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Posted: 12/3/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Business

 Achille Bianchi

Journalist, photographer and entrepreneur

 
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Social Entrepreneurship: A Budding Industry (of Sorts) in Detroit

Posted: 12/ 1/11 06:34 PM ET
 
 
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My family has scant ties to the auto industry. We all drive foreign cars. Like most American families, we're not fully American. My sister and I also did not grow up around parents who had corporate jobs -- we were pretty blue-collar.

Maybe it's because I didn't grow up in a GM or Ford household that I don't believe big companies can solve the unemployment and jobs problem by adding, or subtracting, thousands of jobs at time. To me it makes more sense to create an environment where individuals are encouraged to create jobs based in their communities and on work and the skills they're most comfortable with.

The point is, no matter if your job comes from a CEO's pen or your own hard work, we all work hard. To me, though, it's not necessarily about how hard you work, but where you put your effort that counts for more than anything else.

It's hard to ignore the increasingly louder voices of the generations succeeding the baby boomers. While we're not as experienced as them, we're taking action and not asking for permission. We're starting to feel the consequences of decades of their decision and policy making and some of those consequences hurt -- a lot.

If you live in Detroit and have tried starting a business or buying real estate or even tracking down meeting notes from a city council meeting, you've surely been led on a run-around and ultimately to frustration. I'm also sure I'm not the only person who's had simple solutions to some of the problems that exist within these institutions.

But sometimes it's hard to get the city's attention.

This is why so many grass-roots and socially progressive movements and organizations thrive and continue to thrive in Detroit. Their invention, innovation and efficiency spawns from a certain type of need that only specialized tools can fix.

And the best part? If you're motivated enough you can find ways to get paid to solve problems and build communities.

Social entrepreneurs, as they are called, seek to not only generate profits through business ventures, but the emphasis relies much more heavily in establishing and nurturing hearty social values in the communities they serve.

This kind of place-based problem solving and activism has been around for decades, and in Detroit especially. For Detroit entrepreneurs though, our work and business practices are steeped in diverse and dynamic social values, consciously or subconsciously. We've all been exposed to the hardships in this city and I'm sure many of us would be damned before starting an enterprise that wasn't sensitive to our city's context. It's just not in us -- that's not why we're here.

Detroit and Michigan should be creating conditions that foster social entrepreneurs like those at the Heidelberg ProjectAllied Media Projects, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC), the Mt. Elliot Makerspace, the East Side Riders and others.

Organizations like these start as modest ideas from one singular problem. In the DDJC's case, it was lack of information in Detroit neighborhoods, whether from having no libraries or Internet, which got the problem-solving gears spinning.

Now just a few years later and with $2 million in grant money, DDJC is able to employ a handful of full-time employees while tackling one of the most profound and fundamental problems in the city. They're working fast, and they're working efficiently and through community input and feedback, people are already beginning to benefit, too.

With the authentic desire to build community and solve problems, it's the local people who have the greatest handle on the solutions our communities seek. With the right values and tact, an abundance of talent and unprecedented access to affordable technology, Michigan and Detroit can realize the 3.0 future we all dream of -- we just need to embrace the movement and encourage our representatives to put politics aside and to listen to us a little bit closer.

Posted: 11/29/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Technology

So the other day I was in Barnes & Noble for the first time in a long time.  What a revelation!

Where are the DVD’s?!  Gone!  And the music?  Gone!  Both replaced by a wide variety of “learning toys.”  Meanwhile the “Nook” section was expanded and moved to the center of the store, complete with ultra-contemporary Apple-like design aesthetic.

Remember when the bookstore sold books (and music and movies)?  That was back when B&N competed against my dearly departed Borders, the bookseller that once subcontracted their online store to a little company called Amazon.

As I looked around I recognized the slow evolution of the bookstore into an altogether different kind of store –  one that lives across platforms and categories.

And it’s not just bookstores, it’s telephones and radio, too.

Take it from my friend John Frost of Goodratings, a programming consultant to Christian broadcasters.  He writes (go here for the full version).:

This is the tale of two telephones. I call them both phones but that is about all they have in common.

One is functional. You plug it in. You dial a number. You talk. You hang up when you’re done. No more, no less.

The other can be used to place calls, as well, but that hardly the reason people choose it.

I grew up playing the board game Monopoly for hours and hours and hours with my friends Rodney, David and his younger brother Mark. We were excited at the prospect of being the first to land on Boardwalk and Park Place. The utilities–Water Works and the Electric Company—were so boring their spaces were in black and white.

Utilities are there to simply function. Water, electric, telephone. One phone is designed to simply connect with that utility. The other is designed for the imagination.

It strikes me that radio stations can be as distinct as these two phones. One is no more meaningful than its most basic function—turn it on to listen; turn it off as desired. The other is the centerpiece of a conversation with like-minded people who care deeply about their faith, their families, and their communities.

My iPhone isn’t just about the technology of the phone, it’s really about me. I have so personalized it to my specific interests that I’ll not likely ever change to another kind of phone. Apple has a customer for life.

My apps are about my interests. When I share my apps I’m sharing my life.

The fact that one can plug a telephone cord into a wall and lift the receiver to call someone is not likely to be the subject matter of conversation among raving fans. (Although my uncle used to tell the story of when his grandparents first got electricity they’d sit around and watch the light bulb). The fact that a radio station is on the air and plays five songs in a row and has disc jockeys and features is not what makes a radio station remarkable.

Hugh MacLeod says, “It’s not what a product does that matters to us so much, it’s how we socialize around it that matters.”

Great stations have listeners that are engaged and share the station with others–not because of the “radio” things the station does but because of how meaningful it is.

MacLeod says, “Social and personal identity involves a lot of sharing what matters to you most, with those who matter to you most. It’s an amazing thing, when your customer base not only buys your product but also consciously takes individual responsibility for your success.”

 

Posted: 10/28/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 1 Likes
Category: Music

Monday October 24, 2011 
by James Barton and Brian Message

A record company's value used to be measured by the acquisition, protection, and exploitation of copyrights. Exploiting those copyrights by selling songs is an easy business model to understand and used to be the foundation of a very healthy global industry. Historically, the record business was the heart of the music industry. Sell a lot of records and you were a successful business. And artists also succeeded through record sales: they became household names when they had sold a lot of records.

From the business perspective, artists and songs could be viewed as interchangeable commodities. If any given artist failed to deliver hits, another waited in the wings to take their place. This impersonal approach allowed the music industry to grow extremely profitable by simply selling "product."

But the sale of recorded music has taken a battering over the last decade, and it's no longer smart to judge an artist's commercial viability on record sales alone — not least when there is a new generation who questions the need to pay for recorded music at all. For many artists and their managers, record sales are now just one of many revenue streams and one of a number of factors with which to judge success.

Despite this dramatic change in the marketplace, many struggle with the concept of uncoupling success from record sales. It doesn't help that most measures — the charts by which many fans learn about new music — are still based on this notion. For emerging artists this is particularly precarious, since careers are too often ended early if a first set of recordings fail to sell.

So how should a "content producer" behave in this new environment? And what lessons can we learn from this new model of value? Here are the two keys:

  1. Do not treat artists as commodities
  2. Value the artist-fan relationship as highly as traditional rights

Smart managers realize every artist is a standalone business that generates income from multiple revenue streams. A manager's job is to create those businesses and run them well. This requires thinking globally and being agnostic about which revenue stream or territory is the most important. As long as those channels can deliver the aesthetic the artist wants and make a profit, the business is a success.

But the business of relationship building is not a quick one. Artists have to earn the respect of fans, convert that respect into trust, and, eventually, convert that trust into faith. Building communities takes time, and it can only be achieved over the long-term. In this model, artists can no longer be treated as interchangeable hit makers.

The key to artist-management success is identifying talent early and developing it cost-effectively over a long period of time. Artists — and their art — are the only real assets. The systems and structures that surround them should be treated as a means to maximize the commercial value of each artist. As such, the traditional music industry — be that companies that make and distribute records, publishers who collect performance royalties and create sync opportunities, concert promoters, or merchandisers — should be regarded primarily as service providers to artists.

As the digital age gathers pace, managers must engage in the shaping of the music landscape. That landscape is still plagued by a mindset that regards copyright as an instrument of control (which further limits commercial exploitation to traditional models) rather than as a remuneration right that can generate revenue wherever a market may be. The future is about accepting consumer behavior and looking for as many ways as possible to monetize it.

In addition, managers must also simplify the complex structures of the industry and create healthy businesses based on monetizing the behavior of consumers and those businesses that wish to use creators' works for their own profit. Without a simpler, better structured digital market, the direct artist-to-fan business will struggle to grow. Moreover, it will undermine the modern-day manager's opportunities to improve their artists' business.

Managers must also figure out alternative investment for artist businesses. Traditionally, it was the record business that invested in new talent. Restricting investment to direct rights exploitation keeps the emphasis on making money from record sales, which keeps the "investment risk" for would-be investors high. A viable alternative would be a market for investors to put their money into artists' whole businesses, where artists retain rights and investors participate in all the profits.

The music industry was the first of the creative industries to be affected by the disruptive nature of the internet. But it's not all bad news. Disintermediation has forced a focus on talented individuals who produce great art. One of the jobs of their managers is to create an environment that allows them to do so. Ways of collecting fans and connecting them to artists are ever changing, but by embracing new technology opportunities, creative businesses will flourish. Other content producers take note.

Posted: 8/30/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Entertainment

August 30th, 2011 by Don Tanner

Riddle me this: Where in Detroit or anywhere for that matter can you get a front row seat – free – to a veritable mini-concert of musical magic featuring Dave Mason (Traffic) , Mark Farner  (Grand Funk) and Rick Derringer? Try the UDetroit Cafe in Harmonie Park where these rock legends recently appeared both in person and on UDetroit’s new media offerings: UDetroit Web TV and UDetroit Radio.

