Posts Tagged ‘digital marketing’


How Cross-Medium Collaboration Breeds Success in Digital Era


As the digital era changes our world literally in front of our eyes, artists have born the brunt of the negative effects as technology makes the illegal dispersion of music, books, movies, and photographs ubiquitous.  Hard to make money when people can get your creative efforts for free almost immediately after it’s created.

I’ve seen the music industry from being right inside the birth of an emerging band signed to a major label, putting out a full-length album that got released in stores across the country, and toured with top-name rock acts.  And while it lasted for a little while, the major label model of building and supporting musical acts doesn’t work for most — for every Kings of Leon there are countless bands that don’t make it.

This has always been the case.

Now, as those guys I knew in that band push forward without a major label behind them, they find themselves doing new things.  They’re writing music and songs for other artists.  They’re playing shows with other bands.  They’re connecting music producers with new talent.

Most artists are in similar situations and are finding that if they work together, they’ll all have a better chance at some success.  The days of selling millions of records and making fortunes overnight are over.  Sure, there will always be those outliers who buck that trend, but back before Napster and the MP3 changed everything, lots of bands still made small fortunes just getting signed to an Interscope or a Geffen, never mind actually having any hits.

Nowadays, it’s different. Instead of just collaborating with each other, they’re also collaborating with artists in other mediums. If you’re a musician, hook up with filmmakers to work on projects together.  If you’re a fine artist, put together a live show with a band.  If you’re a novelist, collaborate on an album with Ben Folds.  That’s what British writer Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, Fever Pitch) did.

It might seem odd at first if you’re not familiar with Hornby’s material, but it’s not: music is an integral character in all of his books.  He’s also in a band and writes essays on music frequently, making this collaboration not just some random pairing of an odd couple.

Admittedly, neither of these artists necessarily needed to combine efforts to get a project off the ground.  They’re both established with a long history of commercial success.  So, it comes down to two things:

  1. Collaborating for Collective Success
  2. Collaborating for Personal Growth

You can join forces so that even though you’ll be splitting the profits, you’re better off having some success together than none alone.  But also, jumping into a new medium encourages you to adapt your creative skills, to grow, to learn.  You keep your mind sharp by giving yourself new challenges to jump over. Maybe even new, fresh ideas spring forth from this all.

And it’s not just for artists, either.  While technology hasn’t specifically singled out other professions quite in the same way, the playing field has leveled in many other aspects, which has had interesting effects.

For example: right now at work, most of the Realtors I work with haven’t blogged before.  They didn’t have Twitter accounts.  Nor did they video themselves and put them up on YouTube.  But they’re learning how to do all of that and more because they realize that technology has put marketing tools in the palms of their hands (literally) and that working together to write blog posts for the same site will increase their market share and thus: more success, more money.

Realtors become writers and micro-video stars.  Novelists write rock tunes.  Guitarists compose movie scores.  Artists paint on stage at live events.

I think Ben Folds sums it up just right:

There’s no one concept or story line unifying the songs on the album; the collaboration itself is what unifies it.

Which brings up: what happens next?  Gone are the days where people are specialists, focusing in on one trade only and being a master at that.  To compete in the new world, people must be bona fide jack-of-all-trades.  But not in the “decent at a few, great at none” modes — instead, people will need to be extreme adept at multiple crafts.

Realtors won’t be able to just be great at contracts and negotiating; they’ll also have to be video editors, creative writers, and WordPress-competent.  Guitarists won’t be able to just shred wicked solos; they’ll also need to be able to compose music for many instruments, mix their own tracks on ProTools, and of course: shoot and edit video, blog, and Tweet.

And for you? What mediums will you be combining?

Image courtesy of Parksy1964’s Flickr Photostream.


Vampire Sketch Comedy | Edison Price: Homeless Vampire Hunter


Long before Twilight turned vampires into shimmering teenagers, there was Edison Price: Homeless Vampire Hunter.

Having watched Fright Night, my buddy Matt Cassatta and I spent two long, brain-melting days videotaping our ode to 1980s horror with a comedy spin. Since this was before YouTube had taken over Internet video and social media had yet to become the powerful marketing force that it is today, only a select few from Michigan got to see our magnum opus — live in a movie theater that Matt so graciously rented for us.

Until now!

We chopped up the nearly 20-minute-long short into four 5-minutes-or-less segments to put on YouTube for easy viewing. I then turned it into a playlist so you can see them all in a row, all at once, so you can experience the whole thing straight through without searching for all episodes.  Enjoy.

But since WordPress won’t let me embed a YouTube playlist, I’m just going to post all of the videos in succession here:

Yes, this is a shameless plug for this goofy, amateur movie shot on miniDV before HD cameras were affordable for a couple of recent Michigan film grads. We’re evidently no directors of photography — but it’s fun, and we had fun making it. I promise our skills have improved exponentially since then, as you may have seen in other short sketches we’ve done together over the years.

Also become a fan of Edison Price on Facebook while you’re at it.

New Social Media Tools: Time Saving or Time Wasting?


When you learn about a new social media tool — whether it’s TweetDeck, Posterous, or — do you immediately jump at the chance to add it to your digital marketing toolbox?

(Image courtesy of dipster1.)

We all love new toys.  But, remember when we were kids and every time you saw a new gadget or gizmo commercial near the holidays (like now) you would proclaim to your parents: “I want that!” — only to play for it for a couple days and then have it join a group of virtually untouched playthings in a box in the basement?

Social Media ADHD

Like children, many of us have social media ADHD — also known as smADHD (pronounced smadhead if you prefer, but I don’t prefer) — where the latest and greatest tool advertised as a revolutionary way to make connecting with people online even easier and more time-efficient makes us salivate and drool and download instantly without even thinking of the ramifications.

Here’s my recommendation.

Instead of asking yourself: How do I use this new tool?

Ask: How much time do I need to invest in this tool to make it worth my while?

Hidden Costs

New tools come with hidden costs: learning curve, new technology, different functionality, upgrades and glitches.  And biggest of all: adding it to your growing number of tools that all make online conversation with your sphere of influence.  Every new element in your digital marketing toolbox takes time to use.

Even more time-sucking than the obvious are the latent time costs. Take Posterous for instance, which syndicates to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a number of other social media outlets making it simpler and quicker than going to each one individually to update your status. It takes time to get used to, learn its ins and outs, set up all of the sites.  But what if you signed up for Posterous before you knew what all those other sites were: now you have to go to each of them and see what they’re all about, which then takes you hours to set up…

Tools tend to lead to new tools which leads to more and more time spent. Now, if you have all the time in the world, then by all means, go for it.  But most of us don’t.  So we need to use our time wisely and efficiently.

Taking My Own Advice

I’m about to take my own advice: I just learned about a new tool called RockMelt, a new type of browser.  Before diving into it, I’m going to do a little research to see if will indeed make me more efficient… or if it’ll just be another tool that takes up too much time to do the same things I’m already doing.