“The phone is at the forefront of the future”


“The phone is at the forefront of the future”  (imagine those words spoken with cave-like echo)

Have you heard the news?  Not the Elvis Presley, “Have you heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight!

No, this news:

“Jay-Z has always been a trendsetter and he is continuing that by being the first artist to distribute his music and connect with fans in a mobile environment.  This is a move to watch.”

From the company’s press release we learn the following:

“Technology now provides us with the opportunity to deliver music in new ways.”

That sentence could just as easily have applied to the development of the pianoforte, aka, the “piano,” in the 18th century.  But this new technology sentence is used in connection with Jay-Z.

“The…phone is at the forefront of the future which includes buying music instantly and taking it with you wherever you go.”

“Buying music instantly…”  That “instant” aspect of the trick was what Amazon accomplished in 1999 with its infamous “one-click” patent.  This “ooh aah, imagine that!” patent allows a customer the ease to only click  a mouse once and be done with the purchase.  It’s fast and simple.  And despite millions of people using it, thousands assailed the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office for granting such an “obvious” (and dunce-headedly simpleminded) patent.  The E. U. is often not as slipshod as the U. S. in awarding patents and refused Amazon’s one-click patent application stating that the patent lacked the “inventive step.”  Again, the company’s quote above is used in conjunction with Jay-Z.

More of the phone hype:

“…phone represents the company’s commitment to music and developing devices that match the lifestyles of consumers…”


“…this relationship pairs the leader in mobility with a leading artist to deliver music and the full fan experience in a unique new way.”

And now some more Jay-Z hype from the company’s same press release:

“An entrepreneur at heart, Jay-Z has risen to the top of the rap genre since starting his own record label, Roc-a-Fella Records…”

This Jay-Z/Phone news, or Phone/Jay-Z news, has been reported in dozens of online and offline media outlets and appears to be the marriage of digital distribution, hip hop and mobile technology.  But wait – that’s a marriage of three (3).  Even the U. S. Supreme Court won’t let three (3) be united as one (1).  But I digress.


What’s noteworthy about what I’ve written above is that it is not from an important tech/mobile/hip hop/branding/endorsement news story of July 2013 but from an important tech/mobile/hip hop/branding/endorsement news story of December 2003, ten years ago!  A few of the statements above are true – the story does involve a new phone, new music included with that phone, new and exciting branding news, and Jay-Z.  I left out the name of the company from 2003 that joined forces with Jay-Z, as well as the names of the new phone and Jay-Z’s new music.

The phone was the then new Nokia 3300.

The music was the then new Jay-Z Black Album.

Back in December 2003, the Jay-Z phone foray began when Nokia offered a “Black Phone” that was the companion cell phone to Jay-Z’s “Black Album.”  This was billed as a music and wireless industry first.  (Very coincidentally, I was expert witness in a matter involving DJ Danger Mouse’s Grey Album, a brilliant and creative mashup of Jay-Z’s Black Album, Jay-Z’s Black Album release that featured only vocal tracks, and the Beatles White Album aka The Beatles.  The Grey Album is still the most famous/infamous mashup ever and an enormous subject on which I should elaborate at another time.)

Co-branding and the unusual affiliation between musician(s) and tech companies was unusual in 2003 but the biggest co-branding between a mobile music device and a musician, however, came one year later, in 2004, when Apple introduced its U2 iPod which featured the new U2 album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.  The new red and black iPod was a success in its limited special edition release.  In a red and black case it looked like this.


The biggest and most hyped music news of July 2013 seems to be the new alliance between Jay-Z and Samsung.  This deal is very good for Jay-Z as Samsung has bought 1 million copies of Jay-Z’s new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail.  (Warning – Magna Carta Holy Grail begins with Justin Timberlake singing.  And he’s singing in a very high register. This is a hip hop album?  A hip hop album that does not begin with a skit?)  Jay-Z received $5 million for the 1 million copies.  Magna Carta Holy Grail will be free for the first 1 million Samsung phone users who download the app.

Articles about the Jay-Z/Samsung alliance are found in


USA Today



My favorite of these is this particular Time story for which I was interviewed:


What has interested me for several years, and is discussed in the Time article, are albums as apps and artists who create apps and content – music and visual – for apps.  My favorite has been Bjork’s massive and adventurous, Biophilia.  Here is a “tour” of the app – how it was conceived, designed and implemented.  Tour of Bjork’s Biophilia


What negatives or potential negatives are there in this Samsung Jay-Z relationship?


