I’m not supposed to talk about it.

Actually, I asked Martin Sorrell’s permission, actually SIR Martin Sorrell, and he said to run it by him first.

Ain’t gonna do that.

Actually, I deleted the e-mail the first time through. I’m invited to scores of conferences. I won’t go unless you pay me. Hell, you’re reading this for free, I’ve got to make a living! And usually conferences are worthless. Sponsored by the government to promote industry they’re clusterfucks with no point. You see the usual suspects spouting the usual statements and if you’re lucky, you make some new friends and hang with old ones. And then there are the bands, oh I hate this. The organizer signs up a hundred wannabes, charges them to play in the hope they get a deal, whatever that means these days. Actually, for about a decade there, music conferences were fascinating, because the business was in turmoil, but it’s in turmoil no more. You’re now either a winner or you’re a loser, and you know which one you are by whether you’re bitching or not. If you’re complaining about streaming and how you just can’t make any money you’ve been left behind, the past is never coming back. All that hogwash about musicians being fairly compensated for their work… Yeah, that’ll happen when you can force people to listen to your trash, and that’s never gonna be, you’re competing against the best music of all time, you’ve got to be just that good, and the dirty little secret which is actually hiding in plain sight is if you are that good, if you are at the top of the chart, you’re making more money in adjusted dollars than you ever made in music previously. But try to tell that to the losers. You’re not entitled to make music for a living, do you think you’re entitled to play in the NBA?

So Stream is free. I learned that when they tracked me down again. Sponsored by WPP, the world’s largest advertising agency, whose majordomo is the heretofore mentioned Mr. Sorrell, and a bunch of other household name companies, it brings together agency people, media people and those like me, who wonder how we got on their list.

And believe me, these are different people, I never come across them in real life. Hell, I probably hear from as many people as anybody in Hollywood, but I don’t know advertising agencies and packaged goods consultants and it’s just stunning how many people really live in the world, and many of them are foreign, with a different perspective. The more you learn, the less you know. I’m sitting around in discussion groups today wondering to what degree I’ve got my finger on the pulse, because everybody’s got a family, everybody’s buying stuff, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

Well, the people at Stream are the ones who are selling it to them.

Now the difference between Stream and the music business is these people are smart. Whereas music is peopled by hustlers. With no barrier to entry and great rewards for success, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff in music, which is why you can’t get access, why you’re better off making a noise and being found than knocking on doors. People are DELUSIONAL! They’ll e-mail you files that suck which they believe are chart-toppers, it’s just that no one will tell them this, and if you do, you crush their dream and are labeled an asshole, harassed forever more, which is why it’s a club you cannot get into, no one has the time to waste with the great unwashed.

But in traditional business you’ve got to prove yourself to move up the food chain. But advertising is challenged. It’s just a decade plus behind the music industry. You see they’re being squeezed out, even though in many cases they’re necessary, but no one wants to pay, can you say NAPSTER??

Everybody hates disruption. They think their job is forever, or should be. But the world marches on and new companies emerge and many no longer have a seat at the table. But rather than deal with this, many deny it, try to prevent it, and howl when it comes to be, just like you hate the rappers who built culture online, gave their wares away for free and now dominate Spotify. You denigrate their music, the system, instead of getting on board and trying to play the game. There’s no culture in rock, which is why it’s eclipsed by even country on Spotify, one thing the social web has taught us is you need a community. But there’s no new music in rock that engenders said community. You’re bitching about streaming while Fleetwood Mac has over a hundred million streams of their hits on Spotify, because they’re GREAT, you don’t need a manual to understand them.

And today it rained. You know what it’s like to be outside in the rain in Ojai, under a teepee? It’s like being at summer camp. There’s a feeling in the air, like your life could change, like you’re living in the moment, like nothing else matters. You’re pissed when your phone rings, when you get e-mail, you want to disconnect as opposed to being plugged in.

And the truth is everybody’s friendly and most have no idea who I am and there are five discussion slots a day, you go to whichever groups you want, they’re organized by attendees, kinda like electives at the aforementioned summer camp. And you encounter certain people a number of times and create bonds. And your consciousness is heightened and your social network is increased with flesh and blood friends and the busier you are, and I haven’t had a free moment all day, the more you engage, you realize technology is just a tool, that it’s really just about us.

Stream the WPP conference

Stream USA 2017

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