Category - tools

Useful information about tools for conquering the new paradigms

Today in #TMITM: Nearer My God To Thee

I’m beginning to detect a trend here:

From Recode:

“The American car industry, in the 1950s, dominated the world,” author Andrew Keen said… “Twenty years later, the American car industry had collapsed because they produced cars which were death traps.”

“I think we’re at a similar time in the digital economy,” he added, referring to the prevalence of advertising-driven tech products. “Consumers will and are coming around to the realization that this business model is not in their interest…

…“I think Mark Zuckerberg has been rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic with these latest reforms at Facebook,” Keen said. “I’d like to see him really acknowledge the problem and deal with it directly and come up with radical solutions.”

And while I’m at it:

Keen argued that Apple is “in a better position than Google or Facebook” because its business is not dependent on collecting and monetizing consumers’ data, which he refers to as “surveillance capitalism.”

Listen to the podcast:

Or wait for the book.

Or, maybe somebody can please do the math, and figure out “how much would it cost 2-billion people to actual pay outright for Facebook to substitute for its ad-driven revenue?”

I might be willing to pay as much as I do for Netflix or Spotify.


A Note About This Week’s Digest (June 4, 2014)

To the Vast Legion who read my Weekly Digest:

What you’ll be seeing this week if you follow all the links in the digest (or just scroll down from the main page of the website) is mostly photos from an event that I covered on Sunday – the inaugural iteration of the Farmers Market at the Amqui Station, recently relocated to a park in Madison – the neighborhood locals like to call “Northeast Nashville” (because, you know, EAST Nashville is now SOooo hip and trendy… ).

My weapon of choice these days, the Olympus E-M1 with battery grip, 12-40 f/2.8 lens (24-70 equivalent) and built in WiFi.

My weapon of choice these days, the Olympus E-M1 with battery grip, 12-40 f/2.8 lens (24-70 equivalent) and built in WiFi.

The camera I’m using now – Olympus OM-D E-M1 – has its own built-in WiFi transceiver, which makes it really easy to send photos from the camera to my iPhone and then up to Instagram, Facebook, or whatever. During the event I sent about a dozen images to Instagram, and tagged them with “#blog” which also sends them to this website and posts them here.

The result is not ideal – I wind up with an individual blog post for each image that I send to Instagram. That in turn sends a glut of posts to my Facebook page, to the occasional annoyance of my Legion of Followers there.

Like everything in the digital world, it all works, sorta.

What I would really like is to have a tiled window sort of thing, maybe 6 images total, where the panels rotate to display different shots (kinda like my Instagram account looks when when you view it in a desktop browser) Then all you’d have to do is look at that one window for a few seconds and you’d see a bunch of the images in that one place without any additional effort. I haven’t quite found the app, plugin, or embed yet that will do that, so I’m stuck for now with individual posts and one image to each.

There are also a couple of images that I’ve siphoned out of the “Portals of Stone” collection and posted to Instagram… I guess I’m trying to see who else in the vast reaches of that universe might like to see images of medieval stone ruins cast against a modern deep-space sky. So far the reactions are very favorable but not exactly vast. I’ll keep plugging away at it…

Thanks for subscribing….

June 4, 2014

When Business Is Like “Twister”

Michael Lovett and Chris Deline

Nice to see a little “ink” for my friend Michael Lovett and his partner Chris Deline for their online marketing and social media venture, Fairly Trill in David Ross’s new online e-news site,

“I’ve spent most of my professional life in a contorted game of Twister,” says Michael, in a bit of understatement about life as a creative entrepreneur in the too-often web-disconnected world (where sometimes shit works, and sometimes it doesn’t).

I’ve known Michael for a couple (several?) years now and have come to rely on him as my resident web guru. Whatever you see on this site or the others I run has been largely due to his behind-the-scenes engineering. He’s got WordPress pretty well wired, is reliable and dependable, and I recommend him heartily for anybody who is thinking of setting up or needs help maintaining a WordPress installation.

He’s also one of the more interesting and down-to-earth people I’ve met in my (almost) 20 years in Nashville (I think he’s been here for about 3 of them), and somebody I’m proud to consider a good friend.

Nice write-up, Michael and Chris.

More Topspin

Charles Alexander

Good friend Charles Alexander has just just posted this very detailed assessment of the Topspin “direct to fan” music marketing platform, and the Berklee School of Music online course that comes with it. Anybody who is considering using the Topspin platform now that it is about to “come out of beta” should read it before making the plunge.

Money quote:

The software package and interface has a steep learning curve. This course helps alleviate some of that.

“Steep learning curve” is putting it mildly. If you do follow the link make sure you scroll down to the comments to find my own observations on Topspin and what Charles has written about it.

The Keys to the New Kingdom

Whoever is reading this, needs to read THIS.

It is possibly the most succinct summary of what it takes to survive as a troubadour (or band, or just about any kind of artist..) in the era of the Celestial Jukebox.

