Music and the New Economy

Music and the New Economy

In Rainbows is a great album by a great band.  That is not really a controversial statement as Radiohead is one of the most beloved bands of my life and In Rainbows is considered their finest work since Kid A.  (This isn’t going to turn in to a discussion of the best Radiohead albums, but that would be fun for another time). In Rainbows was released in October 2007 and it was a watershed moment in the history of music and the way music was sold. Radiohead released the album on their own website for an interesting price–whatever you thought it was worth.  I remember buying it and I think I paid $1.  I paid this paltry amount not because I think a new Radiohead album is worth $1, but I wasn’t sure I believed the offer.  I had never paid for anything what I thought it was worth. We might not have realized this, but the world of music marketing hasn’t been the same since. Artists from all over the globe have taken control over their own music to levels never before seen–and there appears to be no end in sight. Case in point: Father John Misty (aka Joshua Tillman).  The former member of the Fleet Foxes and creator of the fantastic debut album Fear Fun in 2012, Tillman released his follow up album I Love You, Honeybear earlier this year.  To mark the occasion, he released his new album to the world for free…with a catch.  A catch that actually caught me off guard. On his website, Tillman released his album in a format called SAP.  Here is how he described the...
The Subtle Genius of Curtis Creek Manifesto

The Subtle Genius of Curtis Creek Manifesto

Fly fishing is tough and anyone who tells you differently is misleading you.  While it is my passion and passion of many of my peers, it is not the easiest sport/hobby to learn, let alone master.  In fact, the barrier to entry in fly fishing has been one of its most difficult obstacles to growth.  While A River Runs Through It captured the mystic of the pasttime and the River Why captured some of its romance, very few books have been able to make it easier to learn.  And countless have tried. But if you look back to 1978, you might just find the best attempt yet to spread the gospel of fly fishing and it was a 48 page hand-drawn book on learning how to fly fish called Curtis Creek Manifesto: A Fully Illustrated Guide to the Strategy, Finesse, Tactics, and Paraphernalia of Fly Fishing by Sheridan Anderson. For the record, I have gifted this book more than any in my life.  And I have done so for two reasons–one, to encourage a friend or family member to learn how to fly fish; and two, because it is fascinating to watch people’s expression after you give them a hand-drawn book on how to fish.  The first look from them usually denotes the following comment: “what am I, 12?”  And that look is priceless, because they don’t know I just handed them something incredibly elegant and profound. You see, to learn anything new, you have to start with the basics.  If you want to build a website, don’t start reading about Ruby on Rails or Javascript.  That may (or may not) come later. At...
The Creatives Shall Inherit the Earth

The Creatives Shall Inherit the Earth

Back in the day, success was driven by widget sales.  Ever since the industrial age, companies have mass produced all sorts of products–from cars to light bulbs to tvs–and then sold the hell out of them.  The goal was simple: sell as many widgets as possible.  This also spawned drastic changes in the way we work and live. Advertising widget sales centered around the attributes of products.  Product photos accompanied bullet call-outs of the widget’s features and consumers were enticed by the one-up-manship of product ingenuity.  That seems so simple–just make it function better than the other.  Or at least make it easy to claim that.  This doesn’t happen as much anymore. Today, we are firmly entrenched in an era of creativity.  It is undeniable.  Brands like Apple have supplanted tech behemoths like Microsoft (although the Redmond, WA company is far from done) as the corporate titans.  Why?  Because they relied on creative design and creative motivations for fairly banal solutions.  The world had phones and computers (not tablets yet, I suppose) and hardly needed new ones.  Until, that is, they saw a much more creative and elegant version. I share a cubicle wall with my company’s Director of Design.  I honestly believe him to be one of the most important people in our business, because he is the person who is charged with delivering the product in such a way that is distances us from competition.  To take business goals and make them creative.  To make another few margin points used to the call of the day with spreadsheets dictating product lines.  Today, Adobe Illustrator dictates product lines...
Fishing The Concrete Abyss

Fishing The Concrete Abyss

I am from LA. And I liked to fish when I lived there. But even I had no idea, nor any inkling of a possible idea, that anglers would ever cast a fly into the LA River. This reminds of the times in my youth where I would ask my father “Are there fish in there?” at every site of a lake or river.  My dad always answered, “If there is water, there are probably fish.”  Maybe that’s why I love fish (and fishing) so much…give the creatures a bit of water and they will be there.  Even in the LA River. I only wished when I crossed it hundreds of times in my youth, I would have thrown a line.  But maybe that would have kept me from moving to Montana (doubtful)! This does go to show that there are hidden markets everywhere–even for urban concrete river fishing. L.A. River Fishing from Meghan Mccarty on Vimeo. Sign Up For Updates: Hit us with your email and stay in touch...we never share it (but we do share great...
Marketing the Mundane

Marketing the Mundane

Sitting at the coffee shop the other day with a buddy I decided to not over-caffeinate on this Saturday morning, but switch to water instead.  Thankfully the coffee shop is progressive enough to have a water dispenser sitting out with nice cool water.  That’s when I saw the sign above on the water dispenser.  I read it quickly and thought, “Cool! Fresh mountain stream water.”  Then I realized…the water in question is tap water.  The same water that comes out of my old pipes in my old home. Was this dishonest to talk up the local tap water?  That’s was the question I asked myself.  Then I realized this is a great example of promoting the most mundane things we do in the marketing space.  But it is also one of the trickiest things you can do.  Should you, as well, look at a similar strategy?  Be careful, because some consumers might think it is stretching the truth or, even worse, dishonest. So how do you know if you can market your own mundane? Here are a couple things to keep in mind: Is it true?  In the aforementioned case, the municipal water supply in Bozeman, Montana is mountain water from Hyalite Reservoir.  I have been there and it is a beautiful place and the water is about as upstream as it gets in the US.  And the water is filtered at the store.  But in your case, make sure it is 100% true.  Not mostly true…fully true. Is it clever? Hell, it made me stop and read it twice.  And think.  That is mind capture when you are marketing the mundane....
Nothing Goes Away (What it Means That Technologies Last Forever)

Nothing Goes Away (What it Means That Technologies Last Forever)

Interesting thing happened the other day.  I was listening to a really cool talk between James Altucher and Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired Magazine.  You can listen to it here.  They were talking about the history of technology, and Kelly rung out with something that was incredible to me.  He said, “No technology has ever died.”  Basically, his point was that technologies are produced forever, albeit in different quantities. To illustrate his point he even suggested that there are more people who make arrowheads today than during the times where native cultures ruled the earth.  That seems incredible to me (if its true and, what the hell, let’s say it is).  A technology that has been usurped by numerous other technologies for centuries is still practiced by more people. This, of course, got me thinking about the implications of never-ending technologies.  And not the manufacturing implications (that is fascinating as well as people still fire up plants to make typewriters), per say, but the notion of our culture always looking for the next thing–the next great paradigm. We seem to disdain anything from a different era like it was created by a lower life-form.  But, I think there are some interesting discussion points from this notion that nothing goes away. Don’t underestimate nostalgia.  The fashion world since the 1960s has been revolving like a door.  Even the hipster “movement” (still don’t know what to call it) harkens back to an era much closer to the Victorian than our current generation.  So we don’t always have to have an original thought.  Sometimes recapturing an older idea for a new time can...