OLD FASHIONED TABLE READ

An little old-fashioned seaside table read. Getting everyone on the same page… from client to agency to crew to talent… often comes down to a simple table read. This one is from earlier this week, on location at Dockweiler Beach in Southern California.  Big thanks to JACKERY for trusting us with their incredible outdoors brand.

November 2022, for Jackery, Inc.

AFM WEEK: POWER OF PRESENTATION

Whether they be investors, distributors, networks, or brand clients… If your concept can’t hold the attention of your own stakeholders— those stakeholders will never believe your concept is strong enough to hold the attention of your audience. Creative is everything. But presentation helps. Good luck to everyone at American Film Market this week.

Photographed at Quixote Studios in Los Angeles, November 2022

RECHARGE BY UNPLUGGING

It took me many years to understand that taking a holiday wasn’t counterproductive to living ‘that producer life’ but actually a necessary reset to be even more productive for the long haul.

Producers understand this: When you’re in it… there’s no half-stepping. You gotta be 110% on. But grind for a few years without a proper unplug, and you get burned out. Especially when living that ‘rise & grind’ within today’s hyper-connected social/zoom/media/call-me-on-my-mobile world.

This June is my unplug, so I can come back swinging in July… fully charged. And the Amalfi Coast ain’t a bad place to do it. Let’s be honest.

#Recharge
#RiseAndGrind

MARTHA AND SNOOP KEEP THEIR NOSES CLEAN …WITH A FRAGRANT BOUQUET

I love these brand extensions. Like Hall & Oats, Sonny and Cher, and Chico and the Man… it’s during these trying times we can rest a little easier with the power duo of Martha and Snoop for our evening’s numbnation. In their latest “joint” venture, Martha released a wine under the same label as Snoop, 19 Crimes from Treasury Wine Estates. I honestly had no idea about Martha’s entry until I happened upon this glorious end-aisle display at Trader Joe’s in the Marina (dey Rey).

The Australian 19 Crimes caught my eye almost immediately in 2012 when it launched with a brand and label design which included some pretty cool augmented reality, especially for the time. Each bottle comes with a criminal’s tale, a decent blend, and an even more drinkable price. What’s not to love? 

More recently came the Aussie’s first foray into California varieties with Snoop Cali Red in 2020 followed by Snoop Cali Rosé in 2021. A cross-promo collab which is working well for all parties.

Martha’s Chard by 19 Crimes

And now this… Martha’s Chard in 2022. Despite the complete sh*+ show in Eastern Europe, here at home we can fill our tanks for $6 bucks a gallon, then blissfully motor to TJ’s for an $11.99 bottle of “tell me everything is gonna be alright.”

And the reviews seem to be decent too. She’s taking the piss without pouring it. No her name ain’t baby. It’s Martha. Miss Stewart if you’re Chianti. She went on to say “The world didn’t need just another Chardonnay, so I created one that is clean, crisp, and flavorful without being too heavy or oaky. It pairs perfectly with my delicious recipes or can be enjoyed on its own. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Now putting artist names on perfume bottles at Walgreens still makes me cringe a little (sorry Glow by Jennifer Lopez). But these mass-market elixirs with “artist names on the bottles” actually feels good to me. So with Snoop Cali Red and now Martha’s Chard, yes, everything is gonna be alright.

ENTERTAINMENT JOBS HELD BY WOMEN

This one is obviously inspired by my wife and daughter. But it’s in support of all women who kick ass and inspire… which happens to be almost exactly half of the human population. Despite the recent post-woke rhetoric from some noisy (but completely out of touch) middle-aged-white men, the pendulum has NOT swung too far in the other direction. 

Don’t believe the hype: The stats confirm that it’s NOT suddenly harder to be a white male in Film & TV. In fact, gender equality still isn’t even close in ANY of the key positions of influence. Further, gender equality actually dipped over the last 12 months among producers and editors.

We need to get real with this stuff.

Note: The actual stats are from the ‘Center For The Study of Women in Film and TV’ – but I need to credit Evan Shapiro for including this chart in his recent post, or I wouldn’t have seen the stats or his graphic.

CURIOUS ABOUT EVAN RACHEL WOOD AS MADONNA?

I am. And here’s a pic of ERW from ‘WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story‘ which happens to be a music biopic that I really want to see. Not only is Al Yankovic simply a lovely guy… but his journey and accomplishments are astonishing.

In addition to the first look of ERW as Madonna, Roku Inc. also announced a few more additions to the cast. Rainn Wilson (“The Office”) as radio DJ Dr. Demento, Julianne Nicholson (“Mare of Easttown”) as Weird Al’s mum Mary Yankovic and Toby Huss (“Halt and Catch Fire”) as Weird Al’s father Nick Yankovic.

Curious… the only biopic that I’m more interested in is ‘I’m With The Band’ from Pamela Des Barres. (based on the NY Times Best Seller) Funny… it was at Pamela’s house that I met Al.

