Caratanoid seeking Brand

As I slathered the 57th version of Heinz on the freshly grilled hamburguesas, I got to thinking…

Lycopene.  Wikipedia it.  It’s a very trendy antioxidant these days.  I wouldn’t be able to provide a description worthy of grey’s anatomy, but my laymen understanding boils down to this… it’s good for your balls.

And as I read the Lycopene blurb written on the back of the 57th version of said Heinz bottle, I couldn’t help but to imagine some marketing tagline copy that would really capture the imagination of Lycopene’s target market:

“Lycopene: your testicecles’ favorite antioxidant”

That’s the type of marketing copy that demands the consideration of the entire male consuming demographic, from prebuscent puberty to very viagara.

And that’s a huge market.  That’s also what she said.

Ketchup.  It’s whats for dinner.  And dessert.  And breakfast?

Think about it…

Bitter:Sweet

Looks like Bitter:Sweet is having an embed contest with imeem. There’s only one other person, it seems, that has entered.

I like my chances.

Tara B, you’re going down.

Seriously through, I first heard of Bitter:Sweet a few years back with “Mating Game”, and I was immediately hooked. It hooks you in with the sexy smooth ambient grooves, but keeps you falling in love with a steady stream of quirky accents that keeps things spicy, unpretentious. Which, in a lot of ways, defines their whole sound; never a bore, always a surprise, balanced.

The Mating Game - Bitter Sweet

I’m listening to this new album right now, and it’s certainly proving it’s embed worth on this here dot com. Especially liking Wake Up, so far.

On The Record with Bitter:Sweet

The Freshbreakfasts’ New Directionlessness

I haven’t written something other than a business email in months, and I’ve come to realize it’s deteriorated my fragile grip on this language.  Frazzled it up.  You know why?  Because I don’t take out the time of day anymore to think up that sweet spot of a word like Frazzle.  There’s not much space for words like frazzle in the world of templated absolutelies and barely genuine excited-about-its.  So, I will write, again, but with a new directionlessness.

The whole music social media angle of freshbreakfasts’ dot com makes this bitch a bit intimidating to write in anymore.  And now that I’m surrounded by the web 2.0 world by way of work, well, that’s the last thing I need to write about anymore.

Also, I’ve sort of grown fond of Freshbreakfast as my default online identity.  So the dot com incarnation shall no longer sweat the tech, and instead sweat all about me me me me me me…..

Starting with my new favorite album of the moment — Dr. Dog, Easy Beat.  Here’s the album art:

Form of Flattery?

Hey yo Chris Anderson, what the hell?:

 Free!  Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business

He must be an avid reader of Fresh Breakfast:  How Giving Away Free Music Will Save the Recording Industry

Well Mr. Anderson, I appreciate the fandom.  I promise I will actually finish Long Tail one day.

———————————————————–

In other news, I got a new job @ Ustream.TV.  Been beautiful.  So far.  At the cost of all my waking hours plus lots of wha tused to be sleeping hours.  But beautiful none the less.

Will be at SXSW, and super excited about it.  I might just stream the whole damn thing right here.  Stay tuned….

Fresh Breakfast is @ SF MusicTech Summit

… and lucky for you, I’m live streaming the whole damn thang:

2/25/08 — 9 AM - 6 PM Pacific

phattrick

Stroke so good like Tiger Wooooooods…

 … and then I, RAWR!, like a tiger wooould.

Get it?  Like a Grand Slam?  No?

Anyways, it finally happened.

Yep, imeem done bedded Universal.

You heard it third on FreshBrrrrreakfast.  RAWR!

Fire Wire Widget Bridg’in

wildfire.jpg

Unless you’re that proverbial dark-side-of-a-rock dweller, you’ve certainly heard all about the wildfires that ravaged through Southern California. I was in the thick of the plumes, and while my own humble abode was nestled safely within the heavily concrete grids of Google’s LA Street View, I can testify that for one scary week my hometown looked like a real-life backdrop of Kurt Russel’s latest. Only in Hollywood, I suppose.

