Wednesday, October 31, 2007

mp3s and videos vs. talk marketing



There seem to be two major schools of thought regarding music band promotions.


Talk Marketing (aka "hype")

One is the old fashioned hype generator school. I call it Talk Marketing.

They're not talking about the style of music or the band's influences. No. They just talk about the band's alleged impact on the audience, how they're more [fill in the blank] than other bands.

"This band really touches the heart" is one approach that is used over and over again. Like when you're looking for new music to listen to, "pull on my heart strings" is a high priority.

Maybe for females, this is important. Most red-blooded males and regular guys don't care about "emo" music. We want music that will make us laugh, party harder, or hate our jobs more.


MP3 and Video Marketing (aka "music itself")


The other school, which I advocate and teach, is MP3 and Video Marketing. This approach takes the music itself, and uses it as the primary promotional tool.

Let people hear your sounds and view your visual style. Quit bragging and spewing nonsensical hype. Let your music do the sales job. Get your music to fans, directly. Let them download FREE mp3s of entire songs and entire albums. Permit fans to burn your songs to CDs and take them to parties, to share your tunes with others.

You want fans talking about your music. Fans are more influential than hired marketing firms who cannot cut through the clutter of hype anyway. All they do is add to the noise of pushy, empty promotional efforts.



Here's what Bob Baker, a smart music marketing specialist, said in his newsletter today, in "Wampus packs a wallop".


[QUOTE]

But something about this one from Wampus Multimedia caught my eye. It had everything to do with this lead-off description of a new CD release:


It isn't about image. It isn't about entertainment. Great rock is about movement -- of the heart, the mind, the feet. The May Bees, a scrappy, uncompromising duo from The Netherlands, understand this instinctively. They want to make a good impression, sure, and they want to amuse and engage you. But mostly they want to move you, to change you, to leave an indelible mark upon you.



What an awesome way to introduce potential fans and reviewers to a new band! Read that paragraph again. It isn't a dry reading of facts and features about the band. It's an intriguing description that puts the focus squarely where it should be: on the reader (the fan) and what you'll get from hearing the May Bees' music.

Plus, it's a great lesson on how to promote music using emotion -- engaging the imagination and painting word pictures that stimulate the senses.


[END QUOTE]



Sorry to disagree with you, friend, but this promotion sounds like every other band that tries to manipulate us psychologically, and convey some supposed emotional benefit to their music.

So...this music will REALLY make me tap my foot and snap my fingers and sing along at the top of my voice? Yeah. Right.

It's always the same: "We're different, we're special, we really rock, we care about fans, we're all about good tunes..." ad nauseum.

In the new digital universe, such "we" oriented bragging is moldy and outmoded.

I am much more attracted to a music artist who actually describes their sound, and even compares it to other bands, or at least lists some major influences.

Look at all the rotten MySpace band sites and artist home pages. Mostly, they just rave about how great they are, but give no description of what their style is.

I prefer bands that take themselves not so seriously.

I am attracted to bands that trash themselves, that practice Winning Through Self-loathing (title of my new book, soon to be released), who despise the rock star syndrome and celebrity infatuation.

I like bands who are not overly-enchanted with their own motivations and the sincerity/superiority of their output.

I like bands that are more like ordinary people, and thus know how to reach them with real music. Music that makes fun of evil politicians, that makes me think more deeply about serious issues, or makes me happy because I can relate to a tale of woe or oppression.

I like happy music and sad music. I like lyrics that deliriously make no sense, but show a bold experimentation with language. Songs that defeat and confound my expectations of what a song is. Bands who are innovative, rather than imitative.

The best way to promote music is to distribute FREE mp3s and videos, on multiple channels, at multiple social networks, to as many people as possible.

It's the only way to go from Unknown and Unwanted...to...Known and Craved.

FREE mp3s and videos do not "devalue" the music.

They represent you more fully and perfectly than any ad agency or PR firm. Your own music is a better salesperson than vain talking, exaggerated narrative, or emotional gimmicks.

Let people hear your music, not your hype. Your music is your ambassador. Distribute your music freely. Lots of it. Then, if your music is really good, and the lyrics hit home, you'll get loyal fans, gigs, and recording contracts (if those old fashioned things still mean anything, when we can bypass them and reach fans directly now).



Here's a good example of a video that promotes speedcore anarchist band Ambassador 21.

Ambassador 21 & Converter
"New Doctrine About Trinity"

Spam is getting stupider every day



Friends, I'm worried sick. Have you noticed how stupid the spam emails are getting lately? Are they at their wits end? Are they angry that we can't be fooled by "Hi", "Re: meeting next Wednesday", or "Iraq terrorist film" subject lines?

