Jimmy Buffet & Rickey Henderson — So He Sez (3rd Person Edition)

 

“They come up with storyboards and lines, and I see the process. Then, I do what I do: Buffettizing.” — Jimmy Buffet, singer-songwriter and touring phenomenon, on his role in developing the new Margaritaville social networking game.

“Rickey doesn’t have albums. Rickey has CDs.” —   Rickey Henderson, legendary Major League Baseball outfielder, when asked if he had the Garth Brooks album with the song Friends in Low Places. Henderson, was infamous for talking about himself in the 3rd person.

Is Spotify Sean Parker's Atonement For Napster?

Bruce Houghton from Hypebot, recently posted this fascinating Reuters clip featuring Niklas Zennstrom (ex-Kazaa) and Sean Parker (ex-Napster).

 

 

The Final Take: Both Zennstrom and Parker founded companies that dramatically disrupted the  music business. Now, both gentlemen find themselves in legally licensed relationships with the music industry — Zennstrom with RDIO, Parker with Spotify. It’s fascinating to watch and listen to their answers regarding their personal roles and motivations in today’s music landscape.

Saturday Afternoons

For those of you over 30, I want you to remember what it was like to be a teenager on a Saturday afternoon.

Meeting your friends downtown; hanging out, looking for connection.

As a New York kid, I often met my friends at the Tower Records on 4th Street and Broadway. It was always packed — buzzing with music and noise and energy. It had a vibe. Everyone was there. At least everyone I wanted to see.

“When’s the new Bowie coming out? Is Eno producing this one? What does he look like now? Is it gonna be Soul? Punk? What’s Bowie gonna to do next?”

Now, visit any downtown Apple store on a Saturday afternoon.

It is always packed, buzzing with music and noise and energy. It has a vibe. It feels like everyone is there.

When’s the new iPhone 5 coming out?  Is it gonna have an 800 million pixel camera? A bigger screen? An even faster processor? More storage? Will it come out in White??”

Going to an Apple store on a Saturday is a social event.

It’s where virtual morphs into physical. Where solitary surfing turns into camaraderie. The Apple store is where hanging out, caressing potential new toys, and plugging into a vibe come to life…all under the banner of commerce.

How did the migration happen? How did we get from Tower to Apple?

Anyone who tells you they absolutely know, is suspect in my book.

It’s fashionable to point at the bumbling of record label, publishing and RIAA strategies in the wake of Napster. All were really bad. And all were probably small potatoes.

What changed from the 70’s and 80’s when teens would go to a friend’s house to listen to an album to today’s “let’s play YouTube videos while we watch TV and text”, landscape?

I can’t give you the answer with 100% certainty. I’m not smart enough to wrap it all up in one blog post, that’s for sure.

How can you capture the enormity of the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, Watergate, the mainstreaming of Wall Street, the end of the cold war, globalization — for starters.

Let’s speak in broader terms. Economic, political, and sociological factors all changed radically. The whole world changed profoundly.

Like all my favorite bloggers, I have a theory.

I was a typical teenager  years ago, music was key to my point of view on the issues of the day. It was my teenage identity. It was my badge, and it was my language.  Of course I went to Tower Records on a Saturday afternoon.

Then, amidst all these momentous changes, along came the web.

Technology has become the language of teen life — technology is the teen membership badge. Technology allows teens to connect.

And so they go where they feel most at home, most like themselves — they go to the Apple store.

Amanda Palmer & David Hyman — So He Sez

 

“People prefer man-to-machine over man-to-man relations when it comes to music discovery.” – David Hyman, CEO of subscription music service, MOG.

“It’s not just the ability to touch, see and smell an album and the artwork…it’s the fact that you are in a Real Place with Real People…and not just any people: other music-obsessed freaks like you. I discovered so many bands by just hanging out, talking to shopkeepers, getting recommendations from some random dude who was flipping through the Nick Cave bootleg box as fervently as I was. You can’t get that feeling sitting behind your computer, ever.” – Amanda Palmer, recording artist and technology enthusiast.

It's The Data, Stupid.

As word spread about Google launching their cloud music service, despite a lack of label licenses, I thought about these leading companies.

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple.

What is it exactly about the music business that attracts these heavyweight companies?

Suddenly, I flashed on James Carville, of all people.

Carville is a democratic political strategist, and is generally credited with focusing Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign for the presidency around these three statements:

  1. Change vs. more of the same
  2. The economy, stupid
  3. Don’t forget health care

It’s the data, stupid  — I can almost hear Carville drawl it.

For these companies, Music = Data.

Billing pathways, hardware choices, play counts, carrier preferences…the list goes on.

The new music business is all about data.

No matter the angle, data drives the underlying motivations of all the big players:

Apple, still primarily a hardware manufacturer, builds complete experiences around its music products through data control. It’s no coincidence that every iPhone and iPad connects through iTunes.

Amazon, the world’s biggest e-commerce player, encourages you at every turn to supply them with information on your every like, dislike, and product aspiration.

The whole experience of being on Facebook, is a data-sharing exercise.

And of course, now Google. Remember their mission statement:

Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Or in layman’s terms — It’s all About The Data, Stupid.

Every Word Means No — Ultimate College Rock Video

In honor of the recently announced return of MTV’s 120 Minutes, I thought a flashback was in order.

What better than “Every Word Means No” from Let’s Active — the ultimate 80’s College Rock video?:

DMI Tip: Why is this the ultimate “80’s College Rock video” — I’m glad you asked:

1- This is Mitch Easter’s band. Mitch of course produced R.EM.’s Murmur, aka as the definitive College Rock album of the 80’s.

2- The band, Let’s Active, is simultaneously under-appreciated and legendary.

3-  The ‘dancing in place” two-step move that bassist Faye Hunter employed is textbook. Belinda Carlisle took this move mainstream in the video for Our Lips Are Sealed”.

4-  The college-rock pogo is also in full affect. Note, this is a slower and gentler pogo than the 1976-1978 British Punk version.

5- The fuzzy sweater vests. This look certainly swept College Radio programming offices throughout the early 80’s. Kurt Cobain took it to a whole other level when he went full-fledged Cardigan in the early 90’s.

6-The eye-makeup. Many folks think Pete Wentz took “guy-liner” straight from the 70’s Metal and Glam acts;  but College Rock certainly had its eye makeup run too. Pun intended.

7-Big hair. Big guitars. Small drum kits.

8- It sends signals of innocence and prolonged adolescence. Note the puppies.

9-The song, “Every Word Means No” put the J in Jangle.

10 – Let’s Active and ‘Every Word Means No” remains to this day, completely obscure. A College Rock necessity.

Welcome To The Machine: Robot That Plays Angry Birds, Perfected.

DMI Tip: OptoFidelity is a Finnish company that specializes in machine vision and optical measurement technology. Now, they have designed a robot to play Angry Birds. Note cheezy Rockford Files meets NIN instrumental track on the “behind-the-scenes” video below:

Lady Gaga & Chrissie Hynde — So She Sez

“The last thing a young woman needs is another picture of a sexy pop star writhing in sand, covered in grease, touching herself. My image was an issue at my record label. I fought for months and cried at meetings. I got criticized for being arrogant because if you’re sure of yourself as a woman they say you’re a bitch whereas if you’re a man and you’re strong-willed it’s normal.” — Lady Gaga

“It’s not F**K me, it’s F**K you.” — Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of The Pretenders and her advice to women in Rock and Roll.


The WMG Sale & The Coach.

By now, most of you have heard the news that Len Blavatnik and Access Industries have purchased WMG for 3.3 billion dollars.

Stateside, you can read Billboard’s coverage of the sale here, and Edgar Bronfman’s letter to WMG’s employees here.

Meanwhile, The Guardian adds their take complete with some interesting conjencture about EMI, and the European Commission:

Blavatnik’s Access Industries won an auction to buy the company with a friendly bid worth $8.25 a share, in a deal that will immediately trigger expectations that under the fresh ownership, Warner Music will try again to bid for EMI, the fourth-ranked music group under the temporary ownership of Citigroup.

Access Industries will assume Warner Music’s $2bn of debts, and provide about $1bn of equity, to buy out a company that has been controlled by Bronfman and a group of private equity investors since they bought the business back in 2004 from media conglomerate Time Warner for $2.6bn.

The idea is to ensure that the bid does not overload Warner Music with debt, leaving it the headroom to pursue EMI if it desired. However, sources close to Access Industries say that there is no need for Access/Warner to make a move on the British company to justify the purchase price.

Final Take: It’s fashionable to greet these kinds of events with cynicism, especially given the staggering operating losses all the majors have shown over the last few years. Still, I can’t help but flash on the words of  legendary NY Giants football coach Bill Parcells: “You are what your record says you are”.  And, today at least, the record says WMG is worth $3.3 billion dollars.