Posts Tagged ‘Music Business’

ART AND THE ARTIST

June 29, 2011

I read everything Seth Godin puts out (at least try to).  Not always on the day or week… or in this case even year it is released, but you can bet I’ll get to it.  That’s why we had to have him speak at the Aspen Live Conference 5-years ago.  He truly is as Ad Age dubbed him, “Marketer of the Decade”.  Anyway, just finished Linchpin and Graceful and can recommend them both highly.  You can go to Amazon right now and order them or download them to your Kindle right now.   

What was most exciting (besides the learning of course) is we all know people in his books…especially Linchpin.  Seth describes musician Keller Williams as only a true fan could.  He talks about the contributions of Bob Lefsetz to the music business…his warnings years ago to the labels…and how so many of them are now gone but Bob has just gotten bigger.

Seth describes how agent, promoter, manager and Madison House owner Nadia Prescher succeeds because of her passion for her artists…and the Madison House team broke the mold.  They didn’t follow the rules.  They’re managers and agents…and promoters.    

Seth speaks of both Bob and Nadia as artists.  They do their art for love…because they have to.  It is their calling.  Seth says you are an artist too.  Do you love what you do?  If not, why?  Stop and look around, art is everywhere.  As Godin says, you don’t need to write, hold a brush, sculpt, or play an instrument to be an artist.  You just need to be able to complete what you start without money being the first and only objective.  Seth calls this “shipping”.  Think of the way labels used to ship product.  Same concept here except what’s being shipped doesn’t have to be made in a factory.  In fact it shouldn’t.  It can be made tomorrow at work…right at your desk.

Till then, Happy Reading!

Jim

 

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GOING ON DEFENSE

November 30, 2009

Just as the labels took-on fans in the music business, it started with a lawsuit in telecom as well.  AT&T sued Verizon for “false claims” believing it was Verizon’s advertising and not AT&T’s service that was hurting the company.  But as a very long time AT&T customer (yes they’ve gone through several name changes in the process) I can tell you that Verizon found a real weakness in their competitor and exploited it.  Verizon’s coverage, service, whatever you want to call it is better than AT&T from my experience.  AT&T needed to go on the defensive with their marketing…a long time ago.  It took till mid-November to get something from them.

Verizon was eating AT&T’s lunch for them.  Check out this for creativity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JgrBtn8XdU&feature=player_embedded.  So AT&T hired Luke Wilson as their spokesperson and finally went on the defensive while at the same time highlighting their network’s strengths.  If you watch NFL football, chances are you have seen these commercials.   

In Live Entertainment, we could go on defense too.  What if we were to create similar ads where stars compare and contrast other forms of entertainment to live?  For example, would you rather play a video game alone in your room, even if you are playing with other gamers over the internet, or would you rather go and sing, scream, dance, eat, drink, and have fun with your friends at a concert?  Bono said something at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction concert on HBO (I wasn’t at the concert) that really said it all…”Rock-n-Roll is Liberation”.  What gamer could put that kind of cherry on top?

Have you seen the ads for California tourism http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md69zCJKD1c?  How about the creative radio spots for Vegas?  The fact that our business isn’t investing in itself is a testimony to why we have an attrition problem.  We are competing with entertainment with huge marketing budgets.  We can’t do that.  Yet it’s Live Entertainment that has the amazing communal experiences… and cool stars that have a direct pipeline to fans. 

Let’s start now! It doesn’t have to cost a lot.  It could just be a web/Twitter/blog thing.  Watch how many tickets fly out the door!

Speak with you soon…

Jim

SEE YOU THURSDAY…

March 31, 2009

It is time for everyone  in America to band together…to innovate…to become leaders of change again.  Like many of you, I find myself trying to work with friends as much as possible.  Thus, I’m always trying to make new ones.  Almost 15-years ago, we started the Aspen Live Conference to bring people together in a relaxed, fun environment….to meet, make friends, and discuss and brainstorm new ideas…and old.  We don’t try and fool anyone.  The hang, is a big part of what makes the conference special, and most of us do business together on a regular basis because of that.  We have become a family of sorts.  Now we want to extend that family with the Aspen Dinner Club.

