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Any Excuse to Use this Quote October 16, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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“We know from studies that the two things people care about most are music and sex.”

— Capitol Records Chairman Jason Flom

Victoria’s Secret will be the exclusive retailer till January for the Spice Girls’ greatest hits compilation CD. The physical product, that is. According to the Journal, Victoria’s Secret agreed to take 500 to 600 thousand copies on a no-return basis.

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Business Mag Dynamics October 12, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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This story in the Journal, on the travails of business magazines, made me think, and it raised some intriguing questions. The story characterizes Conde Nast’s new Portfolio as a rising winner, compared with traditional competitors Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Fortune. The analysis is largely based on Porfolio looking fat (though possibly discounting) and the others’ ad linage shrinking. Yet it also points out that Fortune and Forbes have pretty successful Web sites, which may be the future for classic biz mag advertisers like tech and financial services, if not biz mags’ third leg of the stool, luxury goods.

Portfolio’s website is a non-starter so far. But its Conde Nast connections could be hurting Fortune on the luxe sales front. And where does that leave BusinessWeek, the pub most dependent on news? I’ve seen BusinessWeek building out some Internet-perfect content, like databases of business school info, but it really does feel vulnerable to the much bigger portal-affiliated competition that blends news gathering with personal finance tools.

Yet Another “Seen on the Subway…” October 9, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Seen on the uptown-bound Number 6 train a little before 9PM: two iPhones being used as music players, one iPod Touch, same, all in the same subway car. And we didn’t even all get off in the East Village. (There were at least three other iPods in that car, and one other MP3 player.) Yikes, Apple’s marketing machine works like a charm on us East Coast hipster-wannabes.

No More “Happiness in Slavery?” October 9, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Another rockstar goes label-less. Good luck. Seriously. Though many seem to think I’m a label suck-up, I’m honestly excited to see if any of these experiments work — they didn’t for Prince or for NIN first times around. Most artists are pretty lousy businesspeople.

O’Reilly Says Hits Rule, Even on Facebook October 8, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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According to this report, 87% of Facebook application usage goes to 84 of the 5,000 apps on the platform. I am unfamiliar with the report’s methodology — it looks like a lot of manual gruntwork over a limited time period (a perfectly respectable way to do this) — but I’m completely unsurprised at the results. “Cumulative advantage“, “network effect,” whatever you want to call it, plays out huge in viral distribution. All the more reason for some other app promotion vehicle, as suggested by my colleague Emily Riley. And as usual, it’s not enough to recognize there is such thing as a long tail, it’s how to make money or competitive advantage off of aggregating it.

Armchair Economists, Please Stay Home October 4, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Michael Arrington posts in TechCrunch

    …simple economic theory dictates that the price of music, like its marginal cost, must also fall to zero…When the industry finally capitulates and realizes that they can no longer charge a meaningful amount of money for digital recorded music, a lot of good things can happen. First, other revenue sources can and will be exploited, particularly live music, merchandise and limited edition physical copies of music…Second, artists and labels will stop thinking of digital music as a source of revenue and start thinking about it as a way to market their real products.

By this remarkably oversimplified analysis, software, filmed entertainment, soda at McDonalds, and the classic example, high-end perfume, should all be free. What, pray tell, are the “real products” that will support those industries? Very few bands can make a living off of touring and T-shirts. Oh, that’s it, advertising. I bet Arrington listens to a lot of commercial radio…

Intellectual property, it wants to be free!

Tough Critics in Brazil October 3, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Am I missing some connection here?

    Facing complaints in Brazil about offensive content, Google Inc. in August removed ads from its social-networking service called Orkut…The move came after a Brazilian nonprofit group, SaferNet, lodged a complaint with a Brazilian advertising body.
    SaferNet has alleged that Orkut contains child pornography and other illegal content on some users’ pages. Google says it removes such images when it becomes aware of them.

Ads = kiddie porn? That’s a bit of an extreme view, isn’t it? Or was Google accepting ads it probably shouldn’t have? More details, please.

Green Is as Green Does. Or Not October 2, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Oddly, there doesn’t appear to be a drop of irony in this Wall St. Journal story about how Brand Connections is, among other things, buying up outdoor inventory near national parks and selling it to marketers who want to promote themselves as “green.”

    “You’ve got to do it in a way so you are not destroying what they perceive to be the environment; if you are providing them with information that they need, as a tradeoff, they will take the advertising,” says Brian Martin, founder and chief executive of Brand Connections. “We just need to be careful. They don’t want us to billboard-ize their outdoors.”

Pay-What-You-Like Pricing October 1, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Radiohead is going to let fans pay what they want for a digital copy of their upcoming album. My cynical initial take is that Radiohead is in a unique position: they’re a band with a fairly big fan base, they currently don’t have a label contract, and they haven’t released anything since 2003 (so they just might need to do something dramatic). Even if this scheme makes them some money, it’s not an easily replicable recipe.

Kinda like the folks who said that everybody should do the Grateful Dead thing and make all their money off touring. You try touring for a living, pal. It’s damned hard work, and nobody pays you an advance.

The Times aggregates a lot of reactions. Most of them are pretty naive.