Sunday, July 19, 2015

Digital Marketing

            From the onset of the class, I was expecting a repeat of Principles of Digital Marketing from my time in the undergrad business program. Maybe a little bit of Digital Literacy sprinkled in for continuity’s sake. To my relief, I was wrong. The in-class simulations have been the main earner of the class for me. I have been able to take advantage of the subject matter from each phase of the simulations. From there, I further enhanced my sales approach to multiple coporate systems at once.
            I also found value in the suggestions from the GoTo Sessions. The video on marketing and monetizaton on Youtube brought up a number of points that apply to much more than just the digital platform. For instance, during the video, Anson Alexander discussed the importance of authenticity among content creators (Alexander,2014). This isn’t just in reference to what they post, but also who they affiliate themselves with via sponsorships or affiliated marketing agreements. Taking into account the psychological makeup of the current generation, Anson is absolutely right. Millenials are a “show me” generation, primarily. The immergent consumer is more inclined to buy a product that will benefit them in more ways than one. However, the primary focus for this group remains: “Prove to me what you’re saying is real.”
            On the other side of that sentiment, popular Youtube personalities are commonly associated with brands by the public, at mere mention of a brand or service mark in their videos. This could be attributed to a number of factors, all of which are host to the accountability of the people.

  • ·      Co-branding “alliances” between companies and content creators may not be publicized in every case, leading to confusion of the public as to the connection between company and personality.
  • ·      Content creators, most of whom maintain some level of celebrity, are still private citizens and are under no obligation (civil or contracted) to divulge personal information at the request of the public.
  • ·      The possibility of misinterpretation on the part of the public is everpresent. The drop of a brand name or product in a video is commonly taken out of context by consumers and viewers.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Knife and the Maul

Anyone who aspires to conduct business in a professional setting will eventually learn the importance of having the right resources available for a job. Seasoned recording artists may enlist the services of a certain producer based on the message he sends in his work, or on the consumer base he has access to. Event coordinators may align with different promoters and venue managers based on a number of factors congruent with executing a live event. Regardless of the context, having the right tool for the job is often times the difference between a project ending in resounding success or a slow-motion train wreck.
            Producing and coordinating live events, I’ve worked with a number of marketing professionals shopping and licensing content. I’ve always suspected that the reason we’re able to function so seamlessly together is simply: both of our industries are inextricably dependent on each other. Simply examining the mechanics of each industry lends legitimacy to this assertion.
            Live events” in the applicable context, refers to any and all public or restricted-access events and/or ploys that stand to yield economic, demographic or psychographic information beneficial to the event’s producer(s). Think of this as a science. Live events are the experiments that yield data. At the conclusion of any concert or branded party, analytics are done with respect to accounting, safety, allocation of assets and customer service. These reports (data) are usually sent to upper mid-level management personnel for a decision as to how the information will be re-implemented into the standard operating procedure. Among those privy to this information are representatives from the Marketing Department.
            Marketing is the intelligence community of business. A sound marketing department ideally takes in more information than it puts out in reference to their respective consumer base. The analytical data extracted from live events commonly becomes the basis for new product lines, albums, films, music videos, festivals, etc. It is essentially the distinguishing mark of a company that pays attention to the customer and gives them what they ask for.

            Still need evidence that marketing and live events are tied together? Two words: TRADE SHOW. (drops mic)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Live Events and Live Streaming