The idea of our club is simple.  Get people together in cities on a monthly basis and good things are bound to happen.  Our first dinners went very well.  We had 26 people in LA, and they had about the same in New York.  So let’s do it again..and bigger this time.  BRING A FRIEND!

The second meeting is this Thursday, April 2nd @ 7:30 pm / 6:30 pm for Indy and Austin. 

LA’s meeting place is: The Cellar Restaurant Bar & Grill – 1880 Century Park East – Los Angeles, CA 90067 – (310) 277-1584 – Parking available under the building and across the street in parking structure.  RSVP to jim@theagencygroupevents.com

NY meeting Place is: Song Kran(Thai Restaurant) – 330 8th Avenue (Between 26th & 27th Street) – New York, NY 10001 – 212-239-8792 – If you have not RSVP’d to Gayle Miller or Wayne Forte yet, please email Gayle ASAP at rockinhorse@mac.com

Indianapolis meeting place is: The Brass Ring (Fountain Square) 1245 S. Shelby Street – Indianapolis, IN 46203 – (317) 635-7464 – PLEASE NOTE THIS DINNER MEETS @ 6:30 pm – RSVP to andywilson@live-360.com

Austin meeting place is:  Mangia Pizza – 3016 Guadalupe, Suite 100 – Austin, TX 78705 – (512) 302-5200 –  garage parking in rear – PLEASE NOTE THIS DINNER MEETS @ 6:30 pm – RSVP to lisa@giantnoise.com

Would love for more cities to participate.  Please let me know if you are one of them.  Also, please make sure to RSVP if you can. 

Hope to see you on Thursday night!  Remember to bring a friend.  Doesn’t have to be someone from the Live Entertainment or Music Business…business is business.  We can all help and learn from each other.  The larger your network is…the larger your network is. 

Speak with you soon…

Jim

INTERSCOPE HAS THEIR BLACK FRIDAY

January 23, 2009

The music business continues to take body blows as more of our friends join America’s unemployed.  Interscope records is in the process of laying-off what we here is many as 55 staff (maybe more)  including Robbie Snow, Chris Clancy, Lisa Frank, and Tim Reid.  How does this effect LIVE?  Well, from this side of the fence it would seem that the record labels have always been there to develop the acts over time.  They paid for them to go on the road and learn to be artists.  Labels worked their records in the local markets where the acts toured.  Back in the day, artists were allowed to develop over 3-5 albums.  People like Robbie Snow at Interscope and Nick Light at Sony were a big part of that…so what now? 

No label money or support…no patience for artists to develop over time, and a consolidating industry everywhere you look (radio, print, concerts, label, distribution, retail, etc) has created fans of singles, not artists.  It’s why Rihanna can’t headline a tour.  My two girls, nine and eleven,  love to dance around the house to Rihanna’s songs, but want to go see Greenday in concert.  What will the future hold if the record labels are not around to help develop an artist’s career?  Will the money and marketing come from brand partners?

We at The Agency Group Events & Entertainment believe that Branded Live Entertainment will continue to grow and prosper in the 21 Century.  At the same time, we have also seen managers take on roles previously handled by their artist’s labels.  Azoff/Frontline and Redlight are just two examples of large music management companies that have PR, radio, and marketing staff in-house.  Agencies like William Morris and CAA have brought on marketing and sponsorship people to service their clients.  Will it be enough?  What about the passion and expertise of those label people?  What about tour support…and distribution…and broadcast time?  All things we talked about at the Aspen Live Conferencethis past December…but we didn’t come out with any concrete conclusions (lots of good ideas though). 

