Outkast reunited at Coachella and it seems no on cared. A true sign of the pace of culture, and the need for high intensity, immediate gratification in any live show. What have you done for me lately? How insane is your production?

Outkast has nothing but the power of its past hits and catalog, and I guess in todays fast past social media world, thats not enough. It’s a good gut check on the real value of a catalog in music today today. Maybe its the genre, but a great reminder that the shelf life of a musi ctalog in an unedning optins on and ondemand worls is no longer a persistant revenue stream.


First rule of marketing -> Suprise, No one cares!


The first YouTube music awards – it could have been worse, and I hope this is just the beginning!

But throughout the show, and just a few minutes after the LIVE airing, it seems like most people did not quite get it.

The show was live, and it did have the feel that anything could happen, swear words and all, but unfortunately the unexpected came across as just unorganized. If your going to make it free form and live, at least give the hosts headphone mics! One of the most painful moments for me was watching the hosts try to find a place to hold the handheld mikes while searching through cakes for the winners, climbing ladders and uncovering zombie girls. All not easy to do with one hand!


  • Combining mainstream and YouTube grassroots artists is a great idea and the first disruptive step to acknowledging YouTubers popularity and cultural influence.
  • Performances were inspired and innovative
  • Live live via the google suite of apps and web sites
  • Ridiculously ambitious
  • New type of creativity for a live broadcast generated some impressive moments. like bringing Youtube elements of interactive videos to live tv moments ( the choose your own adventure live segment was interesting even if it didn’t quite play out). Suprised I didn’t see a live annotation walking around!
  • YouTube did get every major music brand to cover the awards live, including MTV


  • The hosts just didn’t work. They looked confused, weren’t  that funny, and didn’t rise to the unscripted nature of the show.
  • Unorganized turned into bad TV
  • Sometimes hard to tell who won and announcing winners was anticlimactic for some reason. The insanity of the show took away the winning moment for Artists.
  • Ridiculously ambitious
  • Not enough Artists
  • Couldn’t feel the fans, I could hardly hear them cheer!

All in all – YouTube succeeded in getting me to care, tune in, and hope they try it again!


I found these two sites that inspired me to put them together in one post.

The first is a great pinboard of the emerging world of interactive TV interfaces. Regulars like Apple TV are here, but also some I never knew existed like this on from Western Digital (a hard drive company makes a TV interface?).









The second, is a gallery of fantastic fantasy user interfaces from all your favorite movies and TV shows. Who can forget Minority report, but there are so many more to check out here.



Then we can go back to the reality of an interface I’ll never understand from Window 8


“We wanted to start to tell a story that would take a long time to tell”.

Kevin Spacey gives a clear and inspired overview on how television piloting process is broken, and how it ruins GREAT story telling by artificially constraining the creative process with old rules! While new data shows it may be harder to monetize binge viewing ala “House of Cards”..
via variety: netflix may need to fast forward its spending for original shows

…the lessons still apply. I’d break it down like this:

– Do not make a pilot for anyone but your actual audience
– Start on Youtube
– If your story is compelling, you’ll find an audience
– If the network wants a pilot after you get some traction, give them your first episode, but don’t stop there
– The networks want you to have your own audience heading into prime time, there is no “audience” for NBC

Watch the clip for your own insights!


UPDATE: A few days after Thom’s pulling of music from Spotify, Jay Z drives 14 million streams of MCHG on Spotify. According to Forbes, thats a record! The Streaming debate gets more interesting each day, with some artist pulling out, and superstar artists cashing in….

Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich decided to pull some of their music from Spotify yesterday. “We’re off of Spotify,” Godrich said of their band Atoms For Peace. Twitter erupted, and from my timeline feeds, most people and news outlets seem to think that Thom and Nigel made the wrong move.

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke accused of hypocrisy over Twitter Spotify criticism – Top producer says Yorke’s band devalued digital music when they made their seventh album pay-what-you-like

Didn’t Pink Floyd just put their music into Spotify? And to make it more confusing, before going into Spotify, members of Pink Floyd wrote a scathing letter against Pandora.

This battle over the future of digital music is tough because the fans are happy and already getting the music they want. From the sidelines, it looks like a mess, and I can’t see new consumers paying for subscription services in volume when there seems to be so much confusion. I’ll bet most younger music fans are scratching their heads as they continue to stream and rip mp3’s from YouTube while wondering what all the fuss is about.

Some in the artist community are now confusing the conversation and the future like the major labels did a few years back.

Artists like to give away music for free, it’s a confusing message for fans when you complain about services that are trying to build a new business but not paying you enough.

But this misses the most important point: What are you hoping to achieve by pulling your content? It’s a risky gambit, especially if you don’t have your team ready to track everything so you can make sure the move makes sense. I.e what if you pulled things and it got worse? How will you know? Did your sales go up, web vists go down… there are a million ripples to keep track of. Does it change anything?

Warner Music Group pulled all of its content from Youtube for a year. Nothing really happened. Youtube continued to grow. Fans got what they wanted, artists were pissed, but mostly passive. No sales bump, no crazy shift in market share favoring those who had their content off youtube. No one even talks about it anymore! It’s hard to see a series of artists making a dent by pulling their content.

WMG is also not part of Vevo, and without all that music, Vevo still built a HUGE audience. Warner built their own Youtube channel for their videos only, and it is also doing well.

I worked at Warner though these experiments and I’m glad I did. Fans just moved on to the next thing they COULD stream, the next link in their timeline that worked. At the time WMG wanted to stand up for its rights and make a move to improve the business, but we all learned a lot from the experiment. It was much earlier in the debate, we tracked a lot of data and did it with a strategy and end game in mind. Eventually the WMG catalog went back into YouTube. Turns out it was really hard to tell if there was any positive short term impact by pulling, and impossible to tell if there was any long term impact. There is so much music!!! If your stuff isn’t in there, plenty of other stuff is, and it didn’t seem to drive revenue when you pulled stuff.

There is no need to write letters, or do a blanket pull of your content, just make sure you have a plan!

Try a windowing strategy, put one album in and take one out, do a small test with some content, make fan only music for your site….contribute…make more music so streams go up – play with all the new digital levers you have!

Follow the new generation of youtube stars, who based it all on streams. They didn’t wait for any one to give them the rate they wanted. Sales and money came second. Focus on building significant and repeatable streaming numbers and as an artist, you’ll find a way to make money, and you’ll definitely have fans! The money will only get better, but learning how to build a streaming fan base that grows your audience and business starts now.


I was surfing through itunes this week, and saw see these rotating touts. Something struck me about seeing the stones and one republic back to back. It’s an almost comical evolution of “the band”. Both images just seem so un-inspired in a release week where it feels like Kanye and Jay Z are changing the whole nature of the game.

No wonder EDM and hip hop rule right now!