You are not John Galt!


Ok I am stumping here for a reason so if you need no stumping on your #FF or your TGIF then “Hey you get off of my cloud” because I am going to stump for the next 200 words or so. You’ve been warned.
First off I kind of like Ayn Rand’s fiction, in the same way I like the odd bad movie now and then, and I think that her two “tour de force works”, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, are very good. I also like Star Wars, The Three Stooges, Old School Memphis Wrestling, the Destroyer book series, the comic Spawn by Todd McFarlane, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper. What does this random list have to do with the title of this blog or Ayn Rand? Absolutely everything.
All the things I randomly listed are works of fiction, albeit one cinematic and the other a childhood guilty pleasure, me being from this particular part of the southeast, yet it is still all fiction. They contain characters created out of someone’s imagination and I love them as creations.
There is a certain segment of the population, I have not done a head count or anything but I am sure it is significant enough to note, that think they are John Galt. If you do not know who John Galt is then follow closely. John Galt is a character in an Ayn Rand book called Atlas Shrugged. He is supposed to feel adrift in a world where he is constantly bombarded with peons or lesser individuals and this absolutely kills him enough that he rejects society and goes on a “strike.” Why should he have to inhabit a world filled with people who are less than he, after all he is great, just ask him.
The top part of this Wiki can fill you in as well
The problem I have with calling yourself John Galt is this: Ayn Rand is no one to be basing a political movement around. No more than I have any business running around yelling “I am Huck Finn!” and basing a political system around the writing of Mark Twain, though that would make the political party at least interesting and definitely humorous, something completely lacking from the works of Ayn Rand.
Do you want people running around proclaiming “I am Moe” and bashing people over the head, rubber necking them, or gouging their eyes? Absolutely not! Why? Because slapstick is funny in the light of it being fictitious, we really don’t want people hitting each other upside the head with huge wrenches, we let the Threee Stooges do it because it is funny without the cost of having actual human injury.
The theories behind Ayn Rand, good writing aside, are dangerous and would cause people to actually get hurt (insert slapstick funny/real people really getting hurt not). Why? Because her brand of “objectivism” or whatever else the Neo Cons are calling it this week is profiteering disguised as “let the smart superior people run things and you ugly peons just do what we say.” We see where that has gotten us. Ayn Rand’s vision is not one of equality but one of privileged for a select elite (cough Hitler) and the rest of the world here to do its work, its living, its dying, and its bidding, kind of like the Bush family.
I am only yanking your chain on that one the Bush family would never pose themselves as an elite class of people, they are folksy.
So all you folks posting online, or carrying a sign at a rally, or yelling out loud “I am John Galt” I ask you to please stop. You have the right to do it and I would fight and die for your right to do it but please stop. I am making this request as one American to another. It is time we stop screaming and start listening to one another. Stop being manipulated by all the sides and realize that in the end there is only one side and that is the American side, at least for now (once we all get it it will be humanity’s side). With our access to technology we can build a wonderful world and truly change things but basing it on an atheist hag who kind of comes off cold to touch is no way to start anything. (my apologies to my atheist friends I just find it ironic that the Neo Con’s cling to her and religion at the same time. Go check her out she hated Christianity.)
Let’s start fresh and do it together. I don’t want to leave you out and I think we can all cross the finish line together and no one has to lose or win. We all just make it!
Or else
I am going to start yelling
“I am Luke Skywalker” which also
makes no sense!

Jocks indicate the coming Singularity


Coaches Fear Team Bonding Fading in Digital Age

The above article describes coaches take on the tech age and how it is effecting sports teams and their ability to bond. They complain that their players, when not on the field or practice, stay insulated in the digital world with their Iphones and social networking. One coach even sited the problem of his players communicating more with opposing players than their own teammates via text messaging and the other types of tools available to them. This only leads me to this conclusive question: What the Heck is going on here?
If Joe Paterno, who does not know how to even operate a computer, back in the day, even thought one of his players was communicating with the opposing side he would have gone bazonkers! Premises of old sports movies are based on this plot element: “We got the other side’s secrets.” Now due to digital means the concept of team is dwindling somewhat, at least according to coaches, both college and pro. They talk about how insular their players are and how difficult it is for them to form a group of comrades amongst their ranks. Folks this has become a problem in the last 5 years. What is really going on?
First I am not looking at this as a particularly negative thing because I lost my whole “go team” attitude a while back but this is startling when you think about it. The opposing team, when I played sports, was viewed as the enemy and no other way.
No slam on jocks and I am in total respect of the student athlete because that is a chore unlike any other, juggling school and an arduous athletic regiment, but they are generally not getting articles written about them and their overuse of technology. Do you get where I am going?
If it is happening at this level one can only imagine what this implies for the rest of the world.
We are merging as a planet. I am not sure into what but people are getting together and talking, communicating, sharing, teaching, and a ton of other things. Folks we are heading towards Singularity and I am hoping it revolutionizes the world for the better.
If linebackers are chatting up the opposition then what do you think hipsters are doing?

