Posts Tagged ‘Music Business’


April 23, 2016

“Pay if forward.” That’s what Paradigm’s Lynn Cingari asked us to do on Friday…for Chip. And now I’m asking you to do the same…for Chip Hooper.

I first met Chip through Dave Frey and the H.O.R.D.E. Festival in 1993. Chip was Blues Traveler and Phish’s agent, two of the acts that led the “jam band” scene of the 1990’s along with the Dave Matthews Band (also Chip’s client), Widespread Panic, moe. (Chip act), Medesky, Martin, and Wood, Big Head Todd, Hootie, Spin Doctors, etc.…and the festival’s agent as well. That meant that I started off on Chip’s team, which was always a good thing. It wasn’t fun being on the other side as Chip was a fierce competitor and always had to win.

So many friends, some of the “whose who” of the music business told similar stories about Chip. Everyone he met became his best friend, the late night calls that went on for hours, stories about his son Max’s basketball career, his “second career” as one of the top landscape photographers in the world, music, sports, wine, fancy hotels, anything Chicago, how every call ended with his trademark “you’ve got it”, anyone to be taken seriously was “the real deal”… I honestly cried for over 3-hours.

Friday was a heavy day, yet one filled with love and remembrance. After the moving speakers, and in the case of legendary New York concert promoter Ron Delsener, a hilarious and inappropriate stream of consciousness (Chip would have loved it), the first person I ran into at the reception was one of Chip’s famous clients who had obviously been deeply affected. “How badly do you want to hug your kids right now? How are we supposed to socialize after that? They should have little rooms with therapists for us”. He was right, and as the afternoon progressed, everyone acted as each other’s shrink.

We learned life lessons to pay forward Friday. We learned of the incredible sacrifices friends and family made to help Chip at the end of his journey; Jackie Nalpant (my hero), Dan Weiner, Fred Bolander, Lynn Cingari, Dr. Koontz (Chip’s Oncologist that made house calls when Chip was too weak to travel), Sam Gores and the whole Paradigm Agency (Sam was the one who arranged for Chip to travel from California to Michigan to surprise his son Max for his college basketball team’s senior day…watch here, and especially Chip’s daughter Val who took a semester off from Duke to take care of her Dad, THANK YOU! Not only have you helped a dear friend/family member through his toughest time, but taught us all how to be more human (crying hard again).

Friday’s reception’s theme followed another core Hooper value, sharing. Chip was giving of his time, money, loves, and passions that included food and wine. So the champagne for the toast, and wines served were from Chip’s personal cellar. The food (including Ben and Jerry’s) was some of his favorites. Chip’s incredible photographs (Lori and I have 3 hanging in our home, go to were displayed around the beautiful Sunset Center in Carmel, the perfect venue to hold a celebration of a great man’s life.

Uber lawyer Elliot Groffman started everything off by sharing a video that Chip watched all the time, sometimes on endless loop, and now I’m paying forward to you. Truly inspiring!

Please pay it forward. Call your friends and family, hug your kids and significant other…and please go to and give what you can.

P.s. Moving forward, the Aspen Live Conference will make a donation each December to The Chip Hooper Foundation as well as creating an annual award (the only one we will give each year) to honor those that follow Chip’s messages of passion, art, music, family and sharing.






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 •


November 4, 2013

Do you read? I do…a lot.  Not fiction (which I should)…mostly business, marketing, social media (also known as marketing), and biographies. Two of this year’s standouts are Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales From the New Abnormal in the Movie Business” by movie producer Lynda Obst and Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainmentby Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, Anita Elberse.

The big news here is that both Anita Elberse and Lynda Obst will be guests at this year’s Aspen Live Conference, December 12-15, 2013 at the St. Regis, Aspen.