Have we disheartened them? The spammers just don't seem to be trying anymore.

Check out this retarded spam message, which I accidentally opened (never open a spam email, as it alerts the sender that your address is valid, and they'll sell your addy to other spammers):


Hi! I'm not sure if you remember me..
I guess we went to high school together.

It was quite a while ago but I still remember our friendship.

Do you remember that walk after classes?
It was really cool!

And them my parents moved to another town
and I had to leave with them...

What a bugger it was to start in another school,
with no friends around.

I felt very lonely in the beginning, until half a year
or so later, when I made new friends.

But this is another story. But I still think about you
sometimes, all that fun, all whispering chats during
classes.

Do you want to see what I look like now?

Visit my home page then, it's at [URL deleted]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

7 reasons NOT to Twitter


(1) Narcissistic:

You hate seeing your message get shoved down by the relentless and rapid addition of other messages ("tweets") by other people. You're used to publishing a blog post, with comments added below it, with the only thing piling up on top of it being new posts by you.



(2) Message Speed:

The message flow of Twitter is just too fast, you can't keep up with that rushing river of brevities. You prefer the antiquated "slomo blogs" and their leisurely pace.



(3) Reply Velocity:

You find it unsettling that your message got replies so quickly, you were unable to respond with a good reply to the replies. You can't think that fast. Blogocombat on Twitter freaks you out because the attacks and defenses are so unexpected, swift, and brutal.



(4) Message Brevity:

You like to jabber on and on about stuff, but here you're limited to 140 characters per message. You find it annoying to post several short messages, just to fully develop your communication. Pithy statements and concise writing are not your thing. You're more prolix, and you don't care to learn the marketable skill of condensed idea formulation.



(5) Message Anonymity:

You're an A List blogger, with an elite blogroll and hundreds of comments on every post, but on Twitter, you're just an avatar like everybody else. You dislike the fact that Twitter is an even playing field, with the tweets of celebrities carrying no more weight than a tweet from some obscure loser, like Vaspers, for example.



(6) Addictivity Dangers:

You've heard about the poor geeks who got hooked on Twitter. You've heard Twitter called "the crack of microblogging". You fear you'll become another degenerate Twitter junkie who sits at the computer all day and all night, Twittering about sandwiches, airports, and technology conferences.



(7) Promotional Lethargy:

You don't really have any relevant links to share with anybody on Twitter. You have products to sell, but no news or educational information to provide. You want to make money, not friends. You don't really care about online communities or how to promote your company's expertise and credibility to them.


Get my deeper, more radical
ideas from Twitter.


twitter.com/vaspers

Click on image below:





Monday, October 29, 2007

Iannis Xenakis avant garde composer



One of my favorite composers, an early pioneer of noise or stochastic music: Iannis Xenakis.



"Mycenae Alpha" (9:39)






"Le Polytope de Cluny" (6:07)






"La legende d'Eer (compressed)" (9:59)







"Xenakis [A] Live! (excerpt)" (9:59)






"Synaphai" (8:23)




Thursday, October 18, 2007

13 Twitter superstitions



(1) Popularity Perplexion

The more people Following you, the more successful you are as a human being, writer, social networker, or whatever.


(2) Fickle Follower Delirium

When you lose a Follower, and especially a whole bunch of Followers, it's because you said something they didn't like, agree with, or approve of, or you posted way too many messages. Shame on you!


(3) Blind Obedience to the Big Question


"What are you doing now?" must be slavishly obeyed with such answers as "eating a tuna sandwich", "sitting at Denver International airport", or "trying to force Outlook to send an email", rather than stating what you're thinking or linking to at the moment.


(4) Opening & Closing Protocols

You must begin your Twitter session of the day with "Good morning Twitter buds" and end it with "Goodnight everybody, time to go to bed" like you're at summer camp.


(5) Error Message Validity Fetish

Stubbornly asserting that the Twitter error messages are true, and not just placebos to make you think they care (e.g. "Sorry about that. New features and improvements are coming soon!")


(6) Twitter Evolution Delirium

Groundlessly believing that someday Twitter will actually have new features and improvements, like Pownce-type file sharing, or Jaiku-type ability to reply to a specific message via comments.


(7) Re-tweeting Regression Syndrome

You submit a tweet, or click on Replies, or fire off a DM (private direct message), or other operation, and it fails, so you hit your Back button and try it again, until it works, thereby defying the Twitter Overlords and bringing bad karmic forces down on you for your insolent aggression.


(8) Hearts Image Dysfunction

You type in & hearts ; (no spaces between) -- but it doesn't render as a solid heart graphic (♥), for the recipient of the tweet or DM, so you think Twitter is not allowing you to flirt with that person.


