Rebecca Mayes Connects With Fans By Singing About Video Games

from the definitely-beyond-haiku dept

Matthew Cruse writes to us about "another path to success on the internet that bypasses the middleman" -- describing Rebecca Mayes singing her way to fame by writing songs inspired by video games and distributing them on a blog. Doing this has apparently gotten Mayes a spot on BBC Four for a new show called Gameswipe, as well as some other offers for her to continue her work in other venues.

Obviously, the story of talented people getting a big break isn't exactly a new thing, but there are a few interesting points about this article. One is that there is a growing number of artists who are figuring out that there are more ways than ever to build up an audience. It sounds like Mayes had a bit of help from friends who are connected in the publishing world (at the least one Wired writer, Paul Govan). But that doesn't negate the hard work of putting together "stuff that doesn't suck" and bravely posting it on the internet for anyone to freely download. She also benefited from the quirky idea of creating songs that doubled as video game reviews and that could piggy-back on the popularity of a variety of game titles. So the second key point in Mayes' success is her subtle blend of content and advertising. Folks are always complaining about intrusive pop-up ads and avoiding TV commercials, but if the content is done well AND promotes other products at the same time -- Mayes' story shows that fans can (and will) still appreciate the whole work. (Luckily Mayes is in the UK, so she doesn't have to mess around with disclosing all her possible sponsorship relations.) Lastly, though we don't really know how much Mayes is making via donations for her songs or for her appearances on a BBC TV show, the success story here is that she made it from obscurity to relative fame without relying on a music label or the promises of copyright royalties. We don't know if Mayes will be a mega-superstar, but if "rockstar" is the bar for success, then there will be a lot more failures in the music industry. (And arguably, the era of rockstars may be ending, as the attention of audiences is splintered into ever more narrow niches.) The upshot of all this is that we're seeing how high-quality creative content can be independently produced and distributed -- and how an enviable on-going career in entertainment can be formed by connecting with fans.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Annoymouse, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 11:04pm

    Songs About Buildings and Games

    (rushes stage, grabs mic away from a startled Rebecca Mayes)

    "Yo Rebecca, I'm really happy for you, I'mna let you finish...



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    k, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 12:52am


    mayes is AWFUL! the escapist decided they needed a female influence, and it's great for her that she stepped up to exploit that, but literally the last thing i want online is yet another chick doing a c-level job of singing and being lauded for it just because she's got tits. wonder who i want to see singing about games? tenacious d. you know, someone who is funny and talented and NOT some dumb chick trying to seem deep-yet-funny (but failing so, so miserably) and calling it 'musing' when i've read 1st draft reviews with better content and more insight than in any of her content. i've actually played the games she sings about, and it sounds to me like she read the back of the case and maybe has a friend who tells her what went down. no thank you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Insanodag, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 1:42am

    Re: really?

    I thought the use of her song in Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe was very appropriate, essentially since her song more or less touched upon many of the points he made right before it came on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Sheinen, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 4:09am

    I'm a massive fan of the Escapist website and have followed Mayes since she hit it with the Ghostbusters song.

    Granted, she mostly uses recycled loops, her 'reviews' are pretty scarce of decent critical analysis and some of her earlier work was more than a little repetative.

    The majority of posters on their forum, as well as you guys it would appear, are judging her on this.

    But she's an entertainer and she's entertaining! Her videos don't make me piss myself laughing like Yahtzee, but they do encourage me to watch every week. Her style is improving, her voice is fantastic and some of the idea's are really unique!

    Give her a chance! You have to build up this kind of thing, not leap straight in to it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    ..., Oct 9th, 2009 @ 5:03am

    Re: really?

    Simple solution - dont listen to her then

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    GamesWipe? Well I've had a few games I would wi... oh swipe... haha, I thought... ah, no matter...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    Re: really?

    oh my gosh you're right, how did I not see it before!
    quickly, spread the word, everyone stop listening to mayes before it's too late! y'all who like her are wrong, listen to k!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:01am

    Re: really?

    While I don't like her music (and think Vimeo is a shittacular website), I think you're an idiot for saying she shouldn't be online. That's the great thing about being online, infinite storage space so everyone can have their say. Plus there's infinite other things you could be looking at.

    I want to see her try and hug a zombie from Resident Evil 5.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: really?

    dont you dare "spread the word" a modified Streisand Effect will happen and we will start hearing her on the radio....

    ... and her songs leave a bad taste in my mouth ... Its Kinda of like I’ve seen the future. You know what it is? It’s a fourty-seven-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pyjamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing ‘I wish I were an Oscay Meyer weiner’

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:29am

    Re: really?

    This is the most blatantly sexist thing I've read today. Rather than form an opinion about her music or style, you decide to just slam her for being a woman. Granted, there is a tremendous amount of "tokenism" that surrounds women in gaming media, but this is absurd. Try: "I think that this relatively talentless woman succeeds only because of the novelty of her gender. I have seen far better reviews, and I hope that someone better comes along and does proper video game musical-reviews." Slamming her by attacking her anatomy, or blaming her for the token appeal of her gender, is completely inappropriate. It undermines your point, and makes me more curious about your deep-seated hatred of women than your actual point. You're also reinforcing a really bad stereotype of male gamers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    k, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: really?

    i don't listen to her, but i do come to this sight to find interesting articles, not some half-assed commentary on some chick doing whats been done before.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    k, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: really?

    actually i am a woman, it's rather sexist of you to decide that i'm a man just because i have absolutely no respect for her.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Promotion via tech columns rather than music columns

    It's been interesting the number of musicians who get coverage from tech writers and who are showcasing at tech conferences. It might be a lot easier to get media coverage that way than to try to grab the attention of music bloggers/reviewers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Promotion via tech columns rather than music columns

    that's an interesting point, slainson. Music review magazines are dying off... and they might be replaced with more cross-promotional magazines. Music+games, Music+fashion, Music+food... I think it'd be kinda neat to have a restaurant with a soundtrack. Maybe Yelp should add some music-reviews!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Promotion via tech columns rather than music columns

    Social networking has increased the value of artists who excel in communicating across a variety of platforms. So it's not surprising that people who are fundamentally interesting, who also happen to do music, might generate a following for reasons other than just music.

    I think it's shifting the dynamics of music in general, not just away from the major labels. Amanda Palmer gets mentioned a lot in Techdirt. I like what she is doing in terms of redefining her relationship to performance art. I follow her for that reason. She's said herself that she's come to realize that her music is a way to connect to people rather than being an entity unto itself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    ..., Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: really?

    sight? - as in websight I suppose

    I had never heard of her before, but you came off as as an ass

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    another mike (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Re: really?

    i hadn't heard of her before. now i have. i went and listened to some of her music and it's better than half of the label-backed inane dreck that's spewed over the airwaves, so she's got that going for her.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Hide this ad »
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.