Wendy’s-Sponsored Collaborative Song Released Online

Producing a music single often requires long hours with band members locked away in a studio to collaborate and lay down tracks. A single expected to be released today by the teen-focused Bolt Media was produced entirely via Web collaboration, and the five members of the band have never met.

The band, called “Orangeblood,” took shape as part of a contest sponsored by Wendy’s. The site’s users voted on aspects of the collaboration, such as the band’s name. Members auditioned by submitting lyrics and individual tracks that eventually comprised five of the six tracks of the song titled “Gunshy.” The five tracks include a lead vocal, lead guitar, bass guitar, drums, and keys and sequence. Bolt had recorded a rhythm guitar track to begin the composition. Bolt staff and members of the band “Three Days of Grace” judged the audition tracks.

“Not only has anything of this scale not been done at Bolt before, but as far as we know, no band has ever come together without meeting each other or talking together and produced a song,” said Bolt CEO Aaron Cohen. “The collaboration massively exceeded our expectation. We really didn’t know that it would be possible to get such a great song.”

The Wendy’s sponsorship, put together with the help of agency Universal McCann, ran through each stage of the contest. The fast food restaurant chain is a longtime sponsor of Bolt. The sponsor may also play “Gunshy” in its restaurants as part of the relationship.

“[Universal McCann is] one of the best agencies in terms of thinking about social media,” Cohen said. The Interpublic Group, which counts Universal McCann among its agencies, recently formed a user-generated content practice.

The single that emerged from the Wendy’s-sponsored collaboration is expected to get airplay on the radio, and will be available for free on sites like iTunes, MySpace and is already available on Bolt.com.

Even during the audition period, tracks made it to sites like MySpace and YouTube. Several of the candidates posted their work prior to submitting it for the contest in order to get feedback. “It’s extraordinarily Web 2.0-ish; it proliferated all over the Internet, not just on Bolt,” said Cohen.

Bolt fashions itself as a portfolio site where artists post their work for critique. Cohen said the company’s mantra is the acronym “CASA” or Creativity as a Social Act. It’s a different level of involvement in the CGM ecosystem, insisted Cohen.

“There is a continuum of social media companies, on one side of that continuum are the companies that extend social lives,” said Cohen. “The best examples of those are MySpace and Facebook. On the other end of the continuum are the companies like YouTube and Photobucket which are all about the uploading and proliferation of content.”

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