The brainchild of Motown’s own musical maestros, Brian and Mark Pastoria, UDetroit’s multiple media platforms are housed in the Pastoria’s storied Harmonie Park Studios, whose soundboard has embraced the electronic impulses of a who’s who of recording artists, including Aretha Franklin, Eminem, The 4 Tops, Tori Amos, Black Crowes, Will.I.AM and countless others over the years.

UDetroit Radio/UDetroit TV is webcasted and live streamed each day and features Bob Bauer, longtime rock radio royalty in this town via his past stints with WABX-FM and WLLZ-FM. The music mix is wide ranging, often eclectic but always interesting, with a mind at all times on how to feature home grown. Where else can you hear Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac followed by The MC5. And, live artist performances and interviews are also a staple of the show, made all the more special with segment lengths that are not dictated by commercial breaks or Portable People Meter limitations, allowing one to really get to know what makes guests tick.

I watched the Mason-Farner-Derringer segment online last week (featuring an acoustic version of “We Just Disagree”) and witnessed Bauer’s show in-person yesterday. He’s a great interviewer and knows just about everyone in that scene. He and the Pastorias are onto something good here. U should really check them out.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 at 3:47 pm by Don Tanner and is filed under Don Tannerdigital mediamass mediamediamulti-mediamusicradio,television. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted: 8/29/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Technology
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Josh Linkner's Blog   
Josh Linkner 


 

11 Lessons from Steve        

    

He's been called the modern day Thomas Edison, the Beethoven of business, and the most prolific visionary since Henry Ford.  Yet as Steve Jobs steps down from the helm of Apple, he has left us with so much more than incredible technology. 

 

Jobs completely transformed the industries of personal computing, digital animation (Pixar), music, mobile phones, and now tablets.  He created the most valuable company in the world and impacted the way billions of people live their daily lives.  But beyond his accomplishments, he's taught us lessons in leadership and life.  The characteristics he embodied can serve as a roadmap for us all to become better in business, community, family, and personal achievement. 

 

For all us kids from 1 to 92, Steve's guiding principles can help us live our best life and make the biggest difference:

 

1) Put Passion First - He followed his heart and let the operational details fall into place.  He refused to put a governor on his burning desire to reach new heights.

 

2) Never Limit Your Imagination - He always imagined the ideal solution or product and never cut corners or watered down his most potent ideas due to setbacks or fear.

 

3) Pursue Greatness over Money - Steve didn't chase the mighty dollar.  Rather, he focused on making the biggest possible impact and the money followed.

 

4) Demand Excellence - Critics complain of his exacting style and "unrealistic" demands.  There's a natural gravitational force of mediocrity, and sometimes it takes an aggressive stance to rise above the sea of sameness.

 

5) Put Yourself Out of Business - Steve was never satisfied, and constantly strove to be the force of disruptive change that would make the Steve of six months ago irrelevant.  Never clinging to past successes, he maintained intense urgency around continuous reinvention.

 

6) Challenge Conventional Wisdom - When there were norms, he lived to shatter them.  Nearly every step of his success can be traced to inspired thinking that stuck his finger in the eye of the complacent incumbents.

 

7) Simplify - 'Nuff said.

 

8) Ignore the Naysayers - If he listened to the "sound advice" of others, we'd never even know his name.  He never let the fear of others interfere with his own trajectory.

 

9) Persist - While today he sits victorious, there were many times he nearly lost it all.  There were dark days at Apple, Pixar, and even in his personal life.  Where others throw in the towel, Steve stared into the abyss and never accepted defeat.

 

10) Never Pigeonhole - Steve wasn't a "computer executive."  He was a visionary change agent and could not be constrained. He realized his calling was far beyond any categorical label.

 

11) Push Beyond What You Think is Possible - When Steve heard "that can't be done", it only emboldened his resolve.  He constantly drove himself and others to reach new heights.

 

Whether you're building a tech startup, raising three kids or running a soup kitchen, these indelible philosophies serve as a roadmap to success.  While you may organize your thoughts on your MacBook, communicate with your team on your iPhone, and later jam some tunes on your iPod, the impact of Steve Jobs is far greater than the devices he's provided.  Rather, he's given us a model to reach our full potential.

 

Steve famously said he wanted to "put a ding in the universe."  You have done that, my friend, and so much more.  The impact you've made is immeasurable, and has inspired a generation to "think different."  Thank you for taking the path less travelled, for conquering the never-been-done, and for leading with purpose.  Thank you for changing the world.

 

For more information on creativity, visit JoshLinkner.com.

In addition to my blog, you'll find free videos, quizzes, articles, eBooks and more to help fuel your creative fire! 

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Posted: 8/26/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Technology

  Mark Ramsey Media 

MRM BLOG DAILY

What Broadcasters can learn from Steve Jobs – the Tao of Steve 

What lesson does Apple’s just-departed Steve Jobs have for broadcasters?

As one Appler once told me, “Steve doesn’t think anybody listens to the radio.” And while this person’s tongue may have been placed slightly in cheek, it’s certainly true that Steve doesn’t think anybody should be limited to what they hear on the radio.

I once caught sight of Jobs on the Apple campus.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, and there was Steve talking to a coworker a few feet away.  As a result of his health issues he’s a slight man, almost unrecognizable in a crowd.  His presence does not shout “charisma,” nor does he seem to intend it to.  Yet his influence on commerce and culture has been unparalleled.

What broadcasters can learn from Jobs is what makes him different from the rest.

What makes Steve different is the force of his ideas and his ability and passion to execute them.

What makes Steve different is a relentless focus on innovation and an obsession on solving consumer problems elegantly, even ones we don’t yet know we have.

What makes Steve different is a recognition that trends are made to be surfed, and by the way, trends are very often made.

Indeed, “what business you’re in” is a function of the opportunities the marketplace presents as seen through the prism of your own company’s competitive advantages.  That’s why Apple is no longer Apple Computer. And it’s why “radio” is no longer the industry that elevated the head of your group to a leadership role.

Jobs knows that everything begins and ends with the consumer and the consumer is us.

Contrast that with the broadcast leader who tends to think many of the following thoughts:

  1. This business hiccup is only a passing phase.  1999 is just around the corner.
  2. We are the Great and Powerful Radio and can enforce our will on consumers if we run enough promos to do it
  3. Don’t worry about Google and Groupon and Pandora – just sell more spots
  4. Everyone who listens to the radio today consumes as much of it as ever – maybe even more!
  5. We can defend our importance among consumers and advertisers even as we trim out all that expensive stuff between the songs

To Jobs, the “passing phase” is a trend worth surfing, and 1999 is gone forever.

To Jobs, the power of Apple is in direct proportion to the passion of its followers and consumers and is beholden to that passion

To Jobs, more “business as usual” will get you fired

To Jobs, consumer behaviors are as fickle or as fixed as the entertainment options which attract them.  A better idea executed well that solves a problem has nothing to fear, not even from a 100-year-old industry with entrenched relationships and billions of dollars in revenue.

To Jobs, you don’t cut your way to growth.  You don’t cut your way to relevance.  You don’t cut your way to consumer passion and continued advertiser interest.

What broadcasters never seem to get is that folks think radio is less important nowadays because so much other stuff is more important.  And “importance” is an outcome of consumer passion, not a byproduct of radio industry marketing and PR.

Do things that make consumers love you, stay ever so slightly ahead of their desires, put your consumer strategy before your corporate one.

Then you will know the Tao of Steve.

Posted: 8/1/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Culture
Josh Linkner's Blog   
Josh Linkner 
Monday, August 1, 2011

The United States of Apple    

 

Get this - Apple, Inc. now has more money than the US Government.  According to a report in the Financial Post this week, the U.S. operating balance now stands at roughly $73.8 billion compared to the $75.9 billion of cash that Apple has on hand.  How is it possible that the tech giant has more money that the world's biggest economic superpower?

 

We can debate debt ceilings and policy all day long, but something still strikes me here.  A company that started the same year our nation was celebrating her 200th birthday is now in a stronger financial position than its home country. 

 

How is it that a single company can become so successful, and in turn change the lives of millions of people around the world?  How can a company become not just a financial powerhouse, but also an icon of innovation, design, and culture? 

 

Jobs and team have built something much more special than a cash-creation machine.  As Steve likes to say, they have truly put a "ding in the universe."  Their success isn't rooted in number crunching, cost cutting, or audit controls.  No trick-the-customer, deal-of-the-day, or Wall Street gaming.  Rather, they've built an enduring brand and culture that is now recognized as the most valuable tech company in the world.

 

Here are five lessons from Apple that we can all embrace to drive success in our companies, careers, and communities:

 

  1. Shatter Conventional Wisdom. While some 'fraidy-cat executives cower at thought of straying outside the lines, the folks at Apple live to disrupt.  They don't waste their valuable brainstorm sessions on driving .21% incremental margin or extracting costs by using cheap materials.  Instead, they direct their energy toward changing the world. 
  2. No Limits. In our fear-based society, we often gravitate to all the reasons something can't be done.  So often, we let imaginary barriers restrict us for reaching our true potential. Not Apple.  They refuse to be derailed and let those seemingly insurmountable challenges drive their cause instead of squash their dreams.
  3. Innovation Wins.  The culture at Apple celebrates the risk takers.  The dreamers.  The creators.  They realize that creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of the organization, and have built a culture and philosophy that rewards it.
  4. Design Matters.  The folks at Apple know that design is as important as function.  Their products are beautiful works of art rather than utilitarian machinery.  They focus not just on what their gear does, but how it makes their customers feel.   All five senses are delighted by design, and customers are willing to pay handsomely as a result.
  5. Passion First.  Apple doesn't chase money, they pursue purpose.  They build products and services that they love and want to use themselves.  They connect deeply to the impact they will make on customers, and follow their hearts instead of earnings-per-share.  As a result, the money follows.  Big time.

