Author: jblogg (page 4 of 10)


The new Jay Z and Kanye album “Watch The Throne” was a mega event that launched as an itunes exclusive. How did the exclusive iTunes window on a release this big translate to a world where spotify has real traction? If you were a subscriber of streaming services like Spotify or Rdio, at a minimum, it was an inconvenience, at worst you missed it. Most of that major media, blog and radio promo was wasted on me. Hearing an anticipated release after months of build up, the moment it hits the world, together with other fans – that’s part of the magic!

But when Tuesday came, it was all not enough to pay $9.99. I thought about it seriously. After dealing with the anxiety of unsatisfied demand by complaining on twitter, I received a nice surprise when @rdio tweeted back that Watch the Throne would be available for streaming on Friday! These guys are on it! I’d wait.

But it wasn’t until Sunday that I even remembered to go back and listen. The massive hype died down, and when I finally did listen, it was somewhat of a let down. The air was taken out of the event and I didn’t want it nearly as much as I did on Tuesday. By Friday, I was distracted by new and more urgent listening demands.

It took this decision point, a record I really wanted that was outside of my ecosystem, to take note of how subscription now has me locked in!

First, if your not coming to me, I’m waiting, not buying unless I positively have to, and definitely not if i haven’t heard it first. This is new for me. The cloud ecosystem is no longer an adjunct to my itunes library, it has it grip on me fully. Remember every second I’m listening, your competing against every album ever for my attention!

The second thing I noticed was “Watch the Throne” wasn’t urgently in in my social feeds. Social itunes links aren’t connected as deep to my facebook or twitter, and buy links don’t drive me to click. Thus per facebook SEO, I probably see less from people who use itunes links to share in my feed vs streaming links which generate my participation. So many friends I look to for guidance on what music gets my attention also rely on subscription playlists and streams. If they’re not getting it, I’m not getting it pushed.

I get the reasoning behind the release strategy. I certainly don’t feel that 9 bucks for an album is a ripoff. I also get from my experience that the monetization is just not the same yet. With a once in a life time event, why take a chance and leave recorded music revenue on the table? Id have to listen to Watch The Throne probably hundreds of times from start to finish to generate the same revenue. To date Ive listened to the whole thing twice, and then a few songs 5 or 6 times. Just a year ago, I’d have bought it first day. How many people have learned they can live without? Piracy drove the first wave of music fans creating huge digital music libraries and access to everything instantly. It was easy to downplay the emerging ADD nature of music for because it wasn’t based on a legal model.

Growth of services like Spotify are now pushing fans into a legal musical wonderland. But now it’s harder to pay attention to any one release. Supporting both huge top-line releases and subscription is hard. However ignoring one for the other is something we’re just starting to understand, and I don’t think that tactic can last for long.

— note – i am also hearing that the sound quality of Watch The Throne is BETTER on spotify than on itunes? Please leave a comment if youve heard both!


Latest news in QR codes this week, and i don’t think I need to write much more.

Of the 14 million mobile phone users who scanned QR codes in June 2011, a full 60 percent were male.

Great article giving you more stats:

And for a nice info graphic on how the people that use them, use them, from a site that shares my thinking:

Ahh the ever lasting QR code debate… I used to have a poll here that tallied up thousands of votes around QR codes, with the overwhelming response that QR codes are completely over rated, because most people still don’t have a reader. It’s still a hot topic here in the office, so it was great to find this infographic on them, created by the guys at Lab42.


QR codes capture a lot of attention and press. Why? I’ve had a lot of experience with them, and it seems consumer adoptions is still relatively low. The tech behind qr codes is simple, they are not driving significant revenue, and they really just point you somewhere. But perhaps I need to take my business hat off and look at this from an open source innovation perspective! Time and time again, it’s what you do with it that counts. Maybe it’s the fact that QR codes are an easy standard to get your head around and innovate with? Something about them seems to capture peoples imagination, and there seems to be profound curiosity with hacking this interface into our phones to create neat things. Not completely useless though, because its hard to not find some joy in this – art meets mobile tech! Enjoy!


All You Need to Know. Time Saver: this review is for the more experienced streaming music user, familar with the basics of a subscription streaming service. I’m a long time user of Rhapsody (not currently) Rdio (my main service) and MOG.

Free service is usable, probably best example yet in a post myspace world. It’s also quick – program is fast, runs smooth.


instant id and integration of your library – i didnt know it even happened.
Facebook – best integration, and truly fun to browse your friends playlists and hear full length music inside spotify. Hands on the best job at social and subscription to date.
Sharing – easy and fun across multiple platforms. Would like email option
Great Mobile integration
Synching seems to work great as well as the simplicity of sending tracks to other users
Fair Price point

The interface is over. Itunes already jumped the shark a few years back as an interface. Better is possible, and available –  play buttons are way too small at the bottom of the inteface. It should minimize like the itunes and rdio app.
Discovery and Navigation are tough. Not an engaging experience, more utilitarian, but not enough to be the front end to all my music.
Editorial. Needs it somewhere.
Vibe – there isnt one. Its virtual guys, add some tower records in. Both MOG and RDIO do this well.

Leave me a comment and question and ill give you an invite while they last!


Alot of action with QR codes this week. I still see a big disconnect between proper use and a short term tech buzz. For beginners, I think this is the definitive post from my experience, on how to use them effectively.

5 tipes for using qr codes effectively

But we seem to be far from the tipping point, or the jump the shark moment, so this was another huge week in the qr code debate.

It started with CNN using qr codes in the first Republican debate. It was curious that they gave so much screen time, and I really cant see the practical use of someone scanning a qr code from the tv during the debate as really adding value. How about just telling viewers to go to


Google “cnn qr code” for more info on this, and strangely enough, you might see first find that CNN’s own site has an article from March that seems to question weather or QR codes are the real deal!

Marketers embracing QR codes, for better or worse

CNN debate With QR CODES

Jon Stewart certainly got the irony of having someone pull out a phone, launch an app, and then scan a code from a tv screen – he spoofed the CNN QR code stunt the next day on his show.

Daily Show Counters CNN on screen qr code

And then there was the webby awards and Webby winner Jessica Stuart wearing a dress with qr codes that took you to her award wining video. This one I like! Your at the webby’s you have your phone, maybe you missed her video…..


“It’s my nerd version of the Lady Gaga meat dress”

A banner week in national qr code action, yet for many the feeling of all this being nothing more than a short term novelty trend continues. Nice article from the people over at lucid agency

QR Codes May Fade Into Retirement

I echo their sentiment….. But to share both sides, along the way this week I found a few new sites that take the postive side of qr codes, and offer some nice coverage if you want to stay up to date and decide for yourself!


Youtube is always thinking about the health of their community ecosystem. Over the last five years of explosive growth they’ve maintained their focus on community, while also helping the “hits” and established stars thrive. My former company Warner was the first music company do a deal with Youtube, and I learned early on how important maintaing and growing the community dynamic was to Youtube’s evolution.

Professional creators and amateurs creating their own content and working together on the same platform is what makes YouTube so exciting! The video editor launched almost a year ago and it was a great community tool that opened up YouTube as a creation platform. The in browser editor allows drag and drop assembly of clips from your youtube library, and basic editing and trimming of each clip.

This week YouTube took the video editor to the next level by adding thousands of clips under Creative Commons license. The Creative Commons Video Clips are royalty free clips that you can use to make and mix with your own creations legally. You can even commercialize the your new work, as long as you credit the source.

Doesn’t Youtube’s move elevate the CC license to a new status? Wont more youtubers be familiar with how CC works than traditional copyright? Will youtube shine a spotlight and increase the amount of users on youtube who upload there stuff with CC for us all to use?

How long until we see the first youtube superstar that only uses existing CC source material?

“It’s as if all the Creative Commons videos were part of your personal library,” explained Product Manager Jason Toff

why youtube adopting creative commons is a big deal

If your not familiar with cc liscenses, there are several “flavors” but most use the broadest one:

Attribution CC
This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

You can also publish your own content as Creative commons and have it available via the editor to other youtubers. Cool! I made this clip only with CC videos and music available to use for free in the editor.

At least we’re seeing a bold vision! A two way street of open source video content allowing anyone to use it? The remix culture many on the net have been asking for but with video? I cant wait to see how this evolves.

YouTube Blog post: YouTube and Creative Commons: raising the bar on user creativity

Get the most from you tube editor


I love this chart from big champagne! A great way to listen to the top songs based on social, streaming and revenue.
This chart minus I Love You This Big from Scotty McCreery, which is not in RDIO. So I added #21 to make it an even top 20.

The Ultimate Chart


After 11 great years in the Warner Music Group, it’s time for me to move on to the next Chapter in my life!

I spent five years running new media at Maverick Records, and over six years in digital at Warner Bros Records, and I leave proud of what I’ve accomplished, and grateful for the relationships I’ve developed.

Working with the best Artists in the world is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a dream come true for me.

I wish the best to WMG, Lyor, Rob, Livia and Todd, and cant wait to see what they do next. To all the great people past and present at Warner – ill miss you!

I hope my “next” will be equally as exciting and productive.

