Tell me what you want. What you really really want.

The first step in defining your music brand. Early in my career (which started in advertising way before social media) we were taught to memorize Ogilvy’s definition of a brand.

“The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” —David Ogilvy

Many years later, this simple yet telegraphic definition is still the best. And it holds true regardless of whether the brand is a toothpaste or a rock band— though for bands, there are some obvious additions to the list. Regardless… how do you define and guide an emerging brand/band when most of these elements aren’t yet known? By writing down what it is that you want!

For us—Every successful distribution plan. Every marketing plan. Every identity plan. And every concert film starts with some basic branding exercises. And if your brand isn’t yet defined, start by telling us what you want. Give us your top ten.

For any emerging artist or music project we urge you to start by simply making a list of the top ten things that you’d like to accomplish. And there are no wrong answers!

  • Release a record
  • Sell my concert film to Netflix
  • Put $100K into a savings account within 18 months.
  • Write 20 new songs
  • Book two gigs per month
  • Whatever they are, they are!

The music side of the entertainment business is a challenging winding journey to say the least. So give your projects their best chance by clearly defining your goals upfront—so that you may then develop strong strategic plans to accomplish those goals.

From a sales and distribution standpoint—clearly defining where you’re going and how you’re going to get there will soon be as much of your brand as your music.

(Funny aside, I actually shot a commercial for the Spice Girls dolls during my advertising years. They are probably worth a ton today!)

 

The Rolling Stones – Olé Olé Olé: A Trip Across Latin America (2016 JA Films)

TIFF 2016: Provided brand strategy + distribution counsel to the world-renown JA Films (London) on critically acclaimed music doc “The Rolling Stones – Olé Olé Olé: A Trip Across Latin America”, directed by Paul Dugdale—which screened FIVE TIMES at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Critical involvement in the US Premium Cable Premier—to be announced.

– US Network Liaison
– International All-rights Buyers Liaison
– List Management and DDM
– Social Media
– Relationship Marketing

20 Best Band Logos

band_logos_resizeAs an entertainment exec with on-going projects that straddle production, distribution, and branding—I’m always taken by how often entertainment properties (music, film, TV, event) seem to forego basic marketing concepts. This post isn’t going to delve into deep strategy—but it will ‘shine a light’ on some awesome band logos! Here are my 20 favorite band logos—along with a couple honorable mentions. Enjoy.

20_iron_maiden

 

Iron Maiden: Likely inspired by the movie poster for 1976’s ‘The Man To Fell To Earth’, the classic band logo was supposedly created by bassist Steve Harris and has been used since the band’s 1979 debut. Other reports credit the logo to British artist Derek Riggs who is best known for creating the legendary mascot Eddie—and countless album covers.

 

 

19_metallica

Metallica: Guitarist James Hetfield created this piece of rock history in the 80s. It’s simplicity, aggressiveness, and balance make it a near perfect rock n’ roll logo. Plus it’s got lightening bolts, which are basically the “more cowbell” of rock logo design. Hetfield also created the band’s 1996 version as well the band’s ninja star marks. Ninja stars and lightening bolts. Awesome.

 

 

 

18_abba

ᗅᗺᗷᗅ: The official logo was designed by Rune Söderqvist, and appeared for the first time on ‘Dancing Queen’ in 1976. Since then, it’s appeared on every album and single. There are conflicting reports on the origin of the backwards B but regardless ‘Mama Mia’ fans can happily recreate it by using the bold version of the News Gothic typeface.

 

 

 

 

17_grateful_dead

 

The Grateful Dead: The Dead’s logo was designed by Owsley Stanley and rendered by Bob Thomas. Amongst the deadheads, this mark is best known as the ‘Steal your Face’ logo, which is named after the band’s 1976 live album of the same name. That said, the mark it first appeared on the cover of ‘History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One’ from 1973.

 

 

16_aerosmith

 

Aerosmith: Guitarist Raymond Tabano only played with the band until 1971—but certainly his mark by designing one of the most recognized band logos in rock history. First seen on the 1974 album ‘Get Your Wings’ it continues to represent the band to this day.

 

 

 

15_bauhaus

 

Bauhaus: This one may not count. The Bauhaus logo was originally designed by Oskar Schlemmer in 1922 for the Bauhaus school in Germany. Can the band get credit for simply adopting it as their own? This entire list isn’t all that serious—so why not?

 

 

 

14_black_flag

 

Black Flag: This logo was designed by American artist Raymond Pettibon (aka Raymond Ginn) who happens to be the brother of Black Flag guitarist/founder Greg Ginn around 1977. Pettibon also named the band (previously called Panic) which was to represent opposite of a white flag of surrender.

