A couple of decades back, Brett Borders had visionary aspirations. Instead of aimlessly wondering the halls of his high school, he took to the underground to search out threads of conversations that were beginning to surface in this new arena called the Internet. A unique but somewhat logical beginning for a fellow who would later go on to bill his blog the “Social Media Rockstar,” Brett was in search of digital networking way before its time.
In a recent interview I conducted with him, he sums it up as, “an extremely limited (environment)… the only social networking options were Prodigy/Compuserve, a handful of local Bulletin Boards and the the same 35 active users.” Along with a small group of hacker friends, he learned how to call overseas and obtain Internet access by sneaking through local university and business systems.
He would then hack into telephone systems that would allow access by dialing out without being traced. According to Brett, it “really wasn’t that devious,” as his group was the same kind of crowd that today “you would find on FriendFeed or Digg.” When the first public internet service became available in his area in 1994, he immediately quit hacking as he “finally had unlimited, bulletproof access to the ‘Net,’” where he found it “far more interesting to connect versus crack.” However he looks back on these early days fondly as it motivated him to become a resourceful out-of-the-box thinker who could forge a path into the future without the need of a guidebook.
Brett studied Sociology in college where he was able to reflect on some of the anthropological underpinnings of online social demographics. Metaphorically similar to a Margaret Mead uncovering tribes in Samoa or New Guinea, Brett observed and researched the collective consciousness of various online tribes. He proposed that “online social interaction mirrors real life (with parallels to) castes, circles, cliques and socio-economic groups.” And as a social marketer, he now feels that to communicate to each group and target them properly, one needs to analyze their social structures and online habitats.
When asked why institutions of higher learning haven’t embraced social media as an academic discipline, he feels that “universities are kind of reactionary in that they (will only) offer programs and classes after a job market emerges.” Since social media jobs are presently just beginning to take on a prominent role in corporations and organizations, it will take a while for universities to catch up.
Today Brett Borders is an independent “Web Traffic Developer.” Even though Borders’ blog is titled “Social Media Rockstar” he doesn’t view himself as rock star, nor Internet Famous. Similar to Liz Strauss titling her blog, “Successful Blog” and Hugh Hefner labeling his pop culture mag “Playboy,” his blog title is more about the content versus a moniker for himself as the originator.
According to Brett, ” I think with the exception of a small handful of established, elite social media people, pretty much everyone out there is ‘faking it till they make it.’ I wake up, explore, learn, make mistakes, improve and re-define myself on a daily basis. I try to be confident, but also completely honest about what I know about and what I don’t – and careful not to mislead or make false promises to people.”
However, Brett is also cognizant that online detractors can be more powerful than your actual followers. Non-fans (what Brett terms “your shadow”) are usually much more diligent about blocking the spread of your message than the average acquaintance is dedicated in spreading it for you. Here’s a visual interpretation of Brett’s perspective on this topic.
To become Internet Famous, according to Brett is to be an initiator, not a follower. For example, when social media first came on to the scene, those that became the most successful in blogging and developing apps were those that pushed the envelope, by using new tools and searching out new terrain to maneuver. Brett feels the ones that faltered in this regard were the less aggressive breed who settled for “aggregating or recycling” the work accomplished by the front runners.
Brett refers to some of these social media followers as “online snake oil salesmen” who are motivated by money. These are the folks that aren’t “at all shy about claiming they know stuff that they don’t or making promises they can’t deliver. There’s a boom of interest in social media and SEO – and there are only a few barriers to entry (all you need is a website and business card), so some less-than-scrupulous types of people are trying to cash in on it.”
“The truth is that you have to give something (time, energy, attention or $$$) before you can really expect to get anything in return,” notes Brett. Something he calls “Digital Karma,” where those that are serious about online marketing and invest their time strategically and ask for recommendations are the ones to reap the benefits. “Those who are looking for ‘quick fixes’ and too-good-to-be-true promises can easily get burned or disappointed.”
Narcissism is sometimes an unattractive by-product of Internet Fame “There’s something very hypnotic about watching someone with an over-blown self image get all excited about themselves (which is why sites like TweetingTooHard.com are funny),” notes Brett. “There’s also “bad boy” and “bad girl” rockstar types in social media who are outspoken, hostile and inevitably create drama wherever they go. Many people unconsciously placate them (to avoid getting on their “bad list”) and follow them to see what kind of exciting trouble they’re gonna stir up next.”
In retrospect having lived through the Web 2.0 explosion, Brett reflects that “today social media is definitely over-hyped. “Yes, it is very powerful. Yes, it changes they way business is done. Yes, it empowers people to make choices they never had before – and it changes the world in some ways. But people are still people – and we like to waste a lot of time and use social media to mindlessly distract and entertain ourselves.”
He also believes that social media marketing is not a great fit for many types of products and services. He affirms that companies could “definitely get more ROI with traditional advertising or other online marketing methods like SEO or PPC.”
Currently Brett is working for an automotive publisher that focuses on hybrid and electric car technology. He’s building buzz and connections around content that raise people’s awareness of next generation transportation options. In the past he’s worked for international e-commerce companies, product manufacturers, and local tech start-ups in Boulder, Colorado.
In closing, I think Brett Borders’ Internet fame came about as result of his invested time and energy in this field and that his advice is based on years of trial and error. While he feels that a lot of folks are just not cut out for this business (“it’s demanding, time-intensive, volatile, and requires much more creativity than people are able to give to it”), I think Brett Border is one of those experts that has sized up the social media landscape realistically and knows how to make it do his bidding.
If you’re looking for a social media coach to help you wade through those Web 2.0 waters, I would suggest you contact Brett Borders for the job. He may be just that Social Media Rockstar his blog refers to.
For other stories on the Internet Famous, check out my previous interviews with Nick Thune, Marina Orlova, Julia Allison and Alejandro Reyes… and stay tuned for more stories of the the Internet Famous in the weeks to come.
He calls himself a Social Marketing Rock Star! His web site was designed for “successfools” like himself. He runs a Ustream broadcast on a regular basis and has amassed over 13,000 (and counting) followers on Twitter. His profile proclaims that he is “ADDICTED to people, their passions, and teaching them to use Social Media Marketing to get Internet Famous! He’s a blogger, a speaker, a coach (a puppet, a poet, a pawn and a king!). He’s Internet Famous and has a story to tell.