Anyhow, there’s a real cool NPR All Things Considered story on how a small San Diego public radio news outlet – KPBS — belied their modest staff and resources and became the go-to media outlet on up-to-the-minute coverage of the raging wildfires, directly relaying critical information to a public literally running from the advancing flames. Even as the fires knocked out their broadcasting towers, the KPBS staff kept marching on, using Google My Maps to create a “virtual map of Southern California speckled with symbols showing — down to the block – what had burned, where to find shelter, what roads were closed.”

And true to the blogging / social media ethos, the map “was persistently updated and became authoritative. Even the state fire agency’s Web site linked to KPBS.” Furthermore, KPBS supplemented the graphic updates with up-to-the-minute Twitter updates.

Over at Google, the KPBS traffic spike sparked initial fears of a malicious DoS attack. Google My Maps project manager Jess Lee relays the team’s response, upon learning of the source:

“When we realized where all the traffic was coming from, we got in touch with the folks at KPBS. They gave us their list of feature requests and we scrambled to implement the things that could be done quickly. We added caching and more machines so that the maps would load faster and more reliably, increased the number of items that could be displayed on the map at a single time, and changed the info windows to display “Last updated X min ago” so people would know if the information was recent or not.”

You can read the rest of Jess Lee’s personal account of the efforts in her blog. Quite an engaging “inside look” into the day-to-fiery-day routines of a Google project manager. The official pageview count of the KBPS map totaled 1.2 million hits; but as Jess Lee points out, the impromptu feature add-ons broke the page count several times, resulting in a grossly undercounted total.

The point being, in a moment of fire, a small broadcasting outfit was able to disseminate more information, more public good, to more people in need, contributing more than all the fancy major media outlets with their puffed up teams of journalists, their cavalry of helicopters, and their army of IT personnel.

More than just a feel-good, little-train-that-could allegorical sign-of-the-times, I like this story for the following less-obvious reasons:

*** I was classmates with Jess Lee in college; some members of the paparazzi would even call us friends. Now that she’s an NPR quoted business magnate, that makes me a proud, vicariously-inclined hanger-on-er with really low standards. If you work out the mathematics, this increases my social status up two-fold.

*** “Genuine Branding” by way of Product Perfection:
If you haven’t read Jess’ blog yet, read it. It’s telling that a major department of a 700 gazillion dollar company would drop everything they’re doing to cater to the needs of a regional public radio news outlet. But of course, it’s more than a one way relationship. One cool added feature that caught my attention was the real-time “last updated X minutes ago” function. It’s one of those “DUH” features that seem obvious in hindsight. But if you really think about it, it’s not quite as intuitive when building an application to graph things like “Mike’s favorite bike trails”.

By working directly with the KPBS folks, the Google Maps team collect engineering details that rose above the flames, pun intended. And by impressing the users with an intuitive feature like real-time updates, Google Maps gains a passive but persuasive reputation as a useful, thoughtful, relevant, fully-baked application.

*** Google Maps is hardly a niche product. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t even know a person in your peer group or younger that doesn’t use Google maps. Non Google Map users under 30 are like unicorns: the stuff of antiquated myths.

But what about the older demographic? What about your parents? Uncles, aunts, grandparents? You know, the type of person who might own a house on a parched San Diegan hillside. The type to flip through their trusty Thomas Maps Guides… the ’99 edition, that is. To them, intuitive online usability is less of a concern than proven routine. No matter how useful an interactive, multi-layered, geographical work of art Google maps might be in the abstract, it don’t mean shit to the person whose fingers are programmed to flip through the spiral-bound Thomas Guides. In short, a product’s usefulness is not always in proportion to its user adoption.

thomasguide.JPG

Except, of course, when the flames are licking your local fire station. In certain extreme situations, the usability and real-time interactivity of a product like Google Maps can shine. And all it takes is for a “connector” like KPBS to tip off a trend so explosive, even the traffic weary engineers of Google are startled. I can almost guarantee you that a solid chunk of those were new users who consciously left behind the stack of Thomas Guides just before their house burned down.