If you till haven’t registered (hard to imagine), it isn’t too late.  We have 26 spots remaining, but believe based on the above they will go fast.  Register TODAY at  Follow us on Twitter: @AspenLive, and Facebook:…and me on Twitter: @jimlewi and Facebook:

The above books should be required reading for anyone in the music and live entertainment businesses.  In fact, please go to Amazon (or your local book store) and buy them today.  Blockbusters: and Sleepless:

Below is the latest Aspen Live 2013 Conference Schedule.  Please know that all are subject to change and probably will (just where meetings sit and what they are called…plus one or two more surprises).

Stay tuned, more announcements to come soon.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

7:00 pm             Annual Peter Tempkins Chow-Down @ Hickory House (optional) – Please contact Peter Tempkins @

Late Night                      St. Regis, Lobby Bar

Thursday, December 12, 2013

12:00 pm                       On-Mountain Get Together (Sundeck Restaurant-Aspen Mtn; Ullrhof Restaurant – Snowmass)

 4:00 pm-5:00 pm                        Cocktails With An Icon, Hosted By Dan Steinberg, Featuring Alex Hodges

Please feel free to grab a cocktail and unwind after a long day on the slopes as                                         we dive into the amazing career of an Icon.

 5:15 pm-6:15 pm            Jim McCarthy from Goldstar on “Selling Out” your shows

6:30 pm-7:30 pm            Q&A with Movie Producer and Author of “Sleepless in Hollywood, Tales of the New Abnormal in    the Movie Business”, Lynda Obst

                                    St. Regis – Maroon Bells

7:45pm-9:00pm              Voice Media Group Welcomes you to Aspen w/ The Opening Billiards Party @ Aspen Billiards and Eric’s Bar

Late Night                      St. Regis, Lobby Bar

Friday, December 13, 2013

12:00 pm                       On-Mountain Get Together (Sundeck Restaurant-Aspen Mtn; Ullrhof Restaurant – Snowmass)

4:15 pm-5:30 pm            Q&A with Harvard Business School Professor and Author of “Blockbusters: Hit Makers, Risk-takers and the Big Business of Entertainment”, Anita Elberse, Presented by Goldstar

5:45 pm-6:30 pm            TBA

St. Regis – Maroon Bells

7:30pm-9:30pm              Cocktail Party @ Belly-Up hosted by Michael Goldberg & Belly-Up Staff

Late Night                      St. Regis, Lobby Bar

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cooking Aspen         An optional fun hands on cooking class, food and wine pairings, and more.  Please RSVP to

4:00 pm-5:00 pm            5 Things the Music Business Can Learn From Amazon, Presented by Ticketfly

5:15 pm-6:15 pm                        How Live Content Producers and YOU Can Partner and Make Money with                                   StubHub. 

6:30 pm-7:00 pm                        Aspen Integrated – Part III Hosted by Nic Adler

                                    St. Regis, Maroon Bells


7:45 pm- ?                     Closing Dinner (optional) Restaurant TBA…please RSVP to Jamie Loeb @                         

Late Night                      Limelight Hotel Bar

Special Thanks To: Access Pass & Design, Adler Integrated, Bill Young Productions, Goldstar Events, Stubhub, Ticketfly and Voice Media Group and You for making such an exciting program possible.



October 29, 2013

Godin isn’t even in the music business, yet his passion for music, marketing, teaching, and sharing continues every day…which is amazing in itself (posts every single day).  If you haven’t signed up for his daily blog, you should. Please read below.  Obviously inspired by Lou Reed’s passing…and more importantly what Lou’s music meant to so many musicians.

1,000 bands

Brian Eno possibly said that, “the first Velvet Underground record may have only sold 1,000 copies, but every person who bought it started a band.” [*]

It certainly wasn’t a bestselling album, but without a doubt, it changed things.

The scarcity mindset pushes us to corner the market, to be the only one selling what we sell.

The abundance alternative, though, is to understand that many of us sell ideas, not widgets, and that ideas are best when used, and the more they get used, the more ideas they spawn.

Kevin Kelly has inspired 10,000 companies, and Shepard Fairey, a generation of artists.