Apparently the skateboard is a big party of Ian Rogers shtick.

The link takes you to the summary of a presentation at the New Music Seminar last week in Los Angeles by Ian Rogers, the CEO of a company called Topspin.

Here’s the money quote:

First and foremost, your marketing plan needs to be an extension of your art, it needs to fit the image and brand of your band. What’s good for Miley Cyrus isn’t going to work the same for Danzig (I hope). But I do believe the above bit of advice, “Do Something Small Weekly and Something Big Monthly”, is universal: to put a simple plan together to make sure you have more fans tomorrow than you have yesterday, get out a calendar and start mapping out the next few months or even the year.

One little thing every week. One big thing every month. That much sounds simple enough… or, well, maybe it isn’t. Too many people I know or talk with about music and business are still locked into the old “release an album once a year” model. Hell, one group I know has been so nose-to-the-grind-stone focused on recording a whole album that they have done nothing over the past year to actually cultivate or communicate with their fan base.

This presentation was accompanied by the announcement that Topspin will soon be throwing their beta platform open to the music world at large, in the manner of, say, Nimbit, Bandcamp, or Reverbnation. Where before you had to be or know somebody in order to get in, starting in a few weeks, anybody who wants to will be able to use the Topspin platform.

This is probably good news, since Topspin is mostly a very robust platform. I say mostly because I’ve spent enough time with it myself to appreciate its more powerful features, but I have also found it extremely challenging to use. In particular I found their e-mail listserv function to be nearly unusable. Ironic, since gathering and utilizing e-mail addresses is the core component of any Topspin campaign.

So I suppose its fitting that the announcement of this new open platform is also accompanied by the announcement that Topspin is hosing a contest that will award “$5,000 plus help executing the campaign to whomever submits the best plan.” Because unless the new version of the software is dramatically different from the old one, it’s going to take a $5,000 budget and all the help you can get to navigate the Topspin platform.

Ariel Hyatt on Music & Social Media: So, What Else Have You Got?

Here is CyberPR maven Ariel Hyatt at the recent MIDEM conference in France talking about using “social media” if you’re trying to build a ‘sustainable creative enterprise’ on and/or off line:

Mostly, what Ariel is talking about is the familiar, “use Facebook and Twitter to grow your fanbase…” But the bigger lesson here is “we show artists how to be engaging.” Translation: it’s not enough that you’re a performing musician with great songs, a great stage presence, and table full of desirable merchandise: you might need to dig in a little and open up about other aspects of your existence — as opposed to standing across the proscenium and hiding behind your “art.”

While speaking specifically to complexities of all these Internet “tools,” Ariel provides the essential agreement of the secret sauce. Citing the example of a band that used Twitter to land tour sponsorship from the Sonic Drive-In chain, she says

Leverage the truth and make it an asset… Take something you are passionate about – even if it’s silly, like ice cream – and make it part of the experience with your fans….”

As Ariel infers, the fading broadcast media paradigm conditions

artists…to think in ‘macro’ numbers. You don’t need millions to create a life for yourself, you just need hundreds… like a thousand true fans.

Share a tiny bit about what you like and what you do. It may seem stupid in an isolated event — like ‘I like Sonic ice cream’ — but the result was huge.

In the networked ecosystem, your “business” has to be about more than just your “art.” Maybe Bela Fleck said it best: “You gotta figure out what you want to teach everybody.”

The (Modern) Minstrel Wagon

Several of weeks ago, McShane Glover, a former colleague who works as a booking agent in the mid-Atlantic area, invited me to have lunch with one of her clients, Vicki Genfan. I kinda remember Vicki from my exploits back in the previous millennium. She played guitar for another former client, Dee Carstensen, and I rememeber Vicki as one of those fret-and-string-masters who makes me wonder why I bother to keep guitars around my own abode.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Vicki has graciously agreed to let me offer up a track from her double CD Up Close and Personal. Click the play button below to listen to “Atomic Reshuffle” via this player widget from Soundcloud:

(iGizmo users, sorry… the widget is Flash. <*sigh*>)

As impressed as I am with Vicki’s virtuosity on guitar, I might have been even more impressed with her mode of transportation (OK, I’m exaggerating, there really is very little that is more impressive than Vicki Genfan playing guitar, least of all a mere means of transportation…).

Turns out Vicki is not the only genius/goddess in the family: her traveling partner is Tay Hoyle, a systems designer and engineer of equal vision and virtuosity, an artist in her own right in a different of medium. For example, Tay was responsible for much of the interior design and engineering and actual wiring for the John Lennon Education Bus.

When I pulled into the parking lot of the strip Mall where I met Vicki and Tay for lunch, I pulled in right behind a yellow Dodge van, which turned out to be Tay and Vicki’s rolling home, studio, and stage, all rolled into one remarkably compact vehicle:

Tay and Vicki and the Yellow Minstrel Wagon

This one most impressive vehicle, and dare I say, the modern minstrel’s ultimate means of conveyance. Read More