Which brings us full circle to Jess’ famous quote in the NPR piece:

“If you give people the tools and the technology to do this, they’ll do it.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a little wildfire to up the ante.

*** Now here’s where I make the overextended connection to the music biz. The progress of consumer targeted technology and it’s corresponding user-adoption jumps along in fits and spurts. Meanwhile, CD sales is clearly deteriorating, and it might take a couple mini-cataclysmic events to fire up the tech/adoption innovation.

Clearly, an industry in declining flux is a prime environment for such mini-cataclysms. Major labels are increasingly turning to “360 degree” contracts to sign up new talent, nickel-and-diming their own artists while decreasing their ROI. The music industry’s neighbors in Hollywood are locking out their writers over online monetization — regularly scheduled programming be damned.

The conditions are ripening for a perfect firestorm. And when the old growth burns, the circle of music will reemerge — harder, faster, better, stronger. (end of dramatic, overblown, Kanye-sponsored metaphor)

*** The overall conclusion here is this: whether it’s a wildfire in Malibu or a rap music video glorifying the pleasantries of a lazy Sunday, the most dramatic leaps in user-adoption are oftentimes the unintended result of *gasp* a good product. Now, I’m not naive enough to dismiss the power of good ‘ol marketing, but the Google Maps / KBPS wildfire story has the power to melt even the crusty heart of the thirstiest capitalist … such as yours truly.

Now excuse me as I spam the fuck out of this post’s URL.

‘Ye Old Faithful imeem Newsletter

I know I sound like a broken record on steroids when I say I’m going to ween this blog away from imeem stalkage, but in the past few weeks, they’ve been making a lot of headline grabbing news, so I thought I might bludgeon yall over the head with some more updates:

1.) Me plus EMI equals?

EMI joined Warner Music and Sony-BMG as ad-rev supported content partners with imeem. Hardly a shocker, since EMI confirmed they were in negotiations upon completion of the Sony-BMG / imeem deal. And because EMI and imeem are anagrammatically linked, if you add “me” to “emi” and palindrome that up (eeeeeerie, ain’t it? No? Okay fine). Just to jog your memory, this means imeem users can legally stream almost any song in the EMI catalogue. Some of my favorite EMI artists: Pink Floyd, James Brown, Garth Brooks, Burning Spear, Mariah Carey (shut up), the Chemical Brothers, Coldplay (shut up, part 2), Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Gorillaz, Radiohead, Corinne Rae Bailey, Sigur Ros, The Smashing Pumpkin…. this list is getting too long. Check out the Wikipedia list of EMI artists here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musicians_signed_to_EMI . Then hop on over to imeem and listen for free, minus your pirate gear.

If you’ve been keeping track, EMI is the third of the four major labels that have opened up their catalogue, leaving one last hold out: Universal Music. Universal Music is currently the largest of all the major music label, and is headed by CEO Doug Morris, who made headlines last week with this Jurassic era quote in a Rolling Stone article, regarding iPods:

“These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,”

Which makes him sound like one of those stodgy, backwards-thinking dinosaurs, as much of the blogsphere would have you believe. However, his quote was taken a bit out of context, as Doug Morris was originally the biggest champion of iTunes. There’s a Business Week article that better explains where Doug Morris is coming from. In short, the quote was uttered as an act of public posturing in the midst of negotiations. Negotiations that differ on the price point, and not necessarily the overall vision, as the out-of-context quote would have you believe.

Never-the-less, it reminds me of eMusic’s CEO David Pakman’s frustrations expressed at the Digital Music Forum: that is, the label heads are on board for progressive visions of digital distribution… as long as they get 70 cents a track. Any change to the status quo hinges on the maintenance of short-term profit, at the cost of visionary long-term consumer and technological infrastructure development. There’s an interesting, entertaining, if not rambling, blog entry going around ‘ye old internet about the mindset of a major label, from a critical insider’s perspective: http://www.demonbaby.com/blog/2007/10/when-pigs-fly-death-of-oink-birth-of.html

Anyways, back to the whole imeem / Universal negotiations. I’m not quite sure how Doug Morris’ attitudes might affect imeem negotiations. On one hand, he’s bullish on extracting the most profitable pricing point for his company, even at the cost of trashing iTunes. On the other hand, he’s certainly an avid experimenter in digital distribution methods, with the Spiral Frog deal the latest in a line of such experiments.

