Archive for March 2008

Ahh…another RCRD LBL/branding/marketing connection!

via Adam Crowe is Paul Isakson’s presentation “What’s Next in Marketing & Advertising” found here or here on Slideshare. One point Isakson makes is that brands need to connect through content. Specifically, “content is the new currency”. Isakson points to RCRD LBL as proof in slide 51. hehe. Yes, they certainly have made enough of an impression on me that I’ve now blogged about it numerous times, have joined is fan page on Facebook, and have told my good friends about it.

Recently I wrote about Scion’s new site that lets creative-minded folks make their own logos. I also recently posted some stuff about RCRD LBL. In one post, I told you that I downloaded Kid Sister’s “Pro Nails (Big Raiders) Remix”. Now here I sit at Vera’s Cafe in Uptown (Minneapolis). Vera’s is one of those cool neighborhood cafes (coffee/food/alcohol/music/free wi-fi/good people-watching etc.!) where you can pick up flyers for local shows, local city guides, etc. Upon walking in, what do my beady little eyes spy? A cd…free, of-course…so I paw it and take a look:

It’s a Scion cd sampler (v.20), mixed by LA Riots, who are DJs Jo’B and Daniel Ledisko. A quick scan shows Kid Sister’s “Control” is no.9 on the mix. Now I’m thinking…Scion is impressing me lately. The packaging reads “Scion’s commitment to artistic expression provides a platform for passionate musicians to focus on developing their art and exploring the endless possibilities.” To learn more about Scion/Audio/Visual (SAV) check out scion.com/SAV. Here you can listen to this particular mix, previous mixes, and future mixes.

When I saw the new and mostly unheard of (to me) artists, including the Kid Sister mix, my mind went back to RCRD LBL and their devotion to the new and emerging talent of musicians. And of-course, I also made the positive connection to Scionspeak. It’s one thing (and probably not always very effective) for brands to attach themselves to so-called ‘cool’ ala the Samsung/Armani phone. (Does the Samsung customer connect with the Armani lifestyle? Maybe. Need to read more on this probably.) And then, it is quite another when a brand does its homework, works to give its users/fans/etc something meaningful (to their lives) and speaks to their interests. Scion’s movement to recognize the progressive and lively street culture just makes sense for this brand. Does it make sense for Armani to brand a Samsung phone? Thoughts?

This makes me wonder what comes first the chicken or the egg? Injury vs. stress, stress vs. injury. (‘injury’ here not necessarily meaning significant physical pain) “Stress, which evolved in part to keep you alert under threat of attack, triggers the immune system in preparation for healing wounds. The immune response then leads to sickness behaviors like fatigue and social withdrawal.” I was aware of the mind-body connection, in the influence the mind has over the body if it thinks it is sick (physically, emotionally, etc) but the immune tidbit is new to me. Just another reason why we should all take some extra time to de-compress and smile about the good things in our lives.

via Psychology Today, see Mind Your Body: Beating a Retreat

Toyota is doing something that is a great example of a brand listening to their audience. At Scionspeak.com, you can create your own car logos, which you can save to the gallery, print, our (for $) have applied to your car. Sounds pretty cool. I played around with the designs today and I don’t even own a Scion. (Toyota is focusing on building brand affinity with current Scion drivers, but if non-drivers start thinking about the Scion differently from this new user-designed oriented experience, I’m sure Toyota would welcome this.) Also see a full article from the New York Times.

My logo/crest “Lady Poet The Explorer”633419675149041763.jpg

Also, Jinal at Constant Beta reminds brands of the importance of listening. While she calls out the value of the web, her point hits upon the general relevancy of brands being good listeners.

Four days ago I wrote about RCRD LBL, the new online record label/music blog. At that time, there were 1,405 RCRD LBL fans on Facebook. Today I see it has risen to 1,453 fans. That doesn’t seem too shabby for only four days. Meanwhile, the number of bookmarking actions to del.icio.us has only increased by 11. Does anyone know how many users are on del.icio.us compared to Facebook? My assumption is that Facebook is much, much more widely used.

It looks like RCRD LBL posts each week’s featured downloads on Fridays. The past week’s list of 29 songs can be found here. Reviewing what I’ve downloaded, here are some numbers and lists (which may or may not be of interest):

1. # of featured songs I’ve downloaded in the last four days: 8, which = 29.6% of weekly list

2. # of total songs I’ve downloaded in the last four days: 17

3. featured songs I really like: “Paper Float (Scott Through Remix)” by Cassettes Won’t Listen. There’s something very dreamy and moody about this song that just makes the tune unique. “Talk To Me (Devlin and Darko remix feat EMarce)” by MINK. It’s quite upbeat, and, as Faith-Ann Young writes, “is that a cowbell I hear?”. Sure sounds like it around 30 seconds in!

Other new favorites of mine not from the featured download list:

1. “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver. I think I read somewhere that he isn’t referencing a lost love, contrary to what you’re conditioned to think when you hear a song like this with the word “love” in the title.

