Live music is a very social experience. And, social media enables concerts to be experienced outside of the four walls of the concert hall.

I went to see the Rolling Stones in San Jose earlier this week. “How was the concert?” people asked me. My Response: “The most rocking concert put on by 70-year old rockers in the history of rock.”  This is a true statement, but it also belittles the staying power of the greatest rock and roll band of all time. (You can disagree or agree with me on the “greatest band” point in the comments section).

Rolling Stones: 1962 – present
Sir Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger – born 1943
Keith Richards – born 1943
Ronald David “Ronnie” Wood – born 1947
Charles Robert “Charlie” Watts – born 1941
(a combined 200 years of rocking)

As I work in technology, I noticed a lot of technology during the concert.  There was a sea of people with smart phones taking photos or video of the concert (link to photo below) as well as people posting to Facebook and Twitter or texting during the concert. Yes, I was guilty of some of this as well.

It made me to think about the shared experience of live music. I had a blast at the concert, but if it were just me and the Rolling Stones it wouldn’t have been as much fun – actually, that’s not true, that would be awesome, but stay with me here…we just want to share our experience with friends.  If they are right beside us, great. If they are half a state, a country or world away then that’s fine too – social media allows us to do this.

Social Media not only allows us to share our experiences, it allows us to connect with many or with one. It also allows brands and bands (or people attached to those brands/bands) to interact with their customers or fans.

The absolute last person I would ever expect to be on Twitter is Keith Richards. Yet, here is his account: @OfficialKeef. I don’t really think that “Keef” is an active tweeter, however I follow him along with over 195,000 others. SOMEONE attached to Keith Richards is sending out information on Keith’s behalf and that, seemingly, is enough for all of us to follow “him.” That’s the power of Twitter and power of social media…I am part of an elite group of fans who have self-selected to receive information from KEITH FREAKING RICHARDS and when he sends out a song list or an internal piece of Stones information, then I’m even MORE connected to the band.  And, a component of the Rolling Stones’ longevity is also a partially attributable to their business savvy (documented by Andy Serwer and Fortune magazine) which now includes their ability to understand social media and its inherent power to connect with fans. They’re even letting  fans pick one song each concert location. How’s that for fan engagement?  Lynard Skynard famously asked “what song do you want to hear?” The crowd responds in unison: “FREE BIRD!!!” The Rolling Stones ask on social media, “what song to you want to hear when we perform in San Jose on May 8th?” and the crowd gets to vote on which song they’d like to hear.  Pretty cool use of crowd-sourcing and engaging with your followers, I’d say.

If the 70-year old Rolling Stones get social media, why don’t you? If you are a business, you should be on social media. Your customers are on social media. But, also be smart about getting on social. Listen first, set a goal, identify your core audience and then engage.  And, if you do this, you just might find you get what you need.

Other social resources for Rolling Stones tour:

Photo of sea of smart phones at Rolling Stones.

Mash-up of concert photos, tweets and vines via CrowdAlbum.

RollingStones on Twitter.

The Rolling Stones on Facebook.

Follow the tour at #Stones50 on Twitter.


John Earnhardt

No Longer at Cisco