However, at this point, Universal’s holdout is not so much a lack-of-benefit for imeem as it is a loss for Universal. Go figure.

Having said that, I gotta admit that Universal IS the home of Def Jam, Interscope, Roc-A-Fella, Geffen, Aftermath, Island Records, and so on and so forth. So I can’t act like I don’t prostrate at the feet of Universal’s divine catalogue.

Anyhow, in defense of Doug Morris, I made this flattering image of him, with Dave Chappelle inspired quote to further exonerate Morris’ honor:

Doug Morris Dinosaur costume

Oooooooh wait a minute, WAIT ONE MINUTE! Just because I’m dressed this way, does NOT make me a dinosaur!

Dem’s be some Photoshop Skeeeeeeeeeeeelz, and I know it.

2.) Google’s throwing a party and everyone not named Facebook is invited:

Everyone and their mothers are talking about the Google lead “Open Social” that promises open, standardized API’s that work across platforms, of which imeem will take part. Marc Andreessen’s blog has a pretty good overview of the technology behind all the hyperventilating madness.

All I gotta say is, wow. First of all, how the hell did Google keep this a secret for this long, with the number of partners involved. I know there were whispers, but a project of this magnitude? Fuckin crazy.

Second, it’s amazing how fast things move on the consumer-facing web space. Not too long ago, Facebook was the heaven sent golden child, and their platform was the omniscient channeling of develper intervention. A few short months and a herd of tossed sheeps later, and they’re suddenly, abruptly antiquated; sealed tighter than a Ziplok in comparison. Wow.

For a visual representation of this last concept, check out my two-google-images-half-transparently-layered-upon-each-other Photoshop SKEEEEEEELZ:

Facebook Ziplock

I know… technical virtuosity.

3.) New York Times all up on the jockstrap

imeem is getting all sorts of attention now. Between their growing numbers and signing up past-their-prime star players like Steinbrenner, heads are finally starting to turn. Last week, imeem had something of a watershed moment, snagging a feature in none other than the New York Times. Sort of. While they didn’t make the paper edition, CEO Dalton Caldwell and Biz Dev VP Steve Jang (of DMFW fame) sat down for an interview with NY Times Tech blog, Bits. It was mostly a softball interview that sounded more like a glorified elevator pitch. But still. New York Times? That’s worthy of digitally clipping and sending to your moms to store away on a web-based, AJAXy scrapbook.

Speaking of which, someone go startup that, please, if it don’t already exist. Now that’s a cutesy million dollar valuation idea, courtesy of yours truly, that’s bound to suck the cash out of their VC or acquirer, whoever comes last. Unless, of course…

Slide Logo

dot com.

Digital Music Forum West: Highlights

Ed Note: I know Digital Music Forum West was two weeks ago. I make up for the tardiness with a whole lot of words, tediousness and shameless gushing.

On Thursday, Oct. 3, I attended the second and final day of the Digital Music Forum West. On the following Friday, when I returned to work, I put in my 2 weeks.Yeah, it was that good.

The Forum was, in essence, the culmination of everything this blog has thus far stood for. (Begin self-centered rant) See, I got into this whole digital media / consumer internet industry one pay period short of a full year ago. I got paid more than a few pay periods short of respect, but it didn’t matter because I fell in love with my job and I treated it as a self-styled graduate-level course in the digital music industry. Like the nerd I always wanted to be, I would brainstorm future business models… for fun.