In a recent interview I conducted with Alejandro Reyes, he confessed that Internet fame was not something he sought out, but was more about something he “knew he could leverage.” He believes in social marketing and feels that this platform gives him latitude to “entertain and inspire people,” something he is very passionate about.
Alejandro credits the birth of his daughter as one of the initial triggering events that created a buzz about about his persona and its impact on the Internet. On April 24, 2008, utilizing Ustream as a media tool to communicate, Alejandro conducted a broadcast to brag online about the birth of his daughter to his wife’s family who resided in another state. While transmitting the live stream titled “Social Media’s First Baby,” he decided to tweet it out to his Twitter followers at the same time, and in one of the first simulcasted communiques combining streaming video with tweeting, he was pleasantly surprised when he received 60+ tweets from his modest (at the time) fan base.
It was at this moment, he began to understand the power of the Internet and the connection he could make in people’s lives. Today, simulcasts of this nature are conducted regularly by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and P.Diddy when they want to broadcast to their fan base. And consequently Ustream has since integrated Twitter into their chatrooms.
This intimate entree’ into people’s lives ‘positioned’ Alejandro as someone who was willing to share personal stories with total strangers. In the Web 2.0 environment we all reside, here was a guy who was willing not only to be upfront and personal, but also one who was transparent in a very honest and forthright manner. Dissimilar to the self-promoting “online celebs” or “snake oil” netizens that abound online, Alejandro displayed substance and delivered advice that was consequential. He found his soap box, and as an online town crier, the Internet community was willing to listen.
After this event, Alejandro indicates that things really began to ramp up. While the live Ustream involving the birth of his daughter gave him a jump start, it’s what Alejandro was able to do with the buzz thereafter that was critical. He cautiously warns others that this is where many often drop the ball: “A lot of people miss the boat. They do something that creates a buzz, and then they don’t capitalize on it. When you secure momentum, you gotta keep it or it will die quickly and get lost in all the Internet ‘noise’” that continually competes for our everyday attention.
It was at this tipping point, that Alejandro changed up the game. Differing from others that often rely on the status quo, he decided to transform the way people saw “entrepreneurship” by making it a fun thing to manage. And while he continues to offer human interest life examples (e.g dancing with his daughter) he balances these vignettes with inspirational success training. In this way, he works collaboratively with his audience. He collaborates with them in creating his personal brand… the “successfool” brand…a process he calls “collaborate or die.”
Collaboration is the key. Without involving his audience, Alejandro would not be the success he is today. For him ‘branding’ is really all about listening to your followers and building your persona around one’s passion. To further illustrate his point, Alejandro cites an analogy that underscores brand management: “your brand is like a ‘jetliner’ and your passion is the ‘jet fuel’ that jettisons that brand forward. “You and your brand can only go as far as your fuel and passion will last.” He sees a direct correlation with this and the age-old tried and true philosophy that if “you love what you are doing, you’ll never have to work another day in your life.”
Today, Alejandro conducts a Successfool.tv Ustream broadcast every Wednesday night at 6pm Pacific time. The focus of the show is to motivate, inspire, and entertain entrepreneurs through live skype interviews, success tips and tools of the week, and accompanied by some weekly rants. While monetizing Successfool.com is a goal, for Alejandro, it’s more important to “build a brand that people trust, love, and know that they’re not going to get some cheezeball marketing pitch every week with tons of advertisements.” Presently his website receives 10-15K hits per month, according to Compete.com.
As a result of the success of Successfool.com, he’s created a coaching program, hosted a conference, and launched a local marketing company that is quickly generating a ton of buzz in the Sacramento market area. Alejandro’s Social Marketing Rock Star Webinar series provides an 8-week video training course that helps users learn how to use social media marketing as a tool and how it can boost one’s website traffic.
The series teaches people how to develop a long lasting Internet business by building their brand online through Social Media. The webinar modules include, Branding, Blogging and Advanced Blogging Strategies, Social Networking with a focus on Twitter and Facebook, Video/Live Streaming, Podcasting, Web 2.0 Properties and How to use Social Media to become a local hero. Since its success in ’08, a new Social Marketing Rock Star series will launch again this July.
Alejandro’s life journey revolves around his ongoing quest to determine “what success really is?” As we all know, success means different things to different people. When asked if he feels successful and whether he has reached his goals, Alejandro admits to only just getting started…and that his life long dream is to enter the entertainment field. Whether “that’s hosting a TV or radio show, that’s yet to be determined,” states Alejandro. So if Oprah, Ellen or Conan are reading this…you might want to give this “successfool” a call. He is in a passionate over-drive mode to take his social marketing rock star fame to another level.
Alejandro Reyes is one “successfool” that doesn’t fool around with success!
P.S: If you are thinking about contacting Alejandro on Twitter, you might want to congratulate him on the upcoming birth of his 2nd baby...Social Baby #2!
For other stories on the Internet Famous, check out my previous interviews with Nick Thune, Marina Orlova and Julia Allison… and stay tuned for more stories of the the Internet Famous in the weeks to come.
If Web 2.0 is about web applications and social networking, and Web 3.0 is said to incorporate the semantics of data interpreted by machines, what the heck is Web 4.0 going to look like? If we are in the midst of an evolution, what have the big thinkers been able to conjure up about our futures online? Let’s take a look at some of the insights and theories put forth by the futurists, as us mere mortals breathlessly await the next big shiny thing to capture our hearts, minds and soul.
“What the BLEEP Do We Know,” a movie first released in 2004 went on to become one of the most successful documentaries of all time. Now distributed in over 30 countries, it has stunned audiences with its revolutionary mind-jarring blend of quantum physics and evolutionary thought. While widely popular and panned at the same time, this film is not a journey for closed minded, limited thinkers, or faint-of-mind folks. This is a mystical journey that leaves you curiously rooted in an upside-down-world of invisible unknowns that challenge every belief you’ve ever held sacred. I post it here, because in searching for answers to web 4.0 in our future, sometimes you need to take a trip down the rabbit hole, before you settle down to some more concrete realities.
In 2006, Jeff Moriarty, a Community Manager for Intel was bold enough to suggest that Web 4.0 was an “impending state at which all information converges into a great ball of benevolent self-aware light, and solves every problem from world peace to why Lost stunk last season.” However Jeff also had a small part on the “X-Files” so you might not be so inclined to agree with his epiphany.
