Thursday, January 25, 2007


An artist press junket in SecondLife? Album playback? Virtual performance? Would it work? Reuters has a virtual journalist.

Reuters interviews at the World Economic Forum, Davos
Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:01am PST
By Adam Reuters

SECOND LIFE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Reuters will conduct a series of interviews with artists, politicians and executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, in front of a live Second Life audience.

Reuters Bureau Chief Adam Pasick will talk with guests including Linden Lab Chairman Mitch Kapor, author and entrepreneur John Battelle, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, and musician Peter Gabriel during the WEF, which takes place Jan. 24-28. They will have their own customized avatars and will take questions from residents.

Attendance in the Reuters Auditorium will be limited to 50 on a first-come, first-served basis. A live audio and video feed will be available for residents to stream onto their own land or view on the Reuters Second Life News Center.

The most recent schedule is available on the Reuters/Second Life homepage. Questions can be submitted in advance via email to

Stimulation = Creativity

There is so much information on the web nowadays... none of us have enough time. Enter PopUrls, a meta-site that encapsulates up-to-the-minute headlines from 15 consensus filters, and top thumbnail images from the social sites Flickr, YouTube, and Google Video. The hive mind on one screen.

Here's how I use it. On one page I can scan the latest headlines of what the web collectively thinks is either popular or interesting. A simple mouse over the headline will cleverly reveal a small box of expanded text on the article. If I want even more, a click will open the original entry in the filter. In five minutes I can scan 18 social site sources thoroughly. I get an excellent feel for what is new, what people are looking at, and what is worth following up on (a small amount of overlap between sources helps). It's not just news, it's imagery, music, trends... it's stimulation and culture direction.

The design of PopUrls is brilliant. There's two flavors, black on white or white on black. Function drives form, buttons are minimal. It feels like a well-designed command post for a concise debriefing.

There's no better way to watch the world changing. I've posted the link in the side bar as well.

Tapping into Youth Activism

Last month Youth Trends wrote about the pro-environment trend that is becoming increasingly popular with the youth market. They received some feedback and questions from readers, so this month they decided to delve a little bit deeper into the trend, which they will loosely define as “youth activism.” This is a fact: Gen Y cares more about social and environmental issues than Gen X does or ever did for that matter. By simply looking at Gen Y’s higher levels of activity when it comes to volunteering for a group or a social cause the aforementioned statement seems easily supported. Case in point, take a look at college network mtvU. The network has dedicated a channel on its that includes a call to action for students to get involved in a variety of causes, and it’s having a positive effect. Whether it’s creating awareness about the genocide in Darfur (Gamers Against Genocide) or joining the virtual march against global warming, mtvU has tapped into a hot button of youth culture. Youth Trends feel the leading brands will distinguish themselves in the cluttered media environment, by attaching themselves to a relevant and important social issue or cause.

This is the key takeaway. The perception among the audience, even among many who may not be directly involved in activism is simple: at the end of the day, they would rather support and be loyal to a brand that is “doing some good in the world” and not just pushing their products and services.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Free Campus Music

Honestly, if you were a college student would you sit through 45 pop up ads just to get a free song?...perhaps...if it also came with Cliff Notes and a case of beer...

Ruckus Offers Free Campus Music
Will ads-for-music formula work with a demographic unwilling to spend a buck for a song?January 22, 2007
By Cassimir Medford

Ruckus Network on Monday became the latest digital entertainment site to offer free music in exchange for the consumer’s tacit willingness to sit still for advertising. But will marketers get excited by a college student demographic unwilling or unable to pay $0.99 for a song?

It is also unclear whether the free music offer would include an “upsell” to a premium, paid-for service, which would be immensely more attractive to marketers.

Herndon, Virginia-based Ruckus, a network that targets university students, said that any student with a valid .edu email account would be able to download full tracks from its more than 2.1 million-song library for free.

