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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Street teams hit the streets

    While other people occupy themselves by playing spider solitaire and checking their MySpace every 15 minutes, Gabriela Fleming is traveling around town passing out fliers and posters.

    “”I like it because you get free stuff,”” said Fleming, a freshman at Chapman University in California. “”Getting mail is fun.”” She is talking about her participation in street teams, grassroots groups used by bands – usually up-and-coming ones – to promote upcoming shows.

    Fleming spends about one hour a week fulfilling street team tasks, including handing out promotional materials and posting advertisement banners on her personal MySpace.

    Culturally, street teams are giving the consumers more power to alter pop culture by providing fans who frequent the Internet the materials to help spread the word on particular bands or products. Street teamers receive free goodies, or swag, such as T-shirts, stickers and CDs, from artists and companies in return for their services.

    This generation is using its knowledge of elusive selling tactics to put teenagers in a subtle influential position, which encourages their peers to conform to the teamer’s interests.

    “”I’ve heard other people say that they think the company uses them for promoting,”” said Fleming. “”I think of it as more of a voluntary thing, not like someone is using you.””

    Street teams appear to be popping up everywhere. Almost every band Web site has a link that asks visitors to “”Join Our Street Team!”” This is yet another part of American culture that has increased in popularity thanks to the advent of the Internet.

    “”They’re the ones that tell their friends; they put posters in music stores and leave fliers in coffee shops,”” said MoZella, a 24-year-old solo artist whose debut CD, I Will, was released on Maverick Records Nov. 7. “”They’re on those message boards every day spreading the word.””

    After she created a MySpace and started touring, enthusiastic fans approached MoZella and offered to start a street team for her. MoZella’s street team grew exponentially from that point on, and she now has street teams in the U.K. and one starting in Italy.

    “”In the mid ’90s, when I was first learning to play guitar, I would go see bands and they didn’t have Web sites. It was just the beginning of the popularity of the Internet and I never in a million years would have expected bands to have street teams,”” said MoZella.

    One company that has changed the face of street teams is Streetwise Concepts and Culture, located online at Streetwise.com. System of a Down, The Grudge 2 and Nokia are all examples of satisfied Streetwise clients. Unlike other street team providers, such as the Street Network and teams for specific bands, Streetwise has a wider selection of teams, including music, culture, video games, film and television.

    “”I think that Streetwise is the best big street team company because if you do the tasks, they actually send stuff to you,”” said Fleming, who has participated in many different street team programs, including Streetwise.

    “”A lot of other places make you fill out questionnaires, and they never send you anything.””

    Young people all over the world are enthusiastic about the chance to help their favorite artists and receive compensation (mostly in the form of swag) for their services. Street teams create niches for artists and have contributed largely to the success of many of them.

    “”As important as it is to have a label that pushes you and works hard for you, it’s imperative that you have young people that are excited about you on the Internet spreading the word, because word of mouth is priceless,”” MoZella said.

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