 

 

13_the_cramps

 

The Cramps: Part punk, part rockabilly, and possibly the creators of Psychobilly—the wackadoos known as The Cramps cemented their place in retro-rock kitsch culture when frontman Lux Interior based the band’s logo from EC Comics’ title ‘Tales From the Crypt.’

 

 

 

12_daft_punk

 

The French duo’s logo is as enigmatic as the band itself. Thomas Bangalter (one half the duo) once explained “To us, the Daft Punk logo should be the star – the concept is to keep us more low-profile than the music itself.” We’re unsure of the logo’s origin, but electronic fans will be happy to know a font was created called Daft Font (credit to MatreroG) which is pretty damn close!

 

 

11_scissor_sistersThe Scissor Sisters’ logo was designed by the band’s guitarist Scott “Babydaddy” Hoffman in 2001 immediately after frontman/singer Jake Shears came up with the band name—which happens to be a slang expression for lesbians. Babydaddy recalls “He told it to me, and I made the logo the next day” by merging the two everyday images.

PRINCE RIP. In the world of merging two familiar images to create a new mark—an honorable mention must be given to Prince for his 1993 unpronounceable logo – known as the “Love Symbol” – which incorporates the images for Mars (male) and Venus (female). Extra points because the Purple one has turned this into some very cool custom guitars

10_anthrax

 

NYC thrash legends Anthrax have stood the test of time—as has their aggressive angular logo. The logo, as well as the band’s first album cover (1983’s ‘Fistful of Metal’) were designed by Kent Joshpe. The band’s creative direction was simple—make it feel like a guy’s face was being punched through from the back of his head. Damn Daniel! Over the years, their pointy logo has been on everything from baseball caps to wristbands to the all important measure of success—painted denim jackets.

 

09_nin

 

The Nine Inch Nails logo was designed in 1989 by Trent Reznor and Gary Talpas, who worked as art director on albums through 1997. The type treatment was inspired by the sleeve of Talking Heads’ ‘Remain In Light’ album which also featured bold type—but flopped the A’s in a similar fashion to the flopped N of the NIN logo. The logo first appeared within the music video for Nine Inch Nails’ debut single, “Down in It.”

 

08_new_york_dolls

 

In the early 70s everything about this band was split. In fact, in a Creem magazine poll, The New York Dolls were elected both best and worst new group of 1973. They were pre-punk, pre-glam, and 40 years later they are recognized as one of the most influential band’s of all time. Their smudged lipstick logo led the charge first appearing on their self-titled debut.

 

 

07_mtb

MTB: It’s been with the band since 1971—and GRAMMY® Magazine featured it as one of the ten most distinctive artist logos that “need no introduction” along with some others from my list here.

Allman Brothers Band While honoring this countrified (or country fried?) type-driven style, it’s hard to completely ignore the also-famous logo for The Allman Brothers Band. But for readability and impact—we went with MTB as our first choice.

 

06_the_who

 

Contrary to popular belief, this pop art-inspired logo has actually never appeared on an album by The Who. It was designed by Brian Pike in 1964 for a poster advertising the group’s gig at London’s Marquee club. It subsequently found its way onto thousands of pins, badges, t-shirts, notebooks, and denim jackets becoming a key element of mod iconography.
05_kiss

KISS’ first lead guitarist, Ace Frehley, came up with the famous logo which first appeared on the band’s second album, ‘Hotter Than Hell’ in 1974. What’s the key to the logo success? You got it, lightening bolts! Interestingly, the German version of the KISS logo is differently because the two S lightening bolts too closely resemble the Nazi SS symbol with is illegal to depict in Germany. Kinda hard to have an issue with this modification.

 

 

04_acdc

AC/DC’s logo was designed by Atlantic Records creative art director Bob Defrin and the now legendary logo made its debut on the international edition of ‘Let There Be Rock.’ Hmmm… it’s actually one of four logos on this top 20 list to feature lightening bolts. Got that young bands? When in doubt, add lightening bolts. And with this in our #4 spot, Axl sort of made our list. Sort of.

 

 

 

03_pil

 

John Lydon came up for the idea for this logo for his post-Sex Pistols band, Public Image Ltd., and wanted it to resemble an aspirin—get it? The artist he commissioned to design the logo was Dennis Morris, who had previously been the Sex Pistols’ official photographer.

Sex Pistols Honorable mention should go to Jamie Reid for designing the Sex Pistols logo in 1977. The Sex Pistols logo didn’t make this list because although I love Lydon—I just couldn’t give him two logos on the same list. Piss off.