Apple may have more cash than our government right now, but their real value goes much deeper than their balance sheet.  More than their billions, they've managed to build a culture of innovation that will continue to drive success and change the world.  Maybe the US Government can learn a thing or two here.  Maybe we all can.

 

Hey brother Jobs, can you spare a dime?

Posted: 7/6/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 2 Likes
Category: Music

MTV rescued the music business. The novelty of seeing acts on television, especially risk-taking performers from the U.K., energized audiences, impacted the discussion and generated monstrous sales. But just before the advent of the television station music was in the doldrums, killed by AOR/corporate rock and disco, which flamed out as soon as it peaked.

The twin pillars of MTV and the CD gave the impression that we were living in an era of intense creativity, because where there's money there's always an industry saying what's happening counts. Then MTV stopped airing videos and Napster eviscerated sales and somehow blame fell upon the audience when it's clear that the problem was the industry and the musicians it supported.

I just finished reading David Browne's "Fire and Rain", a look at the music scene of 1970 through the prism of the careers of Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, James Taylor and CSNY. It was incredibly depressing, because one can see what happened back then is happening now. In tech.

Yes, the techies are all in their twenties, writing their own rules, creating irresistible products and becoming rich in the process. And the establishment hates them for it. Only now, the music business is the establishment.

Simon & Garfunkel had a hit in 1957, eight years before their breakthrough with "The Sound Of Silence". Tell someone to endure a decade in the wilderness today and they'll look at you incredulous, they need to be successful TOMORROW! This is the fallacy of the TV shows. There's no experience, no struggle behind the winners. Even on "The Voice"... Just because you had a record deal that doesn't mean you're ready. Stephen Stills had a hit under his belt, "For What It's Worth", but the Springfield broke up anyway, he played on "Super Session", he was still looking for his big breakthrough when he hooked up with Crosby and Nash.

James Taylor was committed to a mental hospital after his initial album on Apple tanked.

And the Beatles played a thousand gigs before anybody in the U.S. had heard of them.

All these acts paid their dues. They became players not to get rich, but for the music. Is it any wonder we're in trouble today?

In order for music to count today:

1. Control must be given to the artists. Sure, George Martin was an integral part of the Beatles' sound, and Mort Lewis had managed the Brothers Four and Dave Brubeck before Simon & Garfunkel. But both were subservient to the acts, which were not big on taking direction they did not agree with. Successful, groundbreaking music is about creativity, taking chances. Business people hate risk. They want insurance. Is it any wonder the tunes being released today have the personality of Allstate and Prudential?

2. The keys must be handed to the twentysomethings. When you've got nothing at all, you're willing to take chances. Everybody in the business today has so much invested, so much at risk, that they don't want to take chances. The Internet is the enemy, even though twentysomethings don't feel that way. The Net blew up in the midnineties, it's all they know, they've got a facility with it, it's the norm. As "The New Yorker" stated, online dating is de rigueur for twentysomethings, it's not odd at all. Discovering tracks online and e-mailing them to your friends is all twentysomethings know.

3. Just like "Sgt. Pepper" ended the tyranny of the single, the Net has eliminated the tyranny of the album. Then again, the wannabe acts have all watched TV and lack insight. He who is willing to break with convention will succeed in the new era.

4. Everybody has to stop trying to get rich. The MTV/CD era was an anomaly, a temporary monsoon, an earthquake, here for a moment and already gone. Raising ticket prices to make up for lost recording revenue is like Exxon Mobil raising prices to compensate for the proliferation of the Prius. Things change, own it. Money is for bankers. For corporate titans. Musicians are neither. If you're not satisfied with the adulation and the sex get into a different line of business.

5. Justin Bieber is not built to last. Music will be saved by people who know how to play who've been doing it for in excess of ten years, playing in local bands, getting more rejection than acceptance.


PERFORMERS

1. Listen to a lot of records. A knowledge of music is the best education. Spend more time listening than posting on Facebook. The musicians of yore could play every lick on their favorite blues records, can you?

2. Learn how to play. Start with lessons. Only give them up when you surpass your teacher. Know how to play what you don't like. It'll come in handy, just like studying algebra.

3. Write. We're interested in what you have to say. You can wring emotion with a note, but begin composing lyrics too. Music blew up in the sixties because we were interested in more than the surface, we wanted to know who these acts were, we wanted to know what they had to say.

4. Rehearse. If you're not frustrated, if you're not chomping at the bit, you're not doing it right. Sure, post the results to the Net, but don't expect anybody to pay attention. And promotion is passe. Don't tell people to listen, go back and cut more until you create something so good it spreads by itself.

5. Use what's come before as a stepping off point, not as a blueprint. Although you should know how to play the classics, your music should not sound just like the Beatles or Zeppelin, but different. If you haven't got people scratching their heads, telling you to turn it down, you're playing it too safe.

6. No one has the magic keys. Top forty radio is a formula fed by a conveyor belt no different from the one at GM, but with a lot less innovation. If you're interested in making a Cruze or a Camry, sign up. But it's the aforementioned Prius which is sold out and unavailable, it's what people want, what they're willing to overpay for, even though GM killed its electric car. It takes a while for the public to catch up. The Prius was not an overnight success. Hipsters and the green signed up first, Toyota improved the product, gas prices went through the roof and voila, a mania! Manias are not manufactured, not ones that last, they're all about being in the right place at the right time, anticipating the market, not playing it safe, but being dangerous.

7. If practice isn't hard, you're not doing it right. No matter how much success you've had, if it's become easy, if you're repeating yourself, you're on the road to failure.

8. Listen to no one but yourself. Recruit information, but preferably from someone without a financial interest in your success. Musical artists are the last loners, they're visionaries, they're not part of the group, but outside it. If you're showing up at the club or the Met Costume Ball you're doing it all wrong. No one should be inviting you, they should be afraid of you, and if they do call you won't go, because you know they're trading on your success for their own benefit.


NEW BUSINESS PEOPLE

1. Be willing to starve, just like the musicians.

2. Don't go to work for the established players, start your own thing, just like an act.

3. Finding and nurturing talent is a thankless task. If you're not up for it, provide an ancillary service. But you'll be at least one step away from the heart of the action.

4. Just because you know good music that doesn't mean you can find a good new act. There are more listeners than players. You're not that special.

5. Do the grunt work, that's where the lessons are learned. Be a roadie, an accountant, a road manager, you'll learn more than you will in any class at UCLA Extension or music business school. Who can teach a business that changes every day? Wouldn't that be like studying the iPod in an iPhone world?

6. Be the bridge between player and listener, beholden to both. This is a fine line to walk. Both must be satisfied for the game to work.

7. New ideas are the key to success. Promote unknown acts. Create a new online platform. Don't ask for permission, just do it. If it's good, people will flock to you.


ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES

1. You're in the service business. You're servicing the acts and the audience. You're secondary. You don't write the music and you don't pay to get in. Get over yourself.

2. If you're not thinking about tomorrow, get out of the way of those who are. Don't think about protecting what you have, but creating demand for something new. Almost no one wants the Top Forty hits of the last twenty years, why are you so busy protecting them?

3. Acts cannot see you as the enemy. If you're making more than they are it must be because you're so good and successful, not because you've got great bargaining power.

4. Labels... Adversary relationships are passe. The new mantra is trust. Accounting must be transparent. Success must be shared.

5. Attorneys. You're a protector of the rights of the performer, not a salesman. Defend your act, don't try to find someone who will bid a lot so you can get your percentage.

6. Promoters. Pay less and charge less. You're the only ones who can change this paradigm. Stop bidding against yourselves and losing money. Concertgoing must be a casual choice, barely more expensive than a movie. Fandom is cemented at the show, why would you want to exclude someone?


Tech has got the wow factor. There's a ton of product, constantly blowing your mind. If a tech company rides on its laurels, sells one product for three years, it's history in the marketplace. That's the story of RIM and Nokia. Don't get caught in this trap. If you're not constantly making new music, constantly destroying the old to get to the new, it's only a matter of time until you're kicked to the curb.

Posted: 6/29/2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 1 Likes
Category: Music

  clarence Clemons by Joe Lopez
Jo lopez photography 

Danny Clinch
- Danny Clinch 
 

This is a slightly revised version of the eulogy I delivered for Clarence at his memorial. I'd like to thank all our fans and friends who have comforted us over the past difficult weeks.FOR THE BIG MAN

I've been sitting here listening to everyone talk about Clarence and staring at that photo of the two of us right there. It's a picture of Scooter and The Big Man, people who we were sometimes. As you can see in this particular photo, Clarence is admiring his muscles and I'm pretending to be nonchalant while leaning upon him. I leaned on Clarence a lot; I made a career out of it in some ways.

Those of us who shared Clarence's life, shared with him his love and his confusion. Though "C" mellowed with age, he was always a wild and unpredictable ride. Today I see his sons Nicky, Chuck, Christopher and Jarod sitting here and I see in them the reflection of a lot of C's qualities. I see his light, his darkness, his sweetness, his roughness, his gentleness, his anger, his brilliance, his handsomeness, and his goodness. But, as you boys know your pop was a not a day at the beach. "C" lived a life where he did what he wanted to do and he let the chips, human and otherwise, fall where they may. Like a lot of us your pop was capable of great magic and also of making quite an amazing mess. This was just the nature of your daddy and my beautiful friend. Clarence's unconditional love, which was very real, came with a lot of conditions. Your pop was a major project and always a work in progress. "C" never approached anything linearly, life never proceeded in a straight line. He never went A... B.... C.... D. It was always A... J.... C.... Z... Q... I....! That was the way Clarence lived and made his way through the world. I know that can lead to a lot of confusion and hurt, but your father also carried a lot of love with him, and I know he loved each of you very very dearly.

