Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why Was 2015 the Year of the Blockbuster?

taylor-swift-adele-star-wars-viewsAs everyone reads about how Star Wars closed out the biggest global opening in history (even accounting for inflation), it’s interesting and important to consider why 2015 was– in many ways– the year of the blockbuster.

Star Wars
Jurassic World
Adele
Taylor
These blockbusters aren’t just big for this year; they are all among the biggest hits in history for otherwise besieged industries.
As we talk about the atomization of media and content, the opposite end of the spectrum seems to be happening in a bigger way than ever.

Now, it’s not news that in industries like music and movies, the success of a very few number of blockbusters drives virtually all of the profitability of these industries.  There have been books written about how the only sane business strategy in these industries is to shoot for these big hits.

And it’s not news how multiple revenue streams depend on these blockbusters; the business model of Disney that was drawn in 1957 is still largely intact.
What is news, and what asks to be answered, is why– right now– blockbusters are bigger than ever.
Is it that the internet, just as it enables a higher degree of personalization than ever, also creates a “can’t miss out” network effect that makes these global water cooler moments more compelling than ever?  Perhaps.
Is it that, on some deeper sociological level, that while we fall deeper and deeper into our smart phone cocoons, we yearn for cultural entities like these that can bring us all together?  Perhaps.
With a six-week old daughter in the mix, it’s not terribly realistic for me to promise that now is the time for me to get back to writing more frequently.  But, for a variety of reasons, the reasons behind the year of the blockbuster are important to me.  So I’ll be back soon (probably) with more thoughts on this.

Hello, Again.

In years past, the passage of 18 months would mean that you’d be listening to different music. Now, eighteen months fundamentally changes how you’re listening to music.

Over the course of the past year and a half, I’ve spent many of my work days up close with many of the topics on which I used to opine on this blog. Paradoxically, I’ve been too busy to write at a time when I’ve had plenty to say.

With this realization, I’ve resolved to get back to writing.

For those of you who used to visit, some things will be the same. I’m still the same guy who has been obsessed with music since before he could remember. My enthusiasm for foisting musical recommendations on anyone and everyone hasn’t waned.

But, as they should, some things will change. I won’t be posting (m)any mp3 links, because my music behavior has changed along with most everyone’s.  And my writing will probably lean more toward the professional than the personal, as much of what I’m going to cover will relate to topics that I’m tackling in my professional career (albeit without all the confidential bits).

So let’s see if I can get back to merging the professional and the personal in ways that you’ll find interesting.

As always, thanks for reading.

John

Hipstamatic Pop

With its slouchy swagger and doo-wop touches, The Generationals produce pop music put through a musical Hipstamatic.  But this woozy jangle is the perfect pop soundtrack for the afternoon interlude between Easter feasts.

Ten-Twenty-Ten, The Generationals

My Moment of Musical Mortality?

Dubstep makes me feel old.

I keep telling myself that, empirically speaking, dubstep isn’t far from drum and bass or grime: genres that I loved when they each took their turn as the “it” sound.  But, time and time again, whenever I actually hear dubstep I find myself fumbling for the fast forward button and murmuring to myself.

So is this it?  Is dubstep the first genre for which I am– officially– too old?  Should I just take a deep breath and start searching for pleasantly familiar reunion concerts?

As I looked into the abyss of my musical mortality, I came across the following track.  It is, definitively, dubstep.  But I genuinely (kind of) like it.  Sure, it’s got the angry haunted house video game overtones that I still can’t quite grasp.  But it has a touch of melody, yet is still produced by a group with a name like Skream & Example.  Skream– with a k!  That’s not for old people!

Shot Yourself In The Foot Again (Extended Mix), Skream & Example

See you soon…

Just a quick note to let y’all know that I’ll be away for a week.

Embarking upon my oft-delayed, once-rescheduled, long-anticipated escape to the land of sand and swim up bars.

Please do come back in a week.  It’ll be time to finish off the 30 Days of Music, and launch the experiment that I think will be an interesting way to spend the next 30 days or so.

Hasta luego.

Holiday Mix 2008

By request, here is 2008’s holiday mix (which, that year, actually was sent out around the red-and-green themed holidays).  It’s obviously inflected by an Obama-esque theme, but I hope that it’s enjoyable regardless of what side of the aisle you’d inhabit.

If I’ve done everything correctly (?), all you have to do is click here and you’ll be able to download a zip file of the individual tracks (which, if played in order, should still feel mix-like).  Apologies if there are tech hiccups; first time at this.

Here’s the cover art if you’re interested.

As always, comments and compliments always welcome.

Serendipity

During an otherwise difficult day, I looked down at the sidewalk and saw this.

No staging, no photo manipulation, it’s just right there.

Makes you think.