posted by Larry Weintraub
I'm getting old. I hate to admit it. But there have been numerous things in my life lately that tell me I'm in fact over the hill.
The first sign was about 3 weeks ago when I attended the Electric Daisy Carniva
l. The Electric Daisy Carnival is one of the biggest rave music festivals in the country. Over 100,000 people attend this event over a Saturday and Sunday in June at the LA Coliseum. It starts at 3pm and goes til about 4am.
- I know I'm old because I attended the event from 4pm - 5pm.
- I know I'm old because I brought my 19 month old son - to go on the merry-go-round!
- I know I'm old because the only people over 18 years old that I saw were picking up trash.
The second sign was two weeks ago when my back started to hurt really bad. I don't even remember injuring it. I must have picked up my son the wrong way or maybe I twisted myself up playing roller hockey, though I never fell or got hurt in the game itself.
- I know I'm old because when I told my doctor I play a weekly game of roller hockey he said, "Still?"
- I know I'm old because I've been going to bed before 10pm every night since January.
- I know I'm old because two of my favorite bands in the world - Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction are touring together and the thought of going to a concert is far less appealing than going to bed before 10pm (see previous reason).
Now the real kicker is the article that Vanessa in my office just gave to me. It's a post she found on a Wired.com's GeekDad
100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About
- By Nathan Barry | July 22, 2009
There are some things in this world that will never be forgotten, this week’s 40th anniversary of the moon landing
for one. But Moore’s Law
and our ever-increasing quest for simpler, smaller, faster and better widgets and thingamabobs will always ensure that some of the technology we grew up with will not be passed down the line to the next generation of geeks.
That is, of course, unless we tell them all about the good old days of modems and typewriters, slide rules and encyclopedias …
- Inserting a VHS tape into a VCR to watch a movie or to record something.
- Super-8 movies and cine film of all kinds.
- Playing music on an audio tape using a personal stereo. See what happens when you give a Walkman to today’s teenager.
- The number of TV channels being a single digit. I remember it being a massive event when Britain got its fourth channel.
- Standard-definition, CRT TVs filling up half your living room.
- Rotary dial televisions with no remote control. You know, the ones where the kids were the remote control.
- High-speed dubbing.
- 8-track cartridges.
- Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.
- Betamax tapes.
- Laserdisc: the LP of DVD.
- Scanning the radio dial and hearing static between stations. (Digital tuners + HD radio b0rk this concept.)
- Shortwave radio.
- 3-D movies meaning red-and-green glasses.
- Watching TV when the networks say you should. Tivo and Sky+ are slowing killing this one.
- That there was a time before ‘reality TV.’
Computers and Videogaming
- Wires. OK, so they’re not gone yet, but it won’t be long
- The scream of a modem connecting.
- The buzz of a dot-matrix printer
- 5- and 3-inch floppies, Zip Discs and countless other forms of data storage.
- Using jumpers to set IRQs.
- Terminals accessing the mainframe.
- Screens being just green (or orange) on black.
- Tweaking the volume setting on your tape deck to get a computer game to load, and waiting ages for it to actually do it.
- Daisy chaining your SCSI devices and making sure they’ve all got a different ID.
- Counting in kilobytes.
- Wondering if you can afford to buy a RAM upgrade.
- Blowing the dust out of a NES cartridge in the hopes that it’ll load this time.
- Turning a PlayStation on its end to try and get a game to load.
- Having to delete something to make room on your hard drive.
- Booting your computer off of a floppy disk.
- Recording a song in a studio.
- NCSA Mosaic.
- Finding out information from an encyclopedia.
- Using a road atlas to get from A to B.
- Doing bank business only when the bank is open.
- Shopping only during the day, Monday to Saturday.
- Phone books and Yellow Pages.
- Newspapers and magazines made from dead trees.
- Actually being able to get a domain name consisting of real words.
- Filling out an order form by hand, putting it in an envelope and posting it.
- Not knowing exactly what all of your friends are doing and thinking at every moment.
- Carrying on a correspondence with real letters, especially the handwritten kind.
- Archie searches.
- Gopher searches.
- Concatenating and UUDecoding binaries from Usenet.