It took a village to take care of Clarence Clemons. Tina, I'm so glad you're here. Thank you for taking care of my friend, for loving him. Victoria, you've been a loving, kind and caring wife to Clarence and you made a huge difference in his life at a time when the going was not always easy. To all of "C's" vast support network, names too numerous to mention, you know who you are and we thank you. Your rewards await you at the pearly gates. My pal was a tough act but he brought things into your life that were unique and when he turned on that love light, it illuminated your world. I was lucky enough to stand in that light for almost 40 years, near Clarence's heart, in the Temple of Soul.

So a little bit of history: from the early days when Clarence and I traveled together, we'd pull up to the evening's lodgings and within minutes "C" would transform his room into a world of his own. Out came the colored scarves to be draped over the lamps, the scented candles, the incense, the patchouli oil, the herbs, the music, the day would be banished, entertainment would come and go, and Clarence the Shaman would reign and work his magic, night after night. Clarence's ability to enjoy Clarence was incredible. By 69, he'd had a good run, because he'd already lived about 10 lives, 690 years in the life of an average man. Every night, in every place, the magic came flying out of C's suitcase. As soon as success allowed, his dressing room would take on the same trappings as his hotel room until a visit there was like a trip to a sovereign nation that had just struck huge oil reserves. "C" always knew how to live. Long before Prince was out of his diapers, an air of raunchy mysticism ruled in the Big Man's world. I'd wander in from my dressing room, which contained several fine couches and some athletic lockers, and wonder what I was doing wrong! Somewhere along the way all of this was christened the Temple of Soul; and "C" presided smilingly over its secrets, and its pleasures. Being allowed admittance to the Temple's wonders was a lovely thing.

As a young child my son Sam became enchanted with the Big Man... no surprise. To a child Clarence was a towering fairy tale figure, out of some very exotic storybook. He was a dreadlocked giant, with great hands and a deep mellifluous voice sugared with kindness and regard. And... to Sammy, who was just a little white boy, he was deeply and mysteriously black. In Sammy's eyes, "C" must have appeared as all of the African continent, shot through with American cool, rolled into one welcoming and loving figure. So... Sammy decided to pass on my work shirts and became fascinated by Clarence's suits and his royal robes. He declined a seat in dad's van and opted for "C's" stretch limousine, sitting by his side on the slow cruise to the show. He decided dinner in front of the hometown locker just wouldn't do, and he'd saunter up the hall and disappear into the Temple of Soul.

Of course, also enchanted was Sam's dad, from the first time I saw my pal striding out of the shadows of a half empty bar in Asbury Park, a path opening up before him; here comes my brother, here comes my sax man, my inspiration, my partner, my lifelong friend. Standing next to Clarence was like standing next to the baddest *** on the planet. You were proud, you were strong, you were excited and laughing with what might happen, with what together, you might be able to do. You felt like no matter what the day or the night brought, nothing was going to touch you. Clarence could be fragile but he also emanated power and safety, and in some funny way we became each other's protectors; I think perhaps I protected "C" from a world where it still wasn't so easy to be big and black. Racism was ever present and over the years together, we saw it. Clarence's celebrity and size did not make him immune. I think perhaps "C" protected me from a world where it wasn't always so easy to be an insecure, weird and skinny white boy either. But, standing together we were badass, on any given night, on our turf, some of the baddest asses on the planet. We were united, we were strong, we were righteous, we were unmovable, we were funny, we were corny as hell and as serious as death itself. And we were coming to your town to shake you and to wake you up. Together, we told an older, richer story about the possibilities of friendship that transcended those I'd written in my songs and in my music. Clarence carried it in his heart. It was a story where the Scooter and the Big Man not only busted the city in half, but we kicked *** and remade the city, shaping it into the kind of place where our friendship would not be such an anomaly. And that... that's what I'm gonna miss. The chance to renew that vow and double down on that story on a nightly basis, because that is something, that is the thing that we did together... the two of us. Clarence was big, and he made me feel, and think, and love, and dream big. How big was the Big Man? Too fucking big to die. And that's just the facts. You can put it on his grave stone, you can tattoo it over your heart. Accept it... it's the New World.

Clarence doesn't leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die.

So, I'll miss my friend, his sax, the force of nature his sound was, his glory, his foolishness, his accomplishments, his face, his hands, his humor, his skin, his noise, his confusion, his power, his peace. But his love and his story, the story that he gave me, that he whispered in my ear, that he allowed me to tell... and that he gave to you... is gonna carry on. I'm no mystic, but the undertow, the mystery and power of Clarence and my friendship leads me to believe we must have stood together in other, older times, along other rivers, in other cities, in other fields, doing our modest version of god's work... work that's still unfinished. So I won't say goodbye to my brother, I'll simply say, see you in the next life, further on up the road, where we will once again pick up that work, and get it done.

Big Man, thank you for your kindness, your strength, your dedication, your work, your story. Thanks for the miracle... and for letting a little white boy slip through the side door of the Temple of Soul.

SO LADIES AND GENTLEMAN... ALWAYS LAST, BUT NEVER LEAST. LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE MASTER OF DISASTER, the BIG KAHUNA, the MAN WITH A PHD IN SAXUAL HEALING, the DUKE OF PADUCAH, the KING OF THE WORLD, LOOK OUT OBAMA! THE NEXT BLACK PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES EVEN THOUGH HE'S DEAD... YOU WISH YOU COULD BE LIKE HIM BUT YOU CAN'T! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE BIGGEST MAN YOU'VE EVER SEEN!... GIVE ME A C-L-A-R-E-N-C-E. WHAT'S THAT SPELL? CLARENCE! WHAT'S THAT SPELL? CLARENCE! WHAT'S THAT SPELL? CLARENCE! ... amen.

I'm gonna leave you today with a quote from the Big Man himself, which he shared on the plane ride home from Buffalo, the last show of the last tour. As we celebrated in the front cabin congratulating one another and telling tales of the many epic shows, rocking nights and good times we'd shared, "C" sat quietly, taking it all in, then he raised his glass, smiled and said to all gathered, "This could be the start of something big."

Love you, "C".

Posted: 5/5/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Music

  Mark Ramsey Media 

Lee Abrams says “It’s Time to Fight the Content War”

Last Friday I anchored a roundtable of industry leaders to talk about the future of radio. It was the kickoff to the All Access Worldwide Radio Summit (you can watch a replay of the webcast here).

I asked the participants to cook up some of they key themes they see on radio’s horizon. Today, with his permission, I wanted to share with you the contributions of one of those industry leaders: Lee Abrams.  Lee is a legend in radio, of course, and he is most recently Former Chief Innovation Officer of the Tribune Company and Chief Programming Officer of XM Satellite Radio.

Here’s where Lee sees radio’s present and future:

THE BIG TEN

Radio is in an undeniable position of strength in terms of accessibly, but as a fan of the medium, it has the potential for extinction in its current form. Overly dramatic maybe, but there are a lot of red flags that need to be addressed:

1. MERGERS, WALL STREET, THE ECONOMY AND ACQUISITIONS:
If you observe the radio business, the conversation is focused almost exclusively on the economic side. That’s great…this is America. But—when was the last time you heard or read about a radio content war, or a station that’s tearing up a market with a new sound. Content brilliance needs to be part of the conversation. If the excitement in radio is all about the deals, where does that leave the listener who could care less about who owns who. Death by deal is a real possibility as media’s eye is SO far off the content ball, that we simply can’t compete in the Google/Apple era. The business side is what makes it rock, but content is what makes it roll, and you need both. Deals will be done, but it’s the magic that comes out of the speakers and screens that’ll move things forward, and that needs to be the conversation every bit as much as the economics.

2. THE PLAYBOOK HASN’T BEEN UPDATED IN 40+ YEARS:
I heard a “new” Rock station recently and they presented;

–A “big voice” yelling at you about how hard they rock (that worked in 1979 when rock stations needed to re-enforce their manhood again the disco invasion….but that’s over)

–Star Wars laser sound effects complete with ‘man in the box’ filtered effect. (The Empire was destroyed in the 70′s…time to move on..if radio is “theater of the mind” I heard theater of the lame)

–Blocks, Two-fers, commercial free sets (Another relic of the 70′s. That was 30 years ago)

–Lunch. Not sure if it was a retro lunch, an electric lunch or whatever, but it was a “lunch”

–A station van. Cool in ’71 when hippies carried their pot and guitars in vans, now a soccer mom symbol that defines not cool drives a van

–DJ’s playing Free Bird. (What can POSSIBLY be said about Free Bird in this day and age?)

The station was on 70′s focus group auto pilot. We’re in the Google/Apple era but radio is in the “K108 plays more variety” era. The Simpsons and Onion parody this stuff.

Stations should install cliche buzzers—three buzzes and you’re fired. That should thwart “new” ideas like “The _____ Lunch”

Of course this station was raving about how cool they were. Embarrassing.

3. THE STARS OF RADIO:
50′s- Deejays
60′s- PD’s
70′s- Consultants
80′s- Researchers
90′s- Group Heads
00′s- Bankers

God bless bankers, but we are in a creative crisis as much as an economic one. Time to recruit, enable and inspire creative content stars, and not Talk hosts… but content creators. Radio seems to hire based on sales and operational aptitude, driving those with creative aptitude to other industries. That 19 year old creative star will probably look at TV and Radio as the last place they’d want to be. This is a problem IF media has any interest in entering the content war. We have to make our media a creative oasis for thinkers to thrive. Read a job posting from any major traditional media company. Sounds like HR hell. Then read the Apple postings. Wonder why they get the future stars?

4. BALANCE NOT BULLSHIT
It is a content war out there and Apple/Google seem to have the advantage. But Radio and TV has the eyes and ears. Without a balanced people/function configuration, you’re doomed to lose. Need STARS in;

-Business
-Revenue
-Technology
-Operations
and Creative.

I’m not talking about Morning Shows. I’m talking about creative leadership that, though actions and execution, create a creative priority that is equal to revenue priority. Working in sync to win the battle.

