Wednesday, April 25, 2012


i had this flash today. a flash that started as me sitting cross-legged in pajamas on the worn wood floors of a home office with printed spreadsheets strewn about me as i was deciding how they needed to connect. there was sunlight coming through the windows and i could smell the grass and trees outside.

so analog.

this flash then grew into a daydream that didn't, for the first time, scare the bejeezus out of me. it encompassed me in a house that i own, someone sharing that house with me, me settled into a sort of work/life balance routine that doesn't look anything like i have now. it was a 20 minutes daydream of living an awesome life. and it didn't feel wrong or undeserved for the first time.
i'm so used to being mobile and enjoying that mobility and all of the freedom that comes with it. i've gladly traded the downsides, most notably loneliness, for the many perceived upsides of FREEDOM.

it's kind of weird. and it makes me feel more grown up than old. i'm not sure what to do with this.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

talkin' it out vlog - le deux

here's #2 for you where i talk about my way bigger than expected number of views, plans for the future and respond to last week's many letters from bob lefsetz's newsletter (and also give you a rad little geology fact).

i also want to address artists that don't take advantage of that which is at their fingertips - their fans. instead of signing to a label so they can take care of administrative tasks for you, why not look to your fans to help you out with those tasks? i bet you'd be surprised at the vast amount of talent and ability that lives in your fanbase. and, while they may not help out for free (but they might) i bet they help out at a deeply discounted rate, with a far more authentic touch and be WAY more excited about doing so. in their mind, it's creating a deeper or different kind of connection with you. take advantage of that and open yourself up to allowing that connection, it'll only make things better.

finally, i want to address the percentages i talk about in the video - they're not numbers that i pulled out of my ass, but they're not steadfast either. in the research i've done thus far, it's a pretty usual set of numbers. most of it comes from here because it's a simple and easy to understand breakdown that is easy to point others to. i use the iTunes example because it's the most ubiquitous and one of the easier to break down. essentially, apple will always take 30%, no matter what. the remaining 70% is up to you.
Let's do some math to put this into perspective using an oversimplified example: assume the artist's goal is to net $10,000 for themselves on an album they are selling for five dollars on iTunes. Assume, in both scenarios, the artists is a solo singer-songwriter with their own publishing company to further simplify the calculations. The independent artist spends $5,000 to write, produce, record and distribute their album. To net $10,000, the artist needs to make $15,000 in sales. 70% of five dollars is $3.50. $15,000 divided by $3.50 is 4,236 five dollar albums that the artist needs to sell to net $10,000.
Alternatively, a label artist spends $20,000 to write, produce, record and distribute their album (that's pretty thrifty), but it's not as simple as grossing $30,000 in sales for the artist to make their $10,000. This requires some higher math: at the outset, the label is taking 15% of the sales price ($0.75) until costs are recouped. So, $20,000 (the cost to make the record) divided by $0.75 is 26,667 albums that need to be sold to recoup costs. The artist has only netted 7% ($0.35) per album sold thus far, making their income $9333.45 on 26,667 albums, $666.55 short of the $10,000 goal. Since the costs of the album have been recouped, the artist now is making their full 22% ($1.10) per album sold , so they need to sell another 606 albums to make their full $10,000 bringing the total number of albums sold to 27,273. That's more than an 636% increase in sales to net the same amount. The label has made $68,121.90 in pure profit at this point.
these numbers don't represent any certain situation except the one listed above that i pulled out of my ass, but it gives you an idea of what goes on. every deal is different.

if you even get paid.

to put it further into perspective, jeff bridges, who went on a full media junket for his pet album, took 4 weeks with the "POWER" of tv, print and radio behind him to sell 27000 albums. to a nation of 250 million people. if even one percent of them saw "the big lebowski" or "crazy heart" and loved either one, that should give him at least 2.5 million people who would potentially buy that album, right? he just barely topped out at 1% of that 1%. funny, but i can't seem to find the year to date cumulative numbers on that album. hm.

let me step off my soapbox now.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

this is my zappos blog

on friday morning i was walking to the train and found a good sized purple plastic egg in a bush on the corner of 20th and burnside. i looked at it, scooped it up in the crook of my arm and kept walking to the train. a young man and his dog ran across the street and accosted me when he saw that i had an egg and interrogated me about it and then acted like i should give him HIS egg. i didn't.
i got to the train and had 10 minutes before the next one was coming, so i dug in.

inside the egg was a big, green, boys marmot hoodie. i read the card and thought to myself, "this is a fancy and fun way to (presumably) get rid of their promo items that they get from their suppliers!" turns out that hoodie wasn't a promo item, but an actual product valued at $55. the card in the egg said that if i didn't like what i got in the egg, i could return it for free and get a site credit/exchange for a different item. i bundled the egg back together and into my bag and continued on to work.

here's where the brilliance (on zappos' part) happens: when i got to work, i told at least 7 people throughout the day that i found this egg and what the deal was with it. because, how often do you find an egg with free shite in it? i know of at least 2 of those 7 went onto zappos that day to look into the whole thing. i still didn't even know what was really going on with anything, what the deal with this whole promotion was, only that it was REALLY doing its job.
around lunch time, i called the number on the card to see how the returning and exchanging worked. a nice young man named michael from the zappos couture department (that shocked me too) answered and we learned together about what was going on as he hadn't fielded a call about this yet. he signed me up for zappos' vip service which allows them access to track more closely what i look at, favorite and buy in exchange for free next business day shipping, exclusive features, at least 24 hour notice of new releases on their site and expedited returns. seems fair to me. and then michael emailed me a label for UPS or USPS (my choice) so i could send the hoodie back and made a note on my account that i have a $55 credit. it was all very friendly and awesome.

this is also pretty brilliant because it allows people who may not have used zappos before to experience their customer service (their top selling point to anyone and everyone) without having to buy anything first. how many times have you just kept or threw away something because you knew it would be way too much of a pain in the ass to send it back? zappos nips that in the bud for you with this experience.

if you look at the 1st picture, you'll see there's a little green sticker on it that says 51 implying that it's egg #51. further implying that there were at least 50 other eggs around. friday evening, when i got home and before i disco-napped, i researched a bit and found out that there are 100 eggs total playing in this game and that zappos was tweeting clues of the eggs whereabouts through saturday evening. on saturday, the office wife and i looked for a few of the other ones, but gave up tout suite as many seemed to be on the hunt and we wanted to enjoy the day.

to wrap this up: zappos is evil marketing genius. the hardest part about the whole thing so far is figuring out what i want from their site with my $55 credit.

smarty pantses.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

look who started VLOGGING!

vlog.  vlogging.  gosh, both of those sound so drrty. 
but i've started doing it.  and everyone thinks i'm cute.  i've never thought of myself as cute.  i've never really thought of myself to be honest.  so...  here it is.  i talk about kim chee, volcanoes destroying portland and give a brief overview of what this is all about.  in my thinking.