I had been up since five this morning trying to get my email box under 100 messages. Every time I answered one, three more seemed to pop in. As I typed in answers to the myriad of questions from fans all over the world about Rick’s newest release, I could hardly believe some of the things I was telling them. I gave them the address and phone number of Rick’s record distributor if they asked about stores that hadn’t planned on carrying the disc who they had cajoled into doing so. I gave them the email of the press manager if they had managed to get their local paper to cover the release or an upcoming show, or both. I researched local radio stations from the online database and gave them the call letters of the one most likely to play the first single if they asked what radio station to contact about getting the music on the air.
I had no experience in the music industry other than growing up calling radio stations to request music, but I was a fast learner and I listened carefully when the record company reps or Rick’s managers would call me with information, or suggestions, or answers to the questions I just couldn’t figure out.
The fans surprised me. I came up with a contest where for each fan who went to a store and asked them to stock the CD, they would have a chance to win a phone call from Rick. They fanned out all over the country and succeeded in many cases in getting orders that would have never have happened for the disc. One fan worked at Target headquarters in Minnesota and actually had meetings about getting the chain to carry the disc. I couldn’t believe the range of our reach.
The record company had told me that it was nearly impossible to get in store displays without spending money on them; I created another contest where fans would win tickets and backstage passes if they could get a store to allow them to create an in store display. When the record company balked on sending us the promotional posters to send fans who were successful in their negotiations, Rick himself sent me a package of posters to send to the fans. Soon, photos of the fan created displays started pouring in.
“Can I speak with you regarding Rick Springfield’s street team?” came the voice on the other end of the phone. I glanced around my kitchen and family room quickly. This morning’s breakfast dishes were still in the sink, the laundry was still sitting in the laundry basket from when I’d brought it down this morning, untouched. The family room floor was covered with the kids’ toys, but they were both generally quiet; Noggin was broadcasting Max and Ruby right now, and they were both transfixed.
“Sure,” I responded, modulating my voice to sound like a respected leader and member of Rick Springfield’s promotional team and not a mother with yesterday’s dinner stuck to the edge of my shirt. I stepped out of the kitchen and into the dining room, which had turned into my command central for the team, and opened up the laptop in case I needed to reference anything there.
“Rick Springfield’s new CD is generating a lot of buzz to be sure, but so is your group of Street Teamers. Everyone seems to be talking about how genius it is that Rick doesn’t have just one or two promotion people, he’s got hundreds. Rick can’t say enough about the team and how much of a difference it is making with this new record. Can you speak to me a little about that?”
I glowed with pride. Late nights, crazy emails, too much frozen food, many cups of coffee. In that moment, it was all totally worth it.
“I’d love to,” I replied. “The Shock Street Team is composed off…” and off I went.
To read a copy of the San Francisco Gate story about the Shock Street Team in 2004, please click here: