11
Feb 11

We Now Have Received Total Consciousness, Which Is Nice. — The Week That Was

It’s not possible that the Superbowl was just last Sunday, is it? Seems like eons ago, especially in Twitter time. My gosh it has been an eventful week. Let’s recap, shall we.

The Digital Music Insider Week that Was: February 11th, 2011:

On Sunday the Packers & Twitter won, The Black Eyed Peas, Groupon & the Steelers lost, and Tim Armstrong called Arianna Huffington sexy, did some new math, and bought the Huffington Post. This, all, on our Christian day of rest.

Speaking of the Church, Monday saw the church confess a “better late than never” embrace of social media, a classy note to the badgered EMI troops from Roger Faxon, and some of the lamest videos ever uploaded to YouTube. Unfortunately, those videos were cleared, enthusiastically, by the RIAA.

On Tuesday we met the real life Winklevi, contemplated whether or not Spotify was significant or just meaningful, and witnessed the NY venture capitalist most enamored with buying legal music — Fred Wilson — turn into a irate cursing pirate. Really.

Waking up on Wednesday to the news that Guitar Hero was a goner, we also took a look at giving away music as a strategy, and then took a trip to Blockbuster for old times’ sake.

On Thursday certain digerati actually seemed disappointed that they wouldn’t have to wait in Apple & Verizon lines for the new-old-new Verizon iPhone. I think I  knew a couple of these folks back in Philadelphia at CDNOW, where I’m pretty sure they once threw snowballs at Santa, after getting to Veterans Stadium at 5am .

On Friday we took a long hard look at Yahoo, AOL, MTV, & Myspace, reminisced with John Cusack about kickboxing (the ringtone of competitive sports?), and got chatty with David Hyman of Mog. Not that we actually, ya know, spoke with David or anything.

We capped off the week with Stephen Elsop of Nokia strategically blowing a gasket and doing a deal with Microsoft (think he may have mixed up the sequential order there), Google needling Elsop, and Mary Meeker dropping so much science that we felt like Bill Murray — cause now we have total consciousness going for us, which is nice.


04
Feb 11

That's a Bummer Man — The Week That Was February 4th 2011


It was quite the week here in Digital Music land, wasn’t it?

Here you g0 — the week that was, February 4th 2011.

Things started innocently enough on Saturday night with Jesse Eisenberg, Adam Samler, & Mark Zuckerberg generating enough pop culture heat on Saturday Night Live to (almost) make up for a football-less Sunday. Speaking of which…Sunday was a slow day around my house, slow enough to dive in to a vintage Newsweek 1985 “Steve Jobs You’re Fired interview and an email from MySpace asking me to come on back. For serious.

On Monday, Midem issued a great white paper recapping the Midem music conference and I weighed in…On Tuesday things turned, uh, weirder. Harmonix announced that The Clash’s London Calling was premiereing on Rockband, where I noted the computer generated Strummer stand-in looked more like the loser of a hard fought UFC title bout, than anyone in The Clash, iTunes promoted some actual hit songs and albums, Luke Wood from Interscope left label-land for Beats Electronic and Citibank kicked Guy Hands hard to the curb, and simply bought out/took over EMI. Whew.

On Wednesday I couldn’t help but think of  Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” in contemplating Amos Lee’s #1 album setting a new record for lowest selling #1 album ever at Soundscan. That’s a bummer man.

Thursday saw Twitter & the worlds attention turn to an increasingly volatile Egypt. Sobering stuff. I dusted myself off after a while, and started thinking about Football — specifically how much better of a job the NFL had done recently than the Music Biz in responding to challenge and changes.

We then rolled into Friday deeply immersed in a full-on-brouhaha between Hulu and, well, Hulu. Or at least their corporate bosses. We have met the enemy and they are us….Enjoy your Superbowl, for if you are a Digital Music person, it might be the most restful four hours you get.



28
Jan 11

The Week That Was — The Pope, Glee, Intel, Dr. House, Styles of the Tech Stars.

Here, then, the week that was. January 28th edition:

All eyes were on Europe as the week started, as the technocrati descended on bucolic Cannes for Midem, and the Pope issued his Social Networking status update.

Tuesday took a less holy turn, with Glee creator Ryan Murphy telling Kings Of Leon “F**K You”, and not in a Cee-Lo kinda way. Oh, Mr. Murphy also called KOL “self-centered a******s” for those of you keeping track of that sort of thing. This all made Mark Mulligan from Forrester Research look positively cuddly by comparison, as all he did was tell the industry that the digital revolution had failed, and urged them to get cracking on some realistic deal making. I then wondered out loud if Mr. Mulligan was really Dr. House, and issued my diagnosis.

On Wednesday Intel got chipper about tech with new creative innovation director Will.i.am (who is no Prince, I can tell you), while the Decemberists scored their first-ever #1 album in Soundscan, where all of the sudden selling 90K+ albums almost sounded like a good number. We also got word, sadly, that country legend Charlie Louvin passed away at the age of 83.

Thursday saw a couple of think pieces: Is YouTube Bad For Music? & Freemium Fraying — The Hulu Question, and Coachella announced another sell-out.

The week came to a close with rumours still swirling on whether or not WMG was to be bought or sold, some thoughts on MySpace as digital’s Wacko Jacko, and the hope that strong digital minds like Jeremy Welt (SVP Warner Bros. — in Green Bay green) & Ted Cohen (Managing Partner TAG Strategic — in multiple scarves), help us figure this all out, no matter their Midem sartorial choices.


21
Jan 11

The Week That Was: Facts & Scuttlebutt 1/21/2011

Here, then, the week that was.

The week started with a think piece from Ann Powers of the L.A. Times on “real time” artist release cycles, Trent Reznor’s gracious Social Network acceptance speech at the Ricky Gervais roast (aka The Golden Globes), and then a plethora of Apple news, most of it heavy.  iTunes quietly launched a webpage counting down towards their 10th billion App download, a page which also detailed the most downloaded Apps of all-time. This kept Mark Zuckerberg in the news, not that he needed it, as Facebook’s free App topped the Apple list, and Mr. Zuckerberg did the meet and greet shuffle with Katy Perry.

Next we digested the double-whammy of: 1- the announcement of Steve Jobs’ medical leave, and 2-Apple’s incredible fiscal quarter results. Tuesday brought us some good back & forth with Jay Frank, on his prescription to save music retail. I dove deeper into the quarterly Apple numbers, and decided that an Apple iDevice in every hand might just be the silver lining for music companies who no longer can count on radio, retail, or even a Kanye/Jay-Z collaboration to save their quarterly scorecard. Tuesday night we encountered a Simon Cowell-less American Idol without a clear-cut villain, but then again, it’s just show #1.

On Wednesday scuttlebutt built on the rumour of Sony licensing Spotify for the U.S, which was no doubt amplified by the sobering news of the worst-selling #1 album in Soundscan history — Cake’s aptly titled “Showroom Of Compassion” — which barely managed to break 44K units sold. On Thursday AOL played the potty humor card, and I (mostly) cheered MTV’s announcement of an upcoming “mess”, (their description, not mine), of a Digital Music Awards show.

Finally, we limped into Friday bloody but not beaten, with news that WMG was both being vetted for a possible sale, and still circling EMI as a buyer. “He who’s not busy being born, is busy dying” Mr. Dylan once said. And as we break for the weekend, word comes from Billboard of 62 layoffs at Universal, where our sympathies reside for all affected.