Shows I Attended: Blue October @ Hot Topic (3/24)

March 31, 2009

Blue October "Approaching Normal" CD cover

Okay, well, it wasn’t necessarily a show, per se. For work, I had to help set-up and run an in-store event with the amazing group, Blue October, at the Hot Topic store in Hollywood.

For those that aren’t aware of the group, check out the MySpace page link above. Blue October might be one of my favorite groups over the past few years. Their last release, Foiled, included the big hit “Hate Me” (video from the in-store below). We worked their last album extremely hard to make sure it eventually got to Platinum.

Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight books, has also gone on record saying that Blue October, and their lead vocalist’s (Justin) lyrics have helped inspire her to write.

The in-store event went pretty well. We ended up selling 100+ units at the event to die-hard fans. Check out Blue October performing “Hate Me”, one of the three songs they performed for their stripped-down private set, below:

The new album “Approaching Normal” is available now!


Shows I Attended: vtech presents Timeless III – Arthur Verocai (March 15th)

March 25, 2009


On March 15th I got to witness an amazing performance. For those that don’t know vtech has put together an amazing series called “Timeless”.


A 36-piece orchestra performed as the man himself, Arthur Verocai, conducted an amazing evening. Performing music from his 1972 album, Arthur and the orchestra had the entire crowd completely enamored.

Seeing a performance like this was such a breath of fresh air. I can’t pretend like I was extremely familiar with all of Verocai’s work, but seeing an orchestra in a setting such as this was truly amazing. It’s so different than every other show I attend for work, at every other venue. THIS was special, and thanks to vtech and Mochilla for putting on an amazing 3-part series. I can’t wait for them to start this back up late-summer…

Twitter news: Twitter posts 1,382% Year-Over-Year Growth

March 25, 2009

twitter-logoHA! Are you kidding me?

According to Nielsen, from February 2008 to February 2009, Twitter’s unique visitors increased from 475k to a whopping 7 million!

Apparently Zimbio and Facebook were the 2nd and 3rd fastest growing communities (respectively) posting triple-digit growths in the 200th percentile.

I’ve never even heard of Zimbio!

There are some other great facts in the MarketingVOX piece which you can check out HERE.

Shows I Attended: Quick SXSW Recap

March 25, 2009


Wow… so I haven’t made a post on here in a minute. In fairness, I was out all last week down in Austin for my 2nd SXSW Festival.

After last year, I vowed I’d never miss another year. 2009 was slightly more work than I remember 2008 being, but it was still an amazing year. The entire week (music portion) is just one gigantic party. Years ago it was described to me as “spring break for the music industry”, it wasn’t until last year that I fully grasped that concept.

Hell, I can’t give you a rundown on each act I saw for many reasons including: 1) being way too drunk, 2) being stressed working, 3) being overwhelmed with how much goes on at any given minute.

What I will say is this, props to The Smoking Section (TSS) and for putting on an amazing hip-hop showcase. Props to Red Bull for putting on a party (albeit a truly dope party) way out in the boondocks. Props to the SXSW staff for continuing to find ways to get hip-hop music more and more involved into the fest.

I had an amazing time.

On a side note: what makes Red Bull think it’s a great idea to throw a party where they basically only serve Red Bull until 5am? How am I supposed to sleep after that?

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the shows I got to see:

Kid Sister @ Speakeasy
Data Rock @ Speakeasy

some acts @ Purevolume (1am)

Hockey @ Filter party
Other Lives @ Filter party
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears @ Filter Party
Mayer Hawthorne / A-Side showcase @ Purevolume
some other acts @ Red Bull Moon Tower

Idle Warship @ Filter Party
Blue Scholars @ TSS / Nahright showcase
Buff1 @ TSS / Nahright showcase
Tanya Morgan @ TSS / Nahright showcase
Blu & Exile @ TSS / Nahright showcase
The Juggs @ Waxpoetics Showcase
Mayer Hawthorne & The County @ Waxpoetics Showcase
HISD @ Wax poetics Showcase
Chin Chin @ Waxpoetics Showcase
Brownout @ Waxpoetics Showcase
9dw @ Waxpoetics Showcase
Von Bondies @ Red Bull Moon Tower
DJ Class @ Red Bull Moon Tower
Shwayze @ Red Bull Moon Tower
Kid Cudi @ Red Bull Moon Tower

BRMG event @ Prague
Buff1 / Now On / Invincible / Finale @ Back Alley Social
Solange @ Buffalo Billiards

Shows I Attended: Rocco DeLuca & The Burden @ The Troubadour (March 10th)

March 25, 2009


On Tuesday, March 10th, I attended Rocco DeLuca‘s show at The Troubadour down in West Hollywood. For those that don’t know, Rocco is an artist signed to IronWorks which is the same label that Kiefer Sutherland (tv series: 24) has some partnership in.

