recognizing Arthur C. Clarke’s third law

Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

The stars belong to everyone

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moby-waitforme-cover-webMoby sent an email to Bob Lefsetz regarding his new album Wait for Me [lala link]. In it, the recording artist shared the news that his album would be No. 1 in Europe if it weren’t for Michael Jackson. But then he said it was funny that the best-selling iTunes track is Shot in the Back of the Head.

To quote Moby’s email: “Why is that funny? Because it’s the track we’ve been giving away for free for the last 2 months and that we’re still giving away for free.” (Here, among other places.)

Having an official video by David Lynch certainly helped, but the iTunes sales are an excellent example of the famous bottled water analogy: even when something is available free, people will pay to get it in a manner that suits how they wish to acquire and use it.

(Title lyric by Brown, Henderson and DeSylva via Frank Sinatra.)


Written by chris

July 5, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Posted in copyright, marketing, music

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We played our songs and felt the London sky

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PlaceboThe iTunes Festival is underway in the UK, marking the third anniversary of this month-long music event. Among the artists performing throughout July at Camden’s Roundhouse are Oasis, Snow Patrol, Franz Ferdinand, Kasabian, the Saturdays, Flo Rida, Bat For Lashes, Jack Peñate, Paolo Nutini, Noisettes, Peter Bjorn and John, Bloc Party, Simple Minds, Madeleine Peyroux and many more.

And did I mention tickets were free? There are also free weekly downloads: this week it’s Placebo’s For What It’s Worth from here (valid in the UK only).

Each performance will be recorded and available to download on iTunes, so it’s not like Apple will lose money on the project. But that doesn’t devalue the fact that this is a laudable and innovative way to reach music fans.

(Title lyric by David Bowie.)

Written by chris

July 4, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Posted in marketing, music

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Who will dance on the floor in the round

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Moonwalk Richard LarteyOne of the events honoring Michael Jackson provides a test for judging who “gets” Web 2.0. Basically, any entertainment executive who doesn’t understand why the Liverpool Street moonwalk flash mob was wonderful should hire someone who does.

Here’s what happened. The Prince of Pop died Thursday afternoon here in Los Angeles. The brilliant Rob Manuel, 8 hours ahead in London, woke up to the news and Twittered that a tribute flash mob would be fun. By 6 pm London time, Milo Yiannopoulos had  leveraged the power of social networking into having many hundreds of otherwise unaffiliated people gather to dance (or at least happily mill about – see picture) to Billie Jean at one of London’s busiest commuter rail stations.

(Title lyric by Michael Jackson. Image borrowed from here.)

Written by chris

June 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

I could really go for a cup of coffee

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Sum41_01As the music industry continues to grope its way into the future, Denny’s restaurants have unveiled a marketing campaign that links its 24-hour comfort food to four extremely popular recording artists. Starting June 23, its new Rockstar Menu will offer substantial dishes named after Rascal Flatts, Gym Class Heroes, Sum 41 (pictured) and Good Charlotte.

I suppose the campaign is reminiscent of the Stage Deli naming sandwiches after its better-known customers.  But it still seems unlikely that a fan would ever walk in and see one of these guys eating his eponymous Denny’s meal.

(Title lyric from Katy Perry.)

Written by chris

June 15, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Music of the future and music of the past

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songkickSongkick launched as a social network-enhanced site to buy concert tickets. Since then, however, it has been adding a lovingly compiled and growing database of all things related to live music. Wired calls it a crowdsourced concert scrapbook, which is a pretty good description.

Users can add entire concerts in addition to fleshing out their online collection of shows by uploading  photos, videos, scans of setlists, ticket stubs and flyers, their own original reviews, links to professional reviews and other elements.

It requires a download and – in these early days – the UK is disproportionally represented. But it’s already fun to browse around, and users already are jockeying for bragging rights based on quantity and exclusivity.

The oldest concert entry I could find was 12 July 1962, the Rolling Stones at the Marquee Club in London. Then I did what everyone else will do and tried to stump it by searching for obscure bands and venues. That’s kinda easy to do – especially because people enter their own metadata, so places turn up with multiple name variants – but that will change as users fill in the gaps.

Information about upcoming concerts is gathered from 29 ticketing agencies, so it has a strategy for completeness going forward. You can also have it scan the music on your computer so it can track those artists for you, in addition to tracking whichever other criteria you indicate. Then Songkick will send you alerts and updates as you specify, along with networking all this data among your Songkick friends. Integration with Facebook and MySpace is in the works.

(Title lyric by John Miles.)

Written by chris

June 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Internet, marketing, music

We who are not as others

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prototype-boxAdvertising can be entertaining and personally meaningful when it’s done well. Adverblog has a bit about the Prototype Experience, a site created by Belgian agency One Million Dollars that functions both as an ad and as a trailer.

It asks that you enter your Facebook login, then proceeds to creep you out by integrating key elements of what it scrapes from your profile into scenes from the game’s urban dystopia. The result is so personalized that you’re immediately drawn into the world developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Activision.

This is a good example of how to use personal data. It asks permission first, and it offers something in return. It’s also extremely relevant to the product, in this case a game that toys with notions of identity and physical realities.

Prototype also has a related comic book from DC Comics: written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; art and cover by Darick Robertson and Matt Jacobs; with a variant cover by Jim Lee.

(Title lyric from Sepultura.)

Written by chris

June 11, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Posted in Games, marketing

We put this festival on, you bastards, with a lot of love

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marilyn mansonThe weather looks characteristically rainy for this weekend’s Download Festival at Donington Park in England. But this year I’ll be watching on the free 24-hour live video stream – it’s back, having not been offered last year. Live Nation says all of the main stage acts have signed the requisite clearances, and Kerrang will be chiming in with interviews and other bits. There’s also blogging, Twitter feeds and additional digital stuff, both for those in slogging through the mud and those enjoying it from the comfort of their home.

The lineup includes Marilyn Manson, Faith No More, Def Leppard, Slipknot, Chris Cornell ,Limp Bizkit, ZZ Top, and many, many others.
(Title lyric from Oasis.)

Written by chris

June 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm