Great content, and nice technique for success:
How IKEA’s ‘Easy to Assemble’ Broke 1.9M Views (Without Cheating)

New product idea from the people:
World’s First Multimedia SF Novel on a QR Code T-shirt.
Buy it via ebay!

Devo is Back – I was there!
These guys are still unbeliveable!

“one of the few truly original rock acts of the last 40 years.”

San Jose Mercury news

Devo fans find `Satisfaction’

MUSIC POWER SHIFT: We All Get Along at Digital Hollywood 2009

I participated in a fun panel last Wednesday entitled “Music Power Shift: Artist, Label, Technology, Management” at LOWES Santa Monica for Digital Hollywood 2009.

Digital music panels are no longer the hot and heated arguments between old and new that they used to be! Everyone seems to get along and agree on most of the issues.

I elaborated on three main points throughout the panel and I think most panelist agreed with these main concepts

They key to 360 rights holders is connecting them effectively. From a fans perspective, all of an Artists projects are connected. You need the best team in each area, and if they can all be on one team, you can generate real results. Data collected from a download of the new single, is used to make touring decisions, and update merch lines. Art from a new shirt in the web store keeps the fans active, and bridges gaps between songs. When they all work together, behind an artist’s vision, the sum is much greater than each piece and it ends a great fan experience. 360 is not just about getting more rights, it’s about the ability to connect them together effectively.

Make the right decisions, then give them chance to work. Allow new ecosystems need time to develop. Direct to fan campaigns that rely on commerce generate maximum results after the’ve been optimized, and correctly run for a few project cycles. Invest in the time of running things correctly to truly reach your potential. Trent Rezonr’s direct to fan approach and success didn’t happen overnight or begin with that one piece of product everyone wrote about!

My closing point was about Artists that are learning to create art 2.0 – this is when a musical artist makes great music and inherently knows how to tell their story, and vision in a multi media art/message – across you tube, iphone aps, twitter etc. When the vision is there, these 2.0 tools and networks become more than communication channels, more than new ways to sell direct. They combine and connect to form true extensions of the music experience. The Artists who truly understand this will drive the exponential evolution of music into completely new forms!

Thanks to the other great panelists!

Christopher Allen, COO, Napster
Michael Spiegelman, Head of Music, Yahoo!
Phil Sandhaus, MemBrain LLC
Jeremy Welt, SVP New Media, Warner Bros Records
Sam Wick, SVP of Monetization and Strategy, MySpace Music
Gary Brotman, Sr. Director, Marketing & Artist Services, Topspin
Kelli Richards, President, The All Access Group,


I was deeply inspired by the movie “it might get loud”, a “guitar” documentary centered around Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.

You don’t need to be a guitar head to love this movie – if you love music you will love this film! In my work with new media and music, I spend so much time thinking about how the changing ratios of communication change the way music is marketed, promoted and consumed, it’s refreshing to see these “masters” talk about nothing but sounds.

In fact – this movie was a needed reset for my brain. Take away twitter, facebook, and everything else – its irrelevant to these guys. The guitar and technology around making the guitar convey music is all that’s needed. Everything else will just happen.

The unbending dedication and focus around a single instrument was inspiring. Do musician’s lose this today while twitter facebooking, etc? Is the nature of technology infecting the creative process?

Or perhaps these legends have explored all of the sound frontiers and possibilities of the guitar, and now the current generation will explore how to connect people to these sounds? After watching this film, something about how easy it is to create and record music feels like we’ve forgotten a step. You will find yourself asking these questions of yourself throughout the movie.

JIMMY PAGE – incredibly elegant and well spoken. I’ve never heard him speak so much before When you see him, and the emotion still behind those eyes – you can have nothing but respect for his legacy.

JACK WHITE – “technology makes things too easy” – Jack talks a lot about how technology takes away from the artistic process. Everyone in new media needs to hear his thoughts as a balance to our hectic info mania. You need to struggle to create. He makes it harder for himself to create. Take a guitar that is broken down and out of tune and fight with it to make music…

THE EDGE – a stark contrast to Jack – the “sonic architect” uses technology and effects to change his sound and bring new soundscapes from the guitar. Interesting to see how he uses technology to create sound, while still respecting the instrument itself.

Reset your brain and love for music! See this Movie!



Multiple press outlets picked up a piece about the campaign for Ashley Tisdale’s new album “Guilty Pleasure”. I’ve been working on the music side of Ashley’s campaign since her first album in 2006. She is hard working, and cares about her fans! One of the highlights of this campaign has been her use of Twitter. Ashley took to it right away and she understands how important it is to communicate direct.

The key is it’s all her. And that’s why her Twittering is generating lots of buzz and traffic to her site and store! Even a star as big as Ashley needs to understand the first key principle for successful twittering – authenticity.

This article from Reuters poked a little fun at her Tweets, and it somewhat diluted my point about the importance of Ashley’s’ communication with her fans:

“Tisdale is an especially avid Twitterer, with more than 750,000 followers.

“She’s very protective of it in terms of it sounding authentic,” according to Warner Bros. senior VP of new media Jeremy Welt. “There have been a couple of times where we’ve said to her, ‘Hey, why don’t you mention so-and-so?’ and she’s told us, ‘I wouldn’t say that.'” (What would she say? One recent Tweet read, “Happy fathers day!!! Goin to dinner with my family and the most amazing dad ever! I love you daddy!”)”

You may not see the connection in Ashley Tisdale twittering “happy fathers day”, but her 940,000 followers do. The series of seemingly simple tweets provide basic insights into her life (She’s subtly letting her fans know family is important to her), and it all adds up to a lot for her fans. They peak into the everyday activity. You don’t see overloaded shameless promo, or re-purposed press releases. It is exactly this type of communication that makes it Authentic, and why Twitter itself has grown so fast.

Check out the full interview here:


The Facebook party is winding down, and LIGHTS blew away an always tough industry crowd. It was hard to resist her energy, even if you missed the announcement that LIGHTS launched what could be the first ever artist site using facebook connect.

It was more than an industry showcase! Convincing Artist’s to take a chance on new technology can be tough (thats a big part of my job!). They need to have an understanding of where things are going to truly apply new ideas to their art. Its often a riskier proposition than people realize. But when an Artist has a vision for new music AND new media – you can create the perfect storm of innovation the music business needs.

The “Connect” technology is amazing – and it has that feel good moment when you log into LIGHT’S site with your facebook account. But it never would have happened if the Artist didn’t have a strong enough vision for herself to try something new.

LIGHTS is the future, as much as facebook connect is the future!

Thanks to LIGHTS, Ethan Kaplan, and Raquel and Dave at Facebook, for making the show, the art, and the tech happen! When they work together, things evolve.


When it came to the fork in the road for new media vs old, Neil Young went the new way, while keeping the music as good as ever! I cant believe I get to work on his projects, and in some small way, have helped him move into the new world. There’s an amazing guy named Jeff on the new media team who has a great relationship with Neil and has helped Neil use the internet. Now Neil does it all. It started a few years ago with blogging, and now it’s visual. Neil just shows up with new material, and we help him get the word out! Oh yeah – he’s also revolutionizing the auto industry!

This video and new album just showed up at WBR and we cant wait to get it out to you!
Neil Young – Fork In The Road


Mixed in with the year end spin on numbers, NIN is back as the poster child for free music. Lots of interesting stories about how the free NIN album was top of Amazon sales charts.

Digital Music news says “perhaps a more fine-tuned example of how free often leads to paid in the modern music business”.

Its so easy to go to this oversimplification on one example as the “new model” for the music biz. I wish it were as easy as free leading to paid! The NIN “free” model is not scaleable for most and lets not forget – they are Nine Inch Nails and the new record was GOOD! NIN’s music at one point was the most revolutionary sound to appear in years. That’s the model! Innovative music and great songs lead to “paid”.

See Digital Music news Story Here
Read my post on Free, and some great links to the debate over free music


As I’m cleaning up and getting ready to go back to work, I’m using Metacritics year end top lists and listening to 2008 one more time!
Metacritic seems to have it all in one place, their own reviews, and many top year end lists from other mags and sites!


Their year end best of lists also go all the back to 2001 which is fun to explore

A few other year end lists that make it easy:

Imeem 08 playlist (log in required – but worth creating an account once)

top 20 albums of ’08 at Bands Under The Radar
Kami has great taste and after hours on Metacritic, I still found a few new things on her list that were amazing!


When I need new ideas for a campaign, I go into worlds I am not used to. The 8-bit music scene is worth checking out. I’m not a big fan of the music myself, but there are some very cool and creative things happening there. I particularly liked Peter Kirn’s post at Create Digital Music about how the 8-bit scene is growing and remaining relevant. Good advice – check out his post here!,


Several posts on some of my favorite digital music blogs talking about free music on the internet and what you can really accomplish by just giving it away. (links below).

Working at a major label, I have to balance the business side that wants to monetize everything, with the pressure of free music on the net and the need to market new music. There are no absolutes, and one advantage I have is that I work on a lot of projects and get to test things big and small.

Start with your goals
It’s too competitive to think just “giving away music” will advance your career and too many bands start and end with just wanting to give it away for free. Think harder.

Free may be a starting point if you’re a new act, but established artists have very different goals. Is a free download or stream designed to grow the fan base or reward your fans who may have already purchased from you?

First Goal: Establish a relationship with fans
Make the long term plan for you and your fans. If you are offering downloads, or streams, Make sure you have a community plan in place to capture the momentum new music can create. Collecting basic info fans can be a fair trade off for giving something away. If your an established artist, look beyond just giving your music away- there may be other ways to keep your community active. Give fans a place and incentive to extend the experience of your music and share their feelings with others. Are you strengthening the bond between existing fans? Adding new ones? Find the mix that makes sense and keep in mind there are bands serving thousands, and hundreds of thousands of streams on myspace, with very few fans. It take alot of dedication and great music to keep fans engaged.

What Can You Sell?
Fans are willing to pay. It’s the blend between quality and art that must be respected. I’ve successfully seen bands drive revenue, and keep fans happy by debuting new music in itunes for 99 cents.

Genre of music
Understand your scene and what is expected by fans of that genre. Culturally, fans of different genres have different expectations when it comes to sampling music.

What is the body of work?
is it a concept or collection of singles? Stream the album vs a download? Depending on your art, protect the best way for fans to sample and purchase.

What else are you trying to sell, tickets Merch? Your plans should tie this all together.

are there other things for you happening in the marketplace?

Where to stream?
There are many sites for major labels and some indies where its free to consumer, but you can get paid – imeem, myspace, lala, are a few emerging partners that allow artists to stream, and monetize.

Majors vs. Unsigned
Don’t assume this debate is about the majors vs indies or the unsigned acts. Colleagues at several major music services tell me that independent musicians are often much more concerned and protective about their music than signed artists and major label policies.

Its clear the early days of digital music are fading into a new reality – from bands, to new digital music services that are struggling to monetize, there is more to it than free. Some great links for further reading:

Experimenting With Free by David Harrell

Hypebot: free music only has value if…

More thoughts on the ‘Music as Free’ Debate
Posted by Mark Mulligan

Why Music Can’t ‘Just Be Free’

Mark Mulligan under ‘Music as Free’: Solutions

digital audio insider