DMB Street Team Formed

By Waldo Jaquith

Yesterday morning, Dave Matthews Band sent out a mailing to their ATO Records Street Team mailing list, announcing the creation of a DMB Street Team. The street team concept is one that has become popular in the last few years. The fan-recruiting technique is a popular promotion tactic among smaller bands. E-mail databases have enabled artists to target calls to action to small groups of volunteer fans, who can then react by, for example, calling in requests for a song to a certain radio station to create the appearance of demand. DMB's rise to fame occurred well before the street team concept really took hold; what possible need that they would have for a street team at this point is a mystery.

The website describes the Street Team as "a group of dedicated individuals who help promote the band and its music by hanging posters in clubs, record stores, coffee shops, music stores, and on college campuses." To sign up, aspiring team members need only provide their name, address, phone number and e-mail address, but are admonished that those involved with individual campaigns will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.

Non-American Dave Matthews Band fans -- notably those in Australia and England -- have been openly critical of the promotional efforts that BMG have put forth on the band's behalf in the past few years. There are plenty of stories of clueless RCA reps, halfhearted album-promotion campaigns and a dearth of radio play for the band's songs. The cancellation of last fall's UK, German, Mexican and Australian tour dates did little to improve the situation. Now comes word from Australian reader Pete Davies that, according to one distributor, there is no scheduled release for Busted Stuff. So, unless the the band and RCA/BMG have decided not to make an extra-American push, perhaps the intended application of these street teams would be to promote the band where they most need the fan assistance, in other countries. The site asks for the country in which the registrant lives, providing 145 options, including Liechtenstein, Tajikistan, Tunisia, New Zealand and Iraq, though notably lacking Afghanistan. (Which makes Iraq appear somewhat optimistic by comparison.)

Thanks to Scott McBurney for the tip. The original message from ATO Records follows:


To: "ato records street team"

Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2002 12:18 AM

Subject: [ato_street-team] DAVE MATTHEWS BAND STREET TEAM

Hello ATO Street Team!

In conjunction with the release of Busted Stuff we are glad to announce the formation of the Dave Matthews Band Street Team. We are looking for dedicated fans who are interested in promoting the band, its albums and tour dates.

To join the DMB Street Team, please go to:

Everyone that joins will become a DMB Street Team member. Certain members will also be selected for our first campaign to promote "Busted Stuff". Campaign members will be selected by geographic region on a first-come, first-served basis and will be responsible for reporting back to us regularly. If you sign up for the Street Team, but are not selected for the "Busted Stuff" campaign it's because we've already filled our quota for your region. However, each Street Team member has an equal chance of being selected for future campaigns to help promote Dave Matthews Band. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you.