The Death Of Vine

The Internet is about fads. Whether it be MySpace, or Vine, they’re hot for a while and then people move on, they’re the movies of the twenty first century.

Remember when we went to the flicks to be part of the culture? So when we went to parties we’d have something to talk about? And then everyone agreed the movies sucked and stopped going and we started spending our time on Facebook. And if you still go to see the comic book flicks or the foreign cinema…kudos to you, you’re keeping a dying industry on life support while the rest of us are cherry-picking streaming TV and spending time on the web.

Everything runs its course.

It’s just that it’s must faster online. We can all get the word, utilize it and then be done with it. The game is to sustain, which is nearly impossible. Which is why Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp. Because after you’ve reconnected with all your old school buddies and built a monument to yourself, why go back to the social network? As a matter of fact, youngsters never do, they populate chat apps. Which is why Apple beefed up iMessage, opened it up to apps itself. Because there’s a coming war, and they want to win. And the way you win today is to build up enough capital and mindshare that you can purchase the latest and the greatest, can you say Oculus Rift? Facebook bought that too. As for Snap, er, chat… An overvalued turkey that does not have the cojones and mindshare to justify its valuation. It’s GoPro without the hardware.

That’s right, after all the active athletes buy a GoPro who’s left? The company is trying to pivot but will probably fail. It’s just not a mainstream product.

Nor is Snapchat. Evanescent messaging…that’s a feature, not a standalone item. Just ask Twitter… Real time news is a feature, not a standalone item, which is why they’re trying to sell the enterprise. As for Snapchat’s vaunted entertainment options…you can view content on any platform, it doesn’t have to be on Snapchat. But the media loves the story and the investors have to cash out and it keeps the dough rolling in Silicon Valley but do we really have room for one more horseman? After all, there were only four at the apocalypse.

Apps, which kids rarely download today, are the one hit wonders of now. You use ’em and discard them. They’re Pokemon Go. They don’t have a run as long as the Backstreet Boys. Why do we think virtual is forever when it can so easily be eclipsed? Want to last? Build hardware, but that takes forever, with a huge investment. Which is why we revere Elon Musk, who added the Mars dream on top of that…but can he beat the usual suspects with deep pockets? Can anybody beat the usual suspects with deep pockets?

That’s the story of today. The consolidation of power in so very few. Not only in the public, but in our corporations. The rich get richer and don’t want the poor to rise up. If you’ve got something worth buying the empowered will purchase it, otherwise it’s just a matter of when it dies on the vine…

Short media clips. A brief mania. Kinda like the Flip mini camcorder. A huge breakthrough from the bulky video cameras of the past, but just a feature once the smartphone appeared.

The game is to last.

But it’s harder than ever today. Hell, it’s hard to even get noticed. Remember when there used to be a viral sensation every couple of months? Remember “Gangnam Style”? Now we don’t even have that, because people have seen the trick and the pros got in with their marketing and the whole thing became phony and what sells, what delivers mania, what shoots up like a unicorn, is inventive authenticity. You’ve got to be different, and you’ve got to be honest. And we’ve got a duplicitous me-too culture. Everybody with a brain is playing it safe. The proletariat wants to buy, but enterprises are risk averse. Imagine if Facebook came up with evanescent messaging. Imagine if Universal signed an act with no radio potential that blew minds. But bean counters won’t allow it. Which is why disruption comes from outside. But now the powers-that-be are so powerful it’s hard to get traction, which leads to public frustration.

We’re just on an accelerated path. We’re chewing up and spitting out ever faster. That’s what digitization has allowed. The newspapers are on life support, they still need a rethink. And if you believe you’re gonna own a car in the future, you’re still watching television in real time, you’re unaware of the on demand culture.

Meanwhile, the public is on overload. Which is why experiences have become so big. They’re one of a kind and they’re flesh and blood. They make you feel alive. Whereas sites like Vine are bits and bytes, cold assemblages we can easily discard. It’s the people who remain, not their tools.

But we like the tools to make our lives better.

That’s what Steve Jobs had right, he was building tools. Now those developing online take their cues from the entertainment industry, where it’s all about flash and personal glory, whereas online it’s the public that’s the star.