So ANYWAYS, a few pay periods ago, the idea of ad-supported music streaming hit me like a ton of iPhone bricks, leading down a slippery slope of successive epiphanies and realizations that lead to an overall theory of free music. Soon thereafter, I read about the Imeem / SNOCAP ad-rev share deal. The future was now! I emailed a few big name journalists/publications I had communicated with, pitching them my hyper-ventilating angles on just how sneakily ground-breaking this story was. The most common response I got back was this: what does this have to do with iTunes? (oh, I dunno, the death of?)

And then the Imeem / Warner deal pushed through (major label!), and I still got more of the same responses from the techarrazi. So I thought, fuck this, I’m just going to start my own blog (this one) and write what had grown into a manifesto of a blog post (that one). See, not only had these techarrazi journalists, with portfolio’s full of gimmicky widgety reviews, ignore the ad-supported music angle, but I was based in LA, with nary a progressive consumer internet tech scene (key word: progressive). Was I the only one seeing this? Was I taking crazy pills or something?

Well, the responses I got from this blog certainly eased some of my lonely fears. But it wasn’t until I went to Digital Music Forum West that I learned that the free music model, as well as the attendant “convenience always wins” meme not only hosted a healthy scene of industry professionals, but had a whole bunch of flesh-and-blood visionaries on its side. Folks like Yahoo’s Ian Rogers, Imeem’s Steve Jang, eMusic’s David Pakman, TAG Strategic’s Ted Cohen, and Nettwerk Music’s Terry McBride proved to me that free-music advocates were not only brilliant abstract visionaries, but successful in the here-and-now.

And so I have decided to quit my job and finally plunge into the epicenter of the digital music scene, the Bay Area — job security be damned. It’s been on my mind for quite a few months now, and even this very blog is in some ways an attempt to scratch the itch. But this itch is a result of the digital media bug bite, and the scratching made it worse, before the Gigantor-mosquito of Digital Music Forum came along. And so I must leave.

So, having concluded this bloated, self-centered intro to Digital Music Forum, here were the highlights:

The State of the Digital Union Panel:

The kickoff panel of the DMFW, this panel definitely got the show off to an explosive start. On one side of the ring, you had the tag-team of Ian Rogers, GM of Yahoo Music, and David Pakman, CEO of DRM-free online mp3 slanger, eMusic, representing the progressive new guard. Literally, on the far right side of the ring, you had David Dorn, SVP of New Media Strategy at Warner Music Group, representing the conservative old guard. Poor guy.

David Dorn
David Dorn: How the hell is this the only image of Dorn in Google Image search?

As if smelling the bloodshed of the coming offensive, David Dorn (Warner) braced himself during his introduction, saying all the right things about experimenting online and rolling out cutting-edge digital distribution methods. Dorn name checked a laundry list of online initiatives. These included a iTunes promotions, MySpace promotions, the LaLa deal…

Oh except, that the LaLa deal was a quick and complete failure, and mostly because of Warner’s unreasonable royalty rates. It was at this point that I decided to intervene, lest Dorn try to pull a quick one in an effort to seem… cool. Luckily for me, the DMFW folks set up a big projector screen of audience-generated questions to the stage left of the panel, as submitted by real-time text messages. The set-up looked like so:

The Interrogator
The Interrogator: it knows your deepest fears.

So getting back to the whole calling-David-Dorn-out-on-the-LaLa-deal thing, I texted in this question:

“David – Didn’t the LaLa experiment fail becuz Warner was charging too much 4 licensing / royalties?”

The question hung there like a trapeze elephant as the rest of the panel members closed out the pleasantries of their introductions, small talk, and polite chatterings. I’m proud to say, that when the moderator served up my question to David Dorn, the politeness abruptly ended and the old/new school schism cracked open. It sounded like this:

David Dorn: “I wasn’t aware that the LaLa partnership was a failure per se…”

Ian Rogers, nodding, with an, “are you kidding me” incredulousness: “Yes, it definitely failed.”

David Dorn: “I’m not sure you can label it a failure. I think maybe LaLa didn’t quite anticipate how big the demand was…”

Ian Rogers, sarcastically: “Oooo, what a surprise. People want free music?”