            Since the launch of iTunes in 2003, there have been a number of boding occurrences throughout the entertainment industry, suggesting a massive swing in operational momentum. We’re far removed from the days in which artists had to format their content based on what would sell best. With the inception of social media aggregators and video streaming sites, companies are adapting their strategies, employed to connect with primary and tertiary demographics of consumers. This particular pattern of innovation has recently branched into the world of live events, namely concerts. With live streaming aggregator start-ups like EvntLive, Stage It and WeLiveLive, the focus for many artists and their teams is to utilize alternate media outlets to shop their content to prospective fans.
            In an interview published by, co-founders of EvntLive, David Carrico and Judy Estrin, spoke on the inevitability of concert streaming becoming the next captivating concept that stretches the boundaries of entertainment. Estrin made the point that, with the myriad of technological advances associated with data transfer (industrial and consumer statistics considered), streaming is a cost-efficient and aesthetically beneficial avenue to pursue in expanding the demographic one’s content is exposed to (Peoples, 2013). Independent live streaming aggregators like Stage It are a byproduct of this knowledge.
            The crossover between live events and live streaming is also very heavily enthralled in its beta period around the market. In April of 2014, Yahoo and Live Nation Entertainment announced a joint venture in which Yahoo would stream 365 of Live Nation’s concerts over the proceeding year (Hampp, 2014). Billboard got a comment from Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino informing the rhetoric behind the move. He explained that the production costs associated with filming a concert have gone down since the glory days of HBO concert series. With this, the monetary benefits of a pay-per-view format will more than compensate for any losses incurred during rebranding.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Industry Liability

The practice of protecting the company from legal recourse over unknown occurrences is an essential activity associated with running a business in the entertainment industry. As the demand for services associated with the live events sector continue to rise, so does the laundry list of liability concerns that event coordinators, producers and staff must consider prior to show time. Based on the growing trend of separate sectors (music, film, video games, etc.) incorporating live events to drive traffic and raise brand awareness, the event coordination business has seen a number of instances in which shows have been cancelled due to issues with intellectual property rights.
            In February of this year, The Hollywood Reporter published an article updating the status of proceedings between recording artist and entrepreneur Jay-Z, and the estate of Egyptian film composer Osama Ahmed Fahmy. The specification addressed was Jay-Z’s use of a sample from the song “Khosara, Khosara” from the 1960 film Fata Ahlami (Gardner, 2015). In a lawsuit that has been active for the last 8 years, Live Nation is now being pulled into the scrum by Fahmy’s estate, which claims the concert giant knowingly promoted and profited from Jay-Z’s performance of material that violated copyright. Situations like this affirm the importance of indemnification clauses in contracts between concert touring companies and artists.
            Liability manifests itself in many forms during a live event. None have been more prevalent than personal injury lawsuits filed by patrons. The Buffalo News recently reported on an incident that culminated in the filing of a $150 million lawsuit against Live Nation (Fairbanks, 2014). According to the article, concert patron Jason McNeil was attending a Kid Rock concert when an inebriated fan randomly punched him in the head. This lead to McNeil’s lawyer pressing for the $150 million judgment, claiming his client “can never work again.” In situations like this, there are a number of factors that can discredit the arguments of either side. McNeil’s medical history needs to be taken into consideration, to judge the validity of his lawyer’s claim. If he is indeed found to be incapacitated to the point that he cannot gain employment, then he should be compensated for such. However, if that isn’t the case, then the remedy must be revisited to ensure that one side isn’t victimizing the other with a frivolous and baseless lawsuit.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

This month, in Live From Orlando...

            Being a event coordinator by trade, you lose some basic appreciation for things that the general populace notice in terms of the experience of attending a live event. Or is it the other way around? Since asking myself that question, I’ve attended a number of nightlife events in and around Orlando, to the furthest reaches of genre. Each showed the character of the people responsible for their production. From the customer service implementations to compliance with city fire code (YEAH, THAT’S A THING), every aspect of a live event’s structure and discipline mirror that of its coordinator(s).
            I recently had occasion to visit the Timucua White House with my wife, to see Jeff Rupert, Richard Drexler and Marty Morell. After initially assessing the situation once inside the venue, I noticed that there was a light control system in place. This is a standard indicator of a composite venue, or a venue that can accommodate more than one type of performance. The sound system was well maintained, judging by the quality of the acoustics. The background for the band was appropriate for the show, however it may prove difficult to adapt for a different type of event, should that situation arise.
            I also attended The Scene at Venue 578, which was comprised of a vast range of hip-hop acts from around Orlando. Given that it was a showcase, the vibe was perfectly on par. There were large areas in the main hall and on the patio set up for merchandise sales. There were drink specials for the majority of the event, much to the delight of the patrons. The staffs, from the bartenders, to the floor attendants, to the production team were in sync. This further enhanced the experiences, as there were a number of events going on throughout the venue. Cyphers in the upstairs section led to acoustic sets and live poetry in what was referred to as “The Chamber”, just below the overlook of the main stage. One who has never been exposed to hip-hop culture would’ve gained a true sense of the genre, as an art form and means of communication between an artist and their crowd.
            In Timucua’s case, my assessment is conditional to an extent. If their primary track for content is the traditional Nuveau Jazz setting and ambience, then they are doing an excellent job. However, if they are looking to expand the repertoire of their accommodations for event producers, I would suggest they revisit whether or not that particular backdrop is an integral part of the stage. To The Scene, I would offer simply: fill the negative space with incentives. I made numerous rounds to the merchandise tables and I didn’t see a ton of activity. Perhaps working merchandise into the ticket price would be a viable solution, if the only purpose of the merchandise were promotion. I’d also reserve the more expensive and/or premium items for sale at retail inside the venue.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Business Storytellers: John Hunter and the World Peace Game

