Gowalla SXSWi Breakthrough

The SXSWi themes this year were mobile and games. The keynote by the SCVNGR kid got me dreaming of how I might use a location based service to augment gigs, possibly in remote settings. My mind has been reeling with ideas for mobile apps and ways to use location to enhance, reward, share, and show what I’m doing musically.

How can I use location based mobile enhancement when I'm playing by a creek?

So I was thrilled to find this panel today, Rockin’ the Check-in: Location Strategies for Musicians, where the Gowalla music dude (@jimcaroll) testified to what a huge, wide open potential there is for collaboration. Here are my notes and some clues for where to begin.

  • develop a custom badge
  • give fans status/rewards for check-ins and more check-ins
  • musicians, indie artists aren’t using LBS, huge potential
  • a few have: Josh Grobin, Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, Better Than Ezra, Old 97’s
  • integrate with Soundcloud and Hipdigital
  • Weezer offered a download for checkin at concert, best price on album, millions of views, chance to win trip to concert
  • OYA – Norwegian Festival that utilized completely (700+)
  • The National offered an album for a checkin at a record store
  • make a map of artist’s favorite places (to play, to see music, to eat, etc.)
  • create an experience (the digital natives expect it)
  • develop using the API, lots of potential for combining available data in cool new ways
  • the MP3 is dead, long live the API!
  • links available at http://www.delicious.com/clroyal/rockcheck
Gowalla Mural

I need to put some natural settings on Austin's music map. What better way than Austin's own Gowalla?

Guy Kawasaki on Enchantment

I saw Guy Kawasaki talk about his new book today at SXSWi.

Enchantment Infographic

Here’s what Guy had to say about creating enchanting customers as today’s talk about his new book, Enchantment.

  • Project Likability
    • Great smile
    • Dress as a peer
    • Perfect handshake
  • Demonstrate Trustworthiness
    • Trust others first to build trust
    • Be a baker, not an eater (bring more to the table, don’t bring a ‘zero-sum’ attitude and try to get as much for yourself)
    • Default to ‘yes’
  • Get Ready
    • Do something great (DICEE: deep, intelligent, complete, empowering, elegant)
    • Make it short, sweet and swallowable
    • Conduct a pre-mortem – Pretend it fails, talk about why, then preemptively address those factors
  • Launch
    • Tell a story (Mine: I wanted a place as gorgeous and relaxing as the songs)
    • Plant many seeds (send to tons of people, diversity of bloggers)
    • Use salient points (iPod – NOT that it’s 32 GB, that it holds 4000 songs)
  • Overcome Resistance
    • Find a bright spot
    • Provide social proof
    • Enchant the influencers
  • Endure
    • Don’t use/rely on money (typically the enemy of enchantment)
    • Invoke reciprocation
      • When thanked say, “I know you would have done the same for me.”
      • Let people pay you back
    • Build an ecosystem (view your sector in totality, build partners)
    • Be able to present, speak, pitch. (customize introductions. do something local before presentation to refer to, show of interest)
    • Sell your dream
    • 10 slides, 20 mins, 30 pt. font
  • Technology
    • Remove speed-bumps
    • Add value through: insight, information, or assistance
    • Respond w/in 24hrs., engage many people, often
  • Enchant Up
    • Drop everything for your boss’s requests
    • Prototype and run by fast
    • Deliver bad news early
  • Enchant Down (provide a M.A.P)
    • Teach mastery
    • Provide autonomy
    • Work for a purpose

Narrowing In On A Niche

I’m trying to ask all the hard business questions about where I fit  in the music world. I try to continually remind myself that the goal is to find a niche, and better yet, to define a niche.

The Only One

So here’s the current hypothesis: My niche is palm-tree poetry. Good lyrics, upbeat, laid-back song for enjoying warm weather outside, a sunny day by the water.

What is the need?

I am the anti-dote to fast, frenetic, noisy songs that leave you with nothing: no memorable lines, no sweet melodies. You can’t hear the singer, the lyrics are crap, and there’s too much going on. The need is for classic songwriting, easily heard and understood. The need is for music outside the box, outside noisy venues, outside on a gorgeous day.

What is my answer?

Laid-back literate reggae, roots, and soul music, with horns and backup singers. The message is mystical, thankful, thoughtful and loving.  The answer is for a break from the noise, the job, being inside, being busy. The need is for nature, celebration, community.

Who’s in this space?