The company joins a growing list of online outlets, including the soon-to-be launched SpiralFrog, which jolted the industry last August when SpiralFrog announced a deal to distribute Universal Music Group’s song catalog for free in return for the consumer’s availability for ads (see Universal Offers Free Music).

Slow Demand
The slow adoption of paid-for digital music subscription has forced many in the field to seek new wrinkles to spur consumer demand in the iTunes/iPod dominated market.

Napster has dabbled with an ad-supported model and SpiralFrog emerged as the poster child for free music, but with SpiralFrog still in pre-launch mode no one knows for sure if that business will work.

Ruckus has pre-existing licensing arrangements with all of the major labels and thousands of independents, so unlike SpiralFrog it gets a running start on the music end of the ad-for-music model.

Through contractual agreements with 100 schools, including the University of Southern California, the University of Denver, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University, Ruckus has built an online entertainment network focused on college students.

The company, which is backed by Battery Ventures and Shelter Capital Partners, said it has signed “several thousand” students to its online community. But its free music will be offered to anyone with a valid .edu email address, thus extending its reach among college students.

Ruckus’ original business model was based on fees paid by the universities for its less-expensive services, but only a few universities paid for the privilege.

iPhone: Overcoming The Carrier Barrier

Marc E. Babej and Tim Pollak 01.24.07, 12:55 PM ET

When Apple's stock jumps 15% on a product due out in six months, you expect big things. Really big things.

Is the new iPhone the next iPod for Apple shareholders?

Consensus among gadget gurus has it that the iPhone is a winning product, deftly blending the three most ubiquitous hand-held devices--cell phone, PDA and iPod--into one. It has an unusually wide screen and incorporates some clever new technology, such as the ability to display voice mail messages in a manner similar to e-mail. And, true to Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) tradition, it has an undeniable cool factor.

But beauty, inside and out, does not necessarily make for commercial success. The big sticking point could be price: $499 to $599 with a two-year Cingular contract. Will consumers be willing to pay eight to nine times the average price of a cell phone, or two to three times the price of a smart phone, for Steve Jobs' new wonder phone?

Many analysts have examined the design and features of the iPhone and deemed them sufficient to justify the price tag. But there's another, potentially bigger cost issue here: switching networks, in terms of time and money. Buying a new computer or iPod is a straightforward product purchase. Buying a new iPhone, on the other hand, requires time, commitment and--at an industry standard of $175 to cancel an existing wireless carrier contract--a not insignificant amount of money. With a total real cost of $674 to $774, and potentially another $36 in activation charges, can the iPhone become a runaway hit to rival the iPod? There is room for doubt.

Consider: There are only three groups of people who wouldn't have to pay the $175 penalty--current Cingular customers, mobile phone users who are no longer under contract and people who do not yet have a mobile phone carrier (who are very unlikely to choose an iPhone as their first phone).

And that's just the financial part of the equation. For the iPhone to become a success, it has to be convincing enough to motivate consumers to (1) call their current carrier to cancel, (2) call Cingular, or visit one of their stores, to get a new phone and (3) commit to a two-year contract. For all of their grumbling about mobile carriers, consumers are quite reluctant to switch. When mobile phone numbers became portable last year, the industry anticipated rampant switching. So far, only about 7% have taken the plunge.

One thing Apple has done well in the past is control its own destiny, with a proprietary operating system and its own online music store. But there is no iPhone without a wireless carrier--in this case, without Cingular. And consumer behavior in the wireless carrier business is beyond the realm of Apple's experience.

Another component of Apple's success has been weak competition. Apple re-invented the portable music business, and no one has come close to challenging its real or perceived supremacy. Mobile phones are an entirely different matter. Apple is clearly an interloper and has given the competition fair warning of what's coming mid-year. They may not be able to match the iPhone feature for feature, but Motorola (nyse: MOT - news - people ) and Samsung are no Zen and Zune, and they surely can bring products to market that are just good enough to disincentivize switching.

