Yesterday I held up Jonathan Coulton -- and the release of his new album -- as one of the prime examples of how artists are using social media to their advantage.
But Coulton certainly wasn't the first. A Dutch garage band trio called the Dorktones did it all back in 2005 (that's a long time in Internet years). The band had a very successful podcast that extended their reach far beyond their native Holland.
In 2005 they decided to enlist their fans to help them with their latest album. The Dorktones posted source tracks for a song and had an Open Source Song contest. The concept of Creative Commons was still in its infancy, but the contest rules pretty much outlined the same set of rights. Fans couldn't profit off of their remixes, but they could freely use their entries "for educational and personal use." And there was a winning entry, which was a win for everyone.
By sharing their track, the Dorktones expanded their fan base and connected more closely with those fans (I still follow them).
And the Dorktones continue on today, conquering new worlds. They have a MySpace account, and -- of course -- YouTube videos.
I suspect that they all have day jobs, but so what? The Dorktones are having fun, and they literally have a worldwide audience. So check out the track, explore the site, and discover one of the Internet's true pioneers -- the Dorktones!