Expect fewer unicorns. I’m not sure whether Silicon Valley has run out of ideas or we’re just burned out on the trick but the era of internet excitement has run its course. The internet is a distribution platform, a place to host endeavors. Your goal is to put your imprimatur upon it. To create something that people want to interact with. We’re living in the era of the content creator. The stars are those who touch souls. But too many are bunting. Utilize the tools to deliver something that blows minds. There will will always be a platform to exhibit it.

The NFL Crashes

I don’t buy it. The story that the Presidential election is hurting NFL ratings. After all, the “Walking Dead” won Sunday night. Turns out zombies trump overdeveloped men when they go head to head.

This has been a long time coming.

That’s the story of the twenty first century, the decimation of old paradigms. What once was, no longer will be. In an era of experiences, where everyone wants to participate, be up close and personal, football is a bad fit. You can’t get a good seat and even if you do the game is better at home. A game that those who play it say the public can’t truly understand. One with very little action where so many men get hurt that nobody wants their kids to play anymore. This is a recipe for success?

But we kept hearing that live television was everything, sports ruled and football was king.

Until cord-cutting began… I don’t remember the last time I tuned in ESPN, and I’m paying five plus bucks a month for it. Talk about a rip-off!

And then there’s the dilution of the product. In this case, I don’t mean bad games without stars, but the proliferation of game days. Used to be NFL Sunday. Now it’s NFL Thursday, Sunday and Monday. It’s no longer special.

And the brass is out of touch.

How do you think it looks when your players keep beating up their spouses?

It reinforces the notion that the game is played by thugs. This is not college rah-rah character building, this is about money pure and simple. Otherwise, why would these men put themselves in the line of fire?

And we’ve been complicit. As our best stars get hurt. As our most famous stars can barely walk and literally lose their minds. Try having a rave in Southern California, can’t be done, too many people have died, the public won’t stand for it. And the public won’t stand for a sport that is literally killing its players’ futures.

But you can’t say this. Because football is religion. It’s the national glue.

But nothing bonds us all together other than politics and tech. Movies are niche, TV too. As for music…the biggest stars are known by few.

We live in a Tower of Babel society. No entertainment is immune. What does this mean?

Well, you either hunker down in your niche and be happy or you re-evaluate.

The music business sells niche and expects it to go mainstream, which is utterly hysterical. A great swath of the public will never listen to hip-hop. And a good chunk tunes out today’s pop. But they keep tuning into the vapid “Voice” despite the show never minting a star. Because there are songs. We’re enamored of songs. Where have all the good songs gone?

It’s hard to like Roger Goodell. He’s another robber baron, a corporate titan overpaid to care for the interests of billionaire owners out of touch with the proletariat. If you don’t think people have contempt for these so-called winners, you followed neither the Sanders nor the Trump campaigns. That’s the story of this decade, how income inequality has bit back, how the disenfranchised are angry and are exacting payment whenever they can.

We don’t need your stinking football games.

Not when we’ve got Pokemon Go! Not when we can be the star of our own world on Facebook and Snapchat!

Maybe there will be a bump in the ratings when the election is over and the championship races tighten up. But rest assured, football is in trouble. And it’s going to continue to falter. Like boxing, it can’t be fixed. And how do you expect a younger generation to pay attention when they’re all playing soccer?

That’s the sports story here, how European football, the world’s game, has gained strength. Because kids played it in school, because it’s based on finesse more than violence and…

Nothing lasts forever.

Kinda like the network hegemony.

A bunch of outlets are gonna fall by the wayside. Propped up by a cable bundle that is going extinct, the truth is few people are watching them.

But plenty of people are tuning in, watching higher quality television than ever before. Which outlets gladly pay for. Funny how quality has become the mantra. The executive is not the king in television, it’s the talent.

But do we revere football players anymore?

I don’t think so. They’ve all got such checkered pasts. And most are two-dimensional. Put them in front of a mic and all they can say is “I love my teammates, we won!”

Not very endearing.

It’s not the football players who dominate social media, but…

Enough already with the jockocracy. Rich athletes pumped up by fat television contracts. We’ve passed peak football. You lived through it.

They stopped killing people at the Roman Colosseum. And if you’re floating a bond to pay for a football stadium, stop. You’re better off investing in e-sports.

