Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ben Folds 2.0

I wrote last year about the progressive approach of Ben Folds and his record label (Epic) to utilising the web as a platform both for participation and for distribution, referencing his 'create your own Bitches Ain't Shit video' YouTube group, his forays into Second Life, his live-by-request MySpace webcast (featuring a "guitorchestra" - see below video) and his iTunes/Rhapsody Originals downloads.

It's fair to say he's not been resting on his laurels since then, having launched (deep breath) Ben Folds TV (full screen video channel hopping with user comments running along the bottom of the screen), a Front to Back MySpace concert (rebroadcasting Ben Folds Five's one-off live performance of their final studio album together) and a YouTube covers contest which has now morphed into a planned album of a cappella covers (check out the awesome video embedded below).

He's also recorded and leaked fake album tracks and partnered with iTunes for a live music download series called 'The Sounds of Last Night... This Morning', described in his email newsletter thus: "At select shows on his Fall Tour, Ben Folds will pick a live song from that show and make it available to fans exclusively via the iTunes store by the following morning" (which I'm guessing would have got more press if Radiohead had done it).

Of course, no 2008 web offer would be complete without widgets and there are a couple of choose from - an audio jukebox and, for those of a more visual bent, a video/slideshow player (both embedded below).

And just to prove no-one can always get it right on the web, there's the recently relaunched Official Ben Folds Site, which is a complete navigational car crash, with different navigation on the homepage and sub-pages (where it takes up the whole page above the fold) and spread across multiple domains (,, Hey, nobody's perfect :)


Unknown said...

interesting post dan, I had feelings of admiration and nausea in equal measure watching the berkely "crew". I hope all is well at the been. Alastair lee.

Unknown said...

beeb, I meant beeb! Pesky iPhone recognition