Privacy.  A hip hop album and privacy?  As with anything that is digital, online, travels online and especially resides in a device that relies on the Internet for its transmission, there will be privacy concerns.  Because of all these aspects, there will also be legal ramifications, data tracking and privacy concerns, and new bizarre powers enabled by this potent concoction of technologies.  For example, should Jay-Z be able to track you via GPS?  (It’s one thing to be on an artist’s email list but quite another to be cyber-scrutinized by an artist.  From NME:  Privacy Issues Raised Over Terms And Conditions Of Jay-Z’s Samsung App.

The privacy problem is even more problematic (too easy and obvious a Jay-Z “99 problems” joke) as the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate.  This is not what one might suspect from many hip hop/rock/pop albums – warning stickers about lyric content that were voluntarily “awarded” (stuck on) the album packaging.  No, I would suspect that this is the first album to ever warrant  federal government inspection over privacy concerns as data mining meets music meets telecoms meets Internet.

Leakage aka Piracy

Leakage aka Piracy.  Because it is digital, it should be no surprise that Jay-Z’s album-inside-a-Samsung has already been hacked onto an HTC device.  Soon, Magna Carta Holy Grail will leave the Samsung Galaxy and be all over the more impressive galaxy.

Here is another account of the leak of Magna Carta Holy Grail (Spin, July 4, 2013).

It’s been hacked.  It’s been leaked.  It’s been copied.  It’s been transmitted.  Ho hum.  It’s digital.  This happens to digital.


Will Jay-Z/Samsung turn out to be as forgettable 10 years later as Jay-Z/Nokia?  Or the Apple U2 iPod?  (Speaking of the iPod – just what is an iPod?  Are there many iPods in 2013?  Aren’t small dedicated music playing mobile devices now subsumed within every mobile phone?  Sadly, iPods and mobile devices could hold much more content than they do but the tech companies would prefer keeping the devices small and the clouds large so that we will continue to buy and rent all of our intellectual property.

It’s not enough to love your IP – you need to pay for it in

many ways over many days and many decades.

State of the Music Industry – My Tweets from 2013 NMS

twitter-bird-blue-on-white 1

New Music Seminar

S T A T E    O F    T H E    I N D U S T R Y      P A N E L    

(Monday, June 10, 2013)

On Monday, June 10, 2013, I attended the first full day of the 2013 New Music Seminar.  I brought my iPhone 5 and my iPad.  I had not planned on tweeting the event or even one panel but things changed and I started to tweet.  It was not the best environment for tweeting because…

There was no wifi for the audience.  No doubt, that could have been a factor in preventing many from tweeting – why should someone use up valuable metered data just to tweet about an event?  Tweeting is still far from the norm at a music industry conference – by that I mean only a minority of an audience or participants in music industry events tweet about the events at the event.

The first session I attended was the first of the conference – State Of The Industry.  The speakers were Frank Cooper (Global CMO Consumer Engagement, Pepsi Co), John Sykes (President, Clear Channel) and Rio Caraeff (CEO, Vevo).  I did not look at my program so I did not use their names in my tweets.

What follows are my tweets about the panel.  Text in parentheses were my opinions and not necessarily of any of the speakers.  The italicized text that follows some of the tweets below are my comments now on specific points of the panel or additional points of mine.



1.  At #nms13 at the New Yorker Hotel. Much better conf venue than Webster Hall but no still wifi. Little Korea & Hell’s Kitchen, however.

(I speak at every IBS Radio & Webcasting Conference in NYC each year.  One of the benefits is that the NYC IBS conferences are held at the Hotel Pennsylvania which is at the edge of Little Korea.  To me, this means getting to have great bibimbap for lunch.  The New Yorker Hotel is at 34th & 8th, a block or two from Little Korea.  And Hell’s Kitchen includes my favorite NYC Brazilian bar, Brazil Grill, three blocks from where I used to live.)

2.  State of the industry w/speakers from PepsiCo, VEVO and Clear Channel. Frank Cooper of Pepsi not using slides – yea! #nms13

(I have a strong bias toward the non-music companies and how they use and promote music as well as how they better engage with their customers via music, video and mobile.  Music conferences need to have a strong non-music component.  In fact, the non-music companies shouldn’t really be called “non-music,” should they?)

3.  Value comes from connecting w/brands & ppl who’ll add value to fan experience. Pepsi’s aspiration. #nms13

4.  NMS used to take place on the upper East Side? Glad that’s in the past. #nms13

5.  Radio is 3rd to TV & Internet for American consumers time. Radio No. 1 means to discover music – Sykes of Clear Channel #nms13

(My best way to discover music is friends, students and YouTube.  Radio, for me, comes from an app in a mobile device, or from the radio in my Acura.)

6.  #nms13 iHeart apps used soon by 200 million.

