For Atmosphere, a hip-hop duo that has written songs like "Mama Had a Baby and His Head Popped Off," a slick Web site with hi-res photos would not make the best promotional material. And since
Atmosphere's tracks will most likely never be heard on mainstream radio, its label took another approach. Released by independent label Rhymesayers Entertainment, the album "When Life Gives You
Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold" stood poised to be the fledgling label's biggest money maker, and justified a distinct marketing plan. Working with Minneapolis creative agency Colle+McVoy,
Rhymesayers and Atmosphere created the site PaintItGold.com, which lets users "tag" any Web page while listening to tracks from the album. Visitors choose the URL of the site they would like to
vandalize, then work with a variety of tools (spray paint, stencils and markers).
Krista Freibaum, a viral marketing and PR specialist, says the site also complements Atmopshere's typical
fan base. "Aside from Atmosphere's diehard fans, the target audience is kids who appreciate DIY culture and want to be able to be a part of the newest art, music and technology," she says. "The site
lets them see their contributions to something new and different without attacking them with branded content, which would make it automatically less cool." And that's the most surprising part of
PaintItGold.com: Aside from tracks playing in the background, there is little indication that it's a promotional site. But will allowing users to stencil skulls on the White House's home page lead to
increased album sales? It may not matter. Record sales rarely make labels money - it's fan loyalty and outside enterprises that matter. "Showing your audience you really appreciate their knowledge is
always a good thing," Freibaum says. "And having the users generate the content ensures that the campaign remains close to its consumers and their tastes."