I recall waking into a TV station and seeing a mission statement in the lobby. It included lines account being cutting edge, innovating, leading, etc…. I asked the GSM if this was true. He smirked and said—Nope compete BS. Those statements exist throughout media. When you hear “Content is King”…run! It’s not king. Revenue is. Content drives revenue.

Speaking of Bullshit. Stop with the old school slogans. No one believes them. Like in TV News–EVERY station is “Best, First, On Your Side, In It For You, Accurate….etc….). America is too BS savvy to buy that anymore.

5. DENIAL & ARROGANCE:
You hear a lot of;

–Pandora only has 4% of listener ship. Ha Ha

–Radio is great. When a tornado hits, you don’t go to Pandora (Maybe not yet, but then again, what about the 358 non tornadic days?)

–We’re #1

STOP! If you’re talking to Agencies and Wall Street…OK. BUT—internally….STOP!

This stuff sounds like General Motors in 1980.

We are at the most dramatic crossroad in Media History and to be self congratulating ourselves with denial and arrogance is frightening. It’s NOT OK…it’s war. You gotta pull out the weapons, kill the denial and start creating content that’ll win on 21st Century terms. The denial and arrogance is deafening. It’s worse in Radio/TV than newspapers where they still think it’s 1935.

6. THE DIGITAL EXCUSE
Digital is now…and the future. Pretty obvious. But–it’s often an excuse. A short cut that undermines the REAL issue—Dated and tired 80′s rooted content. If a station is tired and dull, a new App won’t magically make it great, but that’s the thinking out there.
You constantly hear how a product is “moving forward” and entering the digital space. Well, that’s simply survival. What is being avoided like the plague is the core product…the brand itself. Fix the product first. I recall being at a newspaper and they were raving about their innovations and it was stunning. But when I asked about the printed paper, I got blank stares and a “we can’t touch that…it’s sacred” response. Same thing in radio and TV. WHAT COMES OUT OF THE SPEAKERS OR SCREEN is the problem that won’t be fixed by migrating it to online/mobile. Take TV News. It’s laughably dated with the Ultra Doppler super action weather, NORAD sets and big haired modern Ted Knight anchors. Will migrating that to Ipad save the day? Of course not. Fix the product first. Get the product in sync with 2011 before you start praying the delivery system will save you.

Then there’s “interacting” with your radio. That’s great, but not at the expense of the listening experience. Listen first…then interact. No one wants to interact with something tired and irrelevant.

7. THE SECRET CONSPIRACY
Seems there’s some secret law that says a Technology company can innovate daily. Version 2, Version 3, Upgrades, White IPhones, etc… Radio? Same playbook with new slogans. Even TV and Fashion has “New Fall Seasons”…radio is on innovation autopilot at a time when, to prosper in the Google/Apple era you need to innovate DAILY. American media is getting beaten by the Phone and Cable companies in terms of innovation. That’s wrong.

Radio has become a stagnant commodity hoping a new App will fix everything at a time when Tech companies have embraced the 21st Century. This ain’t 1975 where you plug in a format and go. It’s a new world requiring constant updating.

8. BUT WE’RE LOCAL!
No you aren’t. Well, the WGN and WLW types breathe local, but most stations are generic. When I was a kid, we’d drive from Chicago to Miami on Holiday. Indy, Louisville, Nashville, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami. Every city had stations with character. Maybe it was the Southern accents on WQXI in Atlanta or the undeniable pride that permeated every break. Make that same trip today and it’s a generic wasteland. Everyone sounds the same. Again, you’ll hear the denial. we have a local morning show…we do a blood drive every summer. Big deal. Stations should do a “local audit”…audit their sound and marketing and you’d find hundreds of missed opportunities. In Chicago, there are several billboards and outdoor vehicles, I’ve yet to see ONE that says “Chicago’s W—-”….
Incidentally, “local” can be an excuse too. We are becoming more Global by the minute. But if you commit to local…then DELIVER in EVERYTHING that you touch.

9. YOU CAN’T ABBREVIATE MAGIC
New station launches: “We have AM Drive, billboard, a tested library, some promos and an App—we’re good to go”
HUH??!! You can’t design the future until you understand the past. Look back to KHJ, KCBQ, THE LOOP, KFOG and scores of other ground breaking stations. They created a plan—completeness. Schwartzkopf style planning…a mission. Right down to how the receptionist answered the phone. Some say this/I’m old fashioned and you can’t do that today. Why? Is media so full of itself that a great game plan that REALLY reinvents is old fashioned? I’m one that believes ANY old media product can reinvent itself and kick *** in any market. Money? Imagination is free. In fact, the most passionate and gifted people are the ones you want in there, and they’re not about money. Of course media is driving them away. Winning media wars is hard. It takes emotional and managerial command. Media has to stop living in the Ad Club world and create teams that fight for brilliance…and deliver.

Todd Storz had a timeless line: “First program…then sell.”

Media is entertainment…not utility. In some cases both, but always entertainment. The environment is too cluttered to think call letters, history and an abbreviated game plan will win.

10. MEDIA & INFORMATION IS THE NEW ROCK N ROLL.
Rock and roll is arguably on life support as is music radio. It’s may not be apparent yet, but when it starts looking backwards, the best days are behind it. But that’s OK, you can learn from it and build on the NEW Rock n Roll. By Rock being dead, I mean as a driver of culture. Whereas Elvis drove culture, nowadays it’s Facebook…and News. The world is having a nervous breakdown and that’s what s moving the culture. I doubt if a new Beatles will emerge that make everything right…culture is all about media and information. BUT–The M.O. of Rock n Roll is timeless and we need Rock n Roll THINKING, regardless of format or style. The characteristics of Rock n Roll thinking include:

ECCENTRICITY…ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK
INNOVATION AS A DRIVER IN EVERYTHING YOU DO
ATTITUDE…A SPIRIT
SWAGGER…A SENSE OF CONFIDENCE
NEWNESS…THE STRUGGLE TO BE FIRST
BIG—MASS APPEAL
RE-INVENTION…A DESIRE AND MOTIVATION TO
CREATES FANS NOT “USERS”
POWERFUL…CULTURE MOVING
CHANGING…ALWAYS PUSHING FORWARD
COMPETITIVE…FIGHTING FOR SUCCESS
ARTFUL…CREATING COMMERCE THROUGH ART (ART IS NOT A BAD WORD UNLESS IT’S BAD ART)
INSTINCTIVE…NOT RELYING ON YESTERDAYS INFORMATION
REBELLIOUS…AGAIN, A FIGHTING SPIRIT
INTELLIGENT…IN A MASS APPEAL WAY
NON ELITIST…FOR THE MASSES

SUMMARY:
Get back to the roots. What a listener/viewer hears and sees from the speakers, the screens and on the streets. Stop with the excuses—Everything will be fine when the economy improves…we have a new App…We’ve been here since 1942….we’re local because our tower is here. Radio has one incredible ting going for it—Reach. Everyone has a radio. Radio and TV are in a position of strength. Just imagine if EVERYone had a Mac. Do you think Apple would call it quits? Radio and TV have, as mediums, given up the content fight at a time when THE MAGIC OF WHAT COMES OUT OF THE SCREENS AND SPEAKERS is more powerful than ANY technology
. Combined with technology, its untouchable. Time to get on war footing and start to create the magic on 2011 terms.

Lee – thanks!  You’ve been gone from radio for far too long.

More Recent Articles

Posted: 4/9/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Business

 By -- Shawn Wright

Using his background in multimedia production, Joe Gough decided to creatively address the need for getting seed funding into the hands of up-and-coming entrepreneurs. 

Gough's "Adventure Capital" is a concept for an "American Idol"-style reality television series that would follow the business launch process from the selection of the companies to a final tournament competition. Judges and the public would vote for the best early-stage company to win a $1 million prize from the sponsoring venture capital company. 

"When you put it on TV, it changes the paradigm -- hundreds of thousands of investors will see it," Gough said. "And then it gives a chance for first-adopters to see it, give good feedback and then give good word of mouth." 

Gough said it's difficult for new companies and entrepreneurs to receive seed funding to get conceptual innovation into prototype- or beta-phase programming. And once in a beta or prototype, he said, there are not adequate marketing vehicles to attract first customers and follow-on investors. 

"The idea of producing any multimedia programming around an entrepreneurial program is that Michigan investors have a tough time getting their arms around the creative realm," Gough said. "The only folks who have gotten around it are people like Josh Linkner." 

Linkner, founder and chairman of Pleasant Ridge-based ePrize Inc., is a partner in the Dan Gilbert-launchedDetroit Venture Partners LLC that has expressed serious interest in Gough's idea.

The next step for Gough's "Adventure Capital" is getting funding for the production costs. Gough has a nonprofit and radio show called "Inspire Michigan" on WDTK AM-1400. The nonprofit focuses on economic development by supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.

Posted: 3/5/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: People

April Rudin

April Rudin

CEO, The Rudin Group

Posted: February 26, 2011 06:49 PM


This is the 20th anniversary of my move from Detroit to New York City. I traveled on a one-way ticket from Detroit's Metropolitan Airport to New York's LaGuardia airport. I left behind the city that had been my home for my first 30 years. I did not look at what I was leaving behind in Detroit, but I was focused on my future in NYC.

The city of Detroit that I left behind 20 years ago was burned out and bruised, and since then, it has declined even further. Brad Anderson recently filmed a movie, "Vanishing on 7th Street," in Detroit and claimed, "If you are doing an apocalyptic movie, Detroit is the place to go. The streets are devoid of people and the vacant buildings are endless."

In fact, there are no longer traffic reports within the city of Detroit. There are simply not enough cars and people to fill the large geographic expanse that is the City of Detroit. Sadly, I read the negative press as Detroit wrestles with itself to figure out how to reinvent itself through rezoning, bringing in new industries like filmmaking and trying to figure out how to retrain its workforce. 

