Category Archives: music

GuitarTV.com Makes Noise on Social Media Channels

The GuitarTV.com site, showing co-creator Steve Vai in a clip from the film "Crossroads."

Ever watch a music video and wonder what kind of gear the guitarist is using? Or how much the guitar cost and what type of amplifier was used? Maybe you wanted to know which album had that song. Or find sheet music tabs. Or score tickets to the next gig.

Six-String Gearheads, Rejoice! 

You can stop wondering and start rocking. Everything you want to know—and buy—from your favorite guitar slingers can now be found in one place. (Cue drum roll…)

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome: GuitarTV.com

Back when MTV used to play actual music, the network would list the artist, song and album info, but only at the beginning and end of the video. If you missed it, you were out of luck. GuitarTV takes that idea and cranks it up by a factor of at least six. Continue reading

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Marketing Music at NAMM

NAMM is the show where rock stars come out to play.

All the Convention Center's a stage at NAMM.

If you’re keeping up with social marketing trendsetters like Seth Godin or Scott Stratten, you’ve probably heard it said that we do business with people we “know, like and trust.” This is especially true for the music business. Relationships (read: connections) have always been key for musicians. And January’s Winter NAMM show in Anaheim is where music business ties are made and strengthened.

While other trade shows are dying out, and the music industry itself struggles with a revolution in distribution and marketing, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) continues to grow in popularity. Continue reading

This Year Goes To 11

Take it to 11 at NAMM. That's one louder.

The 2011 NAMM Show (shorthand for what used to be known as the National Association of Music Merchants) has taken its thematic inspiration from the Rob Reiner rockumentary satire film, This Is Spinal Tap, in which Nigel Tufnel explains the advantages of having an amp that goes all the way to 11. It’s a perfect reference for their audience.

NAMM is where musicians, instrument makers and related music companies come to do business and show their latest gear. It’s like a Guitar Center on steroids that’s as big as the Anaheim Convention Center (bigger, actually). The place is so thick with rock stars, you practically trip over ’em every time you turn around.

Here’s how the NAMMsters describe this year’s show on the website: “On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re taking it to 11 and so can you! The 2011 NAMM Show has everything you need to turn it up a notch in your business, from the hottest new music products offered by 1500+ exhibitors to free business-building training customized to the challenges of today’s industry professionals.” Continue reading

Accidental AutoTune Celebs – Antoine and the Bear

Antoine Dodson's YouTube rant has spawned a hit song as well as a Halloween costume.

The Rapist and the Rainbow

A funny thing happened at the most recent wedding reception I worked. The mother of the bride says to me (as the DJ), “Have you heard that song about that guy on YouTube who stopped the rapist?”

A song about the what…? I don’t think so.

“You know, about the intruder who snuck in and was trying to rape the guy’s sister in her bed?”

Hmm. No, I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

Then there was the 13-year-old’s birthday party, where some kid wanted to hear the “Double Rainbow” song.

Is that a Skittles commercial? No? I don’t think I’ve heard that one either. Sorry, just not as hip as I used to be. (So much music, so little time.)

Lyrics by YouTube, Music by Gregory Bros.

“Bed Intruder” and “Double Rainbow” have a few things in common.

They’re both hit iTunes songs that were inspired by viral YouTube videos. Both have resulted in new commercial opportunities for their accidental stars. Continue reading

Of Malls, Music and Mobile Marketing

Irvine Spectrum Center wants to connect to your phone.

Shopping malls and other marketers are increasingly using mobile text message marketing to connect more closely with customers.

It’s a smart move. As mobile marketing company Emarcom points out, three things that all consumers now carry at all times are: keys, wallet, and phone. That means text message marketing is a highly effective way to get close to your customer’s pocketbook.

Reach Out and Text Someone

Emarcom’s J.M. Bernstein notes, “Of the 280-plus million mobile phones in the U.S., rarely is one’s phone more than four feet away.” Ain’t it the truth. Continue reading

Disneyland Throws a Rave Party

Glow Fest turned out to be even more popular than Disney's new World of Color.

Waiting for the World of Color

Big brands tend to be predictable. We all go to, say, Starbucks or McDonald’s or Target because they deliver according to expectations.

Disneyland is a brand that continues to evolve, which is the way Uncle Walt intended it. The venerable theme park can still surprise, too.

My family went to the Disneyland Resort this summer to see the new water-fountain attraction, “World of Color”. Upon arriving, my daughter keyed in on some dance party thing called “Glow Fest,” which looked like a way to pass the time while waiting for the water show. It turned out to be much more. Continue reading

Green Day Sells Politics Via Punk, and Vice-Versa

Green Day performs in front of a collage of fliers advertising gigs from the early days.

Branding for Punkers

It’s fascinating how significant brand image is, even to punks who act as though they care little for such commercial/corporate concerns. But even rebels have to admit how “important” they feel it is to be considered “punk”.

Is Green Day Classic Rock?

Green Day just played a sold-out show at our local corporate-branded amphitheater in Irvine (which I’ll always remember as Irvine Meadows). From modest Bay Area beginnings as a three-piece punk band, Green Day has morphed into a six-piece (for the tour) arena rock powerhouse, complete with corporate marketing, sponsorship, and lots of merchandising in support of last year’s “21st Century Breakdown” album.

A Green Day fan dives back into the crowd after being invited up on stage. Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register

As the the OC Register noted in it’s review, the band now gets played on KROQ radio’s “Flashback Weekend” shows, which practically puts it in the “classic rock” category for the Gen-X/Y demo.

A wall of TVs form the backdrop for Green Day's performance of American Idiot.

Punk Meets Broadway Musical

What may be most interesting about Green Day is how the band has managed to hold onto its punk roots while basically “selling out” via its political pop opus “American Idiot,” now a Broadway musical. What’s up with that? Continue reading

Celebrating Freedom of Choice with Devo

Exercising Freedom of Choice with Devo at Hollywood Park, July 1, 2010.

I saw Devo in concert for $7, thanks to a Facebook ad.

Everyone loves to have freedom of choice, not to mention a good deal. So when I found out I could see Devo live for $7—no, that’s not a typo—instead the usual $70+ fee that most concerts charge these days for tickets (plus service charge, convenience fee, etc., etc.), I was all over it. It became a family outing. And best of all, kids were free.

Funny anecdote: When trying to look up the band online before attending the show, my teenage daughter had to ask, “How do you spell ‘Devo’?” Continue reading

Devo Goes Corporate

We're all Devo now.

Devolution is real.

Anyone who’s had to endure a focus group (on either side of the two-way mirror) will appreciate how Devo is both spoofing and using corporate marketing tactics to promote their new album and tour.

Mmm... blue! Tastes like... Devo.

“Something For Everybody” is the band’s first album of new material in 20 years. But it’s not the first time the band members have gone “corporate.” Continue reading