Trying to think of something witty.

Location: Oregon, United States

Here is why I put my long(er) ramblings, well, at least the stuff I pretend the think about BEFORE posting. Here is my primary site.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Season's Change

This is a follow-up/continuation from my myspace blog

With all of this heat going on in the Pacific North West, I thought it would be nice to compare how things normally are here, compared to South East Texas, where I used to live.

From the almost 10 months that we have been here, we have gotten to see a decent pattern to the seasons. Just about every three months, the season's change. Those seasons pretty much line up with how things are supposed to work, which is quite different from SETexas.

You see, in SETexas, summer is a little longer, and the rest of the seasons are shortened versions of themselves. Summer normally starts by the beginning of April. My reasoning for this, is that the entire month of April will see highs in the 80's, while March can see some highs down into the low 70's. Therefore, April starts off the summer, or what I like to call Summer I. This is categorized by highs slowing building from the low 80's, to the low 90's in late July. Also, the average rainfall goes from .1 inches, to .25 inches. Of course, the rain never comes like that, you can have a week with no rain, followed by one day of over 3 inches. Also, there is a slight paranoia and nervousness with the beginning of hurricane season.

August begins Summer, part two, the revenge. With August, the highs have levelled off in the 90's, but it gets warm fast each day. You know it is Summer II, when the phrase "80 by 8, 90 by noon," can be used on a daily basis. With August, however, a new problem emerges, hurricanes. Although hurricane season started back with June, it is not until August that Atlantic hurricanes become a threat.

October finally finishes out Summer II, and pretty much the end of the hurricane season. The daily highs start dropping lower and lower until it drops just below the 80 degree mark by October 31. Note, that is the average, it can either be in the 80's on Oct 31, or below 70. Either shorts, or a light jacket (by SETexas standards).

November brings about fall, which will last until late December. No really cold temperatures, at least by anyone else's standards. For November, the 20 degree split has the highs around 70, and the lows around 50. This trend continues through the end of December, with the highs reaching 60, and the lows dropping to around 40, though you will still have your occasional 80 degree day once in a while, and the occasional day where the high doesn't even make it out of the 30's. These two days, can happen in the same week, almost back-to-back even.

With January comes winter, which simply continues the temperatures of fall, but with fewer 80 degree days.

With February, we start the see the temperatures climb back up, with the coming of spring. Highs start to approach 70, with more 80 degree days than in the winter month. March continues this trend until the start of summer on April 1.

That about finished that.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Nettwerk gets it, and gets it right.

In 1995, Jerry McGuire hit movie screens around the nation. The show will always be remembers for it catchy lines like "show me the money," "you complete me," and "you had be at hello." Those lines, however, are not the crux of the film. The story really centered around Jerry's realization that the sports management company he worked for, needed to refocus. What they needed was:

fewer clients.... More truth. We must crack open the tightly
clenched fist of commerce and give a little back for the
greater good.

Given that 1995 was the middle of an economic boom, such ideas sounded against common sense, even revolutionary. That idea of not spreading yourself wide and focusing on a handful of core clients may have seemed new, but Terry McBride, Mark Jowett and Ric Arboit, could have said "been there, done that, got the t-shirt."

These guys founded Nettwork in 1984. They act as both management for artists, and even as a record label for some of those artists. They have always kept a small roster of artist, theoretically so that they could provide top-notch management to them. Even today, over 20 years later, they only manage around 100 artists, but this includes such big names as Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies and Dido.

Along with working closely with their artists, Nettwerk also "gets" something that other music companies don't, they respect their fans and embrace new technology. The have worked with new technologies, multimedia, downloadable music, and working with online resources.

As far back as 1995, they were working with artists to make multimedia cd's. While they used Macromedia's technology to make the interface, they used standard formats for their video elements. As recently as last November, they helped the Barenaked Ladies release the "Barenaked on a stick," as 128MB USB drive with video clips, audio elements, and pictures from their new projects. All of these were in Quicktime, MP3 and JPG formats, without any DRM. Even the MP3 files you can purchase from the Nettwerk site are DRM-free. On their about page, Nettwerk states that:

Litigation is destructive, it must stop .... as per Nettwerk
copyrights, we have never sued anybody and all our music is
open source to encourage fans to share it with others and
help us promote our Artists. As per those Artists we manage
on other labels (Majors), we take issue with those labels
claiming that litigating our fans is in our interest, as it
clearly is not.

That alone shows that they respect their fans, but Nettwerk continues to push the edges of marketing by embracing online resources. This isn't just the usual web sites, which have been around for nearly 10 years, but with community sites like MySpace. While over 90% of Nettwerk artists have a web site, over 75% percent have a MySpace page. These pages includes songs to listen to, songs to download, videos, and blogs from the artist. Nettwerk has even helped their artists get their pages up, and even provided management of those pages, such as handling friend requests, comments, messages, and posting the blogs for the artists. Nettwerk even has their own MySpace pages for their various businesses, where they include links to their artists pages.

Nettwerk believes that the best way to get the message out is to make personnal connections to the fans. Through interviews with bloggers, and with their seminars for upcoming bands, they have expressed the need to make the message something emotional. They encourage their artists to use things like weekly podcasts to help show what is going on in the studio and/or on the road. They want their artists to stop worrying so much about what Rolling Stone magazine says, and focus on what their fans say.

Some bloggers believe that artists and management companies should start reaching out to bloggers rather than the entertainment reporters for traditional media, like magazines. The problem with this, is this is just replacing one system of message distribution, the music reporter, with the blogger. The artists need to make the message personnal to the fans, not the reporters or bloggers. That is where Nettwerk is blazing the path. They encourage their artists to keep updating their blogs, to read the comments and respond, to use the new medium to reach as many people as possible. In other words, they are encouraging the artists to stop trying to be the end-all and be-all for the reporters, and the bloggers, but be the best artist for their fans.

That is why I say that Nettwerk not only gets it, they get it right.