On the Brave New World front, Nova Spivack is a technology visionary and entrepreneur with nearly two decades of experience in pioneering ventures. In 1994, he co-founded EarthWeb , one of the first Internet companies, where he helped key cultural institutions and businesses develop their first large-scale Web presences, including the New York Stock Exchange, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, BMG Music Club, Sony, AT&T and US West.
As a futurist and publisher of Twine, Spivack has been contemplating the past, present and future of the Web for quite some time. His timeline of technology from our prehistoric desktop era to our synchronistic future is depicted here.
As you can see, according to Spivak’s predictions we are currently at the tail end of Web 2.0, just starting to lay the groundwork for Web 3.0 or semantic technology which arrives in 2010 (start your stop watches). Web 4.0 or WebOS will be like middleware, where the Web will start functioning like an operating system,or what he calls, “the Intelligent Web.” Nova says he isn’t sure about exact dates or technologies on the top end of the map, but in his view each phase runs in approximate ten-year blocks.
E-Learning Queen is a company that focuses on real-world e-learning issues and emerging technologies. Susan Smith Nash, the founder who goes by the title “Queen’s Assistant” believes that Web 4.0 will include a array of sensors that will gather information from one’s environment to create a deep profile of our behaviors and activities.
Raymond Kurzweil is an inventor and futurist. He has been a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. predicts that by 2029, the WebOS will be parallel to the human brain. By that time, according to Kurzweil, “intelligent machines will combine the subtle and supple skills that humans now excel in (essentially our powers of pattern recognition) with ways in which machines are already superior, such as remembering trillions of facts accurately, searching quickly through vast databases, and downloading skills and knowledge.”
So are we approaching a moment in time when the Internet will actually transform into a “Learning Web,” where the Web is actually learning by itself, unprompted by humans? Seth Godin, popular speaker at Google and TED conferences and the man who popularized the topic of permission marketing believes Web 4.0 or Web4 (as he calls it) is all about “serendipity and the network taking initiative.”
Some of the future examples he conjures up sheds light on the potential innovation Web4 will be able to add to our lives…
- As a project manager, my computer knows my flow chart and dependencies for what we’re working on. And so does the computer of every person on the project, inside my team and out. As soon as something goes wrong (or right) the entire chart updates.
- I’m late for a dinner. My GPS phone knows this (because it has my calendar, my location, and the traffic status). So, it tells me, and then it alerts the people who are waiting for me.
- I visit a blog for the first time. My browser knows what sort of stories I am interested in and shows me highlights of the new blog based on that history.
- I can invest in stocks as part of a team, a team that gains strength as it grows in size.
- My PDA knows I’m going to a convention. Based on my email logs, it recommends who I ought to see while I’m there–because my friends have opted in to our network and we’re in sync.
As Godin sees it, Web4 is “coming from the edges (we see all sorts of tribal activities popping up in blogs, communities, rankings) as opposed to from the center. Web 2.0 happened in largely the same way…and it’s
entirely possible that Web4 will get here before the semantic web even though Web 3 makes it work a lot better.”
Well, there you have it, sports fans… some of the greatest thinkers of our day all looking into their crystal balls for answers to our digital futures. However, before leaving you, one additional theory did surface that I thought worthy of note. “Gnardonkeys” who describe themselves as “two funny guys from San Diego who naively think Twitter can make them famous” offer some gnarly insights into Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 and why we can’t afford to let Web 4.0 happen…
So which ever fork in the road you decide to take…happy travels down the Rabbit Hole or the Brave New World!
It’s been said about Julia Allison… “She can’t act. She can’t sing. She’s not rich. But thanks to a genius for self-promotion, she’s become an Internet celebrity.” Ms. Allison has learned the art of personal branding and specializes in distinguishing herself from the pack with a joie de vivre and an innate sense of knowing what to leverage when?
Marketing may be a dated term in this Web 2.0 world we live in…a hackneyed meme attributed to the billboard boys, TV execs and those Mad Men who ran fast and furious in the second half the 20th Century. With all the changes we have experienced in this last decade, Internet branding may have taken the place of Marketing while reputation management and its economy have definitely become the new black!
Like muscle building in fitness training, exercise is essential in building up one’s specs! Brand reputation is a discipline separate from traditional marketing campaigns. It recognizes that due to increased transparency and access to information, ‘traditional branding’ can no longer be fluff unsubstantiated. It can however be fluff substantiated as long as there is an audience to lap up the pablum that is being fed; e.g. the Paris Hilton syndrome. That is not… however… the case with Julia Allison.
With attention comes power and control over one’s destiny. People are now viewed in terms of their identification where personal branding now trumps actual products. In the case of Julia Allison, she learned early on that to make it in today’s field of journalism, she had to not only know her craft, she had to differentiate how to best use her craft to become her own story.
In a recent interview, when I asked Julia what prompted her to become an Internet Celeb, she quickly denied that such an unlikely path was her goal. “I think it would be a bit inane to say ‘Oh yes, I set out to become an ‘internet celebrity,’ as if I checked a box my senior year at the career center, next to ‘aimless law student’ and ‘soulless banker’,” she postured.
She also believes that “Internet celebrity is arguably the least useful media vocation one could fill, although some could make a case that “reality show star” trumps it, if only by sheer ridiculousity. And yes, I realize “ridiculousity” isn’t a real word. I couldn’t think of anything else that quite captured that genre’s inherent absurdity.”
With that said, there was a time early on in her career when it occurred to her that the conventional methods of query letters and job postings were not going to get her a job in journalism. “I had just graduated from Georgetown in May of 2004, and I moved to Newport Beach, California with my then fiance.” I thought, “I can write from anywhere. Which is true, technically. But what I didn’t realize was that editors gave assignments to writers they knew. And I couldn’t meet editors from anywhere but New York.” So she moved.
What followed was a number of humbling years of interning. where countless story pitches were overlooked by editors. “And that’s when I had that one ‘triggering event’ inasmuch as there was just one. I remember seeing a magazine cover featuring Tom Wolfe (in his signature white suit), and hearing from my friend Lloyd Grove, gossip columnist at the Daily News that Wolfe made $6 per word for his writing vs. my $50 per 700 word column.” It was at that moment she had her epiphany: “People would read Tom Wolfe simply due to their familiarity with his byline. Tom Wolfe had transformed himself into a brand.”
So a plan to brand herself was put into motion. “I thought – somewhat unconsciously at the time, later much more consciously – if people were familiar with me, and with my byline, I could: A) be able to publish my writing in a wide variety of publications, B) be able to write about what and whom I wished, and C) be able to make a decent living off of my writing.”
