This article is brought to you by the letter “M” for the metaverse. A place that doesn’t yet exist but is said to be the next big thing and it could upend the internet as we know it.
Virtual reality is nothing new. Engineers and developers have been working on VR systems since the eighties, perhaps even further back. However, we're currently in a fantastic time when VR is available to the masses and becoming more affordable. Virtual reality is no longer science fiction, it's here, and it's slowly growing in popularity.
Many times, when people think of marketing, it’s the activities that come to mind - social media, blogging, events, email campaigns, and advertising. However, before conducting those activities, it’s essential to have a marketing strategy to understand how the company will focus its efforts. A key component to establishing a proper marketing strategy is conducting market research that provides important information about the target market and the overall business landscape. It’s essentially the lay of the land.
Welcome to the 21st century. So, you finally decided to join the rest of humanity. Well, it is about time.
I would hear these standard replies while explaining to my friends that I finally gave in to the Apple ecosystem. You see, I have never owned an Apple device. I did have one of those little iPod shuffle clips given to me as a promotion gift many moons ago, but I never used it. Honestly, I have always survived in the Windows and Google ecosystems. These brands work for me, and I never needed to go with Apple until now.
Never in a million years would I have guessed that I'd have an MPC in my possession. I didn't realize this little device can do just about anything an electronic music creator would want in a groove box. Now, just so you're aware, this post is not a review. It's an explanation as to how and why I use this device. I'll offer my opinion of the MPC, but this is not a full feature, functions, and benefits article. This is about the journey to discovering the benefits of this overlooked and underrated little black box.
These days, I discover most new music on Spotify. When creating playlists, Spotify will make recommendations. I have to say they have an excellent algorithm for making those recommendations. I found a lot of great EDM sub-genres like Synthwave and Chillwave through this platform. Before that, I found new music through Sirius XM satellite radio along with different internet radio stations. My satellite usage was mainly for discovering Indie music. I was also a big fan of the Indie stations on Netscape, way back in the day. I have also relied on word-of-mouth and movie soundtracks.
It is like a comforting cup of hot cocoa on a dreary day. A soundtrack to the grind of everyday life. Steady and mellow but not distracting or harsh. Lo-fi music, also known as lo-fi hip hop, chillhop, and chillbeats, is a genre that seems to know how to motivate and keep the listener focused on their day-to-day activities without demanding attention. The imperfect soundscapes are warm, peaceful, and eerily satisfying. It is the perfect music for working, relaxing, studying, writing, reading, driving, or any continuous, distraction-free activity.
I don't know who coined the expression, limitation breeds creativity, but it's a phrase that has always stuck with me any time I'm trying to be creative. It might have started with my high school hippy art teacher who always gave us one crayon or colored pencil and a single sheet of paper. Either she thought a still life drawing in only maroon was cool, or the school's art department had some serious financial issues. The only results I found about this phrase online that holds any merit is a quote from Orson Welles, that read "absence of limitations was the enemy of art." I believe this statement to be true. I'm most creative when I set boundaries that should be overcome uniquely.
Slashing my way through the jungles of repetitiveness, wading waist-deep in the swamps of irregular rhythms, and trudging over the baron deserts of low dynamics, I finally reach my destination. Here lies the mighty pyramid of the elements of song arrangement structure. Its base is the solid foundation, followed by consistent chord progressions and rhythms, with interesting leads at its pinnacle.
For the most part, copyright laws do a decent job of protecting artists. In his book All You Need to Know About the Music Business, Donald Passman said people wouldn’t create anything if everyone had the rights to it, and the creator wasn't compensated (Passman, 2019). We need copyright laws to protect artists. They should have the rights to their art (music). Anyone who wants to benefit from that art by reproducing, distributing copies, make a derivative work, display the work, or use it through digital transmission needs the copyright holder's permission (King, 2020).
This is preposterous, completely absurd, you can’t go DAWless on a budget! Hardware is too expensive and takes up too much room! Plus, why would you need to create a workflow without a computer? Who do you think you are?