As it so happens, Rocco was celebrating the release of his newest album, Mercy, as it was released that very day (what a coincidence, right?).

The act that opened the evening was IronWorks’ HoneyHoney. If you haven’t seen HoneyHoney live, please check them out, because they are a great act live with plenty of personality. They kind of have a bluegrass-y vibe to their music, but they definitely keep it relevant and fresh.

After HoneyHoney, Rocco DeLuca & The Burden took the stage to a very excited crowd. Selling 100k+ units independently on his last album, Rocco has definitely built a decent fan-base through his music and extensive touring. To get an idea of what I got to see that Tuesday night, peep the video below.

For more on this act, check out Rocco’s newest release, Mercy.

Music I Bought: The Essential Michael Jackson

March 14, 2009


Lately I’ve been on a Motown kick… For those that don’t know, 2009 is the observed 50th Anniversay of the legendary Motown Records. I say “observed” because, techinally, Berry Gordy called his record label “Tamla Records” for a year+ before changing the name to Motown. Being from SE-Michigan, I grew up in a house that played a lot of Motown. Furthermore, growing up as an “80s baby”, Michael Jackson wasn’t just the “king of pop” of music to me… he was music.

Anyway, today I was spending some time browsing iTunes and I noticed that iTunes had a steal of a deal of 38 Michael Jackson songs for only $12.99.

Sure, I could’ve asked Motown to send over the 2-disc set, but I wanted the collection NOW! For $12.99, and the pure simpicity alone of just clicking the “buy” button on my iTunes… I went ahead and made the purchase. I’m not mad at that price at all! Hell, with tracks from his Jackson 5 days, as well as his solo-hits… for that price, I’d be silly not to make that purchase!

Michael is a legend, and forever will be the King of Pop. Hate on my purchase if you want, but with the recently announced tour-dates, and everything going on for Motown’s 50th Anniversary… oh, and for Detroit being my 2nd home (after Ann Arbor), this collection was well worth the price!

For more information on my purchase, please check out iTunes! or even the link!

YouTube, Universal Plan Premium Music Video Hub (swipe)

March 9, 2009

Direct swipe from

YouTube and Universal Music Group are contemplating an alliance by which the former would build a music video hub for the latter.

According to The Wall Street Journal, YouTube will also provide ad sales support and a platform to distribute Universal video content to other sites.

The pending project’s been tentatively dubbed “Vevo” and has been underway since last year. People familiar with the matter claim it is in advanced stages of production.

Financial details of the potential liaison were not revealed, but the partnership represents another attempt by YouTube to step up its premium content offerings.

It would also avail YouTube a fresh opportunity to monetize music videos. In January it broadened an existing ecommerce effort that enables users to buy tracks featured in a video they’re watching. They typically have the option to purchase direct from a record company, from Amazon or iTunes.

This is interesting for quite a few reasons. Universal was the first of the major record distribution companies to strike a deal with YouTube in order to get paid for their content. In these trying industry-times, many record labels are trying to find any way possible to make a dime.

Years ago, Yahoo! used to be a very popular site for fans to go watch promotional music videos. Yahoo! used to use the music videos and then run commercials between viewings. It was Universal Music Group, upon realizing the ad-revenue Yahoo! was making, that decided they should get a portion of this money that Yahoo! was making. Taking a fraction of a cent per video-stream, this became a profitable (and important) venture for Universal, and other majors shortly followed.

Taking a similar approach with YouTube is important not just to major distributors, but to artists as well.

At this time, indies are kind of having to bite-the-bullet and this profit-sharing system isn’t available… but hopefully that will change for all in the near future.

This actually produces an interesting question: are music videos driving traffic to these websites, OR are these websites helping to sell downloads / CDs by having these music videos available for viewing? Who’s helping who more?