Local Businesses and the Data They Need

I’ve been involved in and exposed to direct-to-consumer digital marketing for some time now. There are some interesting trends happening out there. The popularity of Groupon and the like has just blown up over the past 12 months. However, many of the companies partaking in the rise of services like Groupon are not fully taking advantage of what they could.

I’m referring to really driving direct-to-consumer marketing initiatives that result not only in increased revenue but also data about their customer base. The data is what small businesses could potentially harness and use to their advantage.

Trends are moving towards this capturing of data as small local businesses have access to easy distribution of offers, the technology to drive offers and ways to measure results so tweaks can be made for the next round.

More thoughts on how small businesses can accomplish this to come.

Music Creation and Artificial Intelligence

Ran across this very interesting Wired article yesterday about how musicians are being modeled. The exciting issue here is that not only are past performances being modeled and played/recorded with more advanced equipment, but their style and musical feel could someday also be captured, modeled and applied to new melodies created by any musician.

Music production and creation is moving towards a world in which a musical work is in a constant state of refinement and augmentation by the consumer.

Mobile Dual Deck setup with iPads

Cool application of iPads in a dual deck setup.

Time Warner / News Corp Agreement….

This situation is interesting to me because the long-term outcomes seem to be inevitable.

Broadcast media will increasingly be impacted by consumers self-segmenting themselves into consumption types and in turn giving advertisers reasons to search beyond mass media for ROI.

Jeff Jarvis does a good analysis in his post on the matter.

Paid Content as well…

And Bijan Sabet

Francis Coppola on Movie Making

I recently watched ‘Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse about the making of Francis Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’.

In the movie he says the following (in 1991). I thought it was a interesting viewpoint on the effects of easy access to high quality cameras, sound recording equipment, and distribution channels for the creations. The only thing that is scarce, is talent.

“To me the great hope is that now these little 8mm video records and stuff that are coming out, just some, people that normally wouldn’t make movies are going to be making them and, you know, suddenly one day some fat girl in Ohio is going to be the next Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father’s camera and for once the so called professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever, and it will really become an art form – that’s my opinion.”

Francis Coppola – Quote from ‘Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalype’, 1991

The Forgotten Man…and some notes

Just finished reading the Forgotten Man. Lots of good stuff in this very detailed book, but one thing that stood out was the actions on Andrew Mellon.

In the mid 30s he created a the idea incubator, the Mellon Institute. Which made me think about today’s idea incubators like Techstars and Start at Spark.

The effectiveness of the Mellon Institute at the time is what I’m most interested in. In 1936 companies gave $816,000 to create 69 fellowships. The Institute created a place for so much research to be done. This, in turn, resulted in hundreds of patents and increased innovation and productivity for the contributing companies.

The fellowships worked in a fashion where a company would come to the Institute with a problem, pay a fee for engineers and scientists to work on the problem, and then receive a solution.

This was revolutionary at the time because Mellon created a destination for companies with problems. No longer were companies working in a bubble – the problems were brought to the forefront.

At the time, this was powerful stuff. His philosophy on investing in new companies was simple and effective.

Are things the same today in these similar economic times? Are the aforementioned incubators providing a similar service? One thing is the same – efficiently placing capital with people who can solve problems and build businesses usually works out well for the founders and investors.

Some more info:
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50076a033

http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Man-History-Great-Depression/dp/0060936428/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240891733&sr=8-1

Relationships with Fans = …

I read this and had to post it up here because it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I’ve noticed it happening in other industries; not just in music. In this case we’re talking about the lengthening of the connection between artist and fan and how this corresponds to A LOT of music being played.

From a Bob Lefsetz post talking about how things were and how they are today:

After a label sold a CD, it didn’t care if the buyer played it. The label didn’t care if the buyer threw the damn thing away. But in the future, it’s going to matter exactly how many times someone plays your tracks. THAT’S how you’re going to get paid! It’s not about a good come-on, it’s about ultimate delivery!

This is so true. As we move into a world where the connection between a listener and the band or artist becomes closer and more influential on the purchaser’s part, it opens up opportunities to get creative with that relationship.

…looking forward to all of this.

Tell Me What I Need To Know

I receive news letters from two bands. NIN and Metallica. Both are using the tools available to connect with fans on a bit more of a personal level….or as personal as email can get. :) I got newsletters from both bands this AM and I realized why I don’t always read the Metallica ones and *always* read the NIN emails. Reason: the NIN letters are short and to-the-point.

NIN gives me, the fan, the important stuff and leaves out the details that I’ll find on my own if I need to. Metallica takes the opposite approach – many details that I just don’t need in my inbox.

Screenshots of both:

NINMetallica

Music Making Teams

Good teams are part of any successful band or artist’s career. The Beatles teamed up with George Martin, The Beastie Boys teamed up with Rick Rubin, Radiohead works closely with Nigel Godrich. The list goes on. Artists and bands who have close relationships with the engineers and producers of their work have an edge against those who don’t.

One part of the team can’t do it alone. The artist can’t do what they do best without the producer and the producer can’t do what he or she does best without the engineer. This is important stuff to keep in mind today when people tend have the music chairs approach to working relationships.

When a label is looking at up and coming artists and bands I think it is important for them to look at the team. We need to be thinking long term today. We need to be thinking about building artists’ careers. The only way we’re going to make that happen is if we invest in not only the artist’s skills but also the team the artist has around them. That team is what is going to ultimately build an artist’s career. These relationships aren’t built overnight but when it comes together the results are careers I mentioned at the beginning of this.

History tells us that solid music making teams enjoy longevity and success.

Seven Weeks

If you don’t already know I embarked on a new direction and chapter in my life seven weeks ago. I started in the MBA program at Pepperdine University in California. I just finished my last final for the first session a couple hours ago and now I’m thinking about all that has happened, people I’ve met, conversations I’ve had and or course all that I’ve learned.

Looking back on it, the amount of content that we in the program have learned in these seven weeks is hard to believe. The greatest thing about it is the application. Thinking about all the topics covered within the context of music and the music industry is enlightening and inspiring. Coming from a creative background in the music business to an MBA program is like worlds colliding. But by mashing those two worlds up, a lot of new ideas, realizations, discoveries and thinking about my business occurs.

With what is happening in the world, it is indeed an interesting time to be in business school.

Here are some recent posts I thought were good. Fabrice Grinda on what to do now. Mark Cuban on investing in companies and creating vs. financial engineering. Lucas Gonze on audio formats and his comments / discussion on netlabels. And, Brad Feld‘s advice.

What *else* have I been up to?

ArtistDish is going to do a new podcast this week. I’ll post here when it is available.
Spent a few days with my classmates in Calamigos
Went to see Beck and MGMT
Went to Digital Music Forum West