If you’re Sean Parker, the Napster/Facebook dude portrayed by Justin Timberlake in the film “The Social Network,” and it’s a few days before this year’s Facebook developers’ conference (“f8”), and you suddenly decide you want to throw the party of the year, what do you do? Apparently, the answer is buy a warehouse, invite four arena-sized artists (Jane’s Addiction, the Killers, Snoop Dogg and Kaskade) to perform and invite your digital music industry VIP friends – such as Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and Napster co-founder Sean Fanning – to accompany you.
First, Parker and Ek had a brief powwow on stage – or, at least, on a podium in front of around 300 audience members. They discussed the obvious – Napster, Spotify, Facebook and Justin Timberlake.
“Napster had instantaneous gratification, a service that was easier to use than piracy,” said Parker, candidly. “Solving the piracy problem can’t happen if you don’t build a service that’s more convenient than piracy. Spotify was the first product that I saw that competed with piracy.”
But the talking was soon done with, and then the evening’s entertainment portion truly began. Ostensibly to celebrate the new Open Graph era of Spotify and Facebook, it was obvious from the minute a slimmed-down, acoustic configuration of the Killers took the stage that Parker had thrown a party just to party: He rushed the front row with Ek, jumped on chairs reserved for the press and knocked over an entire bottle of tequila.
There was something for every type of Facebook friend: The Killers spoke to those attendees who claim they “like music” but can’t name any artist in particular. Kaskade turned every late-night programmer into slightly sketchy rave kids. Jane’s Addiction, meanwhile, was lighting up that large part of the crowd in their 30s or older. And while the programmer world isn’t exactly filled with OGs, Snoop’s gangsta rap hit the spot with just about everyone.
“I still believe in human communication – none of this Face-fucking-book,” joked frontman Perry Farrell during Jane’s Addiction’s set. “Face to face, one on one touch; it’s still the only way.” Farrell and his band played an abridged greatest-hits set (skipping “Jane Says”), then showcased their new classic-in-the-making, “The Irresistible Force.”
The Killers relied on hits like “Human” and “Mr. Brightside,” but they also included a nod to the San Francisco environs: a cover of Otis Redding’s “(Sitting on the) Dock of the Bay.” It played to frontman Brandon Flowers’ strengths, especially in the band’s special acoustic configuration.
And Snoop Dogg was perfect in the role of Snoop Dogg, effortlessly rolling through hits like “Nothing But a G Thing” and “Gin and Juice.” Towards the end of his set, however, as Snoop launched into “Jump Around,” women started jumping up on the stage and dancing. Pretty soon the entire stage was filled with half the audience dancing, a sure reminder that, in fact, this was truly nothing but a party for Internet dorks – there wasn’t a single bouncer or security person in site. And those who weren’t on the stage with Snoop? They were standing by the bar, posting Facebook updates.