Musician chases Street View car to promote himself

A musician from Saskatoon, Canada has succeeded in promoting himself online by getting his picture onto Google's Street View. Getting himself ahead of the car when it visited his town earlier this year wasn't easy, but it paid off when Saskatoon's Street View recently went online.

"One of the hardest things, beyond making music, is how to get people to hear it," said Nate Heagy in an interview with Canada's CBC News.

"Promoting a band is hard. And all the while I've been working on the album I've been trying to think of how I can promote it - how I can get noticed."

"When Google announced that Street View was coming to Saskatoon, a light bulb went on," he said. "I just thought Street View would allow anyone on any corner to be seen by any number of people anywhere."

"I figured Saskatoon's not that big, I could probably find the Google car if I really wanted to. So I built a sign, and kept it in the trunk of my car."

Enlisting friends to keep an eye out for a car with a large camera mounted on the roof, Heagy began waiting for a call telling him where it was. Having lunch one day, Heagy saw the car himself and rushed to his own car to catch up with it.

Following the car and observing it, Heagy managed to anticipate where the Google car was going to next and drove ahead of its predicted path.

"I quickly set up the sign, brought out the guitar and started playing," he said. "And the car drove by. And then I actually drove on to another corner and did the same thing."

The chase happened in spring of this year. Then when Google launched Saskatoon's Street View in November, Heagy said he checked the site to see the results.

"As soon as I saw me with the sign, I just hollered and was cheering because it was a lot of effort and a long wait to see if it had even worked, this crazy idea I had. There it was. It was kind of fulfilling."

Although Heagy's face is blurred because of Google's privacy policies, his sign is still clearly visible.

"The whole point is that curious people will, maybe, look for the music and find it," Heagy said. "And curious people, I think, are the kind of people who will like my style of music."


Image credit: CBC News

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33 Comments

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I was aiming to try to get myself, if not promoted at least pictured by the Google Street View car's camera when it came to Tours, in France (in October 2009 looks like). But I missed it!
I am wondering, considering faces are blurred because of Google's privacy policies, if it is possible vice-versa to have not one's face blurred (on one's demand of course) : I'd love the planet to see how handsome I am

How does google know to blur out everyone's faces? There are so many different positions and locations people can be in a photo. How does its algorithm determine so efficiently what is a face and what is not such billboard faces vs people on the street faces?

Tonicgoofy said,
Ahah nice, that was really smart. But how long until companies do that to promote their products....

What you mean like Billboards? Or Signs? Yeah, why has nobody ever thought of that before! Genius!

08993 said,
What you mean like Billboards? Or Signs? Yeah, why has nobody ever thought of that before! Genius!

How many tiny bands get posts on fairly large international tech news sites as a result of their billboard. The genius isn't in the fact that he made a sign but how he's getting people to see it.

A month of billboard rental runs about $5,000 in a small town and you can expect it to be seen by maybe 50-100 thousand people in that time. This guy's story is on Neowin which has a membership base of > 100k and will likely be picked up by his local community television/radio stations and community news papers too. This is in addition to showing up on a national news network where the source story came from.

Total cost to him? $100 for a home made sign and a couple of hours off work. His impressions per dollar are spectacular.

evn. said,
How many tiny bands get posts on fairly large international tech news sites as a result of their billboard. The genius isn't in the fact that he made a sign but how he's getting people to see it.

A month of billboard rental runs about $5,000 in a small town and you can expect it to be seen by maybe 50-100 thousand people in that time. This guy's story is on Neowin which has a membership base of > 100k and will likely be picked up by his local community television/radio stations and community news papers too. This is in addition to showing up on a national news network where the source story came from.

Total cost to him? $100 for a home made sign and a couple of hours off work. His impressions per dollar are spectacular.

i dont agree, i wont even google him. he might got my attention for a minute, since it is on neowin, but that doesnt mean i'm suddenly interested in his work. this is random not targeted marketing. doesnt do the same..

GetUsed2It said,
i dont agree, i wont even google him.

But if he'd bought a billboard in backward saskatchewan you would?


he might got my attention for a minute, since it is on neowin, but that doesnt mean i'm suddenly interested in his work.

Which isn't the point.
Yesterday you didn't even know he existed, tomorrow you might not either - but if he hadn't been on this site then you wouldn't have known he existed today.

this is random not targeted marketing. doesnt do the same..

Most billboards aren't targeted either.