And she was correct! While familiarity can sometimes breed contempt, in today’s Web 2.0 environment it can also nurture micro-fame. “But, like any wish fulfillment scenario, it also comes with a multitude of unintended consequences.” Reputation is definitely a double-edged sword. While the public’s expectations are constantly changing, the very things that create celebrity status can sour and fall out of favor in an instant similar to the fluctuating fortunes of political careers.
Linked romantically with former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., her relationship was used in attack ads by the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Ford’s unsuccessful run for United States Senate in 2006. Allison tells the story without regret: “I went out with Harold a few times when I was a sophomore & junior in college. It wasn’t serious, but I was beyond naive about press (and hell, the world, really!) at the time, and I think quite a few people took advantage of that. But, you know … those were lessons I needed to learn, one way or another. Life hands you whatever lessons you need for the evolution of your consciousness (Eckhart Tolle) and in this case what I needed was a lesson on why you shouldn’t date politicians.”
She also put several publicity events together that spotlighted her ability to be innovative and controversial at the same time. On Halloween 2006, when Allison was dating a columnist for the newspaper AM New York, she solicited the costume designer who created the wardrobe for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (as she puts it: “no one has better costumes than Drag Queens”). What she ended up with was a Halloween costume made entirely of gold Trojan XL condoms, complete with a condom wand and pumpkin for distributing said condoms. She called herself the “Condom Fairy,” and as a result, the story has become the urban legend she “has never been able to live down!”
The press has said that “it’s easy to dismiss Julia Allison as little more than a rank narcissist” ¢â‚¬â€ and many of her vocal online critics have agreed. However, in Wired Magazine’s August 2008 cover story entitled: “Internet Famous: Julia Allison and the Secrets of Self-Promotion.” it details how she managed to storm the Internet with other unique events that received widespread attention. Once she invited handbag designer Mary Rambin and Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to dance in Jazzercise outfits in Times Square to Martha and the Vandellas’ ‘”Dancing in the Street,” which was filmed and documented by cameramen.
Here in a YouTube video following the cover story in Wired, Julia describes how she invests in her own “reputation economy” with Wired’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson.
However as previously mentioned, Julia isn’t the “Paris Hilton” fluff that sometimes gets applied to Internet Celebrities who reach for notoriety. In fact in early 2007, Julia expresses some of her own thoughts about the one-note overexposed wonder on Fox News…
Yes, there is rhyme to her reason and methods for her madness. Utilizing her brand awareness, she’s been hired in the “legit” world of corporate events – including keynotes and speaking engagements to top execs at Unilever, A&E, at DLD in Munich, at Next 6.0 in Denmark, at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, and at MediaBistro’s personal branding seminar.
She’s also been hired as a social media consultant for several companies, and as a brand ambassador with NonSociety for Kodak, Cisco, Axe and a handful of other entities. She’s an unofficial evangelist for Blueprint Cleanse (“I don’t receive payment, but do receive trade”), and was recently hired by Sea World in Orlando to launch their new roller-coaster, the Manta. “I believe in supporting companies and products I think are great, and I also believe that online entertainment has to pay its bills, and smart, ethical sponsorships are the answer to that,” she notes.
When asked what Internet fame has brought her, she thinks “it’s a bit early to say what it has or hasn’t brought me … but it certainly isn’t as if I’m now living in a West Village penthouse, paying for my Manolos with my black Amex while my bodyguards polish the tinted windows on my custom Escalade. I mean, I live in a studio. But you know, I’m pretty psyched that I can now afford health insurance.”
“The most important thing to me is to be able to share my life – my energy and enthusiasm and questions and confusions – through the work that I love – whether that’s a column or writing my blog or TV segments or my little chat show. And that is what the internet has allowed me to do, and so for that I am very, very grateful.”
“Listen, bottom line: there are consequences to every choice we make – each lifestyle we decide upon, whether public or private, whether as a lawyer or a journalist or a scientist or a hippie. Everything has pros and cons, and it’s up to you to do a cost/benefits analysis. No one else can do it for you. Anonymity and its accompanying privacy confers incredible freedom in one sense – you can make your life choices without a chorus of judgment. But there are some wonderful parts about being a bit more public – the ability to have a large scale conversation, to reach many people, to (hopefully) entertain, to think and wonder and learn and grow along with your audience. The opportunity to meet people you would never have met before, to embark upon experiences you couldn’t have imagined – the chance to have every day surprise you.”
In business school we learn that the ‘goal of management’ is to increase shareholder value. As it turns out, the definition of a ‘shareholder’ are those folks that have a vested interest in a company. While traditional business practices focus on the bottom line, brand reputation takes a more holistic approach on the importance of the individual. It recognizes that people can create value through excitement, buzz and celebrity leverage. Ms. Allison has learned to turn the old adage “its not personal, its business” on its head. In the world according to Julia Allison, “getting personal is her business!”
She poignantly sums it up as “I think everyone has a purpose in this world. Many times I’ve wished that mine were something more straightforward: to make people happy through song or dance or acting. Well. It’s quite clear I didn’t get any of those talents. But I can talk. I can write. I can wonder and I can share. It’s not much, but hopefully my little corner of the Internet gives people a bit of joy. I think that’s my life’s purpose. And for that I feel incredibly blessed.”
(Note: Also see my other Internet Famous stories on Nick Thune and Marina Orlova. If there is one common thread that connects Julia, Nick and Marina, it is their ‘joie de vivre,’ the joyous spirit they all bring to life, the roles they play and how they have all have found a unique way to fit into the grand scheme of the Internet landscape).
Remember the political refrain “it’s the economy, stupid!” first uttered in the 90′s and probably more applicable today then it was then? Well, while we are all wringing our hands trying to survive the financial ills that have blanketed our land, there is another economy sapping up just as much of our energy as the monetary one. And I’m not talking about the Information Economy. By definition, economics is the study of how a society uses its scarce resources. And information is no longer scarce. To the contrary…it is not only abundant, but its cup is forever running over. The Internet took care of that!
What is more scarce today however than the world’s diminishing oil reserves… is man’s attention.
So in case nobody formally informed you, welcome to the Attention Economy, where value is based on drawing attention to oneself. To understand this better, let’s contrast the Attention Economy to that of other economy: the wallet economy. In the wallet economy, instead of competing for a share of people’s attention, you’re seeking a percentage of their disposable income. Capital One built a whole advertising campaign around the value of not only carrying hard currency, but the clout that comes from credit cards… hence, the “what’s in your wallet?” ad nauseum TV ads.