(9) "Talk Like a Pirate Day" Non-compliance Curse

On the celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day, a special Twitter holy day, you refuse to change your avatar to a pirate, and refuse to say things like "proud beauty", "shiver me timbers", "Davy Jones locker", and "arrrrr!", thus causing bad things to happen to you all day long.


(10) Twitter Avatar Sanctity Syndrome


Refusal to change your avatar, because you think nobody will know who you are, since they're so used to your former avatar, or you think the new avatar might frighten or confuse people and they'll hate you more than they already do.


(11) Virtual Hug Avoidance Dementia


Thinking that if a person gives you a virtual "hug", your wife or husband will find out and you'll be in divorce court, with your family and finances ripped to shreds.


(12) Twittermancy

Looking for hidden meanings in tweets that may not be directed to you, but you feel they secretly intended them for you. Or: not making a move, until you clear it with your Twitter pals and they authorize you to do it.


(13) Evaporatory Mis-tweeting Phobia

When a tweet vanishes, and fails to post, you fearfully assume that it's the Internets, the Universe, and the Big Bang, or maybe China, censoring you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

top 10 things new bloggers need to understand


Posted by Hello


This post is in response to a Twitter message from Joseph Jaffe (twitter.com/jaffejuice), asking for input on this topic. A brilliant idea for a blog post, so here goes.

(1) You should blog because you have ideas to discuss, insights to share, opinions to present, or a need to express yourself, coupled with a desire to get feedback from others.

(2) Blogs are not just another advertising medium for sales hype or controlled "corporate messages". They are a two-way conversation platform, and must enable readers to post comments, except in very rare cases.

(3) It may take you up to a year, or more, to get any steady traffic, comments, or quotes and links to your blog from other bloggers. Sometimes the post you worked hard on, and included lots of quotes and links to other sources, will go over like a lead balloon...while a post you just dash off haphazardly may generate tons of attention and links. You can't predict how readers will react.

(4) Blogging frequently will improve your thinking, research, debate, and online interaction skills, to the point where it will eventually just flow out of you with little effort or editing.

(5) Personalize your blog with a custom design, tweak your sidebar frequently, and change the entire design and colors at least once a year. Generic templates provided by your platform (WordPress, Blogger, etc.) look amateur and lazy.

(6) Be a good neighbor in the blogosphere, and drive traffic to your blog, by putting your blog URL in your email signature, all promotional material, and by posting comments frequently on other relevant blogs.

(7) A blog is a great way to put a human voice and face on a company. Companies without blogs seem aloof and unwilling to engage in conversations with customers. If your CEO or Sales Manager has no interest in blogging, and won't delegate the duties, he or she may not really care much about customers. Can you afford to have customers view your company as arrogant, unapproachable, mysterious, or old fashioned?

(8) Write your post titles very carefully, with an eye to SEO (search engine optimization). What words and phrases will customers likely type into a search engine to find info on the topic you're going to write about? List titles, like the title of this post, are very popular, and convey the fact that the post will contain meat, rather than fluff or rants.

(9) Never be afraid of negative comments, or take them personally. Encourage contrary opinions, critique, and complaints. You typically learn nothing from praise, while criticism, even the destructive type, can educate and improve you.

Having said that, abusive, racist, sexist, filthy comments can and should be blocked by using comment moderation. Don't use captchas (character recognition tests), unless spambots storm your blog. Captchas decrease comments, since they're often extremely hard for legitimate human comment posters to read.

(10) Use variety in your posts. Reveal non-sensitive personal information, like favorite bands, artists, movies, food, once in a while. Surprise your readers with all photo posts, or links to cool sites with sparse commentary, or quote some or all of another blogger's post, with credit and link back to it, with running commentary of your own. Publish a poetic, cryptic, or out of character post and see what happens.

P.S. This post was dashed off on short notice, with little forethought or planning. Wonder how it will be received! LOL

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

20 reasons a business should NOT blog


Not all businesses need to have a blog. In fact, some should avoid blogging like the plague. Should your business have a blog? Well, there are some good reasons NOT to blog.


20 Reasons a Business
Should NOT Blog



Don't blog...if your business:


(1) Doesn't need customer feedback, and doesn't value their suggestions.

(2) Is afraid of harsh or challenging comment posters, or discussion of real issues, i.e., blogocombat.

(3) Has no need to drive traffic to a corporate web site or ecommerce application.

(4) Has no employee with genuine passion, expertise, and customer relation skills, to act as the company's blogger.

