Archive for the ‘2014’ Category


July 13, 2014

We are told to act confident; that people who do-so in public are the most successful. The truth is, if someone is acting overly confident chances are they aren’t very competent. Dr. Tomas Chamarro-Premuzic Ph.D. has written a whole book on the topic, Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt. His research has shown “the main difference between people who lack confidence and those who don’t is that the former are unable (or unwilling) to distort reality in their favor”. Meaning if you act like hot shit, you probably are not.

Of course high achievers can also be confident due to their exceptional competence. But as Dr. Chamarro-Premuzic observed, this level of talent exists in very few of us. Doesn’t it make sense that these same high achievers actually lack confidence, which is what drives them? Could your low self-esteem actually be the catalyst to success? Doesn’t lack of confidence drive us to try harder, dig deeper, and become more competent? Commonsense says yes. What else could explain why superstar quarterback Tom Brady is the last to leave practice each night? He wants to be the best on the field.

Many have heard of the 7-P’s. In the military, those P’s stand for “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance”, and it can translate to every aspect of your life (family, friends, work, even spiritually). Concert production folks will tell you “it is all about the advance”. You can translate this to building competence breeds confidence, and that’s exactly what Chamarro-Premuzic points out in his book.

Do not give-up on your continued education through life. Never stop striving to improve competence. The confidence will come. Embrace your insecurity, and turn it into expertise!


May 28, 2014

If you read the newsletter regularly (when it is actually written), you know I like to share wisdom from marketing guru Seth Godin from time-to-time…and always when he writes about music.  Please see below from Seth.  Sign-up for his daily blog for bits of wisdom every day without fail (the guy is amazing).

The problem with hit radio

When you only listen to the top 40, you’re letting the crowd decide what you hear.

And if you consume nothing but the most liked, the most upvoted, the most viral, the most popular, you’ve abdicated responsibility for your incoming. Most people only read bestselling books. That’s what makes them bestsellers, after all.

The web keeps pushing the top 40 on us. It defaults to ‘sort by popular,’ surfacing the hits, over and over.

Mass markets and math being what they are, it’s likely that many of the ideas and products you consume in your life are in fact, consumed because they’re the most popular. It takes a conscious effort to seek out the thing that’s a little less obvious, the choice that’s a little more risky.

Popular is not the same important, or often, not the same as good.

• Email to a friend •


May 4, 2014

The best way to show you what you can accomplish at the Aspen Live Conference in December (11-14) is to share the note below I received over the weekend from Felice Mancini, CEO of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.

Hi Jim – thought you’d like to know that as a result of meeting the StubHub folks in Aspen in Dec., this was a result after some follow-up and starting a relationship. In addition to the concert proceeds, we also got a $250K grant from StubHub Foundation. I hope all is well. Thank you Felice!!!

Added to above, we are excited to announce our first program slotted for December, a very special Q&A with the Co-founder of Q Prime Management (Metallica, Chili Peppers, Black Keys, Muse, Cage the Elephant, Eric Church, Silversun Pickups, etc.) the one-and-only Peter Mensch. Have you ever even seen Peter at a conference before? Now you can be face-to-face in the intimate surroundings of Aspen (special thanks to Marc Reiter)

Today (Sunday, May 4), is your last chance to save $100 on registration for Aspen Live, 2014. Go to and save both on your registration and hotel room. If you’ve never attended, reach-out to a few friends who have. They will tell you what I’m telling you now; register your business will thank you for it.

As always, thanks to those that make Aspen Live possible, Bill Young Productions, Goldstar Events, StubHub, TicketFly, the Voice Media Group, and you!


April 7, 2014

Do you use Average Ticket Price to measure success on your shows?  If yes, please stop, it is a façade.

I (probably like you) have always used average ticket price as a measuring tool.  It is what we learned and it makes sense.  That is until Jim McCarthy, CEO of Goldstar Events did some simple math on a whiteboard and the light bulb went off.  We (concerts, sports, theatre, family, etc.) should be looking at Revenue Per Seat, not Average Ticket Price.

Lets say you and I were playing a show at your local arena and tickets were $500.  We sold 4-tickets to our family members but the rest of the 15,000 capacity room goes unsold.  What’s our average ticket price?