7.  85,000 online promotional mentions of Justin Timberlake album. iHeart. #nms13

8.  How to make Justin Timberlake album break out through clutter? iHeartRadio efforts – artist integration program #nms13

9.  Artist ads run for 4 weeks. iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party got 860 million impressions. #nms13

10.  CCE demonstrating extremely successful artist promotion campaigns w/iHeartRadio. Artists noticing other artists as well. #nms13


11.  38 artists now in Artist Integration Program. #CCE #nms13

12.  Q. Where is radio going? A. Digital is small in revenue – that’ll change. Radio will have TV shows. (Of course) #nms13

13.  Mobile ads & sponsorship need to catch up with Mobile music. Mobile shift has been very fast. #nms13

14.  Product brands outside mainstream need to partner with music brands outside mainstream – Pepsi speaker at #nms13   

(Finding the right partner is extremely important – I liken that to having the right opening act for a band at a concert.  The opposite of that has happened (and sometimes been disastrous) when bands opened for seemingly unrelated headliner acts:  Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention opening for The Monkees, Jimi Hendrix Experience opening for The Monkees, King Crimson opening for Al Kooper, etc.)

(Bad brand partnerships?  Tiger Woods with any brand, for a period of time anyway;  Oscar Pistorius and Nike and any brand;  OJ Simpson… you see where this is going!)

15.  NMS and VEVO want to work with unknown and new artists according to Tommy Silverman. #nms13

16.  Lift – most successful new VEVO show, partnering with McDonald’s, to promote new artists. #nms13

17.  Breaking new artists is essential to VEVO – a mission statement of sorts. #nms13

18.  Developing R & D in a company is similar to constantly developing new artists for a music company – Sykes iHeart #nms13

19.  For Pepsi, creating/sponsoring live events is comparable to digital. Very active in international music & events. #nms13

20.  92% of Americans listen to radio every month. (Many more radios than people.) I’m surprised it is not higher. #nms13


21.  Pepsi wants to fill spaces without interrupting listening experiences. #nms13

22.  The experiences “have to be right there.” Immediate and without effort. Pepsi, CCE etc want to fulfill #nms13

(The “immediate and without effort” is often called, “frictionless.”  Yes, frictionless is good buzz word, a cliche but accurate and one’s person cliche is another’s proud moniker.)

23.  Most ppl want to watch, some want to comment, others want to make (video) New experiences give more interactive possibilities. #nms13

(Read Lawrence Lessig’s excellent book, REMIX.  Those that want to remix are not RO – “read only.”  RO is for those who primarily engage in one-way communication.  They read, they view, they listen.  They are of a more traditional culture.  They do not interact or re-author or remix.  Those who remix/re-author, etc. are of the “RW” culture.  RW is “Read (and) Write,” i.e., interact, re-author, repurpose, etc.)

24.  One touch should replace one-click in immediacy and simplicity. #nms13

(I look forward to “one thought,” and involuntary at that, replacing one touch.)

25.  Music subscription – original albums better represent an artist’s legacy than trad sales models #nms13

26.  Give choice to consumers but how are services providing choice and being monetized?  Used to be how do we stop the Internet? #nms13

(The anti-technology people in the “content crowd,” i.e., those who pride themselves on being songwriters who hate the technology, mostly waste their time espousing a knee jerk “sue-the-criminal-bastards” strategy.  Technology and consumers (the market) always win.  Rather than bemoan, litigate and try to legislate, it is better to work together and/or find a business solution.  Study Steve Jobs.)

27.  Choices in digital seriously began with iTunes. In last 3.5 yrs, mobile has provided easy to use ubiquitous choices. #nms13

28.  Networks partnerships/relationships with carriers & their (carriers’) willingness to market music. #nms13

29.  In Norway and other EU countries, bundle with cable. Their 4G is stronger and more available. #nms13

30.  Music adds high value service to telco’s services. Economic benefit partner receives should funnel down to artist. #nms13


31.  Customer base for telcos have not always been music savvy. Push customers creating playlists for better engaging. #nms13

32.  Plans & bundling outside USA can be daily, weekly, monthly. (That’s new to me.) #nms13

(ISP and cable service plans in this country should be much better and less costly.  We have little competition and our government does not in the slightest way assist U.S. customers in their lonely usually fruitless skirmishes with U.S. ISP’s and telecoms.  In more and more countries, Internet access is becoming a basic human right and fast speed Internet connections are becoming mandated by non-USA governments.)

33.  Create new kinds of premium products. Again, more choice is key. #nms13

34.  How will Google and Apple streaming services impact others? Other ideas – partner with Weather Channel, ESPN & non-music. #nms13

(Excellent – there are many ESPN outlets nationally and internationally, and they use a great amount of music.)