(5) Has no interesting stories to tell about how your products have solved problems for users, how your company got started, or lessons learned along the way.

(6) Is fearful of "losing control of the message" -- which is probably a non-differentiating, feature-driven, "we-oriented" message that's boring and alienating customers anyway.

(7) Has no need of media coverage by trade journalists who search blogs for news items, controversies, and emerging trends.

(8) Is not willing to spend a fair amount of time (several hours per week) writing blog posts, replying to comment posters, and contributing comments to other blogs relevant to your industry or audience.

(9) Is not "into" computers, social networks, YouTube, etc., and does not care about customers who are.

(10) Does not care about educating customers about product usage or industry trends.

(11) Has no need to establish online credibility and thought leadership.

(12) Is not interested in attracting online shoppers or providing material for online information seekers.

(13) Believes in commanding and controlling, rather than engaging in conversations with the public.

(14) Hates getting down on the level of customers to learn what their real problems and needs are.

(15) Is resistant to new technology, even when operating a blog is as easy as using email.

(16) Is indifferent to the young "digital native" generation, who use blogs and other web tools as naturally as you use a telephone.

(17) Has no interest in engaging in damage control via a platform that bypasses editors and media filters, when bad press about your company is all over the news.

(18) Never has a need to explain, clarify, or stimulate controversy and debate about issues relevant to your industry.

(19) Is totally satisfied with conducting Business As Usual (which generally leads to Business As Over).

(20) Cannot commit to being truthful, transparent, and trustworthy, by displaying corporate values and goals in a public forum.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Social Networking Tips in InterBusiness Issues






We're pleased to announce that we're now a regular columnist for InterBusiness Issues magazine, which is published in both a print and online version.

This is another example of how people value our thought leadership in web design, cyber-culture, and ecommerce.

Read the article "Social Networking Tips for Businesses" in this month's issue of InterBusiness Issues magazine.

social networks as multi player video games



One way to look at social networking sites is from a gamer's point of view. I'm not a gamer, so I cannot disclose the analogies and similes in effect. But I can lumber along the path and inspire the real pioneers to degrade my efforts and write the true story. Here goes...

Social networks are more like video games than communes. Everything is virtual, from avatars and profiles to gender and experiences shared. You can never be absolutely sure if the female avatar coincides with a lady in real life, nor what age or education level anybody is.



Nebulous personas floating, flirting, fidgeting around in a "social" space that is contrived and contrary to offline interactions. In a real social situation, you can't hide behind avatars and pseudonymity. Anonymous trolls meet stiff opposition in bars, at parties, or in political rallies.

Things are different in the offline world. You could get punched in the physical face, not merely "nudged" or "poked" in a non-existent part of a simulated you known as a profile page. It exists, sort of. But the only sense that registers it is sight, via looking at the web object through a browser.

Don't allow yourself to be hurt by hateful messages or comments. See it as text responding to text, not as your feelings being assaulted by a mean-spirited person. That "person" could be a chatbot programmed to debate keywords.

Social networks are like multi player games, where there are rules for interaction, but strangers can assume any disguise, diversion, or deception in their "identity", and thereby evade accountablity as a known individual.

Social networks are multi player games that have traditions, norms, and netiquette. There are consensus-seeming rules for how to reply to other members, how to participate in debates and discussions, how frequently to post or update, what topics have already been done to death, how to self-promote without seeming mercenary about it, how to package a client promotion so it seems less spammy, and many other behaviors.



If you play nice, you score more points. If you play badly, you are shunned, unFriended, Blocked, Deleted, or worse.

Interactive tools are like video game functionalities. You shoot the zombie in the head, it disintegrates. You DM (direct message, ie, private note) someone, they reply to you via DM.

It's a game, don't you see?

Some members feel hurt emotionally when some total stranger UnFriends them, quits Following their messages. Some members think you "win" by accumulating the most Friends or Followers.

Others are content to just bask in the warm glow of simulated community values and support. It's all a mental hoax, though, when you come right down to it. Only a tiny percentage of those you toss virtual hugs and ASCII smileys at you are of true friend caliber, perhaps those you least expect.

Often, a fan or ally you ignore can be your most devoted and aggressive champion.

Just remember it really is a game, a valuable practice arena for online group connections and participatory skills, but having no real substance, no center of gravity, no cohesive reality.

Enjoy the benevolent simulation and live in two dimensions simultaneously, for they're both "games" with multiple "players".

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What you can do for Burma democracy revolution



"I feel bad about the atrocities in Burma, but what can the United States, or a single individual do?" you may ask. Just having the question is of great merit to your personal karma.

The United States?

Embargos, boycotts, media focus, denunciations, diplomacy, economic pressure. Military action? Messy and results vary greatly.