Waiting for Robert Johnson



I am waiting on my copy of Robert Johnson: Lost and Found. I had a friend recommend it to me and I have wanted to read it for years. I have always, at least since I was a teen-er, held many of the stories related as fact about RJ as hyperbole at best if not out and out fabrication. You have to be very careful in my realm about being one to dispel because, after all, there are people very invested in the life of Robert Johnson, if not the myth of Robert Johnson. There are people who make a living out of it and I, like Vito Coreleone (the Godfather), begrudge no one on how they make their living.
I will read this voraciously and report back.

Amy Winehouse did not OD


Amy Winehouse’s toxicology reports released
The world, I am sure, is recoiling in shock that Amy Winehouse did not overdose. I kind of suspected that those who said she had been clean were telling the truth because they themselves seemed so at a loss for why she had passed where before they had publicly pleaded for her to get straight.
At the end of the day, as I will maintain forever, we have lost a great talent far, far too soon. Regardless of the reason of her demise the world missed out on some great music and in these times, as in all times, the world can always use it to soothe its soul.

Oh Heck Yeah: Pearl Jam Movie!


http://www.pj20.com/

Ok Let’s get the link to it out of the way right off the bat. Go to the link and if you are a fan
and especially if you are a Gen X’er like myself, prepared to get chills. Why do I go “ga ga”
over this band (I will generally be found guilty of stumping two bands: RHCP and PJ) because
in watching the footage from this trailer, the deep and voluminous thronging masses rocking out to one of the best American Rock N Roll Bands ever, I get all gooey and smile because in the middle of one of those crowds back in the 90’s I could have been found moshing right along with the rest of the people feeling the affinity they felt with this band and their music.
Cameron Crowe made this one so I suspect it will be awesome even if you are not a total nutbag fan, like yours truly. This piece of work also includes many, many unseen clips from the Pearl Jam Vault, the fabled Vault that all bands have, where they keep the really good stuff. LOL. But the clips look awesome and make me wish I was standing in the front row and rocking out. (well maybe just sitting in a theater inwardly rocking out) All I can say is this 20th anniversary movie/documentary is the kind of thing that comes along, well, every 20 years or so. This appears to have the same thing Pearl Jam the band has, authenticity. Other bands made similar theater ventures, ahhh cough U2, which were really just exercises in how big can we blow our butt up to the world. This is a legitimate movie that people would pay to go see because it is a true documentary, not fluff or one long music video.
They are that great and they have always done it on their own terms. I have referenced their sincerity just days ago at the release of the WM3 and a while back on why these guys just keep holding it down. I have noticed other people, for some strange reason, lately only start realizing that there was a band named “Pearl Jam” and they did a few albums back in the 90’s (if you do not get my sarcasm get over yourself) I only have this “Where have you been?” like Pearl Jam just all of a sudden appeared. They have been here the whole time like a spiritual, eternal being, well at least one that manifested 20 years ago.
I will not wax, which would be really easy to do, on why this movie makes me smile and feel something that I firmly believe is beyond sentimental, but if it is sentimental give me two more double helpings of it and drop some of that gravy right in that spooned out spot I made for it, yeah right there!

