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You could call this an advert April 5, 2008

Posted by James Warren in cool, marketing, music.

…but i’d rather call it a film. Stunning *film* from Schweppes.

Hat tip to Mr Clayton. Music by the way by The Cinematic Orchestra – the real star.

Video skilled the Radiohead March 18, 2008

Posted by James Warren in marketing, music, social media, web 2.0.
1 comment so far

A while back I wrote about the Radiohead and NIN music distribution developments.  I still maintain that it’s only already established big bands that can do this and still make megabucks, but anyway…  Came across this just now.  User generated video production, courtesy of Radiohead.  You can make a video for Radiohead.  And you can win some cash.  Don’t know about you but this doesn’t sit terribly comfortably with me.  Can’t quite put my finger on it.  Are marketers beginning to try the patience of the ‘produsers’?  What’s the difference between harnessing creativity and exploitation?  I have been pondering on such matters for a while and my discombobulated thoughts may well manifest themselves in a post in the next day or so.  In the meantime, I refer you to this quote from Bash.org:

Q: Please describe web 2.0 to me in 2 sentences or less. 

A: You make all the content.  They keep all the revenue.

Comfortably dumb October 9, 2007

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, music.

First Radiohead, now Nine Inch Nails.  All very interesting, but further to my point of yesterday, these are two of the biggest bands in the world – or certainly they used to be – so they *can* go it alone, as they’ve already built up massive fan bases.  There is an argument somewhere in amongst all this that says without ‘the music industry’ (in all its forms) to support them, they may never have reached their current heady heights.  So while the ‘business model of the future’ may help established music acts, it doesn’t necessarily provide global opportunities for new/up-and-coming bands.

Yes, bands can promote themselves via MySpace etc, but at the end of the day, while it allows access to shedloads of music, MySpace isn’t as easy to ‘use’ as MTV, Radio 1 or Xfm (or at least not to a mid-thirties-no-spare-timer like me).  Sometimes, just sometimes, I want the quality control filtering done for me.  I want to sit down and be a dumb terminal.  Which is why there’ll always be a place for the media (and therefore a music industry to provide it with content that matches its audience).

Of course the likes of Pandora can do this filtering process for me, but you still have to start somewhere (I want to hear music like xxx) and I’m not sure to what extent they feature unsigned bands.  Anyway, I enjoy a little bit of serendipity.  Without it I would never have heard half the music I now hold dear.

(I should caveat all this nonsensical rambling by saying, ridiculously, I haven’t bought any music for months – unless you count HSM2 for the kids (which is fabulous) – so maybe I’m just massively out of touch.)

Radiodead? October 8, 2007

Posted by James Warren in apropos of nothing, marketing, music.
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I can’t work out whether this is the future of the music industry or just the deliberately disruptive strategy of a band that already has more money than it knows what to do with.  The proof of the pudding, as they say, will be in the eating.  I’d love them to show live downloads vs revenue – ie show the average price paid.  In that way the audience really would set the price as a community, rather than individually (as they (by which I mean we) would all follow the consensus, like sheep).

Mobile phonograph August 4, 2006

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, mobile, music.

Further to my gibbering earlier, the other week I saw this and this and a whole lot else besides and it’s made me think about the future of portable media.  By way of a quick (non scientific and incomplete) overview, flash memory technology is allowing mobile phone manufacturers to incorporate xGB MP3 storage into their handsets.  This makes them a compelling alternative to (for example) Nano and Mini owners.  Throw the phones’ wireless capability into the mix and their increasing ability to handle email, internet and multiple media (multimedia sounds so very 90s, don’t you think?) and you have a practical and cost-effective solution to an all too familiar problem – too many blooming devices.  To illustrate this one of my very good friends has discarded his (almost brand) new Nano because he’s just picked up a Sony Ericsson Walkman phone.  To quote him (he has a work Blackberry too) “I’m just fed up with carrying so many things around.”  Interestingly, the reason he bought the Nano in the first place was because his ‘proper’ iPod was too heavy to carry in his suit pocket.

The answer?  Handbags for men.  Of course the real answer lies in yet further convergence in the area of mobile devices.  But will the phones eat the iPod market, or is there an alternative?  What I singularly failed to mention in my previous post was that an iPod with 3G wireless connectivity could also be used as a phone (durr).  And a portable email device.  And heaven knows what else besides (Jobs would doubtless include built-in camera, given Apple’s creative heritage, with some simple edit s/w and integrated upload to an Apple version of flickr/YouTube).

In one fell swoop, Apple does to the PDA/mobile email/phone market what it did to the MP3 market all those years ago.  The super-rich celebs, meejah and city types (not to mention the less-impoverished PRs) would ditch their boring practical corporate Blackberries for sophisticated sexy sleek designer iPads before you can say ‘Look at this shiny monochromatic hunk of converged gorgeosity – see how successful, cool and rich I am?  By the way, I also have a great sense of humour, am fantastic in bed and know how to operate a spin dryer.’

Baaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaa August 4, 2006

Posted by James Warren in apropos of nothing, blog, marketing, music, pr, social media, wine, work.
1 comment so far

(That’s me being sheepish).  One of the downsides to being a PR agency social media specialist/online tart (*delete as applicable) is that you (by which I mean I) get dragged in to almost every pitch the agency does.  It just seems that no self-respecting pitch these days is complete without some social media goodness, courtesy of ‘web boy’.  Now don’t get me wrong, that is as it should be and these sorts of opportunities are why I moved to WS in the first place.  But with seven pitches/creds in the last two weeks, my posting here has suffered.  That, and the fact that I have been caught red-handed focusing on the social rather than the media, goes some way to explain my conspicuous absence from these gloriously hallowed pixels.

Although I am desparately sorry to those of you that care for my opinion and insight (hi Mum), I shan’t make contrite ‘must do better’ statements – I refuse to be a slave to this blog – but I am confident things will calm down over the next few weeks and I’ll be able to give this exquisite vessel the attention it so richly deserves.  To be honest, I’m most excited about showcasing some of my superduper colleagues’ blogs over the coming weeks – one of the first things I tasked myself with when I joined WS was to get some of the brilliant people here blogging.  It’s finally beginning to happen, so please watch this space.  You’ll find out about them here first…

Anyway… what’s new?  Well, lots as it happens.

  • The Razorlight album, which is absolutely brilliant and has supplanted Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise as my iPod favourite listen du jour.  It’s almost perfect. I should confess I have a bit of an irrational thing about Razorlight in that I think they are the dog’s proverbials (weird how that sometimes happens with some bands and not others…).  Still, I urge you to buy it
  • Coca-Cola’s new web initiative – welcome to the Coke side of life – which at teh time of writing hasn’t yet made it over this side of the pond, but I fully expect to (same-size print: The Coca-Cola Company is a WS client).   At first glance it looks like a classic social media exploitation, but I strongly believe this one will work for them a) because they are giving away proper, valuable prizes, b) because Coke has the sort of brand that people already socialise/mash and c) because coca-cola.com provides a fairly large global shop window for wannabe creatives to showcase their smarts.
  • On the subject of sugary drinks, check this out.  Just can’t get enough of this sort of stuff – it’s astonishing, and actually has some fairly strong implications for regionalisation of PR/comms.
  • It had to happen – here is a magazine aimed at Second Life entrepreneurs.
  • This is new too – genius.  How long before there’s one at every transport hub, office and pub?  Not to mention in planes and trains…
  • If you fancy being wowed (in a slightly geeky way) then watch this – the future of computing interfaces is here (it’s another of those brilliant TED videos).
  • And, because I promised in my blurb I’d write about wine occasionally, if you’re after a nice rose (and in this weather, why on earth wouldn’t you be?), I can heartily recommend this.  Even non-rose fans will enjoy it, I promise.

Back to pitching, and here’s one that has generated plenty of bitching: agency.com put its pitch to Subway up on YouTube.  Brave, certainly.  Clever?  My honest opinion is there’s not a great deal here to convince me to appoint them.  As future pitch strategies go, however, it certainly provides a lot of food for thought.  And Subway are being talked about throughout the marketing blog echo chamber – so maybe agency.com have made their point.  I would like to have seen some more of their ideas and thinking made public – *that* would have been brave (and a bit more 2.0).  Plus – if they’d really shared their most creative and strategic thinking, irrespective of whether they win Subway or not, they would have had other brands beating their door down.  I think this was almost good – but not quite good enough.  There’s a very fine line between brilliant and tragic in the social media space.  But I hope they have the balls to put the next stage up there too.

As a PR blogger I feel duty-bound to reference the Longtailhere’s a spoof (?) trailer for the book.  Love it.

Finally, I can’t resist speculating as to the announcements due at next week’s Apple shindig.  THere’s been all sorts of conjecture and pontificating as to what Mr Jobs will unveil.  My client Microsoft has tried to trump any iPod related announcement by pre-announcing Zune – which admittedly sounds exciting.  But why oh why oh (spells…?) does Msft always pre-announce its products?  The reason people get *so* excited about Apple product announcements is that they know they’ll be able to get their hands on the product, in store, the very next day.  It does make the whole announcements that more, well, exciting.  So what’s in store next week?  In the greatest Apple tradition, I’d like to see the goalposts moved, with the introduction of a truly wireless iPod (by which I mean mobile 3G-esque wireless as opposed to wi-fi) connection to the iTunes store and my iTunes ‘server’ – erradicating the need for masses of storage and connecting me to my existing and *new* music wherever I am (with free plays of tracks it thinks I might like).  Would require an update of the interface design etc, but, hey – we can but dream.  And the expense of the wireless delivery could be offset by incorporating (location/time/mood contextual) podverts into the delivered content.  What do you think?  I’d like to see a mobile computing device too.  As The Economist pointed out last week, the future of the PC is mobile.  Apple is nowhere in this space (with the current functionality/interactivity of the iPod, that is).

Off to a wedding this weekend, so light blogging ahead (joke – the blogging bit, not the wedding).  If you’re really lucky I might even get around to finishing my ‘why PR 2.0 is real’ post, which i started writing over a month ago.  (How’s that for an Eastenders-like cliffhanger, eh?).