Virgin: Join in the Disruption – A crumbled attempt at formulating a new business plan and providing an entertaining key word for a blog post title…


“Join in the disruption

Take part in the debate


I found this post in our Berklee Master’s Class 2013 Facebook Group and after finding a general lack of inspiration on a particular topic, I thought this popular set of issues would be interesting to discuss.  Bring on the discourse.

(Yes, Virgin Marketing/R&D team, this is the part where you thank me for completing the survey you so eloquently put together.)

Are you a music fan? Are you a musician? Do you work in the industry?

Well, I’m here aren’t I? Therefore, there must be some sort of degree or level or resonance I have to this grouping of questions or perhaps I’m just trying to kill time while I polish of this Starbucks venti drip coffee (note, comparable large coffee cup sizes are extremely difficult to find in Valencia, and I do miss home. So this experience is killing two birds with one stone – I dislike using colloquialisms, but in this case the caffeine buzz is wearing off and I’m frantically looking at my word count).

Also, to satisfy the needs of those who are looking for immediate gratification, I’ve included my responses in a more ‘traditional survey form’

Key : (Y)es / (N)o
Are you a music fan? (Y)
Are you a musician? (Y)
Do you work in the industry? (Question Unclear  -- In which industry 
are you referring? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you mean 
the Entertainment Industry, because people haven't worked in the 
Music Industry in sometime [if ever]) – (N)o, but maybe one day.

Do you stream? Do you buy? Do you bypass the official routes and download for free?

I enjoy accessibility. I stream music, I purchase music and believe it or not, you do not have to bypass ‘”the official routes” to obtain music for free.  It’s actually a great tool for exposure and building conversation. See applications like NoiseTrade, Souncloud and Topspin.

**Please Note: If you too also plan on answering this survey or any other of this kind, it would probably prove beneficial not to make an admission of guilt to a corporate entity who will probably seek legal action against you – boo for entrapment and yay for Catherine Zeta Jones.

and again for some of you…

Do you stream? (Y)
Do you buy? (Y)
Do you bypass the official routes and download for free? (N)

Do you think music fans have a responsibility to support the artists whose music they consume by paying a fair price to listen to their output?

Whether you believe it or not, chances are at some point you are supporting an artist (e.g. live music, merchandizing, sharing and starting conversation). Although the recording sector is down, live music is up. The money has moved, but it’s still there. It’s similar to the transition from the Blockbuster to the Television screen. If you’re really asking this question, then you probably didn’t sign your artist to a 360 deal, although this is highly unlikely). So perhaps a more relevant question is: Do you support the record company who owns the artist’s copyright?

Do you think music fans have a responsibility to support the artists 
whose music they consume by paying a fair price to listen to their 
output?  (N) The only responsibility you have is to pay your 
taxes and that's only assuming you don't get caught otherwise.

Do you think music streaming services are damaging the music industry?

If you believe so, you’re foolish. You probably also went to the seventh Eagles’ “Farewell Tour.” Nothing against the Eagles, but you might also believe that records are making a comeback. Sure vinyl sales are up, but it’s not saying much if they’re coming from the basement (not to be confused with a literal basement, although I guess they come from there too). There was also a brief rise in yo-yo sales in the late nineties (I know, I had one, along with a small box of Slammers and Pokemon cards) but where are they now?

See, Nostalgia …

Music Streaming is Accessibility. Accessibility is Mobility and the Heat will probably win the Larry O’Brian trophy again this year.

The days of measuring an artist’s success over SoundScan is over.  Applications like Spotify and Youtube are all about social discovery. It’s the traditional non-GAAP sources that are more accurate measures of “success” rather than units sold. It’s how you provide additional value and monetize this success that will make you truly successful.

Do you think music streaming services are damaging the music 

If you’ve made it this far, cheers! Thanks for your time and consideration.

Niche Market Female Producers and the Fluidity of the Definition of “Producer”

It seems like the short list of women producers people tend to talk about consists of producers who produced hits from over 10-20 years ago. These are producers like Linda Perry, Trina Shoemaker, Sylvia Robinson, and Sylvia Massy. These producers, however, were successful when then definition of “producer” was still quite a concrete term and when there weren’t as many complex subgenres of music.

In those days, job titles in the record industry were much more easily defined. Today, being a “producer” can mean many things. There are many circumstances where there is a big overlap between “producer”, “songwriter”, and “artist”. Someone can write the beat for a hip hop track, create the synths for an electro house track, write the lyrics for an R&B track, or help arrange all these aspects together into a finished product. Many artists are also their own producers. Many are also DJs or also create remixes.

We really have to consider these factors when we try to figure out why we aren’t seeing as many standout female producers:

1. The industry is gaining more and more niche markets and genres.

2. The definition of “producer” has become more fluid.

3. Anyone can produce their own music as a result of technological advances and collaborate easily with anyone because of the internet.

That said, there are many great female producers (many of whom produce their own material) in underground, subgenre, or niche markets in the industry. Here is Tokimonsta, a producer from LA featured in MTV Iggy’s article “16 Female Producers You Didn’t Know Are Running Things” (see previous blog post):

Maybe the title of that article is a little misleading, because I wouldn’t say any of these producers are really “running things”. Yes, they are producers of some really good music, but they haven’t really produced hits in popular genres. They very well could be, but do they want to? That’s a different story… well, this is one way to gain notoriety:

Apparently Diplo loves her.

Female Producer of the Week


Lisa Chamblee Hampton- CEO, Black Fox Entertainment, executive producer, Making Music Herstory 

Why she’s awesome:

Worked with several Grammy nominated artists- Prince on his 3121 album and also with Justin Timberlake on his Future Sex/Love Sounds album. Founded her own production and engineering firm, Black Fox Entertainment, in 2004. She has also done recordings for artists like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Eric Benet, and Ledisi.

What she is doing to put female producers in the spotlight:

She founded a project to feature all female artists, producers, writers, and engineers called “Making Music Herstory” and also moderated a panel at NAMM 2011 (one of the world’s largest music product trade shows) called Women Behind the Console: Inside the Process.

Why this project is important:

This project features and makes known female producers who could potentially be role models for women who want to pursue the profession. The fact that it was discussed at NAMM along with the panel gave the project great publicity. The project, if marketed in the right way, could reach and inspire many.