The term Attention Economy was invented by the first introduced by Michael Goldhaber, who wrote a remarkably prescient piece in December 1997 in which he described a new arrangement in which the “flow of attention” metaphorically replaced money as the currency of the Internet. A book on this topic has since been written by Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck, with some of the basic principles laid down by Goldhaber.
In the Attention Economy, your value is no longer determined by your net worth… but more importantly…by your NET worth. Since the Internet encompassed our lives, think about how inexpensive it is for an individual or a corporation to disseminate their message to the masses. The paradigm has shifted. All of sudden talk is cheap, and it’s listening that garners significant value. Man needs interaction to determine his or her self worth. And no fat wallet is going to make us feel better about ourselves unless it is coupled with a little ‘attention currency.’
If this is a hard concept to swallow, just think about a world where you receive no acknowledgment from your fellow man. As Goldhaber puts it: “Living without feedback, even in the lap of luxury, would be for all (but a few recluses) barely living at all.” And that statement was made over ten years ago when the Internet was barely coming out of its digital womb. So how much cheaper is it to get your word out today and why is it so much harder to be heard. Because of the information explosion online, we no longer read – we skim. The news that lasted days now becomes old news in just a few hours.
Attention Economics is primarily concerned in getting consumers to consume advertising. Traditional media advertisers retained a model that follows consumers through a linear process called AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Attention is therefore the primary first step in the process of converting non-consumers. Since the cost to channel advertising to consumers is now sufficiently low and more ads can be transmitted to a consumer than the consumer can process, our attention becomes the scarce commodity to be allocated.
When information is abundant, the false positives are very costly and basically deal breakers. Web-surfers happily leave web sites, knowing they have plenty of alternatives. Unfortunately, this becomes a lose-lose situation, because if potential customers are not satisfied then sellers lose revenue. The idea behind the Attention Economy is to create a marketplace where sellers make buyers happy by providing them with relevant information.
It is important to realize that the key ingredient in the attention game is relevancy. As long as consumers see relevant content, they are going to keep coming back – creating more opportunities for sellers to sell. Statistics show that the longer a user stays on a web site absorbing content, the greater the odds they will be swayed by one’s brand message or sale of product.
Twitter with its medieval-like armies of “followers and followed” is a fitting example of how the Attention Economy works. The value of one’s fiefdom on Twitter is based on how many followers we have and thus how many people read our words. In essence we grow our power base as digital feudal lords by winning the attention of a huge army of followers. In place of food and shelter provided in the days of feudalism, we exchange information for one’s loyalty.
To put this in perspective, think about how many articles have been written about the “monetization” of Twitter, and the reluctance of the Twitter brass to roll out a business model just yet. I believe one of the reasons for this hesitation is based on the current state of Twitter. Since attention is the valuable commodity Twitter can offer its users, its enrollment growth has exploded exponentially. And the fiefdom of the Twitterverse continues to be a marketplace for the attention-deprived to thrive and connect.
According to Goldhaber, “if money becomes less reliable or less useful to prop up our standard of living, we would could be heading fast for a pure Attention Economy, whereby goods and services would flow directly to those who have attention from those who can provide the goods and services.”
While all of this is very abstract, how does this work in the real world? Well
some companies have been hard at work trying to hit the mark. Goldhaber offers up Apple and Google as two role models that have captured our imagination for years. But lesser known is the Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division that recently announced the launch of a new Facebook application called “Harmonize.” Here you have a platform that provides instrumentalists with the ability to connect with other artists worldwide in addition to presenting interactive advice from Yamaha artists, technique tips and performance opportunities.
Developed in a collaborative effort with R2Integrated, a leading creative digital marketing firm, CEO Matt Goddard noted that the goal of this application was predicated on “developing a tool that was not a time taker? The ability to share wisdom and tips with other artists quickly using the efficiency of the web was targeted as a time saver.”
So in an attention-deprived milieu, Harmonize was not trying to change behavior but rather provide another set of tools for an already existing behavior. According to Goddard, “our goals were long term. Not to try and create a one-and-done viral campaign, but for Harmonize to be the foundation for many customer related engagement activities, over the long-haul.”
Goddard believes, “the only way to overcome any distraction in our Attention Economy is to find the things that matter to your customers and get that piece right. Tools will come and go, mobile will soon take over and then something else. Getting people’s attention is going to be harder and harder over time.”
In a recent NY Magazine article,”In Defense of Distraction,” Sam Anderson notes that “Focus is a paradox¢â‚¬â€it has distraction built into it. The two are symbiotic; they’re the systole and diastole of consciousness. Attention comes from the Latin to stretch out or reach toward, distraction from to pull apart. We need both. In their extreme forms, focus and attention may even circle back around and bleed into one other.”
David Meyer, one of the world’s reigning experts on multitasking, says there’s a subset of Buddhists who believe that the most advanced monks become essentially world-class multi-taskers ¢â‚¬â€that all those years of meditation might actually speed up their mental processes enough to handle the kind of information overload the rest of us find crippling.
Anderson also underscored this point by noting that, “we recently elected the first-ever BlackBerry president, able to flit between sixteen national crises while focusing at a world-class level.”
According Goldhaber, Obama, in addition to managing the nation’s financial economy is also a master at managing the Attention Economy. “His whole campaign was strategic, where it netted him money, volunteers, and much loyalty. “There’s No One As Irish As Barack O’Bama” is a humorous folk song written in 2008 by the Corrigan Brothers. “The adulatory quality of this video, coming from Ireland, made Obama’s fan base seem that much larger, which also helped expand audience loyalty further, and win new fans for Obama domestically and internationally,” noted Goldhaber.
Similar to the Buddhist monks ability to multi-task, it appears that we are evolving as the Attention Economy matures. The next generation will have an easier time adapting to the ebb and flow of this phenomenon. Our kids will be able to juggle multi-levels of challenges while also conducting mindful web-surfing, dedicated Twittering and perhaps as Anderson sees it, the ability to live in syn ch with a world that offers a “zen-like state of focused distraction.”
Well, if you’ve made it to the end of this article, I give you props for providing me your undivided attention. Now if I can impose on you for comments and feedback, I promise I will give it my utmost attention as well. Also I welcome you to follow me on Twitter, where I run my own little fiefdom of presently 3334 followers!