It was with much pride that I watched the Chrysler commercial with Eminem during the Superbowl and saw the familiar images of Detroit as they flashed across the screen. The commercial itself was lauded because of its spirit of renewal. But for me, the images of Detroit reminded me of my Motor City soul. Although it was Eminem who first made "8 Mile" widely known, for me that was simply where my grandmother lived; 8 Mile Road is the imaginary dividing line between the city of Detroit and the surrounding northern suburbs.

There were some images in the commercial that resonated with me, as they represented my Detroit-- for example, frescos from the Detroit Institute of Arts. These famous frescos were created by acclaimed artist Diego Rivera and feature images of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Edsel Ford (who commissioned the work) and William Valentiner (Director of the DIA at the time). These men were contemporaries and influential on the artistic, technological and industrial roots of Detroit. Cars define the Motor City, not because Henry Ford invented the car there but rather because he invented the method of efficient manufacturing: the assembly line. His goal was to mass-manufacture and mass-market his cars so that his workers could each drive a Ford car. Although most people know that Detroit has one of the largest Arab populations outside the Middle East, the reason is not widely known. It was Henry Ford who brought them to Detroit: because Muslims did not drink alcohol, they were more reliable as assembly line workers.

Growing up in Detroit as the daughter of a Teamster attorney, I was keenly aware of the car/industrial culture as well as the management/labor tension. The Big Three automakers (Chrysler, Ford and GM) were like big battleships, almost unstoppable and unable to easily change course. They were strong and mighty. During the MidEast oil crisis of the '70s, each of the Big Three automotive companies had two parking lots for their vendors: a near parking lot for those driving American cars, and a far parking lot for those driving foreign cars. The first car that I had was a Plymouth Duster with an awesome stereo and eight-track tape player. This is my Detroit!

Another important part of Detroit is the African-American cultural imprint. Detroit was the last stop on the Underground Railroad -- the escape route for slaves during the Civil War -- before Canada. Many African Americans stayed in Detroit without ever crossing over to the border (the only place where the U.S. is north of Canada.) The Fist of Detroit, "Brown Bomber" Joe Louis's fist, was shown during the commercial. Downtown Detroit is also home to the Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings play hockey. Another important image in the Chrysler commercial showed a gospel choir, central to the culture in Detroit, from which Motown music was an outgrowth. Aretha Franklin was the daughter of a preacher. Many Motown artists grew up attending large churches with active choirs and were influenced by the music they heard. The original home of Motown Records, "Hitsville USA," was also located downtown, near Wayne State campus. I would drive by it almost every day in my car with my Motown music blaring. The soundtrack of my Detroit years is a combination of Motown music including Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, and others. But I also listened to the music of homegrown Detroit rock-and-roll artists like Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder, Ted Nugent and Grand Funk Railroad. This is my Detroit!

There is also the food of Detroit -- the longtime rivalry of the next-door Coney Island restaurants: hot dogs with "skin" slathered in "loose" chili, onions and mustard. American Coney Island and Layfayette Coney Island battle today for the top dog and "loose" hamburger (chili in a hamburger bun). In Detroit's Greektown, you can yell "oompah" to saganaki -- cheese grilled in brandy and lit on fire! If you are thirsty, there is the famous "pop" (soda) of Detroit -- Vernors Ginger Ale (the oldest soft drink brand in America) and Faygo Red Pop. Or even drink a Stroh's beer. Also, pizza is a Detroit staple, with two successful chains beginning there: Little Caesar's and Domino's.

Fondly, I remember going to Sander's, which was an old-fashioned fountain shop, when I was growing up. Typically, they served water in paper cones that fit into the tin bottoms. Sander's was famous for their hot fudge cream puff. It's a pastry filled with cold vanilla ice cream and hot Sanders fudge poured on top (mmm...). And I almost forgot Sander's bumpy cake -- chocolate cake and frosting with "bumps" of buttercream between the frosting and cake!

While I was growing up in Detroit, fall meant going to the cider mills for freshly squeezed apple cider and piping-hot greasy donuts. You could smell the apples a mile away! Hudson's (now Macy's) was my favorite destination for shopping and lunch. Usually on Saturdays, we would go to Northland Mall, the first mall in the country and the location of my first job. We would go to Hudson's for their famous Maurice Salad, with its creamy dressing, slivered pickles and turkey. It was often imitated but never duplicated. And then there was the classic Detroit/Chinese dish: almond boneless chicken. I have never seen it served anywhere else except Detroit. This is my Detroit!

I could go on and on, but here is a random list of things that I think of in my Detroit: Ambassador Bridge to Canada, going Up North, water skiing on the lakes, the Detroit Zoo, Greenfield Village, ice-fishing in a shanty, tobogganing and sledding, Bob-Lo Island, Tiger baseball and the 1968 World Series, the Detroit Pistons, cruising Woodward Avenue in the summer with the windows down and the music blaring, Hudson's Thanksgiving Parade, Freedom Festival fireworks, summer nights at Pine Knob open air music theater, Pontiac Trans-Am, the "mile" roads, short humid summers and long snowy winters. This is my Detroit!

For 20 years now, I have been living, working and raising my own children in metropolitan NYC. I have never much thought of myself as an "ex-pat" or what it meant to leave Detroit -- until now. There was something about seeing that commercial that triggered a flood of great memories and nostalgia for my Detroit. I realize that my Detroit lives on in my memory and that the future city will be a newfangled version of what I remember, perhaps even unrecognizable to a former hometown girl. Although they can change the physical borders and the types of industries that support the state, I think that the soul of Detroit will remain.

Cue the Temptations' "I'll Be Doggone" and bring on the Coneys! Let's sit back and watch Detroit, like its own Tiger baseball team, come roaring back.

 

Follow April Rudin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/aprilsadventur

Posted: 2/25/2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 2 Likes
Category: Movies

Dear Senator Beida, I support the Michigan Film Tax Credit because it puts people to work... film and music people, Michigan Electricians and Carpenters, and others... immediately. Also it supports Michigan Hardware stores, Lumber Yards, Rental Cars, Catering Businesses, and other businesses that hire employees that pay taxes as they earn money. 

No other industry has brought work into our state this quickly. The tax credit only applies to money spent on hiring Michigan citizens and Michigan services and the Film Incentives bring jobs into our state...and maybe more importantly can help keep the creative and entrepreneurial skilled young people from moving away like they have over the last 50+ years.
 
I am a partner in the Harmonie Park Media Group in Downtown Detroit. We have 3 major film projects on the table with a group out of the UK, Dream On Productions. They are planning to spend their collective budgets of 50+ million dollars here in Michigan. One is a movie about Northern Soul and how Motown influenced the people of the UK, one another involves one of the biggest POP stars on the planet, and the other will feature the music of former Michigander and Hall of Famer Alice Cooper and others...who will all have to come to Detroit to record...which they all are excited to do.
 
After the Dream On Production team visited us and met the talented people that could help make their movies, they were blown away by how strong our infrastructure has become in a short time. They never expected to meet so many talented and accommodating people. Dream On Productions also wants to set up an office in Harmonie Park for the next 3 years, maybe more, and staff it with their employees to help work on these projects and to also bring more projects here.
 
All of this has come to a screeching halt because of the Governor's speech last week. We are devastated because the Film office has said they are currently operating under what the Governor has proposed even before their is a vote...not good.
 
We have just started to make some great strides working with Film Industry people and this could cripple us and potentially crush the future growth of our business.
 
We hope, Senator Levin, that you will seriously consider leaving these incentives in place and discussing modifications with the people here that have led the charge for the Incentive, Mitch Albom, Jeff Daniels, Mike Binder, Emery King and others. These are highly respected and bright leaders in our business and I trust between all of you that the right compromise can be reached.
 
I would like to know where you stand on this so please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience...email brian@harmoniepark.com or call me on my cell...xxx.xxx.xxxx
 
Harmonie Park is involved in some incredible music and new media initiatives.
Check out www.udetroit.com 
UDetroit ... Bringing the Best of Detroit & Michigan Together!
I believe the Film Incentives can do this is as good or better than any new industry coming to our State!
 
Look forward to hearing from you,
Kindest Regards,
Brian Pastoria
 
Partner - Harmonie Park Media Group
1427 Randolph
Detroit, MI 48226
 
Posted: 2/19/2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 1 Likes
Category: Movies

 As a devoted member of Michigan's film industry

You are cordially invited to attend

A FILM INDUSTRY TOWN MEETING

 

An organizational and informational event to most effectively communicate to Michigan's legislators, governor and voting public why the film incentive program (among other issues), should be preserved.

                          WHEN:         Thursday, February 24, 7:30pm

WHERE:       Maxsar Studios
                                               
38099 Schoolcraft Rd. (east of I-275, on south side of I-96 freeway)
                     Livonia, MI  48150

Featured Speakers:  
Mitch Albom, Free Press Columnist
Mike Binder, filmmaker and Michigan native
Andy Meisner, Oakland County Treasurer, and former State Rep.
Philippe Martinez, Maxsar Studios CEO
Emery King and Jim Burnstein, Chair and Vice-Chair, MFO Advisory Council
Ken Droz, Consultant and former MFO Communications Mgr.
Others to be announced.

Provided will be various evidence and informational points, legislators' names and contact info, and strategic methods on conveying the most effective message possible, for legislative officials and districts statewide.

Hosted by Mitch Albom, Kenneth Droz Consulting and Maxsar Digital Studios
Open to the press and general public. 

All Facebook postings are welcome and encouraged. 
It's time to "Go Egypt."


Questions or concerns:  Please direct to
KendrozConsulting@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you.

Kenneth Droz Consulting
KenDrozConsulting@gmail.com
323.854.6858

Posted: 2/17/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Entertainment

 Mark Ramsey Media

 

What’s the difference between an audience and a “community”?

