Lessons Learned by the Goo Goo Dolls in the Digital Age

InterviewSeptember 22, 2010Unknown source

Founding member of multi-platinum band the Goo Goo Dolls Robby Takac blogs about the group’s new album “Something for the Rest of Us” and the power of music discovery through viral word-of-mouth online. He doesn’t see an industry-wide collapse of the music business. Instead, during the countless gigs the Goo Goo Dolls have played this year, he’s found new, passionate fans.


With Goo Goo Dolls just finishing up more than 90 shows leading up to the release of our “Something for the Rest of Us” album, (it’s currently #2 on iTunes, not bad for our ninth CD in 24 years), we have 27 more shows booked in the US and a dozen or so booked in the UK as well as Christmas radio shows leading up to our annual New Year’s celebration and more touring domestically and abroad.

Check out googoodolls.com for more GGDs information than you could possibly consume in one sitting. By any stretch of the imagination, we’ve done a lot of shows, and all before the actual release of much of the new material we are featuring during the release of the CD.

It’s really so amazing to watch the recorded music business change from the perspective of the stage. I get a lot of information and end up in endless conversations about the crumbling industry, about the difficulty the industry has selling and controlling music, the importance of creatively moving tickets in this economic state, keeping up with the never-ending advances in piracy and peer-to-peer sharing.

The overwhelming majority of these conversations have ended in a dark scenario with the looming potential of an industry wide collapse due to the digital revolution and all of the fallout from the disassembled, ill prepared and antiquated music industry it’s left in lying its wake.

But alas, my view has been a bit different since the performing nearly half of our then unreleased new songs between April and September at nearly 100 shows around North America, prior to the release date our latest CD “Something For The Rest of Us.” Sure I get the financial struggles faced by the old industry model, but what I’m experiencing out here is something amazing. People who are actively seeking new music, finding the new music on the internet on sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Myspace with footage filmed from camera phones, ripped from TV appearances and the occasionally strategically self-leaked track. The fans are making a genuine effort to bring their new musical “friends” to the show with them in their mental library so they recognize the songs as they appear in the set, and they seem to already have a growing relationship with those new tracks when attending the shows.

These are not record collector geeks or bootleg aficionados; these are regular folks seeking out new music on their own. Not being fed new music in a systematic familiarization process built by some suits somewhere, but actually researching and engaging them in our process. And that is why we do this in the first place, it just seemed right. It was an experiment, and with every experiment at the conclusion of the run (the second leg of our seven week pre-release tour), we sat back and anxiously awaited the results of our new process.

Result: “Something for the Rest of Us” entered the Billboard charts at #7 with 38,000 records sold first week. And more mind numbingly bizarre to me, a song which was not actively worked to fans, press or radio called “Not Broken,” exceeded the ITunes download numbers for any other Goo Goo Dolls track in the history of ITunes , aside from the career defining “Iris” (which includes our other 14 Top 10 charting tracks spanning our 25-year career). That is something to take note of, that is glimpse into our future, and that is pretty badass.

I’ll leave you today with a recommendation of a sampler from my record label, Good Charamel Records, in the next post here at The Comet I’ll be doing a column on some of the J-Rock (for those of you not in the in that’s Japanese Rock). We’ve signed five of the best female-fronted Japanese rock acts from the live houses of Japan, and our “I LOVE J-ROCK” compilation features tracks from all of these upcoming artists including the legendary Shonen Knife from Osaka.

You can listen to some samples at www.goodcharamel.com . You’ll say Domo Arrigato later, and as I said, we’ll have more on the J-Rock phenomenon next post.

That’s it. I should be off this damn airplane soon, (the dude next to me is sawing logs like a large corporation over here).We just did a bunch of network TV including “America’s Got Talent” in LA supporting the new GGDs disc, and I’ve got reality TV residue all over me, I think I need to get to a shower soon before it stains.