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Real Time or Steal Time.

February 5, 2010 Leave a comment

My grandfather used to read the morning paper. My father would watch the evening news. They would each have a scotch after dinner. Imagine if we increased our consumption of alcohol proportionally to our increase in media. Is it Real Time or Steal Time?

Many of my dearest friends and family members are too busy. They don’t have any free time. They spend so much energy on electronic media, that they have forgotten how to communicate face to face. There is just too much ground-breaking news, too many deals to close, too much information to absorb, and if you missed that split second when it was announced, well…

There have been recent studies that claim you spend more time on social media when you are depressed. I state the opposite is true. I believe social media causes depression, the way overeating causes diabetes.

Sometimes you just need to lift your head. Look around you. Look up, look down. See the piece of gum on the sidewalk before you step on it.

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Music Business Is Alive (V.1)

January 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I read Jeff Price of TuneCore‘s response to an article in Digital Music News questioning the validity of measurement tools related to the success of new artist’s in the digital world. Some excellent thoughts posted, I encourage you to read them. Here is my response:

It is back to the future. Great songs matter, not albums. Building a fan base matters, not marketing muscle. Making a living matters, not being a rockstar. The real question is how does one now measure success? Yes we are all competitive, so we need a chart. Or do we?

Is success measured by gross income across a weighted multitude of income streams? Would that be based on a calendar or fiscal year? Interesting concept the IRS would love.

Should all the indie distributors and artists report in to Nielson? Why, so numbers with a hint of authenticity can continue to create false impressions? What about streams, blog posts, search requests, touring schedule, and so on.

The point of your post is well taken. The old measurement tools are imperfect. The old guard is sadly blind in the woods. However, music creation is thriving. Success is measured individually. The music business is alive.

@rich2001

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Facebook vs. Twitter

December 19, 2009 2 comments

Here is my response to Fred Wilson’s post “Open APIs and Open Standards” relating to Dave Winer’s post about how open standards are created.

You are all much smarter than I am, and I understand the excitement surrounding the drama of todays new technologies. However, we have all seen the exponential growth of communication and media (new, old, social, etc) over the last 15 years. My question to you is this, have we seen this all before, or have we finally obtained that magical destination that we have been reaching for?

I desire that we all accept that this is only what is happening at this moment. I suggest, there are two more kids in a dormroom, or in a hilltop village in (use your imagination) who will completely knock us off our collective feet again, and again, and again. I find this incredibly exciting, globally democratic, but also a bit sobering.

My point is, I can read a P&L, I can read music, I can read a little Hebrew, maybe even a palm or two, but I do not desire to read code. Just make it simple for me. Don’t ask me to invite anymore friends to anything, I need a “friend clearinghouse.” Don’t ask me to fight someone for a URL or Twitter handle, make it universal. Fair enough?

twitter: @rich2001

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Friend In Your Head

December 17, 2009 2 comments

When I first joined Facebook a year ago, I invited a few friends to join me. They were not my childhood ‘lifetime’ friends (most of whom have yet to join a social network), but were close friends that I was socially involved with. We shared some very funny and intimate moments.

Soon thereafter I ran into someone who mentioned he had thousands of ‘friends’ on FB. I was surprised. Why? He explained to me that it was his personal broadcast network. So of course, I went on to invite a few hundred people. The intimate social aspect of the experience evaporated. A large majority of the posts now are self-promoting or business related.

I have become a more active participant in the world of blogs and tweets. There are people that I have always wanted to meet, but have not yet had the opportunity too. Well, I can now follow them. But, they do not have to follow me. I read their words, their thoughts, and now, I even know their whereabouts. Somehow I feel like I know them. Yet, it is weird that I have never met them. It is creepy. They are ‘Friends in my Head.’

Recently I ran into a ‘friend in my head’ at an event. I was introduced, and I had forgotten that we never met. I jumped right into a discussion related to one of his blogs. He has millions of followers. I knew a lot about him. But, he didn’t follow me. He only knew a bit about my past, and from what I had posted on his blog. We didn’t know each other equally.

Kurt Vonnegut said in 2001, in a brilliant mashup dvd/film One Giant Leap, that ‘most people’s best friends are on TV.’ Now, many people’s best friends are ‘in their head.’

One needs to think about the superficiality of the depth of their followers if they are looking for a personal social experience. To many, there is a reduced value to multiple followers. We are now ‘grading our friends’ and are becoming a ‘stalker society’.

twitter: @rich2001

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Music Half-life Shelf-life Theory

December 14, 2009 4 comments

Half-life – the period of time for a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half.

Shelf-life – the length of time that a perishable item is given before it is unsuitable for sale.

Originally conceived in the 1980’s, just prior to my creating the Sony Legacy catalog division, I was noticing how different genres of music had a fairly predictable shelf-life.

For the sake of argument, the original generation of classic rock – the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Dead – had an indefinate shelf-life. Every generation of music fan would in some way respect them, and their catalogs would be valuable forever.

As we moved into the following decade, the new styles of music – metal, glam, disco, prog – would only be acceptable to ‘half’ of music fans, or, it would only be cool to every other generation – ex: Led Zep loved in the 70s, hated in the 80s, loved in the 90s, etc.  The premium sales levels peaked in half the time. The catalog had half the value.

The following generation of music – punk, dance, new wave, hip hop – continued with the ‘genre-ization’ of music, whereby now, only a quarter of fans liked, or every fourth generation accepted, their none conforming genre.  And so on.  Quick, get another record out.  Create a new sub-genre.

We are now at the tipping point of the half-life, where (except in rare instances) a piece of music is released, sales immediately peak, and it is on to the next one.  Where is the long term value now?

I have always argued that we will reach the point where the creation of music, and the performance or participation in such, is music’s lifeline.  The instant life and death of a creative piece.  Being there, experiencing it, playing it, hearing it, feeling it.  We are almost there.  The shelf-life of creative content is reaching zero.

twitter: @rich2001

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