For the naysayers who don’t believe the Internet can produce celebrity-status, I initially anticipated only doing a two-part series on the Internet Famous. However after the attention that surfaced from my “Nick Thune” and “Top Ten Internet SuperStars of 2009,” features, I slowly realized that the Internet is a virtual breeding ground for building (if not full-blown celebrity) then at least… micro-celeb status. The number of budding digi-stars are growing at a phenomenal rate online, with social media as its major catalyst, and some of their stories are downright incredible.
I tracked down some of the Internet’s biggest overnight sensations to see if they are truly exceeding their 15 minute of fame expiration date. While some have settled into lives of quiet anonymity ¢â‚¬â€ others are now making grand livings off their Net-based fame. Living beyond the Warholian dream, most of these innovative entrepreneurs are turning self-promotion into an art form. This is now the second part of non-ending series that will track the lives of the pioneers that exploring fertile territory to plow on the World Wild Web!
Marina Orlova is another superstar emerging from this digital landscape and her story is not only about becoming Internet Famous… at its core, its also about how one can achieve the American dream with just a little ingenuity and whole hell of a lot of online imagination.
Born in 1980 in the Nizhni Novgorod region of Russia, Marina attended the State University and received two teaching degrees while specializing in Philology and the English language. Upon graduation, she started teaching high school students in her hometown. However the opportunity was limited from a world-view perspective and when she got the chance to emigrate to the US, she seized it. About 5 years ago under an Au Pair program she was assigned to teaching an autistic boy in the States. It was during this period of time Marina had the opportunity to perfect her English skills, and deliberate on her next career move. When a friend introduced her to YouTube in 2006, she quickly came to an epiphany: “Here is how I can teach, not just 20 students, like back in Russia, …but rather thousands of students all over the world.”
Marina’s take on branding oneself is different from some of her counterparts. In a recent interview I conducted with her, she noted: “I used YouTube and YouTube ONLY to brand myself for the first couple years. Since my product is videos (and since) YouTube owns something like 60% of all video traffic…it made no sense for me to waste my energies elsewhere.” In less than 3 years, having produced over 400 videos with an explosive 183,117,864 views, she is currently ranked as the 16th most popular YouTube Celebrity tallying over 200,000 YouTube subscribers. In a recent video, she celebrated this landmark achievement:
In conjunction with her presence on YouTube, Marina also designed her own website. “I can give a more personal experience to the fans on my website and I can email my 50,000 members from time to time. Lately I have been using Twitter as my third outlet. I signed up a couple months ago (actually I had to email them as someone registered my username, but since I own the trademark on “hotforwords”, they were kind enough to give me my screen name.).. I am now up to 12,000 followers on Twitter, and it is working as a great way to keep driving people back to my website.”
Her advice to others that want to emulate her business model is to “set up one major (social network) outlet, like YouTube, and simultaneously set up a website and a Twitter account, all using the same name. Use YouTube as your sieve to then drive traffic to your website, where you will communicate with people on a more one-to-one level.. then use Twitter on your iPhone or Blackberry to let people know what you are up to, with pictures as well.. and use that as an additional sieve to again drive traffic back to your website!”
Today, Marina Orlova is often described as “too hot for words” and a “cunning linguist (puns intended)!” While Marina exploits her “blonde-bombshell” looks to the max, appearing scantily-clad in her video clips, she is far from being an “air head”. To the contrary, while being attractive is certainly an asset on the Internet, many would be hard pressed to compete with Ms. Orlova on an intellectual level. As she describes it, “intelligence is sexy!” And as testimony to her online popularity, her video on the derivation of the word “HOOKER” has received over 3 million views on YouTube.
As you probably have already guessed, Marina’s demographic is predominantly male (80% men and 20% women). However, differing from other attractive Internet Babes, according to Marina her audience actually skews older than the typical YouTube audience. Instead of YouTube’s typical “12 years old… my audience is 92% above the age of 21.. and 25% are between the ages of 45-54!”
More than just a One-Net wonder, if you want to catch Ms. Orlova on another medium, she appears once every other month or so on Fox’s TV Show, the O’Reilly Factor. Initially cautious about appearing with Mr. O’Reilly because she “was warned that Bill was a tough guy and to watch out,” she was pleasantly surprised at her reception. “I have had nothing but an amazing time every time I have appeared! It gives Bill a chance to get away from politics for a while and to discuss something he loves! And that is words!” So she discusses “word origins that may be timely.. such as political words during the election (and) romantic words on Valentine’s Day!”
As she describes the difference between the Internet and TV: “The Internet is all about 2 minute clips. PERIOD! People are not used to watching things longer than that. Which is very different from television where people will watch a half-hour show. So that is the disadvantage of the Internet.. you have to be brief. But the advantages are, you can reach soooo many more people.. they can tune into your videos any time of the day…they can watch them as many times as they want.. they can email them to their friends.. you can interact with your audience online. All of these things are difficult, if not impossible to do on TV.”
Looking forward, Marina just finished writing a book for Harper Collins, aptly titled: “Hot For Words” that will come out in August, 2009. “I am working on a game show idea for the net that could potentially exist on TV as well. But since everything seems to be moving toward the Internet, I will continue to keep making fun, interesting videos online! It’s a great job and I LOVE it!”
This month Marina can be found at the Cannes Film Festival where she will be interviewing and filming celebrities on a yacht for upcoming videos. So stayed tuned as our favorite word-smith continues to brand her celebrity-status. She’s definitely a lady that has a lot to talk about and in a language that is never lost in translation!
Continuing with our Internet Famous series, let me know which online superstars you would like to learn more about? Your comments and feedback are always welcome and feel free to twitter me at: http://twitter.com/roncallari with your ideas!
Who can reconcile the juxtaposition of a poetic ode to Detroit and a celebrity rap-bashing rant on the same album? Perhaps one produced and sung by the infamous Eminem! Has the bad boy of rap grown up or become a little bit more savvy of the times we live? A true Horatio Alger “rags to riches” story himself, Eminem appears to have been pondering the current state of the union during his recent 5 year sabbatical from the music industry.
With his new album “Relapse,” due for a May 19th release, we get an internal peek of Marshall Mathers’ introspection. In the city that gave birth to the auto industry, Eminem’s “Love Letter to Detroit” expresses his fear for its potential demise during our current economic crisis against a strong-willed optimism it will once again rise from the ashes.