How many bands will you inspire today?



August 18, 2013

In Saturday’s Lefsetz Letter, Bob talks about how the music business’ analytics are still using unit sales (CD’s), airplay, and a little paid downloads to measure success…or failure as these numbers continue to plummet.  Whereas music streaming is on the  rise through services like Spotify, MOG, and YouTube. Things are changing and we aren’t leading that change.

Bob’s letter reminded me of a book I recently read that he coincidentally recommended. SLEEPLESS IN HOLLYWOOD: Tales from the NEW ABNORMAL in the Movie Business, is a new book by film and now television producer Lynda Obst.  You may remember Lynda’s first book, Hello, He Lied and others tales from the Hollywood TrenchesThis one is even better!

Why do I think “Sleepless” (a name Obst took from the hit movie she produced, Sleepless In Seattle) is a step above Lynda’s previous work?  You can take her lessons about movies and TV and apply them to the music business.

“Sleepless” starts out with Obst examining the changes in the movie business and how she had to first learn the new rules and then adapt to survive.

The book gives you a step-by-step of how the movie business moved their profit centers from DVD sales (which dried up) to making movies geared for an international audience. No more American humor (although there are exceptions of those that can cross over like Brides Maids) and “chick flicks” (which is Obst’s specialty), now there needed to be a “preawareness”…a hit book (Harry Potter or Hunger Games), a remake (Karate Kid, Les Mis), or movies based on comic book superheroes (Batman, Ironman, The Justice League).

With less material to pick from, there was what Obst call “The Great Contraction” in movies. Fewer movies being made meant more people out of work.  The catalyst for this change was the writer’s strike of 2007-2008.

The writers were fighting for more.  They felt burned by their last contract with the studios because DVD sales were where the profits were and the writers felt they weren’t being compensated fairly for their contributions.  They saw the Internet and new technology as the new DVD’s and fought to get a bigger piece of something that really didn’t exist yet.

The strike lasted much longer than it should have.  The studios ended up making a deal with the Director’s Guild first, which took any leverage the writers had away.  In the end, everyone just wanted the strike to be over…especially those that worked (a majority of union members who voted to strike weren’t “working writers”).

With fewer movies being made, many great writers, producers and directors moved over to television.  This is why we have such amazing shows today (The Newsroom, Madmen, Modern Family, etc.).  So how do we use Lynda’s book and the examples she gives to change our business and survive?

Let’s start by going back to how we measure success with recorded music.  We are now in a singles business, so why make an album’s worth of material…for the publishing?  Why are we still making CD’s instead of leading music fans towards streaming?  Why are we still catering to traditional radio when there are so many other ways to introduce music to an audience?  If we’re fighting for “broadcast time”, why would we make it so hard for TV, movies, video games, and now online content to use our music?  Is there any better way to promote it…other than going on the road?

Were Napster and other file sharing sites downfall the start to our own writers strike?  If yes, what can we do to move our business forward?  Here are 5 suggestions to get started…please share yours too.

1)   Stop making CD’s even if it is currently a profit center…or just make them for collectors like we are with vinyl.

2)   Embrace and monetize streaming sites.

3)   Make it easy for fans to discover your new (or old) music by partnering with TV shows, movies and other content providers to increase broadcast time.  Also share new music with fans for free so they know what they are getting.  That can be as simple as streaming a new single or two on an artist or label website for as little as 24-hours.

4)   Stop looking at North America as the be-all end-all and start working harder on developing an international audience.  It isn’t just movies that are seeing profits from overseas.  Look at companies like Apple or even Coke who derive most of their profits and growth from international sales.  Need music examples, how about the fact that acts like the Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Pink, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Bon Jovi and Metallica are just as big if not bigger overseas than in America?

5)   Create true partnerships between content creators and providers. The producers and studios do this all the time in movies and TV (just look at Jerry Bruckheimer).

Lynda Obst’s book is a good read for the music business because it explains how Hollywood adapted to changes to survive.  Music can do the same.

