— Green Day (@GreenDay) September 7, 2012
Green Day fans who were not embryos in the ’90s probably remember walking down to the local record store (or begging your mom to take you to the mall) to pick up Dookie on CD — or cassette, even! Well, times have changed. During last night’s VMAs, ’90s embryos and ’90s kids alike were able to snap up Green Day’s new song, “Let Yourself Go” (in addition to their three upcoming albums, ¡Uno!, Dos!, ¡Tré!) in between tweets about how awesome Riff Raff is.
After the band performed their new song at the VMAs (watch that moment and the entire show hereabouts), they made the jams and trio of upcoming albums available for purchase directly within Twitter using commerce platform Chirpify, which launched in April. For those not familiar with the service, it works thusly: 1). Connect Chirpify to Twitter, 2). Connect Chirpify to your PayPal, 3). Fill in your profile (shipping info, etc).
Once you’ve done so, you can purchase things directly inside by Twitter by replying to tweets — like the one above — with simple commands. In this case, “Buy.” And keep it simple, kids. Exclamation marks and the like confuse the Twitter beasts.
According to Chirpify, Green Day is the first major label band to use the service to sell music — but they’re not the first musician of any ilk to go that route. Amanda Palmer used Chirpify to sell a T-shirt inspired by an elderly woman’s failed attempt to restore a Spanish fresco, the results of which went viral recently. The T-shirts — which read “Stop Pretending Art is Hard” — were designed in a night and Palmer earned more than $5,000 on sales. At one point, her 600,000-plus followers were purchasing a T every 30 seconds. Apparently, Palmer’s slapdash Ts were Chirpify’s largest flash sale yet.
We’ve reached out to Chirpify to see how well Green Day fared when it comes to sales, but the VMAs are historically a very socially driven event, which means the band had a rapt audience on the microblogging site. The numbers aren’t in for this year’s event yet (I called the numbers department direct, so I know), but last year there were 10 million @MTV #VMA-related tweets, and one piece of news (Beyonce’s pregnancy reveal) saw close to 9,000 tweets per second, the most for a single event up to that point in time. Add to that Green Day’s more than two million Twitter followers and you’re looking at some potentially hefty sales. We’re guessing they at least bested Palmer.
There’s been a lot of discussion over the last few years about what Twitter followers and Facebook fans are worth to artists. To be sure, the usefulness of those mediums varies from band to band — a super analogue punk band might do better selling cassettes on a card table than on a microblogging site, while a pop act with a huge teenage following likely has a better shot at social commerce. In the latter case, a service like Chirpify might be pretty useful when it comes to actually cashing in on your followers — you don’t have to be Green Day to sell tunes via the service, anyone can sign up.
What do you think? Would you purchase/sell an album on Twitter?