 

02_van_halen

The Van Halen mark is probably the most scribbled band logo of all time on school lockers, desks, and notebooks! Designed by Dave Bhang, The stylized VH logo is an example of formal design perfection – although, interestingly, they changed its wings from angular to curvy to announce the arrival of Sammy Hagar on ‘5150’ in 1986. In retrospect… I really like Sammy.

 

 

 

01_rolling_stones

No surprise here. But it’s freaking undeniable. The Rolling Stones’ world-famous logo was designed by art student John Pasche in 1970—and on the ‘Sticky Fingers’ album in 1971. Poor Pasche was paid just £250 over a period of two years for his work. Supposedly, the logo was equally inspired by the mouths of both Mick Jagger and the Hindu goddess Kali. Sorry Miss P, but personally, I’d rather make out with Kali.

About LocoDistro

In both consulting and “full-service” capacities we develop & deliver 360º solutions to entertainment brands that are achievable, measurable, and strategically based.

We offer free consultations to see if we’re the right fit for each other.

And we do this by providing boutique attention that combines the strongest attributes of an international sales/distribution company, a brand identity firm, and a creative production company.

In varying capacities we’ve worked with A&E, Bright, Discovery, GAC, HBO, History, Lionsgate, Marvel, Nat Geo, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), National Foundation To End Epilepsy, NBC, Shangri-La Entertainment, Starz, and Turner.  As well as with music icons including:

– Big Daddy Kane
– DeBarge / Bunny DeBarge
– Doug E. Fresh
– Il Volo
– InnerPartySystem
– Chris Isaak
– Wynonna Judd
– Alison Krauss
– Tim McGraw
– Oscar the Grouch & Anderson Cooper (Emmy duet)
– Dolly Parton
– Smokey Robinson
– Kenny Rogers
– Lionel Richie
– The Rolling Stones

Mipcom 2015 – October 5-8, Cannes

Set a meeting with us to see (and hear) our 2015/16 music-centric TV and Film Slate. Scripted, Unscripted, Concerts, and Awards Shows.  We offer the best music-based content available.  And yes, the Rosé will be a flowin.

Yahoo Finance 03/17/2015

SwampFox_Headline

March 17, 2015 6:00 AM

MARION, S.C., March 17, 2015  The Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex will be opening in Marion, South Carolina with The Swamp Fox Biker Bash, the ultimate east coast biker rally and concert series taking place May 8th through May 17th.

Bringing new life to Myrtle Beach Bike Week, The Swamp Fox Biker Bash is a rally and music festival unlike any other—past or present.

With the support of big name performers that include The Marshall Tucker Band and Craig Wayne Boyd (Season 7 winner of NBC’s The Voice) on Thursday, May 14th. Bret Michaels with opening act The Flaunt Girls (Biker Burlesque Troupe) on Friday, May 15th and Buckcherry on Saturday, May 16th —new excitement is coming to South Carolina during Myrtle Beach Bike Week.

But it doesn’t stop with the music.  Swamp Fox Biker Bash is hosting an entire rally of events on its massive 250 acre property including Campgrounds, Motorcycle Stunt Shows, Amazing Food, Daily Burlesque Shows, Mechanical Bull Contests, Panoramic Rides, Build-offs, Smoke-Outs, Body-Painting, and even Live Alligator Wrestling.  This is a one-of-a-kind event for bikers and music lovers to be a part of—with special ‘artist to fan’ experiences available as well.

What’s more, Swamp Fox is soon to be home to the World’s Largest Bar. The Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex will soon include a record-breaking bar extending over 800-feet.   For many, this attraction alone will attract the fans to the Complex.

Biker Emcee extraordinaire and often-voice of Harley-Davidson and Jack Daniels, Dumptruck, will keep fans at maximum-fun as the voice of the Swamp Fox Biker Bash. Expect lively attractions, all-day live music and “I’m With The Band” readings with Pamela Des Barres to complete the overall biker and rock ‘n’ roll experience.

“Swamp Fox Biker Bash is not your typical rally with music. We’ve created a concert series and music experience that caters to bikers but allows the music and fan experiences to come first,” says Gabriel Gornell, Executive Producer of Swamp Fox Biker Bash. “Rock and Country are a big part of the biker lifestyle so it’s a perfect fit, and our dedication to the fan experience is what makes PledgeMusic the perfect partner for this event,”

Named as one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015” in Music, by Fast Company magazine for “helping artists and fans get what they want,” PledgeMusic and their direct-to-fan platform will give fans the AccessPass when they buy tickets, VIP access and merchandise through PledgeMusic. This pass will allow fans to receive updates that artists and the Swamp Fox Biker Bash crew will post about during the preparation for the bash.  This limited time offer will provide an exclusive never-before-seen experience for the debut biker rally and concert series.