WM3 get relief


The West Memphis 3 are now free men and it is about darn time! Too bad that the real killer(s) will never be brought to justice and worse 3 little boys were brutally murdered and 3 boys turned into men behind bars for something they most likely had nothing to do with. Too bad poor people get the shaft and billionaire crooks get to take enormous bowel movements at a huge cost to tax payers and our economy and still give out million dollar bonuses to their minions who keep them fat and the poor man hungry. The world keeps spinning and the game goes on. Still too bad somebody killed those boys, they would have been grown men now.
What does this have to do with music?
Eddie Vedder stood by them the entire time and his, and many other people’s great effort, made today possible. Musicians used to lead all the time and now, perhaps in this crazy place, it is time for them to step up to bat more often and take a stand for the common people who they generally are heroes too. No surprise that Vedder and Johnny Depp saw an affinity with these boys (WM3), they could have been them when they were kids. Bless your hearts!
Thanks for taking a stand for the simple folk!

Johnny Rivers on Spotify


Scanning over the Spotify playlists and content is absolutely astounding. They have Lester “Road Hog” Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys if that gives you any idea of the depth of the thing!
But one particular gem I unearthed, which I had no idea existed, was the album Johnny Rivers’ Totally Live at the Whisky a Go Go. What a joy to find this thing. I grew up with my father’s copy playing on my turntable and I have since found many other music aficionados and musicians who grew up listening to this wonderful recording of a rocking three piece just doing what any three piece should aim for, playing tight, cool arrangements and rocking the house. The version I found is a digitally remastered version of two albums really, Live at the Whisky A Go GO and the second Here We A-Go-Go Again, entitled Totally Live at the Whisky A GO GO. If you have never listened, which if you are my age or older and ever listened to classic Golden Oldie radio it would pretty much be impossible not to have, I suggest you get on Spotify and check out some of this album. It is really cool and hard not to like.
We need more of this kind of thing now, a clean audience/interactive show where you can still clearly hear the band but the people totally digging the music. A far cry of the overblown arena affair that have become standard for live recordings now. Perhaps that might become my next goal. To record a live album that really sounds live and not like a space craft taking off.
Nonetheless the aforementioned Mr. Rivers is great stuff that I suggest any fan of R&B and Blues would really dig.
Tell em Phillips sentcha!

Marian Salzman: Music 2.0: words from a Master


And here is the Blog by Marian Salzman
Music 2.0

We’ve entered an age of newfound creativity. Because of a million ways for the average Joe or Jules to express himself or herself, being an artist has never been easier. And with sites such as Etsy creating a vast marketplace for all things handmade and crafty, it’s not difficult to imagine making a living as a creative being. (Think of what Instagram has done for photography: Do you really need to buy a fancy camera to take great pictures with cool effects? Nope.)

Of course, one of the biggest areas affected by all this digital stuff (besides advertising and marketing, naturally) is the music industry. I’ve been in New York for many years, and I remember a time when working in the music business was one of the coolest things you could ever do. Then Shawn Fanning came along with Napster and everything seemed to change overnight. Enter the iTunes age, with retail record giants like Tower shutting down, and—poof—the industry had suddenly become a different place. A very different place.

But fear not, talented lyrical and musical friends. There are lots of ways you can use social media to your advantage and become the next big thing. I think about bands such as Ok Go and their YouTube releases, and (don’t shoot) Rebecca Black and her admittedly ridiculous song “Friday.” Packaging yourself has never been easier; whereas bands and singers used to clamor to get signed, we’ve entered an age of pimp your own ride.

Take Turntable.fm, for instance. I talked to some experts in the biz before writing this piece and found that Turntable is one of the best music discovery sites out there. There is great equity in music industry gatekeepers (label reps, A&R types, to name two) when it comes to making a new discovery and getting there first. Turntable.fm enables strangers to become contacts through repeated playing of songs that an industry type may enjoy. Oh, and the excitement over Spotify is palpable. The world of music is no exception when it comes to our new culture of sharing, so dig in.

If you are an up-and-comer, there is no better time in history to get creative about getting your music out there. Think of mixtape culture and what it did for hip-hop artists such as 50 Cent and the Game, not to mention Lil Wayne. If you can score a couple of email addresses of some influential types or people who spread music around to all their pals, that’s a good trade for a few free tracks to build a dedicated fan base.

Tribes are what the social media world is all about, and building yours should be mission No. 1. Take some cues from the Grateful Dead (who many argue were the first adapters of social media, before it even existed) as well as jam bands such as Phish, who have been allowing “heads” to tape their shows and trade them for free for decades. The Dead had only one chart-topping single (“Touch of Grey”), but they made millions in concert ticket sales and merchandising—and their parking lot scenes were one of the best examples of hippie capitalism that has ever existed. Maybe you’d buy a burrito or a Sierra Nevada, but maybe you’d also buy a Dead T-shirt or program.

