By Shannon in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 19, 2006 4:00PM
Quick, check your music collection. Is there any Toto in it? No? Don't be so sure about that. According to the band's website, late drummer Jeff Porcaro alone has played on hundreds of famous albums throughout the decades. Got any Madonna or Celine Dion? How about Chicagoist favorites, Richard Marx and Michael McDonald? Phew, right? You've escaped ... except the hand of Toto has also touched the likes of Pink Floyd's The Wall and even Tom Waits. Insert losing foghorn noise *here.*
What does this have to do with Chicago? Toto just so happened to play the House of Blues this past Tuesday (what, you missed it??), as well as being the focus of a MidwestBusiness.com article. As if Toto's omnipresent tentacles in all that is wuss rock - if there'd been a Loggins & Oates, Porcaro would've played on it - weren't enough, they've paired with a California-based website called New Media Broadcasting as part of a new business model. Fans subscribe to a band's site on the network, a.k.a. a "gated online community," and are thusly rewarded with constant band-to-fan interaction. There's fan content, personal blogs, news from the band, etc. We get the feeling that if a band member pinches a loaf, the subscribers will hear about it in immediate, excruciating detail.
New Media Broadcasting wants to entice bands and "affinity groups" alike to use their glut-of-information service. We honestly don't know how that would work in the real world. Most non-defunct bands that we like are too busy, you know, making music and touring. We suppose if you're like Toto, though, you can afford to milk your rabid fanbase that hangs on your every release. Plus it helps to be big in Europe and/or Japan, where frenzied fans are more the norm than the exception. We remember arena rock in its '80s heyday and all the obsessed fandom that went with it. But is this business model plausible today, or is it just an unnecessary, overpriced Myspace imitator?
Image via Aiko Heiwa.