We used to believe cocaine wasn’t addictive, OxyContin too.

We used to believe football players had long productive lives.

But they don’t.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

It’s morning in America and football is toast.


Matt Nathanson Shook Me All Night Long

Matt Nathanson Aug 22, 2014: 15 – You Shook Me All Night Long [AC/DC] Impromptu-Clifton Park,NY Full

It’s all about the riff.

I bought “Back In Black” after hearing “You Shook Me All Night Long” on the radio. I knew “Highway To Hell,” “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” but I’d never bought an LP. I knew Bon Scott had died, that they’d replaced him with this godforsaken guy with a similar voice from the unheralded Geordie…

But I was not prepared for this mellifluous sound, as if the Beach Boys had been crossed with heavy metal, via Australia and South Africa. That’s right, the band was from Down Under. And Mutt Lange emigrated to the U.K. from the land of apartheid.

And I knew who Lange was too. He produced those Graham Parker LPs, and the City Boy ones I bought even though they did not live up to the reviews.

And at this point, AC/DC was the Black Sabbath of its day, hated on principle.

But that was all about to change.

I dropped the needle on the album and…

I heard those ringing bells, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame was inside my speakers, a harbinger of something…


Immediately hypnotic, Angus’s playing entranced you, the drums started to pound, the freight train was hurtling down the track and then the new vocalist, Brian Johnson, started to sing…

I’m a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
I’m comin’ on like a hurricane

Some cuts you only have to hear once, you get on board and when they’re done playing you’re deposited at a different location.

I was ensconced in my new house in Santa Monica after breaking up with my live-in girlfriend, I went to the store and bought eight albums to break in my new abode, smooth the transition, but the one that squeezed out all the old thoughts, that made me think things would be all right, was…

“Back In Black.”

And at this time, I was still drinking. It wasn’t long before John Lennon would be assassinated and I’d be pulled over for having too many drinks and I loved “Have A Drink On Me.”

Whiskey, gin and brandy
With a glass I’m pretty handy

Call me if you want to have five or six, maybe ten, one or two didn’t interest me, I wanted to have the best night of my life. Flaming Drambuies, Tequila Sunrises, Jack Daniel’s and Dewars, made no difference, I’d drink it all, marijuana was passe, the law had changed and you could legally drink at eighteen and I did. I remember living in Utah and waking up to see if my car was in one piece, after driving the mountain road down from the Tram Bar at Snowbird.

Those were fun times, but when that woman sexually abused me and I couldn’t leave because I was on summary probation, I gave up. Forever, even though I didn’t know that then.

And it’s amazing how “You Shook Me All Night Long” segues into “Have A Drink On Me,” you could play “Back In Black” from front to back, as you could the Def Leppard albums that followed, created by the same Mutt Lange.

But AC/DC could never equal their masterpiece. I ran out and purchased “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” the day of its release. You anticipated the greatness, you had to drop the needle and hear it right away when there was no other way. And I loved the title track, but after that… Kind of like Bon Jovi’s “New Jersey” after “Slippery When Wet.”

But “Back In Black”…

It’s become a cultural institution. The band went from dangerous to warm and cuddly. It’s been blown to bits recently but the funny thing is we now own these songs, we pay fealty to Angus, but we don’t care who sings them because they’re ours.

So I write about a Matt Nathanson song today and my inbox starts to fill up. I’m gonna give you a tip on music recommendations, it’s not whether you like it but whether I will. Deejays wouldn’t survive if no one liked what they played, it’s a skill. And most of what’s forwarded to me doesn’t float my boat, but today…

This guy Brad Parmerter sends me a clip of Matt Nathanson he says has 1.6 million views on YouTube.

This I’m interested in. I’m a data nerd. Most live clips are in the single digit thousands, double at most. If you break seven figures, there must be something there.

And Matt’s wearing his own t-shirt. Which is kind of ironic, he’s a jokester, hyping your own self is the lowest form of publicity. And he’s talking to the crowd, and I’m just waiting to hear…how close to the original he gets it, because people rarely do.

But the sound emanating from his guitar…IT’S THE RIFF!

And the drummer’s on the beat and when they get to the verse…



The walls start shaking
The earth was quaking
My mind was aching
And we were making it

We’ve got a Presidential candidate who hasn’t heard of Aleppo.

