Category Archives: entertainment

What Do You Do When the Power Goes Out?

The famous Victrola brand, made by the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, NJ.

Boy, we sure do depend on electricity! So, what do you do when there isn’t any?

Besides remembering where the candles are, I had to explain to my kids which of the house phones would work in the event our power went out. Of course, the laptop and phone batteries will only last so long. But without a phone, computer, video game or TV, what would they do for entertainment? Somehow I can’t picture them reading by candle light.

Even before the San Diego power failure, I was thinking about how fun it could be to use my recently restored Victrola phongraph in the event of an outage for some old-school musical entertainment. (Better than trying to act out a home-style version of “Glee,” right?)  Continue reading

How I Became a Virtual Millionaire on Empire Ave

Invest in (e)DEVINELINES on EmpireAvenue.com - the Social Stock Market

If I had a dollar for every “eave,” I’d be a millionaire twice over. But as it is, I’m not even rich on paper. Only in cyberspace, and with a virtual currency.

What am I rambling on about?

Allow me to explain. A few months ago, my tech-savvy friend Oscar invited me to join EmpireAvenue.com, the social stock market. I had heard a little about it, but I wasn’t particularly interested in playing an online game. Especially not a play version of eTrade.

Not Another Game!
I’m really not a gamer. I don’t play Xbox, Wii or any video games. I’ve never played Farmville, Mafia Wars, Second Life or Angry Birds. About the closest I’ve gotten to playing any type of game is “checking in” on FourSquare. But I rationalized that this smart-phone app also had marketing applications. And FourSquare could occasionally get me a free appetizer or dessert at restaurants.

So I resisted initially. I needed another social time-sink like I needed a… well, like a hole in the wallet. Yes, Empire Avenue was a game, but it turned out to be more than that.  Continue reading

GuitarTV.com Makes Noise on Social Media Channels

The GuitarTV.com site, showing co-creator Steve Vai in a clip from the film "Crossroads."

Ever watch a music video and wonder what kind of gear the guitarist is using? Or how much the guitar cost and what type of amplifier was used? Maybe you wanted to know which album had that song. Or find sheet music tabs. Or score tickets to the next gig.

Six-String Gearheads, Rejoice! 

You can stop wondering and start rocking. Everything you want to know—and buy—from your favorite guitar slingers can now be found in one place. (Cue drum roll…)

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome: GuitarTV.com

Back when MTV used to play actual music, the network would list the artist, song and album info, but only at the beginning and end of the video. If you missed it, you were out of luck. GuitarTV takes that idea and cranks it up by a factor of at least six. Continue reading

Atlas Shrugged The Movie – John Galt Goes Spartacus

The target audience for the new Atlas Shrugged movie, doing their own advertising for it. (Photographed in Santa Ana, California, April 15, 2010.)

Here’s a challenge for marketers: How do you promote a low-budget independent movie without any stars? A film based on a verbose 1,000-plus-page novel about a philosophy called “Objectivism.” Got a campaign yet?

(Hint: social media, of course!)

Atlas Shrugged, Part 1” arrives in theaters on April 15 —“tax day” in the U.S., the traditional deadline for filing income tax returns. Coincidence? (Sure, just like the sudden omnipresence of Highway Patrol issuing a lot of piddly traffic tickets in a futile effort to bail California out of debt. But that’s another story.)

Before we get to the marketing of the movie, a little background about the book.

Communism vs. Capitalism

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s magnum opus. The author lived through the communist revolution in Russia and came to America because its capitalist free-market system represented her ideal of a free society. As the book jacket summarizes, Atlas is the story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world—and did. But that doesn’t quite explain the story’s relevance today. Continue reading

Marketing Music at NAMM

NAMM is the show where rock stars come out to play.

All the Convention Center's a stage at NAMM.

If you’re keeping up with social marketing trendsetters like Seth Godin or Scott Stratten, you’ve probably heard it said that we do business with people we “know, like and trust.” This is especially true for the music business. Relationships (read: connections) have always been key for musicians. And January’s Winter NAMM show in Anaheim is where music business ties are made and strengthened.

While other trade shows are dying out, and the music industry itself struggles with a revolution in distribution and marketing, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) continues to grow in popularity. Continue reading

This Year Goes To 11

Take it to 11 at NAMM. That's one louder.

The 2011 NAMM Show (shorthand for what used to be known as the National Association of Music Merchants) has taken its thematic inspiration from the Rob Reiner rockumentary satire film, This Is Spinal Tap, in which Nigel Tufnel explains the advantages of having an amp that goes all the way to 11. It’s a perfect reference for their audience.

NAMM is where musicians, instrument makers and related music companies come to do business and show their latest gear. It’s like a Guitar Center on steroids that’s as big as the Anaheim Convention Center (bigger, actually). The place is so thick with rock stars, you practically trip over ‘em every time you turn around.

Here’s how the NAMMsters describe this year’s show on the website: ”On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re taking it to 11 and so can you! The 2011 NAMM Show has everything you need to turn it up a notch in your business, from the hottest new music products offered by 1500+ exhibitors to free business-building training customized to the challenges of today’s industry professionals.” Continue reading

Accidental AutoTune Celebs – Antoine and the Bear

Antoine Dodson's YouTube rant has spawned a hit song as well as a Halloween costume.

The Rapist and the Rainbow

A funny thing happened at the most recent wedding reception I worked. The mother of the bride says to me (as the DJ), “Have you heard that song about that guy on YouTube who stopped the rapist?”

A song about the what…? I don’t think so.

“You know, about the intruder who snuck in and was trying to rape the guy’s sister in her bed?”

Hmm. No, I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

Then there was the 13-year-old’s birthday party, where some kid wanted to hear the “Double Rainbow” song.

Is that a Skittles commercial? No? I don’t think I’ve heard that one either. Sorry, just not as hip as I used to be. (So much music, so little time.)

Lyrics by YouTube, Music by Gregory Bros.

“Bed Intruder” and “Double Rainbow” have a few things in common.

They’re both hit iTunes songs that were inspired by viral YouTube videos. Both have resulted in new commercial opportunities for their accidental stars. Continue reading

O’Neill Fashion Show Features Student Designs

The O'Neill Girls fashion show started with a splash: swimsuit designs.

What better way to market clothing to teens than to get them to design their own fashions?

The girls division of Orange County-based O’Neill Clothing recently held its third-annual Generation Next, “a night of fashion and music,” this time relocated from Laguna Beach to Los Angeles.

It was equal parts Project Runway, rock concert, nightclub, and high school pep rally. Streamed live on the O’Neill Girls Facebook page, the evening featured a live performance by the retro girl group The Like, followed by the dramatic announcement of the fashion contest winner.  Continue reading

Disneyland Throws a Rave Party

Glow Fest turned out to be even more popular than Disney's new World of Color.

Waiting for the World of Color

Big brands tend to be predictable. We all go to, say, Starbucks or McDonald’s or Target because they deliver according to expectations.

Disneyland is a brand that continues to evolve, which is the way Uncle Walt intended it. The venerable theme park can still surprise, too.

My family went to the Disneyland Resort this summer to see the new water-fountain attraction, “World of Color”. Upon arriving, my daughter keyed in on some dance party thing called “Glow Fest,” which looked like a way to pass the time while waiting for the water show. It turned out to be much more. Continue reading