Why The Music Industry is in Good Shape

Ian Rogers, the former head of Yahoo! Music who left to form a startup called Topspin that helps artists promote themselves without a major label, gave a great speech on the evolution and the future of the music industry.  I’ve highlighted two slides here that I thought were particularly poignant. 

GrammyMusicTechOct2008.011The first reveals some very compelling and optimistic numbers about the rise in consumption and purchase of music, in general.  It’s interesting to note the key stats – CD’s of course aren’t one of them, but music playing devices are up (iPods most specifically) year over year, as are individual music purchase moments are up, concert revenue is up.  Streaming music is also way up (which may be licensed) and music file sharing is up.  The interesting thing about the last point is, it parallels more music purchasing – file sharing and free (or advertising subsidized) streaming are music promotion vehicles, and more and more people are spreading the word about more and more music every day.

GrammyMusicTechOct2008.022The second slide I want to point out is discussing the “shift in power” from the label to the artist, which also I think means some portion of power shifting from the label to the consumer.  The future of the music industry leaves little room for price gauging by the music industry, because consumers won’t allow it.  On the other hand, it gives a more direct relationship with the consumer and the artist that enables us to reward artists that we really truly enjoy their music.  Hopefully more artists step away from the major label contracts realizing they don’t need them, so we can feel like the money we spend on music really goes to the artist.  I also hope within the music industry and other industries there develops a system for consumers to give money directly to just about anyone we want to support in their creative endeavors.  If I haven’t bought an album from someone because I can hear it for free elsewhere, but I still want to give them money to support their creation of future music, I want to be able to do it.  In the mean time, I don’t buy songs very often, but I do spend a lot of money on Concerts, and I do try to spread the word about music, while buying a few tracks along the way.

By the way, if you enjoyed this presentation and want to see more interesting presentations and talks, I’m saving links to interesting content on del.icio.us here

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A Passionate Discourse by Keith Olberman (MSNBC) Pleaing for Answers From People Who Supported Proposition 8

This is a really fantastic statement by Keith Olberman, an MSNBC reporter, pleading for Californians who supported Proposition 8 to rethink why they are so intent on criticizing other people's definitions of love. It's a phenomenal piece that I hope everyone takes the time to listen to and think about, and hopefully it contributes to future open-mindedness and reform.


An Update from DonorsChoose (this is very cool of them)

Dear Kevin, 

"Strike Up the Band!" (athttp://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=209035) is now becoming a reality for the students of Mr. Hartshorn, with the help of a Double Your Impact grant from The Wachovia Foundation. Mr. Hartshorn wrote you this note: 

Dear Kevin, 

Thank you very much for your generosity. Your contribution will mean a great deal to these children. Being part of our music program provides the kids with an opportunity to develop self-esteem, a sense of community, creative problem-solving skills and so much more. We appreciate what you have done for us. Your gift will provide years of music!


The DonorsChoose.org Team


Obama's potential to be the people's president through social media

When Barack Obama was running for President, he used almost all social media platforms to connect with his supporters and raise awareness for his messages. Now that he's president, a question is - how much will he actually continue to reach out to the people on such a grass roots level?
Early signs are that he will:

* Just a day after his election, Obama's group posted a flickr album that provided an intimate look into the Obama family during election night

* He also launched
Change.gov, a website that will keep America informed on how the presidential transition period is going

* Finally, he launched a
YouTube channel where he'll post videos of his weekly presidential address, starting now

Now though he's leveraging social media, he's still holding back - you can comment on the flickr photos, but not the YouTube videos. Also Obama's Twitter account has gone cold, and I haven't received a text message since election night either (though is last message did mention that we'd hear from him soon, implying that his direct texts aren't over). And really, while publishing communication through social tools is a start, it's only the beginning - he (or his administration) needs to interact with the people as well. TechCrunch and GigaOM have written recommendations and requests to the new administration on ways to embrace new media to create more transparency and two-way communication with the nation at large, and I'm hoping to see some of the recommendations be put into play. It may be unlikely to see the President launch a social community on GetSatisfaction enabling feedback, ratings, and recommendations by anyone who wants to voice them, but it would be an amazing break through. In the mean time, I'm enjoying the personal touch of flickr and youtube, and feeling more intimiately connected than ever to a President.