Do it! Go ahead, do it! It's going to be alright. Nothing horrible will happen to you, I promise. Try being different. I understand that we feel anxious and stressed whenever we move outside of our comfort zone. Our bodies release chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, which increases our heart rates; we begin to sweat, which becomes difficult to swallow. But guess what? It'll pass. I'm talking about creating music outside your comfort zone.
Have you ever heard a snare drum played at full volume in a bathroom? Or an acoustic guitar played underwater? Or bagpipes played, anywhere? Then you know there is a time and place for when music makes sense. Musical instruments are built, selected, and played together, or individually, that best suits the environment. This listening environment dictates the chosen music and instruments based on the acoustics, physical size, and social situation.
From a consumer standpoint, I prefer the interactive subscription model. I was introduced to the Spotify platform not too long ago. When I first heard about this program, I thought it was just another Pandora online radio system. However, once I started digging into the system, I realized just how powerful and easy it was to provide instant music on all my devices. I was blown away by the quality of the music and the catalog of songs. Every song, artist, and album I could think of was on my cell phone, tablet, laptop, and a lot of new material. I quickly saw the value and signed up for the subscription.
The subject of music file sharing is one that has reverberated throughout the music industry for over two decades. Ever since software developers engineered a way for people to share music over the internet, music artists and record executives expressed their displeasure. In Emily White's 2012 article "I Never Owned Any Music, to Begin With," the then young twenty-one-year-old woman bravely admits to partaking in the activity of file sharing. She is a child of the digital age and openly explains that she and her friends will not buy albums; they prefer to pay for convenience. A streaming service like Spotify is better suited to their lifestyle than buying music. Though she may have taken part in file-sharing activities and has this extensive catalog of music in her possession, she feels that the music is not hers. If she loses the music, she can find another way to obtain it. This non-ownership model is the future of music consumption.
Today’s music consumption has changed significantly in just a few years. Streaming is now the dominant method of music consumption. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported streaming in 2015 made up 34% of U.S. revenue. In 2019 that number climbed to an astonishing 80% of revenue, a 133% increase in just four years (Friedlander, 2019). What is more astounding is that digital downloading fell from 34% in 2015, to 9% in 2019, and physical retail dropped from 29% in 2015, to 9% in 2019. This extreme range is just another example of the fast pace of technology and trends. It can happen within only a few years.
Practice makes perfect, and apparently, 10,000 hours is the magic number. That's how long it takes to be an expert in any given field. At least that's Malcolm Gladwell's claim in Outliers, a book about how there is more to people's success than meets the eye. It's not just talent that makes people successful; it is hard work and determination. Mr. Gladwell provided a few examples, including the Beatles long residency at a club in Hamburg, Germany, playing every night for over a year, along with the amount of time Bill Gates put into his programming skills growing up. The claim was that both were successful due to the long hours, not just raw talent.
Trade shows can be an exciting event for any company. The ability to reach a large pool of potential customers in just a few days is a beautiful way to display, demonstrate, and discuss your company's latest products and services. You also get exposure to industry trends and make connections. However, as exciting as they are, it can also be a daunting task, especially for the one(s) in charge of the show, which usually falls on the marketing department.
I wouldn't be able to start explaining the 80/20 rule in marketing if I didn't provide some insight on what this rule is and where it originated. If you conduct a quick Google search, you'll find an article on Wikipedia where the term was initially coined by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. This article goes on to explain how he used this rule to describe land ownership in Italy. However, this article doesn't solve the 80/20 rule in its purest form, which is that 80% of the effect will come from just 20% of the cause. In Pareto's case, he was explaining how 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. This principle is often used in economics, computing, sports, occupational health and safety, and of course, business.
It always feels good to finish a project. To have a concept in mind, research, strategize, outline, create a process to work through each part, and put it all together in a nice package. It’s truly gratifying. Now I’m doing this purely as a learning tool, but I do sense that I’m getting better. I’m growing in my musical knowledge, I’m able to work more efficiently, and I feel slightly more confident in my ability to complete a project.
Brian Lundgren is a marketing professional, musician, and family man living in the Southeast region of Massachusetts.