35.  How to handle Big Data? That trite term – BIG DATA – will assist in delivering better experience for listener. #nms13

36.  Winners in digital will be “those who can get to scale.” There’ll be consolidation across the industry. #nms13

37.  Investors in these companies are big media companies-gives players “superior access” into other areas. #nms13

38.  Spotify rollout strategy – in 28 countries in 4 yrs. careful to partner with right companies. Pay attention to local music. #nms13

39.  Global and local rollouts simultaneously. #GLO-CAL. #GLOCAL without hyphen. (Great expanding language). #nms13

40.  What needs to happen in US? Mass marketing. Look at how Apple does it. Non-Apple products are not well marketed. #nms13



Watching Me Walk Around Naked


Directv has created and is airing a sticky – to be more concise, “ICKY” – television commercial that only succeeds at showing a young couple in their loveless relationship.  And the “zinger” line, aired by the male, is mean spirited and aimed at demeaning the woman.  It suggests danger, discomfort and intimidation, not exactly positive qualities to connote by means of a television commercial.  When I first saw this commercial, I was shocked and thought, “he didn’t just say that, did he?  Yikes, this is one ugly and disturbing commercial.”

I’ve heard:

All publicity is good publicity.

Being bad is good for a reputation.

Hey, at least you remembered the commercial – you’re talking about it, aren’t you?

Yet I feel that these three sentences/sentiments do not apply to television commercials or a company’s reputation in the age of ubiquitous social media.  It’s a hard enough proposition for a telecom to have a good reputation and associated good will without the company airing an ugly and disconcerting commercial.

This awful 30-second television commercial is so bad:

FIRST  –  There’s no music.  Music should be in almost every TV/radio/Internet commercial as it can enhance the company or service’s message, as much as visual stimuli  –  art, photographs, video  –  can enhance text.  (Notice the visual for this post.)

To move slightly off the subject and introduce something to explore later:

Music accompanying a television commercial should

a)  herald the message (of the commercial)

b)  be supportive of the message

c)  reinforce the message, or best of all

d)  be memorable so that when the music is heard again, the audience will conjure up the commercial

e)  optimally, introduce a cool new music composition, style, musical artist, band or gangnam-like/macarena-like thing or other foolish fad

SECOND  –  these two young lovers (they were likely lovers in a distant time and galaxy) are at their worst and we the audience are watching the précis worst of their worst.

THIRD  –  the commercial opens with what looks to be the making of an Alfred Hitchcock-Janet Lee-Psycho type shower murder scene – the glass is foggy, and she is naked and cannot see the danger that is lurking just outside the shower.

FOURTH  –  the woman is vulnerable and frightened by an enormous bright billboard-like sign that is waiting for her as she exits the shower.   The unrealistic large sign indicates…

“R E C O R D I N G     C O N F L I C T” 

FIFTH  –  now for the demeaning part.   Shocked by and referring to the sign, the woman says, “OK I am sick of this thing!”  He replies, “Hmm.  Well, see we have cable and if it didn’t record your shows while I am recording my shows, we wouldn’t have to deal with this” (as he points to the huge sign).  She replies, “I just feel like it’s watching me walk around naked.”  He then stops brushing his teeth and delivers his zinger, “Well, at least somebody gets to.”  He smirks, starts to brush extra hard and walks away.  Meanwhile, she looks hurt by his callousness and stands frozen, tightly holding the towel around her body.  Just before the scene fades, a message in white letters, “DON’T LIVE WITH CABLE’S CONFLICT BOX” is briefly displayed on the screen.   Finally, an unseen new male VOICE says, “Upgrade to Directv and record five shows at once.  Call 1-800-DIRECTV.”

The commercial has reminded us that a naked woman in a shower is in a potentially dangerous situation – how can Hitchcock’s “Psycho” not be implied?  Instead of being murdered by a psychotic individual, an enormous psychotic sign is there to startle her.  The only conversation after this is meant to belittle her – she doesn’t know enough about technology for the household, but if she did, the psycho sign wouldn’t be there to scare her coming out of the shower.

As an obnoxious bonus, we are reminded that as a lover, this woman is worse than she is a technophile – she is belittled because she does not know that Directv is better than cable.  Finally, we are told that at least the scary sign is likely to see her naked –  she is more receptive to the Big Brother Recording Conflict sign than the male in the house as he never gets to see her naked.

In this, the most expensive and media-saturated election period in United States history, we have heard several infamous, idiotic and sexist utterances from certain Republican male politicians including these sledge hammers:

if it’s a legitimate rape, uh, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” (Todd Akin, R-MO)


“I came to realize that life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” (Richard Mourdock, R-IN)

At any time in civilized society, this Directv commercial would have been inappropriate.  But in this 2012 “legitimate rape” and “God intended to happen” election period, this Directv commercial is vile, offensive, more off base and ultimately more harmful than beneficial to the Directv brand.