John Hunter’s TED Talk on the World Peace Game is essentially a blueprint for the next evolutionary step in grade school education. The concept of the game is simple, for it is how the world works. However, Mr. Hunter has designed the curriculum in such a way, that the children he teaches essentially teach themselves how to arrive at diplomatic and mutually beneficial decisions for everyone.
I noticed a few things during this talk. First, I realized that the point of view through which a majority of the decision-makers in the world see is unnecessarily complex. John Hunter is a grade school teacher in Virginia and he has essentially turned his classroom (OF 4TH GRADERS) into a project incubator for how to fix the world! If we as adults can claim to have higher brain function than a 4th grader, what’s the explanation for group of nine-year-olds being able to formulate a solution to global warming in a week?
It was as I asked that question that the answer was revealed. 4th graders possess the closest thing to an unmolested mind attainable. They haven’t been exposed to the corruption of politics, racially motivated agendas or socio-economics. They just don’t care. All they care about is coming up with a solution that will make them and their friends happy.
This TED Talk also spurred me to reconsider the definition of maturity. As we grow up, we’re taught as children that as we get older, we are to mature mentally and emotionally just as we do physically. However, for as many examples of mature, upstanding, respectable members of society that have been heralded throughout history, there are twice as many people who have shown a sickening lack of maturity that has led to the disparagement, disenfranchisement, and/or death of billions of people around the world.
I believe that one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle as pertains to the state of affairs in the world, is to really investigate the impact that social norms have on how we live. If we threw as much money behind think tanks that probe at this kind of information, as we did at bogus medical trials and unnecessary construction, I think citizens would become more savvy as to the games being played during election campaigns. This would also take power away from media outlets that would seek to use fear mongering to further political agendas.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Olympics in Bean Town, anyone?

It has been decided that the candidate site to be submitted for the 2024 Olympic Games will be Boston, MA, according to reports published by the Boston Globe this Thursday (Arsenault, 2015). This decision raises a number of concerns among the international audience, chief among them being security. With the horrific scenes and aftermath associated with the Boston Marathon Bombing of April, 2013 still fresh in the minds of many American citizens, local authorities and federal law enforcement will have a fairly large bill to fill in terms of assuring the safe and orderly execution of the event.
            For an event coordinator, security is at the nexus of the planning process for any event. Though, few situations offer a more daunting task than policing an event with the exposure and moving parts present in the granddaddy of all international sporting events. Other prospect submissions for the 2024 Olympic games include Rome, Paris, Hamburg/Berlin, Budapest and Istanbul. All of the submitted locations have their high and low points in terms of how well they are already outfitted to handle the task of public safety, but the biggest breath-holding situation of the entire ordeal will no doubt be how well nations will work in unison with the host country, to ensure those who would look to disrupt proceedings are not successful.
            Additionally, a recent surge of opposition groups have spoken out against Boston possibly being the site for the 2024 Games, stating that the event will pose a significant threat to the state’s progress in fixing prominent issues such as the economy, housing market and education system. If the economic state of Brazil during and after the 2014 FIFA World Cup is indicative of a pattern, these opposition groups may have a point. To this end, Governor Charlie Baker and other collaborators from local, state, and the federal government would do well to take these very pertinent concerns to heart in the years ahead, as they continue to make preparations for 2024. After all, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”