Thanks for shining a light on this.

On June 5, 2006 at 11:43 AM, Sam Ford said:

And thanks to you, Rafi, for sparking such an interesting debate that helps illustrate many of our points about fan communities, etc.