Ps, If Lynda or anyone who knows her reads this, we would love to have you/her as a guest at the Aspen Live Conference, December 12-15 at the St. Regis, Aspen  Please email me at

For those reading this who haven’t registered for Aspen yet, do it now and save!  50% of our spots are already filled.  Don’t miss another year! http://www.aspenlivecom


March 25, 2013

When reading Seth’s words below (it is from last month…just catching up) , please remember that he isn’t in the music business but does produce and promote his own live events.  Once you read below, sign-up to receive his daily emails by clicking on this link You will learn so much…a lot more than you would think…and will be amazed that Seth never misses a day to share some wisdom.  He believes we all should be artists!

Will you choose to do it live?

The answer isn’t obvious, and it’s certainly not for every career or every brand. I spend a lot of time wrestling with this very question.

Let’s start with live music, the most familiar example of ‘live’:

  • The live performance isn’t guaranteed: it might not work, the performance might be sub-par
  • It costs more, often a lot more, to attend
  • It only happens when the creator decides to make it available
  • The audience is part of the process, in many ways co-creating the work
  • Amplified live music always lower fidelity than the album

Pre-recorded music is perhaps 500 times more popular than live music, for these and other reasons. Five hundred!

The Grateful Dead made live music. Steely Dan didn’t. The Beatles started very much with live but ended up exclusively with polished, packaged perfection.

Of course, live music is more likely to create something that we talk about, years later. Because it’s scarce and risky.

The questions that are asked and the decisions you make to produce a fabulous live interaction have very little to do with the quality concerns and allocations you’ll make to produce something that scales and lasts. Confusing the two just frustrates all involved.

When you buy an HP printer, you’re buying a product, an industrialized artifact. Visit the Apple Store, and suddenly there’s a live element—one bad genius can ruin your entire experience. Zappos figured out how to turn online shoe-buying into a live performance by encouraging people to call and interact. Twitter is live, an online PDF is not. Every day this blog flies without a net, typos and all.

Consultants do most of their best work live (asking questions, innovating answers) while novelists virtually never do their work live.

For the creator, live carries more than a whiff of danger. For the perfectionist, the luxury of editing and polishing is magical. And for the consumer, the reliability and sheen of the pre-tested product provides a solace that she just can’t get from the dangerous, risky business of consuming it live.

Some non-profits spend their time seeking out the tested, perfect scalable solution–not live. Others do their work in the moment, in the field, live.

The fork in the road is right here. Taking your work live is energizing, invigorating and insanely risky. You give up the legacy of the backlist, the scalability of inventory and the assurance of editing. It’s an entirely different way of being in the world. Scale and impact can certainly come from creating your best work and sharing it in a reliable way. On the other hand, if you’re going to be live, then yes, do it live.


January 18, 2012

I have been a fan of Seth Godin since he first released Permission Marketing.  Not only was the book groundbreaking when it was written, if you picked it up today for the first time, most of the material would feel extremely relevant for today’s markets.  Seth’s name is also a great example of fan loyalty.

There is no question I’m a loyal fan of Seth’s, reading almost everything he’s written since Permission (Unleashing The Idea Virus, Purple Cow, Linchpin, the dip, Tribes, Small Is The New Big, Meatball Sundae, Free Prize Inside, and All Marketers Are Liars “tell stories”)…only missing a few.  Like most fans, I wanted to share my passion with friends (which I’m also doing now). So about 10-years ago (can’t believe it is that long) we brought Seth in as the keynote speaker for The Aspen Live Conference.  He is one of the few speakers we have had over the years (the only other two I can think of is Malcolm Gladwell and packaging guru Marc Gobe) where every guest was floored.

More recently, for some reason, I fell-off Seth’s blog subscription list, so after re-reading Permission Marketing, signed-up again.  Today was my first-day back and believe he must have been thinking about the music business when writing this post.  See for yourself

Have a great day!