The Tangled Web
Column detailing some of the Web's most intriguing music-related happenings and destinations. This week: The fan/band interaction of New Found Glory and Linkin Park, Protest Records, and Tori Amos' onWelcome to The Tangled Web, a weekly column launching with the redesign of Billboard.com. Each Tuesday, we will get you up to date on the Web's most intriguing music-related happenings and destinations.
NEW FOUND FRIENDS: Thousands of bands have adopted the Internet as an effective means of communicating with fans, but a few have recently taken fan/band interaction to a new level. Punk-popster act New Found Glory is letting fans in on the band's decision-making process with its official Web site's "Set List Poll," which lets site-goers pick which songs they'd most like to hear on the group's upcoming tours. Manic Street Preachers and Megadeth are among the bands that have utilized similar polls on their sites.
Linkin Park -- whose sophomore album "Meteora" (Warner Bros.) is currently atop The Billboard 200 -- is another group that is trying to maintain an intimate relationship with fans. The band played 10 dates last month on its LP Underground tour, to which members of the group's fan club got free admission. Linkin Park's newly redesigned official Web site welcomes visitors with short digital videos of fans broadcasting the latest band news, and also includes such features as LPTV, an online video archive that hosts nine short films detailing the making of "Meteora" as well as video clips, audio previews from the new album, and downloadable extras.
VOICES OF THE YOUTH: Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore and New York-based designer Chris Habib have started an online label, Protest Records, which is offering free downloadable art and MP3 files of mostly anti-war-themed songs. According to the site's mission statement, it "exists for musicians, poets, and artists to express love and liberty in the face of greed, sexism, racism, hate-crime, and war."
Not a label in the traditional sense -- there are no commercial aspirations -- the site is quickly building a sizable cache of free song downloads, which it says "are free to share, not to sell." Moore and Habib are soliciting music from any artist who agrees to have his or her work downloaded for free. As of today (April 8), there are 60 songs on the site, ranging from previously unreleased tracks like Moore & Mike Watt's "Fourth Day of July," Cat Power's "Rockets," and Tom Ze's "Companheiro Bush," to older songs by the likes of Eugene Chadbourne, Chumbawamba, and Sonic Youth.
PICTURES OF TORI: Tori Amos fans have the chance to match their own creativity with the artist's music in an online contest to create a music video for Amos' new single "Taxi Ride," from her Epic album "Scarlet's Walk," currently in its 22nd week on The Billboard 200. The contest, dubbed "Tori's Taxivision," is being held by Epic, Apple QuickTime, and Rollingstone.com.
Entrants can visit Amos' official Web site as well as Rollingstone.com or Apple.com through May 16 to submit their ideas via "any moving medium," including animation, video, or computer-generated graphics.
Amos will personally choose a number of finalists and post them on her Web site in late May, at which point fans will get to pick their favorites. The overall winning entry will be broadcast for 30 days on Amos' Web site and its creator will win $2,000. Runner-up prizes include Sony camcorders and an autographed package including CD copies of "Scarlet's Walk."