Brian Solis spoke at a SXSW panel yesterday afternoon about how audience segmentation is no longer only about age or demographics. One of the key audience groups is “GENERATION C:” C for connected. The connected generation not only integrates technology seamlessly into their lives, but this group also uses and embraces that technology to form, sustain and nurture relationships with others in Gen C.
Brian’s perspective is that we’re the problem and we are also the solution. This not about generations or age. It has to do with how we AS PEOPLE make decisions, interact and connect. We look at things in different ways. We have become a disruption. The decision-making cycle of connected consumers is very different today.
Later in the panel, Billy Corgan joined Brian for a sit-down chat about how the music industry is no longer “business as usual”, then went on a (seemingly angry) screed about how music is so different today and how music consumers ‘mostly just want stuff for free.’ He spoke about how the business of today’s music industry has ‘taken the claws out of the music,’ forcing musicians who seek fame (and fortune) to acquiesce to the demands of the business and not be driven by their creativity or their own desire.
And after seeing the Jay-Z show tonight, I can say that they are both right. Music is very different today, but not necessarily in the way Billy articulated, at least from my perspective, the perspective of the consumer, the FAN. There was NO lack of creativity, originality, in this evening’s show, nor was there any lack of pointed observations in Jay’s lyrics and even his stage banter. And Brian is also right, at least from as far as shared experiences go…the audience was connected, with each other as well as with Jay.
Jay-Z connected the audience. He interacted with us, and encouraged us to interact with each other in ways that I’ve never seen at the hundreds of live shows I’ve been to. He EXPECTED that the audience would know entire verses and held the microphone out so that we could join him. He had us waving our arms, bouncing, doing the 2-step, making some noise, singing the chorus behind his raps. We eagerly and passionately connected with him, with each other, laughing, taking pictures, dancing with total strangers.
He didn’t just perform. He connected with us. He didn’t just sing, he structured his set so that we could join him. He didn’t just perform the set list that the Twitter-sphere helped construct, he wove all of those songs together into a story and we all went on a fantastic, LOUD, energetic and completely transporting adventure.
I will continue to buy Jay’s music. And I won’t miss an opportunity to see him live again, at any cost. And I was delighted to see such a concrete example of Brian’s panel and book: “The End of Business as Usual.” It was a memorable way to close out another great weekend at SXSWi.