Concepts Design Music

Bon Iver poster series

Track 1: Perth

For far too long, I’ve wanted to design a poster series around an album. Bon Iver’s second studio album, “Bon Iver,” served as a great subject. It’s a tightly edited, beautiful album that’s both simplistic and complex. I wanted to match the calming nature of the album with a minimalistic approach to the posters. Have a look at all 11 posters after the jump.

Content Marketing Music Social Media Strategy Technology

What’s new?


From the HB Blog

At last week’s UnPanel at FutureM, the topic of discovery dominated the conversation. In a marketing world with strong social ties, folks shared their thoughts on today’s discovery tools – specifically how people find new music.

Spotify, iTunes, and other music services offer their versions of new music through “related artists” tools. A user might also find “listeners also bought” lists. These form our social “bubbles,” or groups of people with seemingly similar tastes, likes, and lifestyles.

The simple theory: like-minded listeners may also like similar artists, albums, or songs. That’s how we find “new” music. Seems simple enough, right?

Seriously, what is new?

HB’s CEO, Nicolas Boillot, raised an interesting point during the UnPanel discussion:

“How do we reach folks outside the bubble?”

In the world of music sharing, it’s not an easy task. There are potentially hundreds of thousands of music fans who would buy an album… but may never come in contact with the artist through their music service.

So is this considered “new” music? Does the definition require that the first introduction to the music be random and not through a recommendation?

Marketing to the new

Here’s the challenge: You need to market to groups that may be in your target audience but have yet to be reached. So what strategies will help deliver key messages?

  • New language: marketers can try reaching a “new” group through different words or key phrases. One group may like affordability while another like reliability.
  • An inch deep and a mile wide: cast the net wider but with more general tactics. Try promoting a product’s value – not necessarily that it’s up to certain technological standards.
  • Go old school: the delivery mechanism provides alternatives. Just because you’re offering a digital product doesn’t mean the marketing needs to be digital. How about a tried-and-true three-dimensional direct mailer?

To go beyond the bubble – to the true new audiences – we must be willing to try new tactics. The language, style, and delivery mechanism are only a few alternative solutions.

Reaching outside the bubble is possible… it just requires a “new” way of thinking.

Books Business Culture Media Music Technology Video

Renting vs. owning: A shift in content consumption

From the HB Blog

A recent Google+ post from Jeremiah Owyang read:

“You for rent: I can rent your HOUSE with AirBnB. I can rent your CAR with GetAround. I can rent your TIME and EXPERTISE with taskrabbit, crowdflower. What else can we rent in the future? What’s left?”

Owyang focuses on a shift in user behavior over the past couple of years: people no longer require ownership of their content – just access to it.

That’s a long cry from Steve Jobs’s discussion surrounding the iTunes Music Store in 2007:

“People want to own their music.”

Only six years later, Apple now offers iTunes Match which allows users to stream their music from any device, assuming it’s purchased through iTunes or resides on a home machine. Similarly, Spotify offers a seemingly-endless supply of music to its customers for a monthly subscription fee.

On the tube

Likewise, the television and movie models are shifting their business model from ownership to rental. Companies like NetflixHulu, and Amazon provide content consumption without taking up precious space on your hard drive.

Even production companies are joining the fun. Without “ownership” of a cable box, folks can watch many of their favorite shows via a web site or app. The episodes no longer reside on a machine; rather, users stream content over the internet with relatively little setup.

On the horizon

Back to Owyang. What’s next? Magazines have slowly joined the movement, offering digital subscriptions – but mainly when the customer already receives a print version of the publication.

Instead of content, it’s commodities and services that are sure to see an uptick in “rentals.” Could there be a subscription-fee model for airfare? Or how about automobile maintenance? Will the book industry move to this model to service the millions of KindlesNooks, and iPads across the globe?

What do you think will come next in this world of renting?


My Favorite Albums of 2010

2010 has come and gone, and it was an incredible year for music. Have a look at some of my favorite albums of the past year (and beyond)…

The Black Keys, “Brothers”
This blues-rock tandem had great success with their single “Tighten Up” and the rest of the album does not disappoint. Far and away my favorite rock album of the past few years. It’s a shame it took me so long to discover them as this is their sixth album.

Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
The world’s biggest ego and hype machine, Kanye delivered yet another legendary album at the tail end of 2010. His unique style, attention to the smallest production details, and creative drive make for an incredible listen. “All of the Lights” may be my favorite track of ’10.

John Legend & The Roots, “Wake Up!”
When I heard that Legend and The Roots, two of my favorite artists, were teaming up for a collaborative album, I nearly fainted. This album of covers all center around awareness and engagement. Their teamwork is timeless and makes for an incredible listen, both live and in-studio. “Hard Times” kicks off the album with a bang.

Black Milk, “Album of the Year”
The world’s greatest producer that no one knows, Black Milk released his sonically impressive album to great reviews. His constant lyrical improvement combined with unmatched heavy drums and production make for another successful Milk album. His last three albums, including “Tronic” and “Popular Demand” are all impressive.

The Roots, “How I Got Over”
Despite their everyday job as The Greatest Band in Late-Night, The Roots still delivered not one, but TWO albums in 2010. “How I Got Over,” an album increasingly more optomistic than their previous releases, delivers the famouts Roots Crew sound with which we’re accustomed. The title track is a banger.

Drake, “Thank Me Later”
This rapper-singer sold incredible amounts of his mixtape… and his first studio album continued the trend. Drake’s music walks the line between hip-hop and R&B and does so with a unique sound. “Fancy,” featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz is probably the most radio-friendly (and upbeat) track on the album.

Bonus Album: Alicia Keys, “The Element of Freedom”
Although released in 2009, Alicia’s fourth studio album used a combination of new electronic and synth sounds to craft another brilliant collection for 2010 – yet another album that works from beginning to end. “Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)” affirms what I already know – that I want to marry Alicia Keys.

Bonus Album: The xx, “xx”
Another album from ’09, The xx’s debut album is one that doesn’t fit my usual tastes. However, this London-based band has been a permanent go-to throughout 2010. Their soft, synth take on R&B makes for a unique and soulful album full of simplistic beats, reduced vocals, and a sensual vibe. “Shelter” steals the show