Eating Brunch at Prune (Review)

Sitting down at Prune for brunchEating at Prune for brunch

I don't remember how I ended up hearing about Prune - I had written on a piece of paper on my desk at some point to try it, and finally this morning we decided to head down to 1st and 1st and give it a shot.  There was a was, but the uniqueness of the menu gave me enough incentive to stick it out for 45 minutes - and I'm glad I did.  For a brunch place to be worth the wait and the higher cost, the dishes have to be something different than you would get at the place on your corner, and Prune rises to the occasion.  We tried the Fresh Ricotta (w/ figs, raspberries, and merveilles - probably makes more sense as a group appetizer or side dish), the Dutch Style Pancake (cooked in an oven to crisp the outside and leave the inside like cake), and the Spaghetti a la Carbonara (mixed w/ egg, bacon, and pepper.. not very eggy and much more addictive than I expected).  All 3 dishes were delicious, and were different than any dish I had eaten before.  I will definitely be headed to Prune again (though earlier in the morning to try to duck the wait).


Flashback: The Dominican Republic with Angela and my Friends

3.2007.dominican republic. 081
Originally uploaded by kskobac.

Lately pictures have been popping up in my picture frame that I've forgotten about, and absolutely love - I guess it's the kind of thing that good pictures memories become better over time. I'm going to start posting the pictures that make me pause, and writing a bit about them on flickr under the picture, in another attempt to tap into my Daily Fotolog, which never really took off. You can see my reborn daily Fotolog here:


The picture here was taken on my trip to the Dominican Republic, with Angela, Bruce, Mark, and Ari. It was the first trip that Angela and I took together. I was nervous about it, but it was an incredible trip, everyone had a great time, and she held her own on a very male-driven trip with non-stop sports and little beach relaxation. Here Bruce and Angela are in the back of a bus taking us to a catamaran trip early in the morning.


The Second Law of Social Media

I want to take a minute to reflect on Mark Zuckerberg's now infamous second law of social media

“I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before”

I think for the most part this type of growth is really happening. Those of us using digg and delicious for years are now stepping it up to twitter and friendfeed. Those of us who never used any social tools are sharing links and posting status updates to facebook. Wherever you are on the growth curve, though, most of us are doubling the amount of content and information that we're sharing year over year - whether it feels like it or not. Sharing content is really the way we all socialize on the web, it's the backbone of the most basic social networking, it's what makes it addictive rather than repetitive. And it's only going to become more mainstream, more commonplace, more build into our everyday actions naturally- we might as well accept it and get used to it.

(To see an example of how much content i share on the web, look at the red mybloglog widget on the right of this site, or check out out social footprint here)


Photo Blogging Life Through Flickr

Lately I’ve been taking more pictures with my phone than with my camera.  It sort of goes against what I preach, considering the photo quality, but the convenience of always having my phone with me and the ease of posting it to the web instantly has made it more and more my camera of choice.  I can snap a picture with my phone and have it live on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, Tumblr, and my own blog within seconds – and that has lead me to be more and more addicted to photo blogging during my day.

As an example, last weekend I quickly posted a handful of pictures, with simple statements of what I was doing and what I wanted to say, as I spent a full day walking around the city:

 Brunch at The Place in Greenwich This book is awesome Wakamaru robot in Uniqlo The leading mens group in the New York City Marathon on mile 17

Aside from the blogging aspect, it’s also a really enjoyable way to keep a journal of sorts of my life, with little effort.  Now I can look back and remember the smaller life moments that may not have gotten captured if I didn’t have my camera phone.  I’ll still use my camera when the picture quality really matters, but now getting a strong camera on my next phone is definitely a priority.

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The Green Coffee Challenge

This month a bunch of us at work are participating in a "Green Coffee" challenge; it started with Katie, and now it's official. For the month of November, we're not allowed to drink coffee from a paper cup. Every time you break the commitment, you have to put a dollar in the jar (see left), and at the end of the month we'll donate all of the money to the Million Trees NYC program, which aims to plant one million trees in the city.  We also have a Facebook group, which is by invitiation only.  If you want to join the challenge, and you're willing to donate a dollar to a good cause every time you grab a paper cup, then leave a message below.

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election night with angela & kevin

Photo Booth reels are quickly becoming my favorite photos - the 6-picture series just captures so much different emotion and defines the scene

see my set of photo booth pictures here

election night with angela & kevin
Originally uploaded by 


Documenting the Vote: November 4th, 2008

Today is the day we've all been reading about, talking about, and thinking about for nearly two years now - hopefully that means everyone at this point recognizes the importance of this election, and commits to voting, regardless of how it might interrupt your day.  Ari and I were in a wrap-around-the-block line by 7:25 AM, and out by 8:15 AM - and of course I made sure to document the whole thing.
Check out my video of the crazy line wrapping around the block, which is now submitted to the YouTube Video Your Vote channel. 
You can also see on a Google Map how close the line ended up taking me back to my apartment.
I also grabbed a few pictures at the voting booth  for Flickr and Twitter.  I'm sure it will be interesting following all of these places as the day moves along, and come 7PM tonight I'll be over at the Washington Post party following the election as it nears the end.