2. “Fake Baby” by Bad Veins. What is the meaning of “I’ve got you, fake baby”? Hmm…still thinking about this one…

3. “Gold and Warm” by Bad Veins. Feel-good tune to rock out to when you’re in a great mood and can’t stop smiling like the goofball that you know you are.

4. “Pro Nails (Big Raiders Remix)” by Kid Sister feat. Kanye West. Gotta appreciate the line “always fresh like my Girbauds”, right?

5. “Control – Metro Station Remix” by Steve Aoki. This song will make you want to loose control, at the club…on a table; it’s pretty damn crazy. In a good way.

These are my weekly picks. From angsty rock, to trippy rap, to frenetic electronica…a nice reflection of the variety that awaits discovery, like fat juicy bugs underneath a rock. Mmm. Thanks RCRD LBL.

Here is something that has gotten me quite excited: RCRD LBL. They are an “online record label releasing exclusive and completely free music from emerging and established artists” but also offers a “curated roster of independent record labels offering free MP3 downloads and multimedia content in blog format”. (It is also worth mentioning that the founders are Peter Rojas of Gizmodo and Engadget and Josh Deutsch of Downtown Records.)

I’m not sure if it’s the crazy tempo of Steve Aoki’s remixed “Control” or my elatedness at finding a music site that is easy to look at, gives me fresh, emerging artists, AND free tunes…but I felt so compelled to share so please do yourself a favor (if you love music, discovery, and/or freebies) and poke around.

Here’re just a few things you can do at RCRD LBL.com:

1) Discover new music/artists – by name or genre. If you love someone, add them to your RSS feed to stay on top of their news.

2) Sample tunes via various players

3) Download music (not sure how this works for PCs, but my download became a Quicktime file. I simply dropped it into my iTunes player and was able to play from there. At first I got a bit nervous and agitated that I might have to play each mp3 alone in Quicktime, hah.)

4) Catalogue and track favorite RCRD LBL artists – you create a profile and any time you come across self-approved music, hit “add” to your list

5) Very smart – widget app to stay up-to-date on artist info, photos, tours, etc

Now what you can’t do (and what they should add, in my humble opinion):

1) Unless I’m blind, I don’t see genre listings for each artist. For example, if I’m listening to Bad Veins, nowhere does it tell me how RCRD LBL has classified it. This would be helpful because you can search tunes according to genre. The tag cloud here is varied, but I don’t see a connection between that and the individual artist ‘pages’ where you listen to their music.

2) RCRD LBL is not a social networking site, but because they allow you to create a profile, I am left wanting to connect with others, to see what they’re listening to (like Last.fm I suppose), but there is no ‘add user’ option. The main service of this site being to offer up new music by basically acting like one huge directory, it makes sense that they limit the user interaction. Or does it? If I’m looking at Pink Starr’s profile, what am I getting? Just a list. She can recommend other non-RCRD LBL artists, but can’t blog about them or her other musical tastes.

3) Again, maybe this is somewhere and I have yet to find it, but, I would find RCRD LBL a bit more useful if they offered a player that tracked all of your favorite songs as you played them (again, like Last.fm?), even though you can download and keep for yourself. For example, what if you wanted to download a song but couldn’t at the time (i.e., you’re not using your computer, time ran out, lurking co-worker popped by?), so you can add the song to your ‘player of favorites’ to download later.

Other notes of interest:

1. According to del.icio.us, only 857 users (on del.icio.us) have saved RCRD LBL, though I’m sure this is fast landing on the radar of many as I write.

2. Last week I became a fan of RCRD LBL on Facebook. Currently, there are 1,405 fans.

3. RCRD LBL only launched in November (11.15.07) so I am sure their user/fan-base will shoot up over the year. Interestingly, RCRD LBL sees revenue strictly via its advertising and sponsorships (remember, it’s an online record label, not just a source spewing new music for us to immediately sample).

4. Various streaming music players are branded by the likes of BMW, PUMA, Nokia, and Nikon. These players = widgets. Clever. (because it’s useful for us and useful for the brand sponsors) Just click “grab this” and choose where you want the widget to live.

For an in-depth perspective from, and on RCRD LBL, see PSFK’s interview with co-founder Peter Rojas. 

Lately I’ve been tempted to start posting links, as so many throw up ‘Links of the Day’ posts…but before I get addicted to that (as I’ve heard it is), let me today post a link to a new site I came across a few minutes ago:


A quick click through told me it’s a design site (online store with lots of goodies) geared for parents who wish to pass down values of sustainability to their children. Using organic fabrics, sustainable materials, and producing their creations in Earth-friendly ways, they aim to be “the starting point for parents to share the joys of good design with their children”.

Aside from offering cribs, strollers, lamps (adorable, in animal shapes and various colors), they also offer albums, featuring lullaby renditions of The Beatles, U2 and Coldplay most dreamy and gentle tunes. The albums’ descriptions sound so sweet, you may want to purchase some for yourself if you need help relaxing after a long day at work.

The Beatles lullaby renditionsColdplay lullaby renditions



del.icio.us mmm

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