“We’re opening the Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex to support the arts for two reasons: the first, by bringing quality entertainment and national artists back to South Carolina with a premier 20,000 seat amphitheater located only 45 minutes from Myrtle Beach. The second, to support the local economy with sustainable long-term jobs through the amphitheater and festival ground,” says Robert Hartmann, Founder and CEO of Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex. “This property is uniquely positioned to accomplish both these things and we couldn’t be more excited about kicking things off with the Swamp Fox Biker Bash this May.”

Tickets are currently available with “BUY 3 NIGHTS & GET 2 NIGHTS FREE” five-night packages starting at $256 and ten-night packages starting at $317 in Chrome, Silver and Gold, granting access to all shows, attractions and campgrounds. Basic and VIP tent rental packages are also available along with multi-night RV Parking.

Top 5 List: International Pre-Sales

Originally Published on Linkedin:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140623132122-15233163-top-5-list-international-pre-sales?trk=mp-details-rr-rmpost

shutterstock_82534615

As an EP/Director who has also been a partner with a sales & distribution company for several years, I’m often asked for my thoughts on distribution. Particularly, about international distribution in the form of pre-sales.

I hear this all the time…

“Do you think we can cover our budget from pre-sales?”

And this question is not coming from inexperienced producers. Truth is, many working producers really have no idea how it works. And it’s not their fault. The business, especially the TV business, has positioned itself to take a lot of the “producing” out of making content. So producers can go their whole career without being exposed to piecing the budget together from various sources—with international pre-sales being one of them.

Let’s be honest, many producers support themselves with “production commissions” in which they actually own none of the show or feature they produce. Therefore, they never take those shows to market—and so they never experience how international works.

Disclaimer… obviously TV and Film are different, but there are enough similarities between markets like Mipcom in Cannes and EFM in Berlin that some generalities can be made. Here we go.

Truth is, it’s HARD for an indie producer to pre-sell international. International isn’t the sure thing that many producers believe. Buyers are picky. MGs are down. And some countries just seem to be flat broke. Just because Tom Cruise films make money overseas regardless of their US performance HARDLY means your film or show will pre-sell overseas! For the record… I’m a Tom Cruise fan. The above example wasn’t a jab—it was actually a compliment.

Now… before we dive into International it might be easier to quickly touch on US sales as a point of reference. In my experience, there are five things you need to cover-off if you want to be taken seriously by US buyers before the movie is actually made. (Note: Once the movie is made, and buyers can actually watch it, throw most of this out the window!)

Top 5 List: Pitching Scripted to Domestic

1. Talent

2. Showrunner or Director

3. The Relationship With The Buyer

4. The IP as a whole—including the Writer attachment

5. The Script

Explanations…. #1 is Talent. So surprise. Can you see the talent’s face on a poster or billboard? I don’t really care if the talent acted brilliantly in the supporting role of a movie nobody saw. If you can’t see their face on a poster… your sale is that much harder.

#2 The Showrunner or Director. Gimme a safe track record, and selling the show or movie is much easier.

#3 The Relationship with the buyer. If you’ve never sold to a particular buyer before… guess what? Your chances are lower than the other EP who has. Relationships matter. Put someone on your team who has previously sold to the buyers on your hit list.

#4 and #5. The IP and the Script. Many may disagree with the order I put #4 & #5 in. But I think that if you wanna be taken seriously than you first need buyers to get past the synopsis—or the value of the IP as a whole which includes the writer attachment. Without this, the buyer may never even read the script. Basically, the creative concept has to have some merit in some way, shape or form.

Okay. So that’s the over-simplified foundation. Now we’re onto what this article is actually about: International Pre-Sales. Here are the five things you should try to lock-down if you wanna be well-positioned for International Pre-Sales.

Top 5 List: Pitching Scripted for International Pre-Sales

1. US Network or Studio

2. Talent

3. The Relationship With The Buyer

4. The IP as a whole—including the Writer attachment

5. The Script

Explanations… Now, most of these are the same as Domestic for the same reasons—just in a slightly different order. But there is one major exception and one major hiccup.

Exception first:

#1 is the US Network or Studio. We call this the “country of origin” rule. Basically, if you’re making an American movie with American filmmakers and American talent than you had better be able to demonstrate that at the very least—American buyers want it! Put yourself in the Italian buyer’s head. Why should he pre-buy this American content for Italy if nobody in America even wants it?