And thus began the great Ian Rogers show. As it turns out, Rogers had been preparing a presentation for a select group of music industry colleagues on the same day, so he equipped with plenty of great quotables. You can get the gist of Roger’s contributions from his post-DMFW entry on this blog here: http://www.fistfulayen.com/blog/?p=127.
If you were a fan of my free music manifesto, you should definitely read Ian’s entry through. Anyhow, some select quotables from DMFW:

Referring the contextualization of the music distribution / listening experience:

“Everything happens in the gap between the music itself, and the people that listen to it.”

When prompted about the dominance of the iTunes player:

“iTunes is a fuckin Excel spreadsheet that plays MP3s.”

When someone lamented the Napster effect:

“Napster didn’t invent the ability to do P2P, it was inherent in TCP/IP. It was like throwing Newton in jail for popularizing the concept of gravity.”

David Pakman of eMusic also had a whole mess of interesting points, no doubt culled from years of butting heads with major labels. One particularly interesting and generously paraphrased quote:

“The thing with major labels, you can impress them with really revolutionary, cool ideas about how to distribute and promote their music. And they’ll be like, ‘Great, sounds wonderful, I’m on board. Just get give us 70 cents per track and we’ll sign.’ And therein lies the rub.”

Meeting Ian Rogers Post Panel

Ian Rogers
Ian Rogers - Who knew that headhunting the cast of Dawson’s Creek would be such a boon for Yahoo?

Ian Rogers was to me the headlining star of this whole DMFW; a big reason I wanted to go in the first place. Soon after writing my free music manifesto, I started seeking out other like-minded people, and I stumbled upon this (see theory 1). So of course I did a little research on dude, and as it turns out, he was a way-back homie with my co-worker, MDA of One Block Radius. So before I knew Ian Rogers was some sort of big-time power geek, I emailed him with a link to my entry, throwing in the MDA reference for good measure. He actually emailed me back. So I was a bit curious what this Ian Rogers dude was all about. Suffice it to say, he didn’t disappoint.

So I went to say wut up.

Turns out he was a super popular guy, and everyone and their baby mama wanted to meet dude. When I finally crowd-surfed through to the front, he had some really interesting things to say.

Number one, he said he was pushing for a free ad-supported service as a corollary to their current paid subscription service. And if you read his blog, you would know that even he rails against the complicated, step-by-step mess of his own subscription service. Does this mean Yahoo is planning to unveil a flashy, ajaxy based application, much like imeem? Stay tuned, I suppose.

Number two, despite the frustrations working at Yahoo, things are finally starting to line up just right, and his visions are starting to come into fruition. Therefore, he sees himself at Yahoo for the long haul.

Number three, he couldn’t stop repeating how great it is to be a musician right now. He referenced his high school punk band; how growing up in a smallish Indiana town, that maybe about 12 people had heard his band play. Now, any garage band can instantly distribute their music in multiple media formats to all their friends and families at the click of a button. This was definitely a point that drew some contention amongst the crowd that surrounded him (what about the money?).

Number four, he was absolutely raving about our common friend, MDA. With wild gestures and overblown expressions, he began to recall his personal history with MDA, starting in college, and all the crazy music and various monikers that MDA had produced in his days. There were no more than two people in that whole conference that knew who MDA was, but that didn’t temper his enthusiasm, despite the confused crowd that surrounded him. As soon as he was done with the MDA spiel, I was suddenly the 2nd most popular guy in the room, with the proximate crowd begging to know, “what exactly is an MDA and where can I purchase one?”

Anyhow, overall, it was really cool finally meeting dude in person. He’s a very down-to-earth, unpretentious guy, despite his overwhelming brilliance and enthusiasm. He combines a whole bunch of qualities that I find comforting occupying the top spot at Yahoo Music. He’s technically brilliant, he’s socially brilliant, he’s a conceptual, visionary thinker, and most importantly, he’s a genuine music junkie.

You’d be surprised how rare this is amongst the digital media vanguard.