And in terms of #WomensHistoryMonth …Today I celebrate MADONNA

EVERY BRITNEY SPEARS SONG RANKED

The world keeps counting her out but Britney keeps coming back stronger than ever. Here, Rolling Stone ranks the work of one of THE most influential artists of the past generation by counting down every song she’s ever done — from world-changing hits (Oops!, Hit me baby, Toxic, etc) to cha-ching corporate rock like 2004’s “We Will Rock You” with Pink and Beyoncé for Pepsi (which they rank at #70 btw). 
 
It’s a great trip down Britney lane. And it commands #MusicIndustry respect because every song from her top 25 is likely more culturally impactful than the top #1 song from most charting-artists.

LINK TO ROLLING STONE ARTICLE

Every Britney Spears Song Ranked

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/every-britney-spears-song-ranked-1294685/#recipient_hashed=1844ffcbdee37aa43e8254b732ccba700d6a16b4c99f7a75764fe0b5bb9c4340

HOW WILL HOLLYWOOD ADAPT TO CHINA?

My secondObserving Music + Medianewsletter on Linkedin focuses on International Distribution trends, and how it will impact creative development here in the US. Snipped below. Click the link to read the whole thing on Linkedin.

MORE SIZZLE… LESS STEAK

Errr…um… Less Impossible Burger. And not actually in China. Hollywood will continue to adapt to their growth requirements the only way it knows how… with the continued “dumbing down” of the arts and culture. Why? Because thoughtful, intelligent entertainment is much harder to scale beyond cultural boundaries. And the commitment to develop thoughtful local content is literally impossible to scale at the level required by studios and big-media streamers like Netflix.

READ THE WHOLE NEWSLETTER ON LINKEDIN

(LINK BELOW)

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-hollywood-adapt-china-gabriel-gornell

WHO ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE PERFORM THIS SUNDAY?

On television’s biggest day and on music’s biggest stage… I’m most excited for the Queen of Hip Hop Soul… Miss Mary J Blige. With 9 Grammys, 4 AMAs, and 12 Billboard Awards… Come On! Do we even have to ask ‘What’s the 411?’ It’s Mary J.

Would you like to see another side? Here’s a piece she did for Vogue breaking down 11 looks from 1994 to present. Now please pass the guac. GO RAMS!

WHY MOST ARTISTS STILL AREN’T LEAVING SPOTIFY

From Royalties to Rogan… it may be time to make a decision. But I’m not sure leaving Spotify is actually better for the artists.

…in the shape of an L on his forehead

Like most media executives, I’ve long hated how much the artists and stakeholders actually make from their Spotify streams. Usually less than $3K per million… which means a manager’s 15% is only $450 bucks per million. And let me be clear, for non-celebrity working-artists… one million streams is a LOT.  And the music-business has collectively accepted this. Not because we like it, but because Spotify is currently (perhaps) the most important tool for artists to leverage in order to sell tickets and tee shirts – which still make money.

This is not a hard concept. If people aren’t listening to your songs, they’re buying fewer tickets and tees. There is a direct correlation.

So here’s the real question: 
Are artists willing to give up their (largely free) ticket and tee shirt “marketing support” from Spotify in order to take a stand for fair royalties? The days of CDs are over. And tickets and tees are the foundation of many. Heck, even before CDs went away, artists like #IronMaiden made more from tee shirts than anything else. Merch isn’t a side-business. It’s the business!

Plus (fair shout out to Spotify) I do love the #SpotifyForArtists tools. I love the analytics – which we leverage for our direct-to-fan efforts and routing strategies. And I love programs like “Fan First” which is an efficient DDM (digital direct mail) tool. And I love the listing options, artist picks, playlisting, etc.  If you’re willing to accept that Spotify is primarily marketing for your artist (not the product, itself)… Spotify is a solid tool.

IN SUMMARY
For many music executives, accepting the low streamer-royalties is an unspoken approved transaction from both sides. We give #Spotify the music for a song (haha) and they give the artists reach and tools to sell tickets and tee shirts. Done.

ENTER ROGAN!
The shift came when Spotify dipped their toe in #FoxNews Light. They essentially paid $100 million to reposition themselves from ‘agnostic music platform’ to an opinion network. And #JoeRogan (albeit funny and socially likable) can be boiled down to MMA-culture meets #Hannity. Hannity! For many, the mere association is enough to boycott. And it’s undeniable that Spotify endorses this “opinion” because they paid $100 million for it.

#MileyCyrus and many others have given Rogan interviews knowing EXACTLY who he is. But she used the platform for her own media needs. Do we judge Miley now too?  She’s more than “still on Spotify” …she’s actually appeared on Rogan.

HERE’S MY OPINION
Boycott Rogan and Boycott Stupidity. But until Spotify’s subs ACTUALLY migrate to #Apple, #Amazon, #Deezer or #Tidal… let the artists be without unfair judgment.

One closing tid bit. Something I’ve never heard a music executive say… “I SURE LOVE NAVIGATING APPLE FOR ARTISTS”