Parking our asses on a couch in the lobby of the Royal York Hotel, we watched the endless parade go by. I thought everybody was here for CMW, especially the young girls parading around in their pajamas. Turned out they were Christian moms, aged thirty, in town for a conference with someone named Beth Moore and when they realized Jake was the judge from "Canadian Idol" they insisted we stay right there, as if we could move, while they went up to their room, retrieved a camera and came down for a pic for posterity.
It was me, Jake, Eric Garland of BigChampagne and Lane Dunlop of iTunes Canada. And after discussing my presentation, Terry McBride and Glenn Beck and the Christian Right, I asked Eric about his business, selling information to media companies that they think they want but don’t really want to know about.
BigChampagne tracks online swaps. As Eric says, don’t kill the messenger. But, there was that label that threatened to sue the company. But now Eric also provides data to movie companies. Who are always stunned how much theft is already happening. And when Eric tells them what he tells the labels, that their business is going to get smaller, they just don’t want to believe it. But it will. According to Eric. Data doesn’t lie. Windows will get smaller and disappear. The public loves the movies, but the purchase options have been determined by the purveyors, now the consumer is going to have a ton of control, and revenues will go down.
Then again, everybody remarked about the price of a movie. Have you seen "Avatar"? Jake bought four tickets and the clerk said $70. Yup, four times $17.50. Used to be the price of a movie was an afterthought, but if film companies want to maintain their revenues and their employees their lifestyles, prices have to go up. Just like concerts. Then again, we’ve never found a way to project the concert into the home, not in a way that everybody will pay, you just can’t smell the crowd, scan the audience and feel the music.
Then Jay Frank strolled by. Jay is Senior Vice President of Music Strategy for CMT. How a Jew from New Jersey ends up in Nashville, I’m not sure, but Jay’s right at home in Tennessee, employing his scientific approach to hits. Hell, he even wrote a book about it. If you want to have a hit, if you want to play by the rules, you should check it out.
Go to: Future Hit.DNA
Anyway, being deep into analysis, and living in Music City, I asked Jay about Taylor Swift. Pretty right on response. He said it depended on her next record. Could she grow, could she mature, could she deliver something beyond what she’s sold/written before?
But when that topic was covered, Jay turned to Lane and asked him about Sam Adams, was it real?
We’re not talking about the beer here. Even though Sam Adams is from Boston, even though if you Google his name, the results will spell beer.
That’s just the point…
If Sam Adams really earned number one on the iTunes hip-hop chart, you’d think there’d be some Google action. Scroll down and you can find some recent news results, but the links, the stories? Not to be found.
And when you go to Amazon, you find little action, only two reviews.
And when you go to iTunes, the comparable purchases are not similar material.
So, is it fake? Or, as Jay put it, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck is it really not a duck?
Apple is so secretive, I won’t give you Lane’s response. But he did indicate that people have tried to scam iTunes in the past, and that they have techniques for uncovering the fraud.
Then conversation wandered to the Chris Brown wedding dance video. Was that fake?
Jay laughed. Eric too. OF COURSE it was fake.
How come the mainstream media didn’t pick up on the story?
BECAUSE THEY DON’T LIKE TO BE DUPED, THEY DON’T LIKE TO LOOK BAD!
Fascinating. Yesterday, in the "Globe and Mail", they had the story of the Facebook war between Nickelback and a pickle. In case you don’t have an Internet connection, the pickle won. But the spicy cucumber won WEEKS AGO! Where was the paper then?
No viral video has ever had that many hits on YouTube in less than a week. Other online indicators of success were lacking. But the press bought the story, hook, line and sinker. Shit, does the "Today Show" do any investigative journalism? It’s a feel good story! Don’t argue with me!
And speaking of YouTube, it came out last night that that’s where people go to stream music. Check the statistics vis a vis MySpace. Plays have plunged on Murdoch’s site. And speaking of MySpace, if Sam Adams is working a record, how come he hasn’t logged in to his page since the last week of February?
Did he steal credit card numbers? Did he organize a ring of college students to amass this manipulation, this fraud? Or could it truly be real.
Come on, how could it be real? Tech-savvy youngsters have been running circles around the establishment for almost two decades now.
Ain’t that America. If a President lied about nooky, I might as well cheat and scam to get what I want. And Lehman Brothers cheated too. And if the rich cheat, what are the poor to do?
I don’t want to convict Sam Adams yet. There’s been no trial.
Then again, trials are irrelevant in America. It’s about how rich the defendant is. If he gets a great lawyer, he runs circles around the attorneys paid by the government. See "O.J." People are convicted in the court of public opinion.
And I don’t really give a shit about Sam Adams’ music.
But as a modern business story, it’s fascinating.