As David Siteman Garland puts it in his book Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business:

A community is not an audience.  An audience passively listens, watches, or reads.  A community interacts, questions, challenges.

An audience is one-way, not interactive or social.  An audience doesn’t participate or share with others.

A community, on the other hand, is a two-way conversation – a living, breathing thing.  Extremely interactive, social.

The biggest problem broadcasters have with their digital assets is that they view these assets as extensions of radio brands which function in a similar fashion.  That is, they mistakenly think the purpose of their digital assets is to attract an audience.

While that will be one purpose it should not be the only one or even the most important one.

But doesn’t it then make sense that page views and uniques are easily the most common metrics used to bonus the performance of radio program directors?  They are being incentivized not to build community but to draw a passive one-way audience!

No wonder it’s not working.  No wonder there’s no community.

This explains why we “push” audiences to the website – because the site is incapable of “pulling” them.

This explains why we have “databases” of listeners rather than “communities” of fans.

This explains why there’s so little opportunity to comment and share station content on our sites – and why so little of it is worth commenting about and sharing with others.

This explains why the average station hasn’t even bothered to create a Facebook landing page aimed at motivating “likes” (i.e., ongoing relationships).

This explains why our “email blasts” are impersonal and contest-oriented (when they’re not client-oriented) rather than value-oriented.

This explains why almost no station connects with Facebook such that I can experience your content with my friends and react to it and share it along with them.

That explains why joining a station “club” is something so few listeners care to do.  Check out this “why you should join” description from a real radio station site – a major group in a fairly large market:

Thank you for your interest in becoming a member. By registering with us, you can…

sign up to receive our members-only newsletters

enter online contests quickly and easily

enjoy other products and features we’ll make available over time

You can almost hear the collective ho-hum from here, can’t you?

Are there exceptions to all this?  Are there stations which “get it”?  You bet there are.  And the list will be growing in 2011.

But broadcasters need to wrap their heads around this notion:  Web “traffic” means people.  People coming to you because they want to – because there are reasons for them to come and come back – not because they have been “forced” to by your considerable on-air assets.  They come to interact and engage.  They come to share.

Not simply to passively consume what little content you post.  Not to see the umpteenth weather forecast or movie listings online.  Not to dodge countless banner ads which in too many cases outnumber the “content” they wrap around.

Before you monetize you must be worth monetizing.

And while you build an audience you must also build a community.

(For more trends that matter and ideas on how to do your job better, “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter)

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Posted: 2/9/2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 1 Likes
Category: Entertainment

To me, the horrific part of Christina Aguilera's rendition of the National Anthem -- and "rendition" is an apt term for it, because she kidnapped the song and shipped it out to be tortured -- was not her mangling of the words, but her mangling of the tune itself: to paraphrase the great Chuck Berry, she "lost the beauty (such as it is) of the melody until it sounds just like a (godawful) symphony."

This is the same grotesque style -- 17 different notes for every vocal syllable -- that has so dominated the pop and R&B charts for years. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston are relatively minor offenders, but singers like Aguilera -- who admittedly possesses a great instrument -- just don't seem to know when to stop, turning each song into an Olympic sport as they drain it of its implicit soul, as if running through the entire scale on every single word was somehow a token of sincerity.

It's called melisma -- the bending of syllables for bluesy or soulful effect -- and what's creepy about the way it's used now is that it perverts America's true genius for song, as evinced by its creators in the world of gospel and R&B, like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.

You will hear more of this tonsil-twisting insincerity -- to your eternal sorrow -- if you watch any episode of American Idol.

The great Jerry Wexler -- who produced both Ray and Aretha -- coined a great term for it: "oversouling." He described it as "the gratuitous and confected melisma" that hollows out a song and drains it of meaning. Wexler, who knew more about soul than any producer before or since, said:

"Time and again I have found that flagrantly artificial attempts at melisma are either a substitute for real fire and passion or a cover-up for not knowing the melody... Please, learn the song first, and then sing it from the heart."

And Christina, he wasn't referring to the words.

POSTSCRIPT: I was lucky enough to know Wexler a bit, near the end of his life, and I can hear his raspy, streetwise voice in my ear, insisting I clarify his point: the problem is not Melisma--which I believe is also the name of Joan Rivers' daughter--it's Oversouling. It's like those corny educational films I saw in grade-school: "Fire can be our greatest friend...or our worst enemy!" The same goes for melisma. Without melisma, no Ray or Aretha, and also no Sam Cooke, no Waylon Jennings, no B.B. King, no Charlie Parker. It's rare for a singer or instrumentalist to disdain melisma completely; Miles Davis and Merle Haggard come to mind, but even they employ it, sparingly, at times. The nightmares begin when--as several posters have wisely pointed out--singers practice Melisma Abuse in order to draw attention to themselves and away from the song. Then it becomes, as Jerry Wexler said, that "gratuitous and confected melisma" that has driven so many of us to the point of shrieking, Aguilera-style, in despair.

John Eskow

 
 
Screenwriter, Journalist

Posted: 2/6/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Music

 

 

 

 

I'd like to say they were terrible, unwatchable, the end of the world as we know it.

But they were not.

They were a representation of America...yesterday.

Have you noticed the new BEP album has stiffed?  That none of the singles has broken through?  Live by the hit, die by the hit.

But I want to give the NFL credit, for imparting the kiss of death upon musical acts.  If you perform at the Super Bowl, you're now over.

Oh, don't tell me about U2 and Prince.  The former was ten years ago and Prince has always functioned in his own sphere.  But if you're part of the hit parade, once you appear on the Super Bowl, you're toast.

I will say the BEP were better than the Who.  The Who were just sad.  Like Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium.  Once upon a time they were great, now it's just creepy.

But classic rock is dead.

And the Peas are dead too.  Because once the mainstream endorses you, you're toast.  Especially in an era where Facebook is more important than the "New York Times".

Don't expect the NFL to be cutting edge.  That's not their job.  They don't even want excitement.  Did you see that penalty for excessive celebration?  No man is bigger than the game.  But a great musical act is bigger than radio, bigger than the middlemen, the gatekeepers who are more about money than music.

Great production.  Come on, those green lights and the hearts in red?  It was a modern day version of a marching band.

Did you see the moves?  It's not like those lame rock stars of yore who practiced their instruments!  Now you've got to dance, you've got to move.

Wait a minute, that was ten years ago on MTV...

The BEP were entertainment.  They were watchable.  They fit the bill.

But music, when done right, is cutting edge.  It's about questioning the status quo.  Which is how we know Springsteen and the Who and Petty were done when they were complicit with the NFL.  After all, they've got to sell tickets.  To all those old farts who remember the old hits and the young 'uns who want to see you before you die.

Wave goodbye to the Black Eyed Peas.  Bye-bye!  Fergie will have a solo career, with more peaks than Slash's.  Will.i.am will always find a gig and I'd say the other two would be forgotten, but they were never known.

Don't go for the victory lap.  It's hollow.  In an era where there's no mainstream, why go for mainstream acknowledgement?

We're on the cusp of musical breakthroughs unseen since the late sixties.  Everything's up for grabs.  You're gonna be wowed, you're gonna be moved by artists doing it their own way, following their own path, not worried about mainstream acknowledgement.

And this new music is going to rain down money.  And these outside stars will be revered.  Because instead of playing along, they threw out the rule book and started over.

Football is all about the rules.

Music is not.

I hope you enjoyed the spectacle.  I did.

But it was meaningless.

And when done right, music means everything in the world.

Posted: 2/5/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Music

 set music free

Forget About Buying Music Online -- People Don't Even Want To STEAL Music

Matt Rosoff, provided by

Friday, February 4, 2011


 

Music piracy used to be a big deal, but nowadays most pirates don't even bother.

Envisional, which helps companies prevent brand fraud, counterfeiting, and piracy, was recently commissioned by NBC Universal to look at the use of copyrighted material on the Internet.

The company looked at 10,000 files managed by the PublicBT BitTorrent tracker, and found that only 2.9% of them were music. That's way behind porn videos (35.8%), feature films (35.2%), and TV shows (12.7%). Even generic non-gaming software sparked more interest, with 4.2% of all pirated files.

In other words, people most don't care about music enough to pirate it. Although at least music came in ahead of anime.

The decline in music piracy is partly because iTunes did a lot to make digital music easy, removing one incentive to use file-sharing services like Napster (in the old days) and LimeWire (more recently). There's no question that iTunes moves a lot of music: it sold 5 billion songs just between June 2008and February 2010, and the Beatles sold more than five million songs through the service in less than two months.

Then again, the Beatles haven't made a new recording in more than 40 years. Who else is selling millions of downloads per month?

Here's another way of looking at it: maybe the CD declines of the last few years have nothing to do with piracy or the move to digital. Maybe recorded music is going the way of sheet music in the early 20th century.

The 56-page PDF of the full study is available here.

piracy by file type

Join the conversation about this story »


Posted: 2/5/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Music

 

 

 

 
Now THAT was interesting.

So I'm at Q Prime, back in October, and I'm checking my e-mail and I get a message from a guy who says he's Lady GaGa's manager.  Off the top of my head, I don't know who Lady GaGa's manager is, so I ask Peter Mensch for confirmation of the relationship and when he says it's solid I dial the number in the e-mail and speak with Troy Carter.  Who asks me if I'll come speak to his troops.

Today was the day.  At Soho House.  In West Hollywood.  On the cusp of Beverly Hills.  About twenty people, around a long slim table.

Funny, there was no attitude.  No malaise.  Just eagerness and attentiveness.

Troy asked questions.

And his team did too.

But the most fascinating interlude was when the tables turned, when I got Troy's story.

Son of a single mother.  From Philadelphia.  Came up with DJ Jazzy Smith and the Fresh Prince.  Even to Bel Air with Will Smith.

Or, what did Bob Dylan once so famously sing, "when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose"?