- The fact that words generally don’t have num8er5 in them.
- Correct spelling of phrases, rather than TLAs.
- Waiting several minutes (or even hours!) to download something.
- The time before botnets/security vulnerabilities due to always-on and always-connected PCs
- The time before PC networks.
- When Spam was just a meat product — or even a Monty Python sketch.
- Putting film in your camera: 35mm may have some life still, but what about APS or disk?
- Sending that film away to be processed.
- Having physical prints of photographs come back to you.
- CB radios.
- Getting lost. With GPS coming to more and more phones, your location is only a click away.
- Rotary-dial telephones.
- Answering machines.
- Using a stick to point at information on a wallchart
- Pay phones.
- Phones with actual bells in them.
- Fax machines.
- Vacuum cleaners with bags in them.
- Taking turns picking a radio station, or selecting a tape, for everyone to listen to during a long drive.
- Remembering someone’s phone number.
- Not knowing who was calling you on the phone.
- Actually going down to a Blockbuster store to rent a movie.
- Toys actually being suitable for the under-3s.
- LEGO just being square blocks of various sizes, with the odd wheel, window or door.
- Waiting for the television-network premiere to watch a movie after its run at the theater.
- Relying on the 5-minute sport segment on the nightly news for baseball highlights.
- Neat handwriting.
- The days before the nanny state.
- Starbuck being a man.
- Han shoots first.
- “Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.” But they’ve already seen episode III, so it’s no big surprise.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken, as opposed to KFC.
- Trig tables and log tables.
- “Don’t know what a slide rule is for …”
- Finding books in a card catalog at the library.
- Swimming pools with diving boards.
- Hershey bars in silver wrappers.
- Sliding the paper outer wrapper off a Kit-Kat, placing it on the palm of your hand and clapping to make it bang loudly. Then sliding your finger down the silver foil to break off the first finger
- A Marathon bar (what a Snickers used to be called in Britain).
- Having to manually unlock a car door.
- Writing a check.
- Looking out the window during a long drive.
- Roller skates, as opposed to blades.
- Libraries as a place to get books rather than a place to use the internet.
- Spending your entire allowance at the arcade in the mall.
- Omni Magazine
- A physical dictionary — either for spelling or definitions.
- When a ‘geek’ and a ‘nerd’ were one and the same.
My thanks go out to all of my fellow GeekDads for their contributions to this list.
Labels: electric daisy carnival, geekdad, Getting old, Wired Magazine, wired.com
posted by Larry Weintraub
There is a fantastic and fascinating article in the latest Fast Company about Amazon's attempt to do for publishing what Apple did for music. The idea being that with the Kindle, Amazon has the premiere device that people will use for reading and downloading books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs; similar to what Apple did with the MP3 player. The result for Apple is that they own the market and they have the power to control the music business. Now Amazon can possibly do the same with the publishing world and soon authors might be able to cut a deal directly with Amazon and skip the publishers all together.
Sounds like a plan, huh? Well, what if Apple decides to put out their own version of the Kindle and it's sexier in a way that only Apple can produce?
Read this article!
“Jeff Bezos is trying to do to book publishers what Steve Jobs of Apple did to the music industry. With its iPod and iTunes Store, Apple carved out a largely virgin market so fast that it was able to wrest control of the digital-music distribution system and thus dictate what the record labels could do. With Amazon jamming (its latest earnings are sky-high even as other online retailers are in a state of malaise), Bezos may sense similar opportunity, a moment when he, in true Jobs-like fashion, could colonize this growing niche for the Amazon ecosystem. Should that happen, book publishers would have more to fear than just being squeezed. Amazon could phase them out completely, treating them as the ultimate middlemen orphaned by a new technology.”
Labels: amazon, Apple, iPod, jeff bezos, Kindle, mp3 player, Steve Jobs
posted by Larry Weintraub
I get asked by bands all the time if I can give them advice. Unfortunately every day that goes by makes me less and less familiar with the music business. There was a time, not too long ago, when I could tell a musician exactly how to do it. I would tell them to work hard, concentrate on their music, but never forget that the music business is a merging of art and commerce. It's a business. And very few musicians I've ever known want to be a part of the business, they just want to rock!
