Giorgio Moroder and edm

OK this guy practically invented edm (small letters intentional).  His dance tunes will probably be around, sampled and remixed long after people have forgotten what a Deadmause is. Not a knock on DM, just a fact of the velocity of culture. (I just made that up, I think) He’s had the luxury of time and pre-internet society to help cement his legendary status while the internet and “Velocity of Culture” serve to create and forget today’s stars in the blink of a news/fashion cycle. (edm is here to stay EDM -not so much methinks)

The Precience of Cortana and Jack the Ripper

Ok Windows Phone,  Cortana either she has some serious ESP/prediction algorithms going on or coincidence is creepy. Last night, Sophia and I were watching Tuesday night’s episode of ABC’s “Forever” when the Teaser for next weeks episode came on. I said out loud “Oh it looks like they are doing a “Jack the Ripper” episode. My teenage daughter asks me “Who is Jack the Ripper?”  I explained that he was an infamous serial killer in London in the 1800’s who was never caught. She then asked “How many people did he kill?” I said “I don’t know let me check.” I whipped out my trusty Lumia 625 and started to type. How many victims..
Cortana finished the question with ” of Jack the Ripper were there?, then second choice of How many people did Jack the Ripper Kill”

Creepy OK? I mean of all the ways to finish that question:
How many victims of…
Ebola
or
John Wayne Gacy
or
Ted Bundy
or
Domestic Violence
or
9/11, Etc Etc pick a tragedy with victims
but Cortana (Bing) knew EXACTLY what I was asking before I even finished typing it.
Bing Search
Is that REALLY the most popular question on Bing?  (and the timing is mere coincidence?)
How did Bing’s Search algorithm pick that question at that time? I wasn’t watching the Show at it’s normal time slot (with the implication that I if we were, then other people were watching at the same time and asked the same question so Bing picked the most common Question being asked) and I wasn’t watching on Xbox (assume some data sharing and inference like above.) I tested Google and got a different query completion, I also typed it in to BING on the Desktop and got the same result, but since I had already asked the question on Bing and it knows what I asked for (because I’m logged in) I’m not surprised that I got the same result.

Driven Music Conference 2013 Florida – Are These Shows Worth It?

Driven Florida Music Conference May 16-19th 2013

On Friday May 17th I went to the Driven Florida music Conference held at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Ft Lauderdale. I had the good fortune to be accompanied by local Rapper Kid Berg who was also interested in this more “industry” focused conference.  Kid Berg is a cool cat who I think exemplifies to comfort millenials (Morel like Gen Z because he is very young millenial) have with new media. He is business-savvy, yet unassuming.   When I was talking to the PR guys and some of the artists they were fronting, Kid Berg was merrily texting  away.  But he wasn’t just some kid texting LOLs. When we were finished talking and walking away, he’d casually mention that that so and so is not that impressive because he only has x amount of traffic and followers and a low search ranking while artist Y is not fooling around and has a good online presence and looks like he’s got a grip etc.

Nobody is going to pull the wool over him- Solid B.S Detector.

Anyways as Far as Driven goes  it was OK,  I wish I could have stayed for Saturday and some of the early morning cocktail access to some of the panelists. It was laid back, informal and pretty open. But as a conference I could say that it had a few problems, that are kinda minor and I will get them out of the way quickly.
Sparse Attendance – From an attendee perspective this is not a bad thing as you have more time to interact with the panelists,  and in some ways forced you to be a little more social with other attendees, but it still  had the feeling of “What do we do now?” – that said I picked up a few cards from some interesting people. However from an event sponsor PoV it is not so good- but this is the 2nd or 3rd year here for them so this may have been an improvement.  Also I was only there for the Friday Sessions and Saturday could have been Monster.