The day you can say “Our US partner is Warner Brothers” is the day you’ll be taken more seriously in areas of international pre-sales. The same is true for TV Networks. You gotta sell the country of origin first, or your International Pre-Sales challenge becomes very very very difficult.

Now here is the hiccup: #3 The Relationship With The Buyer. This is a hiccup because it’s hard. Think about how hard it is (as an indie producer) to have relationships with all the buyers here in the US—your own damn country! Now multiply that list by 80 countries, and factor in that many of these buyers speak languages that you don’t. Not to mention that it’s not as simple as hopping on the 405 to go see them for a drink.

#3 is the reason that an entire entertainment sub-business of international sales agents exist. These are people who’s primary business it is knowing the international buyers, and traveling to the various international markets several times a year to see them.

So in a nut-shell, this is LocoDistro’s over-simplified take on the 5 most important things you need to focus on when pitching scripted content for International pre-sales. By the way, the answer to that above listed example question… “Do you think we can cover our budget from pre-sales?” …is NO! But more on that in a future post.

Hope you enjoyed the article, and possibly even learned something!

Your art is just a product?

Originally Published to Linkedin Here:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140617010040-15233163-your-art-is-just-a-product?trk=prof-post

 

DoIReallyHow creatively involved do you really want your business-minded producers to be?

A few weeks ago a colleague who I’ve done business with for years said something that I found shocking. I’ll refer to this colleague as Lana.
To put things in context, we’re soon to begin packaging a feature film based on a script from an interesting writer—and there are already some exciting elements attached. I’m wearing the hat of creative-producer and Lana is wearing the hat of business-producer. After a few weeks, I asked Lana if she’s read the script. Boom. I put it out there. Basically… Are you into this or not? To my dismay, Lana responded… “Nope. Have not read it. I’m not the creative producer. To me, it’s a product. I will read it soon however.”
It got me to thinking… a product?

Has Lana lost her sense of direction? Her sense of purpose? Has she forgotten why we do this for a living? Or, and even more troubling… did Lana maintain the perfect level of indifference so not to be emotionally driven in business-based decisions? After all… I’m dedicated to the creative, and perhaps Lana knows that I’ve got it covered.

Then I asked myself for the truth: As the creative producer, do I really want creative comments from Lana anyway? Or do I just want her to dig-into tax law, international compliance, and identifying the equity folks. Focus on what you’re good at Lana! I’ve got a whole circle of artists who I can discuss the creative with. Let’s be honest, Lana is not a creative person. And that’s why we love her!

Full circle. Hmmm.

Realization: Am I dwelling on this because Lana referred to the script as just “a product” to me? Holy shit. It’s my creative ego, isn’t it? How can something I’m a part of simply be “a product” in Lana’s mind? I thought we all agreed I was an artiste? Maybe this is my hang-up after all—and it has got nothing to do with whether or not Lana should or shouldn’t read the script.
So here are questions raised: How creatively involved do you really want your business-minded producers to be? And is your answer to that question driven by practicality or ego?

While nobody likes to hear that their art is just a product—Maybe that’s okay.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Variety 4/8/2014

_Variety_4_08_banner Gabriel Gornell interviewed by Variety with regard to the state of Daytime and the Daytime Emmys—from which he stepped away in 2014 after overseeing the event in 2012 and 2013.

_Variety_4_8_14

_Variety_article_4_08

EKG / a Graffiti Photo Essay

EKG_Image_28If you’ve spent any time in NYC over the last couple years, you’ve probably spotted the pulsing orange wave known within the graf world as EKG.  There’s something both simplistic and therapeutic about his tag cause it’s easy to spot, clean, and seems to help whatever wall, door, dumpster or street sign it happens to be pulsing across.

Not to get to lofty about it.  It’s graffiti after all.  But the simplicity and consistency has definitely pushed me to be cleaner and simpler with my own work.

It goes beyond being a great tag… and is actually a great overall mark.  Let me put it into context. I’m a Keith Haring fan since the 80’s (before he died and shot to super-stardom) for the same reasons. Keith’s work is clean, simple, and instantly recognizable.  And I actually think I like the EKG simplicity even more than Keith’s work.

(Shout out to George Sewell for the same sort of reason)

Over a period of a couple months when I still lived in NYC, I started snapping pictures of the EKG every time I spotted one.   So here is my EKG photo collection.  A bunch have been Instagram’d already—but they’ve never been put up as a single bit. Hope you like them.

Also… if you like EKG’s work, here is a pretty recent interview (November 1, 2013) with EKG that I found in Nautilus.

http://nautil.us/blog/taking-the-pulse-of-the-city-with-graffiti-artist-ekg

Written by: Gabriel Gornell