What a Wooden Ship and Axl Rose Have in Common, the Bright Side of Social, and Voice-Controlled Influence

Why do artist feuds still get so much attention?


The rise of influencer marketing has shown the power of personal branding. As Instagram hustles to clarify and standardize the practice amidst reports of massive FTC violations and PR nightmares like Fyre Fest, something else is happening. Something refreshing. Artists now have an intimate, and very powerful, direct line to fans via social media. This, along with easy digital distribution and DIY recording tech, has shifted the balance of power away from labels. Artists with both musical talent and brand savvy can steer their own ship, with or without the former industry hitmakers. 


Classic rockers know the power of branding. Imagine a wooden ship in need of some repairs. The owner replaces a few decaying planks with new, strong timber. Over time, each original plank is replaced with a new plank. Is it still the same ship? Now imagine a famous band who needs a new drummer. Over time, more original members are replaced. Sold out arenas provide an answer to Theseus's thought experiment. It's not the people on stage that make the band, it's the brand


Technology has influenced music ever since the stone age when the first flutes were carved from bone.  Early gramophone specs created the single, the 12" LP (“long play”) record cemented the album. Voice-activated speakers -- and the way we interact with them -- are making their mark as labels and producers race to optimize their catalog. How do you create a song that satisfies a request for "pop music for yoga?" Whoever finds out first reaps the reward of playtime on 11+ million devices.



Big Boi
Order of Operations
Still Processing
We Said, He Said, She Said


Arcade Fire
Creature Comfort
John Nation
Aerosol Art



NYC office head Matt Pennington communicating the message through a classic Betsy Newman photo.


See ya next week...