As one of my friends in music publishing recently told me, it’s more important than ever to form bonds with your fan base, as if they are all friends of yours. There’s a familiarity and comfort to social media that allows fans and potential fans to know all about you, what you stand for and what inspires you. I encourage you to take that challenge and craft Brand You, with social media as your tool for being the next big thing.

In concert (no pun intended) with your social media efforts should be the single most important action toward building your base in this day and age: Play out, and play out often. Live shows are still the best way to build a following; there is no substitute for authentic and great live music, especially in a digital age in which people are looking for something real. That’s what being sticky is all about. Sure, it’s informed by your marketing plan, but it’s mostly about your killer music and having as many people hear it as possible. Because those people will tell other people, and eventually your music will get into the hands of the people who matter. (P.S. Everyone matters nowadays.) From the fans to the labels and back again.

And as for those labels, according to David Hoffman, director of creative services and A&R at Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., one of the United States’ oldest indie publishing companies, they “are evolving or going to evolve. There’s no choice. Digital distribution can be done using sites like TuneCore. Where the labels come in primarily will be on the marketing, promotion and publicity side of things, especially for indie bands. Of course, you’ll still have the labels working with manufactured artists and contest winners. And in the case of many of those, the labels are sister companies with the TV networks airing the shows. I think you’re going to see a lot of nontraditional labels (i.e., brands putting out music). You already have this, like Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound. I think we’ll see more of it.”

And that, too, is what’s striking on this 30th anniversary of MTV: At one time, bands were selling out if they used sponsorship money to promote themselves or they shilled for brands. Those days are over. Look for the lines between art and commerce to continue to blur. I’m looking forward to seeing, and hearing, you in the very near future. Hope this helps.

Marian Salzman
CEO
Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America
200 Madison Avenue, 2nd floor
New York, New York 10016
http://www.eurorscgpr.com

Something Crazy (Continued)


Ok a few days ago I posted that I did something Crazy. Turns out it was not so crazy after all. Back in July I was watching CNN and a very interesting story about “millennials.” For you unfamiliar with this term it is now used to describe the Generation Y folks or “millennials” who are entering the workforce, their special needs, and the new ways of doing they bring to the work place. The featured company in the story was Euro RSCG Worldwide PR who are some of the heaviest hitters in the Public Relations field and who also employ a large number of those who qualify as “millennials.” I was intrigued by the story as these folks were experts in the utilizing social media and technology to push messages out to the world. Their CEO is an individual by the name of Marian Salzman so to cut to the chase, while the story was still running on CNN, I emailed her. I asked, in the email, if she would be interested in providing insight, from her obvious area of expertise, Public Relations, to the Indie Musician. I sent the email and suspected it would be lost in what I am sure is a huge inbox or just sent straight to some even more massive Spam folder.
Five minutes later she email me back, very politely and said “Sure” she would be interested in helping me and could I send questions.
I was shocked. The lesson here folks:
ladies and gentlemen we are all connected.
Below are the questions I posed and after that I will post Marian Salzman’s very informative blog she sent in response to them. I thank her greatly for taking the time to share her knowledge as you should too.
The Questions
1) What should be the goal and means to an end of an independent music artist when utilizing social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr)?
2) What are some of the new social media outlets you see on the horizon that will be a useful tool to the independent artist?
3) What are your views on piracy and how can the independent artist “flip” free music to their benefit?
4) From a PR perspective what are some of the ways an independent artist can generate the “buzz” so many people are after
on a small or non-existent budget?
5) Should an artist forgo the old school press kit and go for a total online one or a mixture of both?
6) What are the ways you discover an independent artist and what are the things that make them “sticky” to you?
7) What would you advise an independent artist to evaluate and try in order to improve their “stickiness?”
8 Where do you see music going (how it is presented, acquired, utilized) in the next 5 years?
9) At what point will an artist know that it is time to retain professionals to jump into their career?
10) If you were an independent artist with an album of material what would be the first 3 things you would do to get it noticed?
11) Do you think record labels are a thing of the past? Will they evolve into new things or just fall completely in on themselves?