I can’t quite remember how I wound up there — I think I was following a thread through the blogosphere about Dave Winer’s brief set-to with Firefox developer Blake Ross at Gnomedex — but I came across Boris Mann’s blog a little while back, and he mentioned that one of the highlights of Gnomedex was a presentation by Ethan Kaplan, who blogs at a site called blackrimglasses.com. Ethan was talking about the music business and the Web, since he is the director of technology at Warner Brothers Records.
I’ve had a soft spot for blackrimglasses for awhile now, ever since Ethan (who I didn’t realize worked for Warner Bros.) wrote something I liked a lot about how to remake a newsroom. And what Warner Brothers has been doing with a band it represents called Head Automatica is at least as great a disruption of the traditional process as what Ethan proposed for newspapers. The result can be seen at headautomatica.com.
According to Boris, the site uses the “hall of fame” module for Drupal (a website publishing platform) to allow fans to effectively create the band’s website for it on the fly. There are the usual news releases from the band, and dates for tours, but there is also a user forum prominently displayed on the front page, a Digg.com-style news section that allows fans to vote stories that mention the band up or down, and sections for photos and videos.
All fans have to do is tag things they post to their blogs with HA and they are picked up automatically, and there are prizes that can be won for the best material. Very smart. And in case you’re interested, Head Automatica is quite listenable as well — sort of like early Elvis Costello mixed with some Strokes and maybe some Dandy Warhols.