That's what fascinating about the entertainment business.  There's no admission requirement, no basic curriculum you complete to get in.  And if you think music business college is gonna get you to the top, you're sorely mistaken.  Entrepreneurs are born, not made.  Or to put it more accurately, it's who you are, not what you own or who your daddy is or where you went to school that matters.  Can you think on your feet?  Can you make things happen?

Steve Jobs dropped out of college.

If you want to steer the corporation, you can get an MBA and work your way up the ranks.  But if you want to invent something brand new, you've got to go your own way and take the hits.  A path many pay lip service to but few ultimately journey forward upon.  Because they're just too damned scared.  Not only is it easier to go to law school, but it's also easier to make a deal with the devil, the major label, then it's THEIR problem.  But you're only successful if it's YOUR PROBLEM!

And believe me, Lady GaGa's issues, her career, her direction, as well as Greyson Chance's, are Troy Carter's problems.

Now you can get a toehold if you've got a famous dad.  And there's always someone in Hollywood ready to take your money if you're rich.  But if you want to make it forever, you've got to be smart.  Really smart.  David Geffen smart.  Irving Azoff smart.

I was impressed how smart Troy Carter is.

So he ends up going to work for Puffy.  When Sean Combs was still using that moniker.  What did he do?  EVERYTHING!  Take out the trash, open the mail.  Too many people are too big to do the little things, and they get left behind.

Then he promoted shows in Philadelphia.  And made a deal with Sanctuary.  And then the English company ran out of money and Troy was out on the street.

That's when he connected with GaGa.

He got her when nobody wanted her.  When she'd been dropped from Def Jam.  Troy got her a new deal with Interscope.  And then...

We talked about Justin Bieber.

It's an interesting question.  Do you plan for the long haul?  IS THERE A LONG HAUL?

I don't think so.  Justin's voice is gonna change.  And he didn't write the songs.  GaGa wrote the songs.  It bonded her to her audience.  She blew up.  Now?

This is where it gets really interesting, truly fascinating.  Troy told me how he was going to launch the new album.

Unfortunately, it was off the record.  But you'll see.  It won't be long.

But I'll tell you this.  His goal is to sell 30 million albums.  Maybe 40 million.

Don't laugh.  That's the power of the Internet.  You can reach everybody.  Shouldn't everybody be up for buying your music?

That's what we've got in the world today.  Winners and losers.  And not much in between.  But if you're a winner, what's the limit?

Laugh at the number ones on the SoundScan chart.  Amos Lee is never going to be a household word.  And neither is that Christian rock band that's supposed to enter at number one next week.  But GaGa is already a household name.  If Verizon can break sales records in two hours with the iPhone (
http://on.wsj.com/igBH89), shouldn't this mania be able to translate to a musical act?

But what's the price?

Troy is an advocate of lowering the price.  To get everybody in.  That's the future of music.  Low-priced subscriptions that EVERYBODY buys.  Instead of pooh-poohing this, look at the cell phone industry.  Where handsets used to be a grand and calls were a buck a minute.  Who needed a cell phone?  Wasn't that for Maxwell Smart?  Turns out EVERYBODY needs a cell phone, and what it does...you couldn't have even conceived of five years ago.

So how do you get everybody to buy those records...

Not via the radio, not at first.  You'd think that radio would be jumping to air new product.  But radio is now last.  But Troy believes that without radio the project doesn't scale.  And believe me, he's interested in projects that scale.  He rejects nine out of ten acts that come to him for management.

First it's about the music.  If you know you've got a hit, you've got to stick with it.  Could take an entire year for the track to become ubiquitous, for radio to finally go on it.  Don't get discouraged, don't change singles, either believe in your cut or don't put it out.

And you look for stickiness online.  And then pounce.

Are people watching the video?  Then instantly go on Twitter and Facebook, start a dialogue, promise to follow the first 20,000 people who follow you.

So GaGa's in a meeting with Steve Jobs...

That's right.  Money can't buy you love.  Not even fame.  But artistry?  Everyone wants to be involved with artists, because of the elusive charisma and the fanatical fan base.  The doors come open.  You've got access.

And the key is not to suck up to the bankers, but to manipulate them to your advantage.

Anyway, Steve shows GaGa....

I don't want to tell tales out of school.  But Jobs shows GaGa the latest Apple creation and GaGa says it sucks.  Steve didn't like this, he argued.  But that's what being a rock star truly is.  Being honest. Using your power to say what you think, playing to the audience as opposed to the middleman.

That's what we love.  Unfiltered truth.  Gimme some truth.

So far, GaGa's been right about that Apple product.

Stick to your guns.

Because of Lady GaGa's success, because of the rabidity of her fan base, doors have opened across the business landscape.  She can get a meeting with anyone.  Everybody wants to be in business with her.

And it's not about saying yes, but partnering with these enterprises to your greatest advantage.

At some point in the future we'll have acts that sell the equivalent of thirty million records.  Will GaGa be the first?  She's trying.  Maybe.

You've got to think big.  You can't worry about Wal-Mart and the old powers, you've got to enter the new world and figure out how to play by the new rules.

Troy Carter impressed me.  It wasn't about winning through intimidation, but leading with the best music and then running that ball to the goal line.

We live in an exciting era where everything's up for grabs.  If you're doing it the old way, you're destined for the scrapheap.

I believe new players will triumph over so many of the old.

But I also believe Malcolm Gladwell had it right.  That the 10,000 hours make a difference.  He with the most experience who's willing to take chances, who is not wedded to the past, will win.

Don't decry Spotify, e-mail Shak and get hooked up.

Tweet, social network, sign up for Groupon.

How can you succeed if you're not familiar with the tools?

Music doesn't change.  When done right, nothing means more.  How do you get the great music to the public?  How do you inform and infect them?  That's the question.

Posted: 2/2/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Music


 

 

 This is not a music story.

We haven't had that spirit here since 1969.  Since the conglomerates bought the indie labels.  Because there was so much damn MONEY IN MUSIC!

But no more.  Whose fault is that?

Don't blame the consumer.  Don't say Apple wouldn't be successful if people stole their products.  At least people want Apple's products!  Ha!

If you don't think that the Internet is the best thing that ever happened to music you don't have a connection.  Suddenly, the history of music is available at your fingertips.  And it's only free because the rights holders refuse to embrace a model that comports with consumption.  It's like Verizon insisting everybody keep their landline and demanding that people still pay a grand for a cell phone and a buck a minute for calls.  I thought music was about innovation and change.  Not at the label level.  Then again, the execs never made the music anyway.  It was concocted by a bunch of uncontrollable renegades following their muse, not the money.  And now the execs are in charge and the "artists" will do whatever they say.  The public has revolted.  There was no violence, but they destroyed Tower Records, decimated the CD and the major labels' bottom line.  And for this we should be thankful.  Because you can't have the new unless you get rid of the old.  In other words, how in the hell are we going to have innovation if Doug Morris is still in charge?

Ignore the hype.  Citi is not in the business of holding on to assets.  And they're not ignorant, unlike Vivendi.  They want to sell.  At the highest price.  And you don't get the highest price by saying you want to unload immediately.  That's Negotiation 101.

And there are only two buyers.  No independent is that ignorant after Guy Hands's disaster.  You need expertise to manage a music company.  Which is one of the reasons Roger Faxon will go.  Whatever expertise he has is in publishing.  As for Warner keeping him on...  They don't want a cock in the henhouse, they don't want anybody agitating for change.  Edgar and Lyor are old school.  Devious with a lack of transparency.  They don't want the likes of Roger in the vicinity of their cash cow.  Roger's gone if Warner buys EMI Publishing, which it probably will.  After all, what's a record company without a publishing company?

Bertelsmann realized this.  Which is not only why they sold their record company to Sony, but they want back in.  Without the label.

Who'd want a label?  The glamour is in new music, but that's a terrible business.  You invest tons for a meager return.  One in ten projects hits and you make a tenth of what you once did?  Who'd sign up for that?  If I ran any of these companies I'd shut new music down.  The value is in the catalog.

Which is what Warner knows.  They want to get their hands on the Beatles and the Beach Boys and...  No one exploits this stuff better than Warner.  Universal is all about new product.  Thank god Doug is gone, he had it all wrong.  We'll see if Lucian can correct this.  Maximize what you've already got.

So Warner can't have both publishing companies.  IMPALA will freak out and hold up the merger.  But they can probably have one. And EMI is better than theirs, Warner/Chappell.  So they sell Warner-Chappell to KKR/Bertelsmann.

Let's say I've got this all wrong.  Let's say Warner sells everything to KKR and cashes out.  Who gives a ****.  Bottom line, there's going to be one less major label.  And don't lament that you won't have anywhere to sell your crap music, think about the opportunity!  EMI is going down not because of bad management, not that management was that good, but because it's a bad business.  Why should we sustain bad businesses?  The newspaper does not deserve to live.  News does, but not the paper.

We're cleaning out the dead wood for the revolution.  And in the new era it might not be about recorded music, but touring and merch and...  And this revolution is about acts being in charge of their own destinies.  Wilco just went independent.  They looked at each other and said WHY SHOULD WE GIVE WARNER ALL THAT MONEY!  Wilco sells their music, not the label.  The label can just get you on TV and radio, and neither wants Wilco.

And OK Go generates plenty of revenue with licensing.  Enough to feed a bunch of mouths.  But not all those at EMI.  You see bands don't throw off enough money to support the old scale.  There will always be a few superstars, but not many.  And those superstars will want to do it for themselves, in their own vision.

So if you're looking for a mommy or daddy to suck up to...  Those days are through.  You've been emancipated, you're on your own, sink or swim on your talent and ingenuity.

This is a business story.  How a financier was so dumb he thought he could run a creative enterprise when he didn't even know its value.  How a bank ended up with tons of debt when it couldn't find anybody to sell it to when the market crashed.  Write this up in "Fortune", but it's not suitable for "Billboard".  Is "Billboard" still in business?



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