  • The international laid-back reggae, soul, folk-rock scene:  Ziggy Marley, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson
  • The local reggae, soul, world/folk scene: Grimy Stiles, Suzanna Choffell, Killer Bees (Papa Mali), Dan Dyer?
  • The outside, outdoors, beach music feel: Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffet,
  • The doodling poet: John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jason Mraz, Hugh MacLeod, Austin Kleon
  • The local channels: Flamingo Cantina, KUT, KOOP, KGSR, The Chronicle, Flipside

Music Mapping

As Ian Rogers advises:

If you really dig your artists and you love his or her songs, then my advice here is to seek out at least ten people that each have ten years of solid music industry / music making experience and then challenge each music industry professional to point out, describe and contrast similar songs. Judgments aside, similar song/artist analysis – produced by people that regularly traffic in music – is going to give you the essential, comparative marketplace information you need to make an informed investment decision.

I’m after that “comparative marketplace” information.

I found Music Map this afternoon as I was investigating ways of determining artists I sound like or may be somehow sonically related to. It’s pretty limited, but it helps for making some connection suggestions. Here’s the map for Stevie Wonder.

stevie-wonder-music-map

Here are the folks I listed as somehow sharing characteristics:

  • Arto Lindsay
  • Ben Folds
  • Ben Harper
  • Bill Withers
  • Billy Bragg
  • Billy Joel
  • Bob Durough
  • Bob Dylan
  • Bob Marley
  • Cake
  • Cat Stevens
  • Culture
  • Damien Rice
  • David Gray
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • Donovan
  • Gil Scott Heron
  • Jack Johnson
  • Jackson Brown
  • James Blunt
  • Jason Mraz
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Jimmy Cliff
  • John Lennon
  • Manu Chao
  • Maroon 5
  • Michael Franti
  • Paul Simon
  • Peter Tosh
  • Prince
  • Rancid
  • Squeeze
  • Steely Dan
  • Stephen Stills
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Sublime
  • The Beach Boys
  • The Clash
  • The Gladiators
  • The Kinks
  • The Pixies
  • The Police
  • The Shins
  • Tom Waits
  • Toots and the Maytals
  • Van Morrison
  • Violent Femmes
  • Wyclef Jean
  • Ziggy Marley

Any other artists come to mind?

Social Animal

When Anais fell asleep in my arms this weekend, there was, luckily, an old New Yorker beside the recliner. I grabbed it with my free hand and greatly enjoyed David Brooks’s article, Social Animal. Here is a long lovely closing passage.

“I guess I used to think of myself as a lone agent, who made certain choices and established certain alliances with colleagues and friends,” he said. “Now, though, I see things differently. I believe we inherit a great river of knowledge, a flow of patterns coming from many sources. The information that comes from deep in the evolutionary past we call genetics. The information passed along from hundreds of years ago we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago we call family, and the information offered months ago we call education. But it is all information that flows through us. The brain is adapted to the river of knowledge and exists only as a creature in that river. Our thoughts are profoundly molded by this long historic flow, and none of us exists, self-made, in isolation from it.

“And though history has made us self-conscious in order to enhance our survival prospects, we still have deep impulses to erase the skull lines in our head and become immersed directly in the river. I’ve come to think that flourishing consists of putting yourself in situations in which you lose self-consciousness and become fused with other people, experiences, or tasks. It happens sometimes when you are lost in a hard challenge, or when an artist or a craftsman becomes one with the brush or the tool. It happens sometimes while you’re playing sports, or listening to music or lost in a story, or to some people when they feel enveloped by God’s love. And it happens most when we connect with other people. I’ve come to think that happiness isn’t really produced by conscious accomplishments. Happiness is a measure of how thickly the unconscious parts of our minds are intertwined with other people and with activities. Happiness is determined by how much information and affection flows through us covertly every day and year.”

My Desktop

I had a lot of fun this evening making a custom header for this site. It’s as close a representation I can make at the moment of my actual desktop and the man in front of it. I tried to keep everything to scale by comparing it to the sketch pad, on my desk, then in the digital image.

  • headphones (nicer than mine)
  • Boss TU-12H tuner
  • Strathmore sketch pad (spiral on top for this leftie)
  • Pilot G-2 ball-point pen
  • Android phone
  • a pile of guitar picks
  • M-Audio Fast-track Pro USB audio interface
  • iMac (nicer than mine, but with actual wallpaper)
  • Olympus LS-10 audio recorder, on and recording
  • Canon G11 camera
  • Boss DD-5 digital delay pedal
  • Tazo Chai tea
  • chocolate chip cookies