Soulsville USA and how to build a successful community on the Web
Just watched a really interesting documentary about the history of Stax records, the legendary Memphis-based record label, rival to Motown and home to the likes of Sam and Dave, Otis Redding and of course Booker T and MGs. And I reckon there’s a thing or two Web pros can learn from the way this label built its success …
The story of the growth of this label is fascinating, not least because it was started in the 1950′s by a brother and sister who were white, yet it made its name by discovering and promoting some of the most well-known African-American artists of all time, supported by thoroughly ethnically integrated backing bands.
Remarkable for its time and place.
Key to its success (and in sharp distinction to Motown) was its open-door policy of allowing anyone to come in off the street and play with the band. People came and went, participated, connections were made, talent emerged and became part of the Stax community.
I couldn’t help thinking that the open-door model is really what makes for a successful community-based web site. The record label was the platform. Stax removed the barriers to participation and created the place where individuals wanted to come together and be creative. The label was also the social object around which the community could coalesce meaningfully. The label became successful once it had created a vibrant community (it’s ‘family’ as Stax and its artists described it) and a nexus for talent. Cash followed community.
A really simple recipe for success that we could all do well to strive to emulate.
Posted by Ivan Croxford on July 25, 2008