The only reason I've heard of Nickelback is that they have somehow become a running joke on the web. Even hardcore Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, brother of Ari Emanuel, was compelled to claim not to be a fan in response to a protestor's sign claiming otherwise. But polarizing music fans is but one of the many lessons that any musician can learn from one of Canada's most well-known musical exports.
As far as I know, I'd never heard the music of Nickelback before working on this post. So I checked out a "Featured Video" that turned out to be the band walking from the dressing room to the stage and then watched the following:
Nickelback - This Means War
Honestly, based on that song, I don't find it any worse than lots of other rock bands or famous musicians. On the other hand, I didn't panic and scramble to pull the plug the way I do when Celine Dion starts caterwauling. I'll take Nickelback over Celine Dion any day of the week.
Now that I've "talked about the music" as some feel business writers should do, let's see what we can learn from Nickelback courtesy of Ben Paynter writing for Businessweek.
6 Lessons from Nickelback on Making It In Music
1) Be Totally Yourself
Manager Bryan Coleman states, "They have realized they are polarizing; usually polarizing equals success. They are not going to change what they do."
2) Keep Your Sense of Humor
Paynter writes, "[Lead singer Chad] Kroeger has even collaborated with a mock heavy metal band to make fun of his own lyrics, performing a song called It Won't Suck Itself. "
3) Work With People Who Dig What You Do
Given the choice of Universal, Warner and Roadrunner Records, Nickelback went with Roadrunner because, as guitarist Ryan Peake put it, "They wanted it more than anyone else, and that was a good feeling...[Other places] felt like a sausage maker."
4) Treat Business as Business
Kroeger says, "There is a mathematical formula to why you got famous. It isn't some magical thing that just started happening. And it's going to move exponentially throughout your career as you grow, or can decline exponentially if you start to fail as an artist."
5) Be Nice to Media and Fans
Paynter writes, "The formula for fame includes inviting radio station personnel to hang out backstage to make sure he gets airplay before and after events. And there is always a preshow photo op with radio contest and fan club ticket winners."
6) Consider Your Fans' Budgets
LIve Nation's Michael Rapino points out, "Typically when you have a band that has so many hits, you can produce a show that is still entertaining but you don't have to go overboard with special effects to fill the night...The No. 1 thing that the band is worried about isn't the shiny balls, it's what is the ticket price going to be this summer and how do I make sure I have a fairly affordable show."
Still not convinced of the Genius of Nickelback? See Businessweek for more.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.