People think the President is a Muslim.

But we all know every word to “You Shook Me All Night Long,” it bonds us.

This is not a metal show. You wouldn’t expect these people to know this song. BUT EVERYBODY DOES!

Matt never gets to sing, they carry the whole number.


Memories are made of this, this is why you go to the show, to feel this good at a one of a kind event. It made me tingle, gave me goosebumps, made life worth living for.

Benjy’s Late

Nobody plans to fail.

But they fail to plan.

That’s what the dental hygienist told me today. After telling me she moved to a new duplex in South Central L.A., an hour away. One day she decided to take the freeway, despite Waze’s incantations, but then it took an hour and a half. But she was still fifteen minutes early, she doesn’t want to be late.

On the drive into Beverly Hills Howard was chastising Benjy for being late, again. Told him he could lose this paying job and end up nowhere, like so many Stern alumni.

And this got me thinking, that half of the job is just showing up.

Forget the entrepreneurs, they’re a separate breed. But if you get there on time and do the assigned job you’ll climb the ranks, because so few others do!

Kinda like Daniel Glass telling me he only hires college graduates, not because you learn anything special in school, but because it shows you can complete something.

And this hygienist was a fountain of wisdom. She got married to a fifty year old and he had no retirement plan.

I have no retirement plan. I put some money in the bank, but not enough to get me to the end. And that’s where you want to go, the end.

She’s buying property, she’s learning along the way. It makes me wonder, what are my values, am I just a dreamer?

Last night I went to this “Influencers Dinner.” Utterly fascinating. Eight youngsters all on the make. People my age? They’re either running the business or they’re out. And it’s fascinating to hang with those in charge, who have power, but one forgets they’re making new people every day and that there are others who grew up with a passion for music.

One is starting a management company, Faction. It’s based on data and shared services.

You pay cost for an office and then you cough up 20-30% of your earnings, but you get shared services, social media experts, publicity, they’re built-in, available in the office, equity, and you get to use the app.

The app blew my mind.

Most of these things are half-baked. This one…

There was a whole approval system, a timeline, to make sure everybody had seen and signed off on something.

And you could allow people to talk to each other or not, you could end the conversation so you could move on with your project, or…

Andy Gould is in. Marc Friedenberg too. In six months they’ve exceeded expectations. There is still disruption to be had in the music business.

But I stressed it’s still run by duplicitous renegades, who march to the beat of their own drummer.

The majordomo said he was doing it for the artists, to claw back a bunch of the revenue leaking to others. Good mission, but artists tend to be ungrateful, it’s in their DNA. You’ve got to be screwed up to make it, and it’s your only chance, so…you make decisions others won’t and whine about it.

The organizer of the dinner started a publishing and record company. He used to work at Kobalt, now he’s on his own. He’s got a website where you suggest acts, the suggester gets a percentage of future revenue. This guy has signed four acts already. Spotify took a liking to one and in a matter of months its track has gotten 1.7 million streams and the majors are nibbling.

But the game is getting harder.

And it’s more sophisticated.

Tech is integrated into music. Which is why education will pay dividends in the future. The old gofer becomes President paradigm? Guy from the street makes it to the top? That’s probably going by the wayside, all the winners have skills and are much more intelligent.

And on the way home from the dentist, where I thought I had a broken tooth, having eaten two bowls of those hot nuts they serve you on American Airlines…

I heard Matt Nathanson’s “Come On Get Higher.” Howard was in commercial so I pushed the button for No Shoes Radio and after a John Mayer song, this came on.

I’d never heard it before, but I just checked on Spotify and it has 34,511,335 streams. Turns out I’m the last one to get the message. But I immediately knew I liked it, because music is first and foremost emotional, when it comes from the gut it resonates. And I wondered if it was the situation, driving on Olympic towards the beach after dodging a dental bullet. But I’m listening right now and it still sounds good.

Life is an adventure. Your job is to leave the house every day. Interact. You’ll learn lessons where you least expect to. Every person has wisdom, some are trying to get ahead, some are falling behind and…

I want to hear all of their stories.

“Come On Get Higher”

P.S. Faction is run by Robb McDaniels, who started INgrooves. Benjamin Groff is the guy who used to work at Kobalt…