I’ll be sharing my plans over the next few months right here, and you can contact me – leave a comment here or on my facebook.

I leave you with one of the first Artists who took my crazy digital ideas seriously…


This is from the Pandora Office in Oakland. Time gave Jason a great demo of Pandroa’s methodology for classifying songs. Tim is a great speaker about his vision for the service, and how it works.


Youtube’s music page features a new chart of the top 100 music videos on their site.

The YouTube 100 measures song traffic across official music videos, user-uploaded videos and viral debuts, and uses this data to provide a holistic view of song popularity.

A quick reveiew of the new feature

– Ability to “play” the chart is a nice feature, and youtube is clearly trying to make aspects of the service work for listening and watching – the top 100 is also a great music playlist.

– The top 100 almost all established artists and hit songs. There are only a few non traditional clips, and a few lyric videos in the top 100

– Global Chart? Its not 100% clear if im getting a localized chart, but there was a nice mix on international content on the chart.

I hope you tube continues to expand here. Expanding the depth of content, perhaps sub charts in different genres, UGC only, vs official, cover songs etc.

GANG GEAR VIA YOUTUBE: Insignias y Uniformes del Narco

A clip that appears to be gan cartel’s blinged out guns, gear and cocky logos.


I logged onto RDIO tuesday at work, and saw a new Gorilaz album in the first featured new release slot. At first I though it had to be just a song (maybe another tribute for japan?)

Didn’t they just have a new album? I just used an app on my ipad that was a game from plastic beach. How could a new Gorilaz album come out, and not ONE marketing impression reached me? I know someone is working hard to market it, so its probably my media buble thats to blame. It’s niche world when it comes to my infosphere – mobile operating system blogs out number music blogs by in my feeds.

I band I like. A band who’s app I just played (from the last cycle, with no mention of the new album, that was a miss…) Another reminder of the radical new world of marketing music. But a positive look into the future of subscription services, where the music is first. RDIO was a great backstop. I’ve never found out about an album from an artist I really like at the exact moment i was hearing it for the first time. Making something old a new experience. It got to me just in time, i didn’t miss a beat.

Gorillaz. Just click play. Its sounds awesome.


SXSW interactive is a real world early adopter laboratory that gives you a preview of how social technologies could work when adoption reaches critical mass. Because so many at sxswi are early adopters, attendees experienced early versions of the addictive and powerful nature of 4 square and twitter years before they became mainstream. This is one of the best aspects of SXSW!

Emerging technologies also reveal their drawbacks at sxwi, and 2011 challenged my belief in QR codes. The codes were added everywhere, on flyers, and shirts of hundreds of new companies and bands trying to stand out.

With enthusiasm, I tried the first three QR codes that caught my eye, but was quickly disappointed in each experience. Several bands used the QR code to simply link you to the same band website printed on the flyer (duh). One QR code promised an “Awesome” prize if i scanned it, but then the qr code lead me to a form where I needed to fill out a lot of info to enter to win something. Not ideal standing on a busy street corner in Austin.

Enthusiasm turned to frustration after a few bad experiences and after just a few hours, I had QR code blindness and for the rest of the trip, I didn’t try another code.

A QR code requires more attention than a passive promotion. Mobile is a harder medium to work with. It takes your potential fan or customer time to open the app, scan the code, and wait for content to load, so it better be worth the extra time. Your contest, website, or free download is not any better because you uses a QR code to get it to me!

Think of it this way – a qr code is a light switch and your consumer interaction is the lighting! – focus on the perfect light, not thw switch! The QR code will simply turn it on. If QR codes are going to get adoption marketers and advertisers need to establish thems as a true value creator.

Here are a few guidelines from my experience creating QR codes for Artists and using them as a consumer.

1.) Its not a shortcut! QR codes require planing, context, and rewards.

2.) The “power” of the QR experience is unlocked when the qr code triggers a reward or value quickly

3.) The “magic” of the QR code experience is unlocked when you combine this instant reward or value with something that is context and location aware!

4.) Use the QR code to take advantage of mobile devices power (camera, gps, other apps, location). Dont try to use it to duplicate traditional internet only (unless the content the code turns on is absolutley AMAZING)

5.) “Good enough to share” is the litmus test for your offer. Build in Share. Anyone who takes the time to use a QR code, and is pleased, will share. Most of your views will come from the shares, not the QR code scans.

With no quality control and a few bad experiences under my belt, Im going to think twice about taking action as a consumer. As a marketer, I’m still intrigued. Put in some extra thought and planning, and we’ll all benefit!


Watch it here, but head over to mashable to see and touch the interactive version of Devo’s video!


Always honored to work with and for Mr Young. New Project coming soon!