Well, 10 or 15 years ago I could tell them just to get good people behind them. A great manager and a great agent were the most important. And those were hard to find.
But today it's very different. There are very few managers left. And there weren't that many to start with. Strike that, there are plenty of managers out there. Plenty of friends that think they can manage. But very few great managers.
So if you are a musician, I'm sorry, but you have to concentrate on the business. You have to think through how to make a living playing your music. And guess what? You can't. It's impossible to make money playing music. At least not for a long time.
If you read Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Outliers" he'll tell you that you need to rack up 10,000 hours of playing before you can be great. And how are you supposed to survive til you hit those 10,000 hours? Well, you'll have to wait tables, take tickets at your local movie theater, learn to be a web designer, cut hair. You name it. You have to have a second job.
Ok, so you have a second job, you're making ends meet. Now how do you make it as a musician?
I can guide you back, as I have so many times before, to Kevin Kelly's 1,000 True Fans
concept. And, I can keep pointing out what other musicians are doing. Specifically Trent Reznor. Trent has emerged as the voice of the new music business. The one that is slowly rebuilding even though the old one hasn't quite crumbled to the ground just yet.
Trent did a great interview on Digg Dialogue
a couple of months back and he has been doing some great posts in the forums on NIN.com
. I strongly believe that it will take some major artists to transform the music business into what it will become. It has to start from the top and work it's way down. I don't think an unknown artist will fully tip the scales, it will have to be a collection of major artists that turn the business upside down. But it's starting to happen. Radiohead did it, then NIN did it, and who's next?
Meanwhile lesser known artists are trying new things. Josh Freese gave away his stuff and his time if you bought his album. Many bands are learning that you need to give away your music to entice people to see you live and buy your t-shirts.
I could go on, but I believe Trent says it better than anyone:
my thoughts on what to do as a new / unknown artist
I posted a message on Twitter yesterday stating I thought The Beastie Boys and TopSpin Media "got it right" regarding how to sell music in this day and age. Here's a link to their store:
Shortly thereafter, I got some responses from people stating the usual "yeah, if you're an established artist - what if you're just trying to get heard?" argument. In an interview I did recently this topic came up and I'll reiterate what I said here.
If you are an unknown / lesser-known artist trying to get noticed / established:
* Establish your goals. What are you trying to do / accomplish? If you are looking for mainstream super-success (think Lady GaGa, Coldplay, U2, Justin Timberlake) - your best bet in my opinion is to look at major labels and prepare to share all revenue streams / creative control / music ownership. To reach that kind of critical mass these days your need old-school marketing muscle and that only comes from major labels. Good luck with that one.
If you're forging your own path, read on.
* Forget thinking you are going to make any real money from record sales. Make your record cheaply (but great) and GIVE IT AWAY. As an artist you want as many people as possible to hear your work. Word of mouth is the only true marketing that matters.
Parter with a TopSpin or similar or build your own website, but what you NEED to do is this - give your music away as high-quality DRM-free MP3s. Collect people's email info in exchange (which means having the infrastructure to do so) and start building your database of potential customers. Then, offer a variety of premium packages for sale and make them limited editions / scarce goods. Base the price and amount available on what you think you can sell. Make the packages special - make them by hand, sign them, make them unique, make them something YOU would want to have as a fan. Make a premium download available that includes high-resolution versions (for sale at a reasonable price) and include the download as something immediately available with any physical purchase. Sell T-shirts. Sell buttons, posters... whatever.
Don't have a TopSpin as a partner? Use Amazon for your transactions and fulfillment. [www.amazon.com]
Use TuneCore to get your music everywhere. [www.tunecore.com]
Have a realistic idea of what you can expect to make from these and budget your recording appropriately.
The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact - it sucks as the musician BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So... have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process (plus build your database).
The Beastie Boys' site offers everything you could possibly want in the formats you would want it in - available right from them, right now. The prices they are charging are more than you should be charging - they are established and you are not. Think this through.
The database you are amassing should not be abused, but used to inform people that are interested in what you do when you have something going on - like a few shows, or a tour, or a new record, or a webcast, etc.