Only time will tell if the iPhone will become the next iPod--or the next Newton (Apple's much-ballyhooed, high-priced 1990s handheld device that flopped, even though it was technologically superior to anything on the market at the time). The iPhone has a lot going for it, but its chances would be better if the road to success didn't require crossing the carrier barrier.

Marc E. Babej and Tim Pollak are partners at Reason Inc. , a marketing-strategy consulting firm that works with clients in a range of categories, including media and entertainment, financial and professional services, packaged goods and the public sector.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Check out the "Most Contagious" developments/trends/events of 2006 as listed by Contagious Magazine - a very cool article with some interesting insights. Click on the link to get a detailed breakdown - Most Contagious 2006

Google & YOU Tube; Gnarls Barkley / Not Crazy After All
Nintendo Wii; iPod Nano; Sony Walkman
Front; Alex Dragalescu; Design Barcode; Concrete Canvas
Online Networks;Dynamic Ads; Edoc Laundry; Exclusive content
Social Networks; LonelyGirl15; Ze Frank
Skype & 3 Collaboration; Dodgeball; Shotcodes
Dove/Evolution; Ecko/Still Free; Smirnoff Raw Tea/Tea Partay
Nokia Flagship Store NYC; Apple Store NYC; Nike Town London
Cheoptics360; SEER; Google Earth/British Airways
Heineken Greenspace; Tate Slides; The Sultan's Elephant
Nokia/Music Recommenders; Amex/My Life My Card; Cacique; Duly Noted ...
adidas/adicolor; Lynx/Lynx Jet; Volswagen/Fast
Axe/Gamekillers; Cathy's Book; Office Max
IKEA; McDonald's; adidas
Firefox; Chevy Tahoe; Current TV
That Girl Emily; Banksy; An Incovenient Truth

Certainly makes for an interesting 2007!!

Getting high with Jamiroquai

Check out this super cool gig. Not sure if we're involved....

Jamiroquai have announced details of an ultra wacky gig. The guys will play onboard an aeroplane, 35,000ft in the air, to an audience of 200 people, on February 27 - and we are promised there'll be a heap of A-listers on the special flight.

The aptly named Gig in the Sky event, which will be played on a specially modified Boeing 757, will set the world record for the highest ever concert. (Specially modified? Enough to handle a Jamiroquai gig? With most planes these days you have to put his hat in the cargo hold!)

The eccentric, motor-loving front man, Jay Kay, has said: “No one's ever done a gig like this before. Rock and roll is all about pushing back the boundaries and The Gig in the Sky certainly does that." It certainly does Jay, but is it eco friendly? And, more importantly, can we have some tickets?
Yeah right – and gigs might fly!

You can actually win tickets – we just couldn't resist the gag! – by logging on to and entering the prize draw. And if there's no luck there and you're already a Sony Ericsson customer, you can watch the concert by downloading it to your phone later in the year…

Unrestricted Digital Music?

January 23, 2007 New York Times

Record Labels Contemplate Unrestricted Digital Music


CANNES, France, Jan. 22 — As even digital music revenue growth falters because of rampant file-sharing by consumers, the major record labels are moving closer to releasing music on the Internet with no copying restrictions — a step they once vowed never to take.
Executives of several technology companies meeting here at Midem, the annual global trade fair for the music industry, said over the weekend that at least one of the four major record companies could move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format within months.
Most independent record labels already sell tracks digitally compressed in the MP3 format, which can be downloaded, e-mailed or copied to computers, cellphones, portable music players and compact discs without limit.

The independents see providing songs in MP3 partly as a way of generating publicity that could lead to future sales.
For the major recording companies, however, selling in the MP3 format would be a capitulation to the power of the Internet, which has destroyed their control over the worldwide distribution of music.

Until last year, the industry was counting on online purchases of music, led by Apple’s iTunes music store, to make up the difference.
But digital sales in 2006, while 80 percent ahead of the year before, grew slower than in 2005 and did not compensate for the decline in physical sales, according to an industry report released in London last week.