Few “booths”-   too bad, would have liked to see reps from gear /Software makers like Ableton and  Korg  showing of some toys (I want to play with some Volcas)  but it was for the most part SAE school and internet marketing (Website promotions)  companies. I understand that this was a business and not a tech show but I think there is room for some of that.
Meager swag   – Not even a USB keychain with some dopey pix or showcase artist demos (That’s what the Internet is for I guess) 😦 Oh well, I can’t complain about the price for the two day conference and live showcases as it  was very reasonable.
Note: I could have paid to put discs and stuff in the bag to pimp my shit but I didn’t. so If your Swag-Bag wasn’t pimp enough for you either, go ahead blame me for not putting one of my discs in there (but you had the same opportunity amirite?!) wtfits

Ok so my complaints are pretty minor and to be fair there was a great legal panel that was scheduled earlier in the day but was moved up to the morning slot which was fine by me. The  Chase Entertainment lawyer (Greg Bloom) was a cool guy and straight shooter it seemed. While the major focus of the panel was on the 360 deal, along the way I learned a few things about copyrights , transfer of ownership, where everybody is on the royalty food chain and who collects what at the end of the day. I also got to meet the guys from “Approaching Nirvana” , another “Cinematic Electronica” band based in Miami. As it turns out there may be more to the Miami “Electronica” scene then the gate keepers at Ultra music and the local clubs would lead you to believe. They talked about marketing and the DIY -perspective and made themselves available after the panel session was over.  For anyone looking to get into the business this panel alone was worth the admission price.

tl;dr “360” deals are here to stay. Nobody is just going to give you money so you can go be an artist- they want ROI from all the ways your work can be monetized. Good thing for you is that  you get to negotiate with labels on bigger variety of items, from merch to live shows, streaming rights, synch rights etc, and you can negotiate different rates on each part so you can give a little on one thing put potentially do quite well on another, for example the percentage between streaming revenue and concert tour revenue. Also If you decide to go label hunting, having all these different revenue streams under your control will make you look more together and appealing as a business investment (Because that is what your are to them, never forget that).  FYI if all this talk about “Product” and “Monetization” bugs the “Artist of the peoples”  in you perhaps you should consider another line of work. If becoming some kind of “commercial success” (and I will define this as “Getting paid some amount of money to do what you love” ) important to  you then you kinda have to think in these terms, failure to do so will most likely leave you unhappy.

Bottom line; little plastic discs are tanking and the major record industry has collapsed into 3 or four major labels. As such,  labels look to maximize the artist’s total revenue stream. What does that entail? Well before, the record company basically paid for the record production and derived royalty payments from sale of that. Other revenue streams were not counted. Publishers actually made a shit-ton of money. (See this Primer from Tunecore). <—That primer or something like that should have been handout at this session,  Bloom and company reinforced the concepts there.
However, artists  have a wide variety or revenue streams open to us depending on the use of our Intellectual Property. (E.G. Don’t think of your music as just songs or video think of the broader use your work.) The goal here is to get yourself in a position to leverage the strengths of all of your work be it ringtones or commercial soundtrack.
Now let me stop for sec here and change gears for minute. Part of the focus on this event is to get a picture of how the industry looks today. This includes what it takes, the “things you need to know” about the industry. So there was a some focus on the traditional record deal with a label. But I would be doing the conference a disservice if I didn’t say that there was huge representation of the DIY side. This was not Big label Rah Rah. This was definitely letting artists know that with the digital age and social media.  Artists have more avenues for expression and connecting with their audiences in different ways than ever in the history of man.
But…
Everyone is out to make a buck and frankly some artists will need resources to help with the parts that they don’t know, (I’m still not sure what Moozar really brings to the table). It’s like the insides of a major label threw up on to the internet and each dept can now help you with monetizing all your revenue streams…. for a small fee.  That’s  where all your internet marketing companies I mentioned earlier come in.  From Soundcloud Wannabe’s to All in One Promotion shops, you could spend a ton of money trying to pimp your work and if your not careful lose it, in Nickel and dime fashion in all this freedom. Many of the services are good but they will sell to anyone who can pay. There are also free services too, use the hell out of them if it makes sense and drop it if it doesn’t.