Have your MySpace page, but get a site outside MySpace - it's dying and reads as cheap / generic. Remove all Flash from your website. Remove all stupid intros and load-times. MAKE IT SIMPLE TO NAVIGATE AND EASY TO FIND AND HEAR MUSIC (but don't autoplay). Constantly update your site with content - pictures, blogs, whatever. Give people a reason to return to your site all the time. Put up a bulletin board and start a community. Engage your fans (with caution!) Make cheap videos. Film yourself talking. Play shows. Make interesting things. Get a Twitter account. Be interesting. Be real. Submit your music to blogs that may be interested. NEVER CHASE TRENDS. Utilize the multitude of tools available to you for very little cost of any - Flickr / YouTube / Vimeo / SoundCloud / Twitter etc.
If you don't know anything about new media or how people communicate these days, none of this will work. The role of an independent musician these days requires a mastery of first hand use of these tools. If you don't get it - find someone who does to do this for you. If you are waiting around for the phone to ring or that A & R guy to show up at your gig - good luck, you're going to be waiting a while.
Hope this helps, and I'll scour responses for intelligent comments I can respond to.
Labels: 1000 true fans, kevin kelly, Music Business, musicians, nin, nine inch nails, radiohead, trent reznor
posted by Larry Weintraub
I live in Hollywood. Ground zero for the movie business.
It used to be that a movie came out and you decided whether you wanted to see it by a trailer you saw before another movie or because you read or watched a review by a noted film critic.
Not any more.
If you happened to scan your Facebook page recently or scoured your Twitter feed, you'd notice a lot of chatter about movies. Some scathing about Bruno, some lukewarm for Public Enemies, some glowing for Harry Potter or The Hangover.
One more reason not to read a newspaper, right?
I trust Kenneth Turan
, the LA Times film critic, but I trust my friend Matt more. I like watching the two Ben's on At the Movies
, but I trust my sister even more. And now I can see how they all really feel about these flicks 5 minutes after the movie is over.
We're living in a world of instant information. But even more important, we're living in a world of instant word of mouth.
Per Time Magazine
In the old days — like, until yesterday — movie studios judged the success of their big pictures by how much they grossed on the opening weekend. But in the age of Twitter, electronic word-of-mouth is immediate, as early moviegoers tweet their opinions on a film to millions of "followers." Instant-messaging can make or break a film within 24 hours. Friday is the new weekend.
Mashable recapped and expanded on that Time article quite nicely with this article: "Did Opening Night Twitter Reviews Sink Bruno's Weekend Box Office?
According to box office results, Brüno, albeit the number one grossing movie at the box office pulling in $30.4 million, saw almost a 40% drop in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday, and lost even more steam going into Sunday. And Time thinks Twitter might be to blame claiming that “Brüno could be the first movie defeated by the Twitter effect.”
So what changed between Friday and Saturday? Only one thing: people actually saw the movie. With the advent and popularity of instantaneous feedback via social media, especially Twitter, would-be moviegoers could have been heavily influenced by those who were offended, shocked, or simply not entertained by the in-your-face homosexual content and turned to Twitter to post their opinions. After all, Brüno has been a trending topic on Twitter for several days, which means millions of users were exposed to the real-time feedback of those who watched the movie.
Meanwhile another Mashable article titled "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: A Social Media Blockbuster?
" speaks to the heightened activity that big films receive right before their premier dates. In the case of the new Harry Potter movie, the velocity of Twitter posts and stories on Google shot up dramatically the week of the release.
There were 47,149 posts yesterday, but just two days ago, it was under 20,000. Is this just people very hyped to see the movie, or has the buzz been weak until just before the premiere? Google search results seem to have taken the same type of dramatic climb, with 1,300,000 new results in Google in just the last few days:
There's nothing Hollywood can do about this. Well, you might argue that Hollywood can make only great movies. But that would be difficult and extremely subjective. Regardless, you can't deny that the public's voice keeps getting louder and more powerful.
Labels: ben lyons, ben mankiewicz, bruno, facebook, harry potter, kenneth turan, Mashable, movies, social media, time magazine, twitter
posted by Larry Weintraub