Even so, the move to MP3s is not inevitable, some insiders warn.
Publicly, music company executives say their systems for limiting copies are a way to fairly compensate artists and other copyright holders who contribute to the creation of music.
But privately, there are signs of a new appreciation in the industry for unrestricted copies, which could be sold as singles or through subscription services or made freely available on Internet sites that support advertising.

The EMI Group said last week that it would offer free streaming music on, the leading Web site and search engine in China, where 90 percent of music is pirated. EMI and Baidu also agreed to explore developing advertising-supported music download services. This summer EMI licensed its recording to Qtrax, an ad-supported music distribution service.
Experiments by Yahoo — last year it offered a handful of tracks from Norah Jones, Jessica Simpson, Jesse McCartney and Relient K without any digital restrictions — will continue this year, David Goldberg, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Music, said in an interview at Midem. Two of the major labels, Sony BMG and EMI, agreed to the tests in 2006.
In a handful of European countries, especially in France, consumer frustration has led to government proposals to legislate interoperability.

“There is a groundswell, and I say that on the basis of private conversations,” said Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, which sells digital music protected against piracy through the Rhapsody subscription service.
“It will happen between next year and five years from now, but it is more likely to be in one to two years,” he said.

Monday, January 22, 2007


This site tracks the most viewed videos on the web every day, combined from Atom Films,, Daily Motion, Google, iFilm, Metacafe, Myspace, Revver, vSocial, Yahoo, and Youtube.

Like the Kasabian example below, people can host the top 10 list as a widget on their own sites, blogs, etc. I added it to our sidebar. I think it's a great way to see what people are interested in and also steal some great ideas from.

Friday, January 19, 2007

iPhone Pop-ups

Got this pop-up today on Firefox... they've already started...

Top 10 Trend Predictions 2007

NEXT BIG THINGS?: Top 10 Trends for '07 as per Ad agency JWT's chief trendspotter Marian Salzman:

1. Skyp/VOIP

2. Wii, new game systems

3. Social networking

4. Pop-up stores

5. Shrink Technology

6. The rise of nanotechnology

7. Green Buildings

8. Hydrogen fuel cells

9. Veggie buses

10. Trans-fat fallout

We certainly live in interesting times - Veggie buses and Trans-fat fallout!!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Have you seen the Apple iPhone???
Steve Jobs announces the phone at Macworld Expo today.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Avril: Manga

We have not had an opportunity like this before.

Check this out!
Username: sonybmg
Password: onidemon

The key now is how to get this on to as many mobile phones as possible.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Kasabian Video Embed

Have you seen this player? It was developed by Sony BMG UK and hosted on the Kasabian home page. Anyone can download the player and put it into their own website or blog, like I've done here above. It then automatically streams the video content onto your own site. Fans love this.

Within 24 hours of launch, we had over 19,000 views of the video(now up to 800k). The player has now been downloaded onto over 2,000 different sites, 700 of which have been active over the past 7 days.

Another great advantage of this viral marketing method is the detailed tracking information which allows us to actually see where and how often this player is being used.

We're now working on mirroring this player for Justin Timberlake's upcoming European Tour. More info to come.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

iPod or Mobile Phone?

(Interesting forecast from a marketing trends publication this week)

Music maker

Which came first, the cell
phone or the iPod? Seem like a
dumb question? Well, in this age
of multifunction devices, the
answer appears to be making a
big difference to the future of both

Europe’s Entertainment
Media Research, which surveyed
3,000 British consumers in its
2006 Digital Music Survey, found
that given the choice of a dualfunction
phone/music player
device, 46% would prefer to use
a phone that also played media
files. By comparison, 21% would
choose a dual-functionality
iPod/MP3 player.

Even current iPod owners preferred
the phone-based option—
40%, compared to 27% who
favored the iPod-based option. Still,
uptake of the technology is slow.

While cell phone companies have
not made a killing on dual functionality
as of yet, as more phone-toting
teens gain financial control of
their cell accounts, music downloads
will follow.