The Take Away

So what does that mean? In practical terms it means, use the free tools that are out there to find and know your market/audience before your start paying someone to spam what your THINK might be your audience.  Some of the best promotional tools are free- Youtube and Google analytics. Facebook accounts are good for a presence but for music promotion it is a veritable wasteland (or so they pointed out at the conference).  Soundcloud is a good place but it still has that kinda musician-to-musician vibe. YouTube however is king, get a good following there and you will have a solid lead.  However, you should think of these places as  a place where you would link your content to from your site, because those “free services” could disappear and all your work, leads and info gone in the wink of a press release, (Think Google RSS and Buzz).

Website’s ? What? People still have those?

Speaking of Driving traffic to your site, all the panelists agreed that owning your own site is super important to maintain control over your online brand or presence.  It’s where you collect emails and increasingly cell phone numbers and twitter feeds as email is for old people apparently. The importance of the Website may be a little diminished as a communication tool but it’s still seen as a requirement to show that your are “serious” More importantly it is the destination to which you can drive all traffic to from whatever the “Flavor of the Month” Social media site there is.  This is where you can keep and or direct access to your core content. If /when your social media picks become non relevant (6degrees, Friendster, Old MySpace where art thou?) where will your fans go? Do you want to put all your eggs (and contacts and marketing data) in one basket controlled by someone else who at the end of the day doesn’t give a shit about you and your data?

So All in all the Friday at Driven was good, there was the Big Panel at the end talking about Concepts,tours, and marketing which was also good but it was very wide and not too deep. I would have like to have stayed longer but we had a tight schedule to keep.  Lot’s of idea juice was picked up and made a few contacts.  Let’s hope they come back next year.

Larry David is a real Ground Breaker…NOT

OK this one I will try and keep short.  Why is there a hub-bub over Larry David peeing on an image of Christ? Ever since I was old enough to go to art galleries and any kind of art appreciation class, it seems like there was always some “Artist” who wanted to make a “Shocking” statement about Christian religion. So many artists, visual, musical, etc have trodden this ground in the late 20th Century that there is nothing new here. This whole Larry David Pee thing is so lame it is boring!  Did he REALLY think it was truly controversial? Was getting a 45 second blurb on the 24 hour news cycle worth the effort it took  create that scene? Did he think he was being “risky”?

More like, “Risky Free” as the Nigerian 419 scammers are fond of saying.

Making fun of Christianity is, dare I say it? Passe’ worn, tired, totally played out. It’s like spitting on a toothless tiger from behind bulletproof glass. Oh sure some Catholic Defence group will wag their fingers but in day or two (if that) the episode will be relegated to the dustbin of history. It’s not funny, not provocative and as a matter of fact it pretty much caters to an audience that already makes jokes about christians anyway. It’s as safe as playing to the crowd can be.  Now let him do schtick about peeing on the Koran or spreading feces on an effigy of Mohammed, or that clubbing baby seals for fur is fun, THAT’S risky!   Shit, he would get a Fatwah issued on his Jewish* ass so fast it would make his head spin. HBO would probably not air it because it might “offend” someone. 

Let me rephrase that; It might piss off people who would cut your fucking  head off on TV, car bomb your office and eviscerate your children.  And for those of you thinking that I am being your typical American Racist. FUCK YOU! Yes I said it!  Look at the news and compare how often extremist Christians behead artists who make fun of them or blow themselves up in markets vs their extremist Muslim counterparts. Only a fool would deny it but the world is full of fools tools isn’t it?  But I digress,  the point is, if Larry David wants to pee on a picture of Zombie Jesus he can, but don’t think he is actually making a statement or think he is being “Edgy” because it isn’t. Larry, you’re just being a tired old comedy hack milking a dead cow for people who like rotten milk.  You want to be “Edgy”? Poke fun at people who can hurt you  and your benefactors “for real”. Not a religion that has not seriously persecuted anyone for over century. But you won’t,  because their religion is more to them, than your “art” is to you, and they are more likely to make you pay more for your “art” than you are willing to give.

*disclaimer I’m married to a Jew and raise my children Jewish and at this point in my life have probably seen the insides of more Temples than Churches so if you have a problem with the quip, well you know where to go and how fast you can get there.

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