“Detroit: There is a resilience that rises somewhere deep in your streets. You can’t define it, but you can feel it,” he speaks solemnly. “We can never turn our backs on you Detroit, because we are you,” he says. “We cannot be defeated because we’ve never been defeated.”
“When you hurt we hurt. Your streets witness our struggle. We remain Detroit. My home, the home of Motown, Cadillac and Joe Louis. You’ve built us, you’ve moved us, you’ve shaped us.”
The video shows various images of Detroit, from abandoned homes to city workers to some of the downtown’s most famous landmarks. It is a side of Eminem that has never been seen before. This is a personal tribute that underlies the collective zeitgeist of our country today. It speaks to when times are tough, we are more than the sum of our parts.
On the flip side, you have Em critiquing the actual world that allowed him to flourish…a world overpopulated by superficiality and lack of emotional connectivity. It’s the “reality TV” milieu that people use for escapism during hard times. It’s an arena where for a few fleeting moments common folk can become voyeurs of the rich and famous.
Here you have the return of the bad boy of rap chanting scurrilous vitriol. In the music video “We Made You!” which debuted exclusively on MTV’s “AMTV” April 7, you have Em seated on a throne, wearing a long blond wig and a cowboy hat (impersonating Bret Michaels), rapping to a chorus that includes a voluptuous Jessica Simpson-like singer and dancer.
This attack on the famous was directed by Joseph Kahn (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears), and it is merciless in its lampooning of celebrity culture. Featuring cameos from Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, the video and song lyrics mock a number of prominent celebrities, including Amy Winehouse and her estranged husband Blake Fielder-Civil, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian and even a scene where Em beds down the recent VP candidate Sarah Palin.
These are two very different perspectives of the life and times of America in the first decade of the new millennium, but insightful as to how we are reacting to and being affected by a troubled nation. Hats off to Slim Shady…it appears he has another hit on his hands. And while I am sure he will be rewarded handsomely at the next Grammys. it’s the time capsule of the American psyche that he has neatly packaged up in “Relapse” where he will be remembered for the long term.
As bleak as the economy appears…as deep as the stock market falls…its encouraging to hear there’s one arena that continues to thrive, even during recessionary times. If there is one industry that does not need to go to Congress with hat-in-hand, its online advertising!
Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. remain strong, topping $23 billion, according to the recent 2008 Internet Advertising Revenue Report, released by the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Despite a failing economy in the US, interactive advertising’s continued growth confirms the recognition of the medium’s dominance over other traditional forms of advertising. The old adage of “fishing where the fishies swim” is clearly the dynamic at work here, in reaching consumers online where they are spending more and more of their time.
By year’s end, 2008 tallied a record $23.4 billion, exceeding 2007′s previous record performance of $21.2 billion! This is the fifth consecutive year of record results. By comparison, a variety of sources demonstrated weakness in overall advertising spending that includes the traditional “push” advertising mediums of TV and print. The Nielsen Company reported that overall U.S. advertising for the full year was down 2.6% compared to the full year 2007.
The Report also indicated that revenue from online ads ¢â‚¬â€ which companies such as Google and Yahoo heavily rely on ¢â‚¬â€ totaled $6.1 billion in the last three months of 2008.
Going forward, a report was released by senior analyst David Hallerman on the the future of online advertising. He says that while paid search will continue to be the biggest growth sector in 2009, the appeal of ‘search’ is limited, in that it’s basically a direct marketing tool. He says that video is much more emotional and creative and has a greater ability to engage the online consumer with a ‘call to action’ message.
As far as how video revenue will break down in ’09, Screen Digest analyst Arash Amel believes Hulu will take in $120 million this year and tells Business Week it will match YouTube’s revenue for the first time by year’s end.
However, while the online space continues to look healthy, other analysts are more cautious in predicting the future. While they see the IAB report as encouraging, they are not totally sold. The good news is that Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. are still growing…the bad news: this growth appears to be flattening.
“My opinion is that the report gives a high-level snapshot of what is happening — but to get the true story, you have to dig deeper,” Anand Subramanian, CEO of ContextWeb and the operator of the ad exchange Adsdaq, told the E-Commerce Times.
“If you look specifically at growth for targeted advertising versus run of network or run of site, it’s a different picture. What we’re seeing is that targeted advertising, be it contextual or behavioral or geographical is actually going up,” Subramanian said, “and untargeted buys, like run of network [or] run of site, are coming down. This blended effect is what’s reflected in the IAB report.”
So stay tuned…because in my opinion the sure bet is still in favor of online advertising continuing to rise into the foreseeable future.
Today’s technology has given us all the power to brand ourselves in whatever way we see fit. No longer does one need an expensive PR agency or a full-blown advertising campaign to define who we are or how we want to be perceived. Similar to how corporate branding defines how a company distinguishes itself, personal Internet branding is the sum of all one’s online activities which then triggers an expectation about who you are. Perception trumps reality when one seeks fame on the Internet.
The Internet has transformed the world — connecting cultures, streamlining commerce and revolutionizing communication. Not unlike a mosquito-infested swamp, the Web has become a rich breeding ground for buzz and viral transmission. The ability to become a worldwide celeb and the concept of becoming famous for being famous perfected by Paris Hilton and others can be developed fairly effectively on the Internet, without ever meeting one of your fans face to face.
Twitter can lay some claim for this individual branding movement. Presently organizing a conference this June, 2009 in NYC aptly called the “140 Characters Conference,” Twitter’s reach reinforces one’s ability to gain notoriety quickly. With their intent of not only attracting established celebrities who use their social network (e.g. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher), Twitter is also focusing on the new-found celebs who have learned how to harness the power of the Twitterverse to do their bidding.
For the naysayers who can’t conceive the Internet producing celebrity status, this is the first part of a two part series that will provide you with insight to contrary. The number of budding digi-stars are growing at a phenomenal rate with social media as its major catalyst. I tracked down some of the Internet’s biggest overnight sensations to see if they are truly exceeding their “15 minute of fame” expiration date. While some have settled into lives of quiet anonymity — others are now making grand livings off their Net-based fame. Living the Warholian dream, most of these innovative entrepreneurs are turning self-promotion into an art form.
One of those bright new shining stars is Nick Thune, a Seattle-born comedian now residing in LA and pursing the American dream in the entertainment field. While Nick’s modesty inhibits him from admitting to being an Internet celebrity, as a working stand-up comedian Nick first reached world attention when one of his YouTube videos went viral in 2006. Directed by Ruben Fleischer of MTV’s hit reality show fame “Rob & Big,” Nick’s video entitled “Phone Tag” is a funny sketch about a young man struggling to accept a break-up with a romance gone sour. Also starring Olivia Munn, the video currently tallies almost 1 million page views on YouTube.
