I don’t give a shit how good your record is, what’s your marketing stunt?

Ray Davies gave away his new album with a U.K. rag last week.  Did you hear about it?

Probably not, unless you’re an Anglophile or a Kinks fan.  And despite being a dyed-in-the-wool acolyte, I can’t say that I’m expecting much, especially after his lame first effort.  Oh, don’t hassle me, listen to him talk about his art school babe on "Storyteller" and then tell me that "Other People’s Lives" was good…  Hell, I’ll probably get e-mail from the ten people who care, telling me how fucked up and wrong I am.  Don’t they know, NO ONE’S PAYING ATTENTION!
Next week, the Eagles are gonna release a new album at Wal-Mart.  You HATE the Eagles.  You spew your venom whenever their name is mentioned.  Your displeasure is only eclipsed by your disdain for Nickelback.  But you wanna know something?  Despite Wal-Mart paying $30 million, purchasing 3 million albums one way, NO ONE WHO DOESN’T BUY IT IS EVER GOING TO HEAR IT!

They’re not gonna spin "Long Road Out Of Eden" on Top Forty.  Yeah, right next to Britney.  Don Henley’s gonna eclipse her on TMZ.  Hell, "How Long" barely made a dent on the country chart.  You see, MOST PEOPLE JUST DON’T CARE!  You’ve got your fan base, and that’s…IT!

Trent Reznor said he was going to release his latest production, of a gentleman named Saul Williams, in a slightly better than Radiohead fashion.  If you’re not a NIN devotee, YOU DIDN’T EVEN HEAR ABOUT IT!  And this is just the SECOND TIP JAR EXPERIMENT!

Don’t you get it?  These are stunts!  Equivalent to Duran Duran hiring a yacht to get their videos played on MTV.  And now MTV doesn’t play music and videos have been a joke for over a decade.

So, if you want to get noticed, you’d better cook up your stunt.  What’s it gonna be?  Are you gonna set yourself on fire in the Tower Records parking lot and only release your album on iTunes, signifying the death of the CD?

Maybe you’re going to give away your disc at baseball games.  Hell, a lot of people go.  You’ll sing the national anthem that day.

Or, you’re gonna do a Wii game.  Where people can move you with their controller.

And unless your idea is executed in the next ninety days, no one’s gonna care whatsoever.  Hell, Paul McCartney makes a deal with Starbucks and it’s big news.  Legendary artist Joni Mitchell follows him into the coffee emporiums and…customers shrug.

What have we learned here?  That the major label model is dead.  Because, you see, it’s based on these inane marketing stunts reaching a zillion people who care, who’ll all rush out and buy a disc.

But there were limited arenas.  Radio and TV.  And with limited outlets, people paid attention.  And MP3s hadn’t been heard of yet.


Actually, it all does come down to the music.  Or, it will soon.  Unless you’re willing to sacrifice your soul and your sanity, like Britney, you just won’t be noticed by the public.  You’re gonna have your core, which you will try to grow according to Malcolm Gladwell’s "Tipping Point" principles, and that will be IT!

You want to succeed in the future?  Don’t try a stunt.  Try the Musictoday fan club model.  Not the U2 fan club model.  Where you pay money for the right to buy a shitty seat.  But where you pay for ongoing goodies, all twelve months of the year/your membership.  Not only good seats, but special product, special access.  It’s all positively micro.

Who wants to go micro?  Not Jimmy Iovine.  Certainly not Edgar Bronfman, Jr.  But, if you’re getting ALL of the money, you can make a handsome income.  An extravagant income?  Looks like those days are through.

So, Prince, Radiohead, Trent and Madonna put the stake in the heart of the major label model.  And the majors wouldn’t sign the Net wannabes anyway.  So, all the majors are left with is middle of the road vessels willing to sell their souls.  But, what you end up with is an act that can play the House Of Blues…  Yup, that’s where Rihanna played in L.A.  Biggest record of the summer?  And you work in CLUBS?

Let’s get a handle on this.  Let’s recognize that the old guard’s power has been stripped, or will be soon.  Doug Morris.  Terrestrial radio…  They’re at best, network TV.  Going from 92% of the audience to 31% as cable took hold.

It’s not about SAVING the business, it’s about BUILDING A NEW ONE!

And it’s gonna take a FUCK of a lot of effort.  With so much clutter in the marketplace, gaining traction is almost impossible.  You’ve got to start with the music.  The music must touch souls.  It must sell itself.

It’s not about developing artists slowly, it’s LITERALLY THE ONLY WAY!  Goose it, and you burn everybody out right up front.

The new century, the new world is here.  Let’s stop asking how we can save the old one.

Presently music is free.  Will people pay for it in the future?  How much?  If you’re an act, that’s not your number one priority.  The act has ALWAYS had a 360 degree model, sharing in ALL revenue streams…  But now the act is in charge.  People who service the acts are the ones who will survive as businessmen in the future.  The Clive Davis model is just the opposite.  And it won’t last.

If you’re not willing to work for peanuts.  If you’re not willing to convert fans one by one.  If you’re not in it for the long haul…then you’ve got no future in this business.  And I didn’t decide this, the customer did.  The customer who was mistreated forever.  Who can now not only sample EVERY act’s music online for free (they call that MySpace), but has gratifying alternative entertainment options. Hell, just ask them.  What’s better…  Britney’s new record or HALO 3?

You know things are fucked up when people believe in a computer company more than just about every act.  Apple is just a hair younger than Bruce Springsteen’s career, but I care A LOT more about Leopard than "Magic".

Oh, don’t get your knickers in a twist.  This is how MOST people feel!  And Bruce is perceived to be credible!

I’m selling Macs.  And so is everybody who owns one.  Because they’re GREAT!  And, if you’ve got your ear to the ground, you know that Apple is going to own the consumer sphere.  All you have to do is LOOK!  Check out Starbucks, or the airport lounge.  The Mac to PC ratio is staggering.  The people running record companies are not looking, they’re not doing everyday research.  So, they’re behind.  But we, the public, are not behind.  We decide who rules now.  Madison Avenue is not in control, never mind MTV.  You’ve got to partner with us, the same way Apple partnered with a fan for its new commercial. 

18-year-old Mac fan’s ad posted to YouTube becomes Apple TV spot for iPod touch

Oh, right.  Give me shit about Apple.  You can’t handle people pooping on the vaunted Boss, or even the head Kink.  Don’t you get it?  The seventies ARE DONE!  It’s not about convincing everybody else that their favorites suck.  It’s about knowing that EVERYTHING can coexist.  The playing field is just that vast.  It’s not about squeezing someone out of the lane, getting your slot.  There’s a slot for EVERYTHING!  How can you grow the lane YOU’RE IN!  To the point that others will pay attention?

The business has been built on making sure the competitor doesn’t get traction.  Doesn’t get rotation, the endcap, the…  Everything starts out equal today.  And, if you elbow your way in front, you probably kill it.

It’s about the fundamentals.  Don’t you HATE that?

You do if you’re a market manipulator.  But if you’re a fan, you’re in HEAVEN!

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