What we all do know is that we have talented friends that could use our support right now.  Call or email them…show your support.  As for the above, there is a huge 10X shift going on in our industry.  Keep changing or you will be left behind.  Not sure what to do, try something.

BTW, please visit our new company website at http://www.theagencygroupevents.com 

Talk with you soon…

Jim

Drop Your Price Already…

November 8, 2008

Well I must start with another disclaimer.  You see my brother writes a blog very similar to the LiveWorks Newsletter and today, he talked about what’s covered below…and we post on the same site.  So here is a link to Joe’s stuff so you know there is no plagiarism on either of our parts. http://joelewi.wordpress.com/

For weeks we have been talking about embracing the recession and finding ways to use our Live Entertainment to pull consumers out of their funk.  We’ve covered customer service, partnerships versus sponsorships, using examples from political marketing to move an audience, and all the positive psychological and financial attributes of selling-out shows.  What our business needs to fix immediately is ticket prices.

Burlington, VT concert promoter Alex Crothers pointed to gas prices as having a much more noticeable effect on ticket sales than the stock market or bad news about the economy.  There has been story after story reported in the media about retailers perceived as bargain or discount merchants sales going up, while those catering to design and style sales are declining.  Case in point, Wal-Mart and Target.  Target is down, Wal-Mart is up.

Of course there is always the consumer that had the perception that if things cost a lot, they have to be worth it.  There is case after case study of events attendance actually going down as ticket prices fell year-to-year and the opposite happening if ticket prices rose.  That was not in a 2008 economy.  Now even luxury brands normally immune to market fluctuations are feeling the hurt.  In Forbes annual “Richest People in America” issue, even the boys from Google took it hard seeing  their “stock down 40%  since all-time heights last November.”  Why are we in the live business ignoring this trend?

It is time for all of us in live entertainment to knock-off the “pomp and circumstance” around what we do and see it as any other business would.  Yes our talents need to eat.  So do managers, agents, promoters, techs, stagehands, venue people, and everyone else associated.  But everyone needs to eat a little less to get a lot more.  The live and music businesses are special.  But I’m sick of hearing that what we sell is so different from what everyone else sells.  Selling is about emotional connections.  So the fact is, we have a leg-up on all the other entertainment distractions out there.

In the November 3rd Issue of Advertising Age there is a story about ranking brands based on “best bang for buck”.  Interesting stuff.  Consumers were asked to rate best ans worst by category based on “providing the best value for the dollar”.  For Domestic Airline, Southwest was best, United worst.  Carbonated beverages, Coke best, Red Bull worst.  Credit Cards, Visa good, Discover bad.  And no surprise here, in Financial services, Fidelity was ranked best while Goldman Sachs got a negative rating.  Another great group of stats from the article where the “Bottom 10 Brands”…brands with the lowest scores.  10) Starbucks, 9) BET, 8) Neiman Marcus, 7) 7-Eleven, 6) Perrier, 5) Abercrombie & Fitch, 4) AIG, 3) Red Bull, 2) Hummer, and # 1) MTV!!!! No live brands in the study.  Btw, Craftsman was the #1 brand for value.

Why is this all important to you?  Because if you are Live Nation, AEG, MSG, Feld, Momentum, GMR, or Chrysler, you are creating live brands of some kind.  Building value into everything you do defines your brand.  Ticketmater Entertainment will have a hard time getting over its old “TICKETMASTER” reputation.  Hiding the fees is not going to change anything.  The artists and shows will always have their names.  What we need to do is drop our prices and explain to consumers what they are getting for their money.

We do a bad job of marketing the experience of live.  Let’s take a look at that.  Volume will do more for our business than raising prices.  Lower your prices $2 on everything (tickets, merch, food, beverages, parking, venue charges need to go away all together, etc) and tell the consumer all the amazing things they will see, hear, feel, and do at your event, show, or attraction.

So drop your prices and watch as the money comes in.

Talk to you soon…

Jim