Average ticket price is calculated by taking your show gross and dividing by the number of seats you sold…so your average ticket price in the above scenario is $500 even though the promoter will be eating Cup of Noodles for a while.  Average Ticket Price = gross / number of seats sold.

Revenue Per Seat = gross / total number of seats.  This formula gives you much more accurate data as you are counting unsold tickets as selling for $0.  Average ticket price doesn’t really tell you anything…especially standing on its own.

In music and live entertainment, we talk about moving to a dynamic pricing model similar to the travel industry.  Well, airlines measure Revenue Per Seat while hotels and cruises, Revenue Per Room.  The average doesn’t tell them how full their properties are, just how much they are getting per sale.  It is a number that doesn’t really mean anything.

As the Blues Brothers once said, “we are on a mission from god”.  Our mission is to use revenue per seat versus average ticket price.  Please remember, although we are used to looking at the gross and average ticket, it doesn’t tell you what you need to know.  It doesn’t tell you anything.

Please share this mission with everyone!


March 28, 2014

If you haven’t subscribed to Seth Godin’s blog, you really should.  Below Seth shares a free ebook with some amazing stuff inside.  A must read! Remember we are all marketers.

Speaking of marketing, are you in LA Monday, March 31?  If yes, please join the Aspen Live Conference family @ 8pm at The 3rd Stop…8636 W 3rd Street, LA 90048 for drinks and fun.  Besides continuing to strengthen our network (or Tribe as Seth would say), our goal for this family reunion is to make sure Dan Steinberg and Jason Zink don’t pay for one drink!  They always pay.


Speaking of Aspen Live, Super Early Registration opens Tuesday, April 1st for the 19th Annual Aspen Live Conference…and only lasts for one-month.  You will save a bunch of money for registering early.  Don’t miss “Sun Valley for the Music Business” another year.  There is a reason the Aspen family does business together.

Thinking about placebos (a new ebooklet)

After months of working on this project, I confess to being amazed at how little we talk about, think about or use placebos.

Here’s a 25-page ebook to get the conversation started. I think you’ll find some pretty surprising research and analysis inside…

Feel free to share, or repost, or print it out:

Download the Placebo booklet

I wrote it as part of the curriculum of the Skillshare marketing course I’m teaching right now.

Based on what I’m learning about the power of commitment, we decided to double the price of that course at the end of April. The other course, on new business invention, also doubles.

Thanks for reading, share if it makes you think…


January 15, 2014

What do you do to create awareness for your shows?  Do the tickets sell right away or over a period of time?  Most importantly, how do we create word-of-mouth…something viral that spreads (doesn’t have to be a YouTube video)?  The truth is to have something great to offer.  But what if the product isn’t great?  What can you do creatively to make it more interesting, more “sneezable”, and more viral?

For instance, say you have an REO Speedwagon / Styx show.  Both acts have played your market every year for decades.  The acts (product) aren’t changing so what can you do to make the show special, your message unique, worth sharing?  The answer is creativity.   Jamming your show down the same marketing channels hoping for a different outcome is the definition of crazy.

Here is what my “man crush” Seth Godin had to say the other day about awareness…

“Our biggest problem is awareness”

If that’s your mantra, you’re working to solve the wrong problem.

If your startup, your non-profit or your event is suffering because of a lack of awareness, the solution isn’t to figure out some way to get more hype, more publicity or more traffic. Those are funnel solutions, designed to fix an ailing process by dumping more attention at the top, hoping more conversion comes out the bottom.

The challenge with this approach is that it doesn’t scale. Soon, you’ll have no luck at all getting more attention, even with ever more stunts or funding.

No, the solution lies in re-organizing your systems, in re-creating your product or service so that it becomes worth talking about. When you do that, your customers do the work of getting you more noticed. When you produce something remarkable, more use leads to more conversation which leads to more use.

No, it won’t be a perfect virus, starting with ten people and infecting the world. But yes, you can dramatically impact the ‘more awareness’ problem by investing heavily in a funnel that doesn’t leak, in a story that’s worth spreading.