Format


You are probably wondering how in the world are the happenings and opinions of a power pop rock band in any way relevant to the world of marketing? Honestly, I think there are a lot of things that can be learned in the corporate world from bands such as The Format. The band never seems to worry about conformity. In fact they were were dropped from Atlantic in 2005 because they wouldn’t conform to create the sound that the label wanted to hear. They are not afraid to bring something new to the table. That’s something that a lot of marketers and businesses a like need to learn. Like Marshall Goldsmith would say, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” The truth is safe is risky.

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Phone Interview with The Format’s Nate Ruess (04/19/07)

 

Changing Dips

With Seth Godin’s new book, The Dip, just around the corner, Seth has been looking for successful people who at one time or another decided that it was time to stop settling for mediocrity and quit. As far as I know there aren’t any power pop rock bands on the list. Maybe The Format should be the first. In 2005, the band was dropped from Atlantic, which was their label at the time, and upon closer analysis you will find that the situation resembled more of a “fired before you can quit” scenario than the typical “band being booted by their label” scenario. Not every band can say that getting dropped from their label (twice) was the best thing that ever happened to them. In fact, in their bio The Format states that they threw parties both times it happened. Soon after getting dropped, The Format teamed up with Nettwerk to help with their management and distribution. By doing this, the band moved from what was a very large dip, run by the industry giants, where it took reaching the masses on a large scale to reach success at the top of “the dip”, and into a much smaller dip, where they answer to themselves and not the hierarchal structure above them. Royalties from music sales flow directly into their pockets instead of the slow trickle of money experienced when working with a large label.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the perks of running your own show and not having a big label breathing down your neck all the time?

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/NoCompromising.mp3]

 

Creating Format Worthy Content: Building Things Worth Noticing

In a world of cloning, look-a-likes, rip-offs and minor upgrades you have to create something worth noticing in order to be seen.

Q: You seem to be very unique and original with everything from your lyrics and music to your website and concepts for music videos. Everything seems to have The Format spin on it. What’s your method for creating Format worthy content?

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/FormatWorthyBeingUnique.mp3]

 

Relationship Marketing: Interacting with Fans

The art of creating relationships is very important in the music industry. Seth Godin has been talking for years about Pearl Jam’s release of 72 live albums in two years, and they are all profitable. The reason they were successful is that Pearl Jam fans have a relationship with the band and are waiting and listening.

Q: How do you stay on top of interacting and creating relationships with your fans?

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/RelationshipsWithFans.mp3]

 

Creating Buzz

Without the backing of a major music label, The Format has to rely on their own resources to create buzz.

Q: What kinds of things do you do to encourage fans create more buzz about The Format?

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/CreatingBuzz.mp3]

 

Spin Tour Blog

Sometimes finding an established platform to stand on is the key.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your Tour Blog up at Spin. How did you guys get that gig?

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/SpinTourBlog.mp3]

 

New Material

The masses don’t just want something new. They expect it!

Q: So when can we expect some new material from you guys? You recently mentioned to Mark Hoppus that you were in the process of recording a few new tracks.

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/NewMaterial.mp3]

 

New Song “Swans” & Working with a Full Band

It’s amazing how scarcity can make even the crudest products and information viral treasures. YouTube “Swans” footage from the School of Rock show in New Jersey last week.

Q: Tell me a little bit about the song titled “Swans,” that you revealed at the Jersey show.

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/SwansBandEffort.mp3]

 

Things Change: Working with a Full Band

Since the beginning, The Format has been a two man band. Like their song, “On Your Porch” states, Nate Ruess and Sam Means have been writing songs together since they were kids.

Q: Do you think we will see any changes with having a full band?

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/FullBand.mp3]

 

Singing in Simlish

The practice of using video games as a promotional vehicle has been around since the beginning of the gaming industry itself.

Q: It’s a little known fact that The Compromise is featured on the Sims 2 Pets Expansion Pack, and like all the other songs in the game, it’s sung in the Sim’s language, Simlish. Did you actually record it this way, or was your voice mixed to create the Sims version?

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/CompromiseSimsVersion.mp3]

 

Cross-Promotion or Happy Accident?

My first thought when I heard that a song from The Format was featured on the Sims 2 Pets expansion pack, was that there must have been some type promotional relationship in play. The connections are obvious, whether they were intentional or not. Both were released at relatively the same time. The Format’s album Dog Problems was released just 3 months before The Sims 2 Pets Expansion Pac. Both carry a pet related theme in their titles, and Nate Ruess has recently been quoted several times describing their music from the Dog Problems album as, “childlike.”

Q: Was there any connection between the song being featured on the Pets” version of the game, with your latest album being titled, Dog Problems?

Listen to Nate’s Answer:

[audio:http://freshpeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/DogProblemsSimsConnection.mp3]