Jimmy Chamberlin is a founding member of the multiplatinum, generation-defining, hyper-symphonic guitar melding alternative rock band the Smashing Pumpkins. Chamberlin joined the Pumpkins after band leader Billy Corgan could no longer perform with a drum machine in 1988. Chamberlin as a drummer is better than 100 drum machines and honed his chops on jazz and show tunes before turning to rock. Although Chamberlin is known for his complex harmonic drumming with chimes, tom toms, and trigger pads on songs like Tonight Tonight, Disarm, Today, Muzzle, Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans, and his own fusion band The Jimmy Chamberlin Project; he is also a social streaming tech CEO to the surprise of some but not me.
Musicians and entrepreneurs have a big thing in common that makes them able to take risk and own creative success, passionate creativity and vision. From the very beginning the Smashing Pumpkins ran their own business like a start-up, hosting their own shows, hustling their own demos, coordinating P.R., and even using video promotion for the legacy of the band’s first death (Graceful Swans of Never Documentary, 2001). They reshaped the copy and marketing needed behind a costly double album via artful music videos and lyrics deriving record-setting results making 1995s Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness one of the best-selling double albums of all time.
Yet rock and roll stardom was not enough for the quick-witted and well-read Chamberlin who left the Pumpkins again in 2009. Recalling the bands early success with e-mail and their web-site, and a growing interest in streaming concerts starting as early as 2003, Chamberlin began to research how social media could be integrated with a live stream type service with useful marketing features and insights for advertisers. Like any good business person he had the network to explore how to move the company forward, including former GroupOn CEO Andrew Mason of Chicago and many affluent music business executives including, Producer Butch Vig of the rock band Garbage and Irving Azoff the former CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment and the former Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment.
Chamberlin’s company LiveOne® is a digital media company focused exclusively on audience engagement solutions for creators of live content and their brand partners. LiveOne’s main product, CrowdSurfing®, is an award-winning, real-time social engagement platform that surrounds viewers with an interactive global audience by interfacing with social apps like FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, thus delivering rich, immersive entertainment experiences. LiveOne’s test customers thus far include Coca-Cola, Yahoo, ROC Nation, CBS Sports, and Sony Music. And yes they are hiring if you’re looking to move to Chicago.
This entrepreneurial effort is only likely to gain momentum and it shows that Chamberlin’s creativity is beyond music. In terms of the Smashing Pumpkins it shows that Billy Corgan is likely to tap Chamberlin’s business sense to help remake and remarket the Smashing Pumpkins since the band has been mostly a revolving door over the last 6 years. It will be much harder for Corgan to lose Chamberlin this time around as he has the ability to cross market the band’s shows via his company, even if it’s still in development mode. Corgan and Chamberlin truly could be at the beginning of a new music business nirvana but let’s hope egos and miscommunication do not get in the way of a reunion that has a history and talent that is worth much more than a small summer tour.
Cheers to Billy and Jimmy.