Cyberwar is what I mainly recommend. Bring down their cyber-infrastructures, jam their electronic communications, cripple the ability of the Burmese government to communicate with the soldiers.

Condemn China and India for propping up the totalitarian oligarchy.

You as a single individual?

Lone individuals, especially when they band together, without despising small beginnings, can accomplish plenty. Pray for the transformation of Burma military junta into tranquil, compassionate beings. Think positive, blessing thoughts toward Burma.

We can become Buddhistic in our usage of Mind as Weapon, to install deeply in our hearts an overwhelming, negativity-smashing compassion for the oppressed people of Burma.

We can engage in cyberwar, blogocombat, online debate, exposure of atrocities via blogs, Flickr, socnets, Twitter, podcasts.

We can post photos on our blogs of peaceful Buddhist monk protest, and the astonishing rivers of saffron robes that flow toward universal democracy revolution. "Scenes from the Saffron Revolution" is a good example, by Michael J.W. Stickings.

We can denounce our petty, immature "liberal vs. conservative" partisan mentality and stand together, metaphysically declaring total cyber/psycho-warfare on the massive bad karma military junta.

We can imagine and believe for a swift and harsh response from the Universe and God and the Big Bang, against the Burma government.


From my favorite Buddhist text "The Lotus of the True Law":


Thereafter the Lord looked towards the eighty hundred thousand Bodhisattvas who were gifted with magical spells and capable of moving forward the wheel that never rolls back. No sooner were those Bodhisattvas regarded by the Lord than they rose from their seats, raised their joined hands towards the Lord and reflected thus: The Lord invites us to make known the Dharmaparyâya. Agitated by that thought they asked one another: What shall we do, young men of good family, in order that this Dharmaparyâya may in future be made known as the Lord invites us to do? Thereupon those young men of good family, in consequence of their reverence for the Lord and their own pious vow in their previous course, raised a lion's roar before the Lord: We, O Lord, will in future, after the complete extinction of the Lord, go in all directions in order that creatures shall write, keep, meditate, divulge this Dharmaparyâya, by no other's power but the Lord's. And the Lord, staying in another world, shall protect, defend, and guard us.

Then the Bodhisattvas unanimously in a chorus addressed the Lord with the following stanzas:

2. Be at ease, O Lord. After thy complete extinction, in the horrible last period of the world, we will proclaim this sublime Sûtra.

3. We will suffer, patiently endure, O Lord, the injuries, threats, blows and threats with sticks at the hands of foolish men.

4. At that dreadful last epoch men will be malign, crooked, wicked, dull, conceited, fancying to have come to the limit when they have not.

5. 'We do not care but to live in the wilderness and wear a patched cloth; we lead a frugal life;' so will they speak to the ignorant.

6. And persons greedily attached to enjoyments will preach the law to laymen and be honoured as if they possessed the six transcendent qualities.

7. Cruel-minded and wicked men, only occupied with household cares, will enter our retreat in the forest and become our calumniators.

8. The Tîrthikas, themselves bent on profit and honour, will say of us that we are so, and-shame on such monks!-they will preach their own fictions.

9. Prompted by greed of profit and honour they will compose Sûtras of their own invention and then, in the midst of the assembly, accuse us of plagiarism.

10. To kings, princes, king's peers, as well as to Brahmans and commoners, and to monks of other confessions,

11. They will speak evil of us and propagate the Tîrtha-doctrine. We will endure all that out of reverence for the great Seers.

12. And those fools who will not listen to us, shall (sooner or later) become enlightened, and therefore will we forbear to the last.

13. In that dreadful, most terrible period of frightful general revolution will many fiendish monks stand up as our revilers.

14. Out of respect for the Chief of the world we will bear it, however difficult it be; girded with the girdle of forbearance will I proclaim this Sûtra.

15. I do not care for my body or life, O Lord, but as keepers of thine entrusted deposit we care for enlightenment.

16. The Lord himself knows that in the last pericd there are (to be) wicked monks who do not understand mysterious speech.

17. One will have to bear frowning looks, repeated disavowal (or concealment), expulsion from the monasteries, many and manifold abuses.

18. Yet mindful of the command of the Lord of the world we will in the last period undauntedly proclaim this Sûtra in the midst of the congregation.

19. We will visit towns and villages everywhere, and transmit to those who care for it thine entrusted deposit, O Lord.

20. O Chief of the world, we will deliver thy message; be at ease then, tranquil and quiet, great Seer.

21. Light of the world, thou knowest the disposition of all who have flocked hither from every direction, (and thou knowest that) we speak a word of truth.