An even greater buzz was created with Nick’s production of “Masturbation.” As Nick tells the story, his stage work included a ‘masturbation’ joke that he thought would be even funnier as a short film. Once again with the assistance of Ruben Fleischer a film version of the joke was produce that took slightly longer than the actual act of masturbating! A week later, after editing, Ruben Fleischer met with Funnyordie.com, the comedy video website. In tandem with their website’s debut launch, they posted “Masturbation” on their front page directly below Will Ferrell’s infamous Landlord Video, and Nick’s jerk-off session went viral!
While Nick doesn’t believe that the Internet brought him notoriety, he does feel that the attention it creates with casting directors and fans is immeasurable. On his second appearance on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show in August,2007, Nick’s aptly named “Instant Messenger” stand up routine became an ‘instant’ success.
Nick’s latest project is called “Nick’s Big Show.” According to Nick,”it’s an undertaking” that he hopes will be his “last webseries,” and will act as a stepping stone “worthy of TV” exposure. On March 23, 2009, Atom.com, a digital comedy network and Comedy Central announced the premiere of “Nick’s Big Show.” This new six-episode mockumentary, available now at Atom.com and NicksBigShow.com, follows Nick Thune as he puts his comedy career on hold to do something much more important: “make people laugh because they’re crying so hard.”
One could ask after watching whether Nick really have a clock that reads It’s Go Time? Or Why does he own a pimped-out low rider limousine (driven by his assistant, played by the funny Kate Micucci) – and, for that matter, why does Nick even have an assistant? In Nick’s world, nobody asks these questions, and Nick’s world is a better place for it.
In coming weeks, “Nick’s Big Show” will be distributed widely to consumers across Atom’s multi-platform distribution network, including the “Atom TV” series on Comedy Central, mobile phone partners and other leading Internet destinations including iTunes, AOL, Dailymotion and xBox Live.
Internet Celebrity is not lost on Nick Thune. He appreciates what it has done to help mold his persona and allow him appeal to a growing fan base. But when asked if he tracks his website traffic, Nick mockingly points out that he has “someone track his websites…” as he doesn’t “wanna know numbers. I tell them to tell me if the numbers are low, then I’ll put more work into it. Do you think Picasso knew how many people had or will have seen his work? Is anyone (really) keeping count?”
Well in the case of Nick Thune, I think a lot of folks are keeping count and will be marking their calendars for his next TV appearance which just so happens to be April Fool’s Day, when he appears on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Tune in to see the next comedic superstar with humble Internet beginnings. He measures up… all “5 feet 16 inches” of him!
The way we listen to and access our music has changed over the years, but nothing in the music industry has steam-rolled quite as fast as what has transpired in the first decade of the 21st Century.
As the Beatles’ rock anthem of the late 60s reminded a nation:
You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution…
And as we all know, the one constant in life is change. Just when we were all starting to feel real comfortable gravitating from tapes and CDs to online music downloads, a new revolution of options is beginning to unfold.
Strangely enough, Apple has approved an iPhone application that actually might replace its iTunes music download model. Even odder is the fact the new app was created by David Dederer who’s in the process of reinventing himself. Previously the lead singer for The Presidents of the United States of America, a 90s alternative rock band, David is transitioning from his old job into his new role as VP business development for Melodeo,a music technology firm. Here, he has developed the PUSA app that will let users stream his band’s entire catalog of music over a cellular connection for less than the cost of a Big Mac.
Fans who buy the app will also get access to the band’s original 10-song demo tape Froggystyle, four albums, “lost” recordings, demos, and whatever else they can throw into the mix including live recordings updated regularly and links to the PUSA blog.
The sticky point for other bands and musical artists to follow suit is the copyright issues. One has to own all of the copyrights to a piece of music in order to distribute it this manner. Otherwise agreements and sign-offs would make it prohibitive. However if all the rights are owned outright, artists can sell their music in this new distribution channel.
Based on this innovative format, one could imagine the source of new-found wealth for artists that are sitting on publishing rights for bands that no longer perform. While there is still conjecture whether or not Michael Jackson owns the Beatles library of music outright, let’s assume for arguments’ sake he does. In this case, Michael, whose appeal has waned over the last decade, might be sitting on a small gold mine! If he could produce a Beatles app that contained over 150 songs, his financial and health worries might be over!
So while Dederer and the PUSA app are gaining traction off the fact they were the first to rock ‘n roll with this new technology, the popularity of The Presidents of the United States of America pales in comparison to the Beatles. Where the PUSA app will sell nicely at $2.99 each, one can only imagine how much Mr. Jackson might be able to hit us up for a Beatles app. Can you say Cha-Ching? Sorry Paul, but don’t think you were planning an Ebony & Ivory reunion any time soon, anyways!
In tandem with the PUSA model, iPhone is in the process of rolling out an “unlimited access” option where customers would have the opportunity to either pay a one-time lifetime access price to the iTunes’ music library, or a monthly subscription fee. What Apple will charge users for this service is still being ironed out, but recent sources have speculated a $100 fee for unlimited access to the complete iTunes library for the lifetime of their device, whether it be an iPhone or iPod. How that fee will shake down between owners, artists and Apple is still undecided and will probably take an army of lawyers to figure out.
In the meantime, be on the look out for the PUSA app. While it might not be the type of band that floats your boat, it’s currently the only one out there selling their entire body of past, present and future work for less than three bucks!
According to Ian Paul, a journalist for PC World: “Artists will always need labels to promote their music effectively….The music retailer, however, is not so important–a lesson that Tower Records discovered,” when they incurred the recent online download evolution of the industry.
So while currently the iTunes model enjoys success by basically replacing the physical record shop for the digital world, in the end, iTunes is still selling copies of music just like Tower Records did back in the day. However, the real revolution will occur if and when major artists feel they no longer need the middleman and can sell direct to the consumer. At that juncture, Apple may have to take a major step back to rethink the way it does business. And in a completely wireless world, this could become a reality sooner then we think.
So while we inch up to the end of the first decade of this new century, and music continues to soothe the savage beast, keep your ears open to the ever-changin’ music revolution that will continue to rock on, even beyond what we discussed here!