Social Media and Music Panel

I have to mention this panel because of the inclusion of Steve Jang, VP of Marketing and Biz Dev over at freshbreakfast’s startup crush, imeem. Like Ian Rogers, Steve Jang was for me a headlining, box-office draw of DMFW.

Steve Jang
Steve Jang - Who ordered Chinese food? Literally… LITERALLY, the only non-white panelist at DMFW.

But unlike the Ian Rogers panel, the Social Media & Music panel was a lot more tame and a whole lot more boring. The IQ level on this panel was considerably lower. Josh Brooks of Myspace was clearly the mirage of an elephant on the panel. The moderator kept grilling him to get an insightful inside peek into Myspace’s plans and directions, and all Brooks could muster was some deer-in-the-headlights, buzz-word laden marketing mumbo jumbo. He was literally apologetic for coming with the superficial answers.

There was another feller by the name of Jim McNeil, who was trying very hard to be the firebrand on the panel, but came off sounding just plain obsolete. He harped on the lost art of cracking open a fresh LP. He couldn’t say enough negative things about social networks, but for all the wrong, confused reasons. And his alternative in a digital distribution world? Some mumbo jumbo about 100 page personalized websites, which I didn’t quite understand, and I doubt he did either. To me, it sounded like a really shitty social network profile.

So it was in this context that I saw Steve Jang: the bored prodigy stuck in a special ed class by way of a scheduling quark. When he finally did speak, it was clear he was the smartest guy on the panel, breaking down the value of data mining and providing intuitive social tools for contextualizing the music sharing, discovering and listening experience, and so on and so forth… all with a bored, matter-of-fact demeanor. The token contributions of the class genius that the instructor calls upon to herd the class discussion. His arguments would end all arguments on the panel, not so much because of overwhelming persuasion, but because he spun cognitive loops around them, after which they didn’t know how and where and if to object or agree or gather their equilibrium.

Actually, Chad Gibson (Group Manager for Zune) might have been a smart dude too, but he literally – LITERALLY – did not say one word after his sparse introduction. He edged out Steve Jang for “Most Bored Guy on the Panel” award.

P.S. I got a chance to meet Steve Jang after the panel, and he was a lot more animated and interested, mano-y-mano.

Terry McBride Keynote Speech

Terry McBride of NettWerk
Terry McBride: Single-handedly resuscitating Canada, post Bryan Adams.

He’s the CEO of Nettwerk Music, based in Vancouver. I had never heard of him nor his company. I figured he must have been buddy-buddy with the conference organizers to have snagged a keynote spot.

And then I heard him speak. Wow.

It’s sort of hard to describe in words the aura he brings to a geeky niche issue like digital music distribution. So I won’t try. I’ll just say this: if you ever have a chance to hear him speak in person, jump on it.

In the meanwhile, here’s a taste:

Audio interview of Terry McBribe, by KCRW’s Nic Harcourt.
Some random TV interview by a fellow aboot-tongued host
Recent Wired feature
Another Audio Interview

Some quick first impressions of other panelists / guests:

Ted Cohen, TAG Strategic: Pretty hip wit it for an old dude.

Tim Westergren, Pandora: Defeated. Self-deprecating. In a defeated kind of way.

Ali Partovi, iLike: For some reason, when I saw him from a distance in a dark suit jacket, I thought, wanna-be deuche bag. But then I heard him speak and he seemed more like a pretty chill music junkie. Very un-CEO like.

Jared Hoffman, Knitting Factory: Deuche bag.

David Marcus, Tickermaster: Deuche bag… is such a funny word.

Bruce Taylor, SNOCAP: Quiet and shy for a bullish-looking white male marketing exec.

Thomas Hesse, Song BMG: Cold, calculating, media-trained European assassin.

Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter: Enjoyable, entertaining, endearing… manifestation of the Napoleon complex.

Eric Garland, Big Champagne: Has all the traits of a popular male teacher that makes the girls swoon: young, funny, handsome and genuinely interested. School girls of America will tear when my future startup crushes his company. I will laugh the villainous laugh.

Something of a conclusion:

Music! Future! Yeah!


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