Sunday, August 31, 2014

My 1,400th Post - I Guess That Qualifies Me As Being a Writer/Journalist?

WARNING - this post is a bit self-indulgent.  But, forgive me, this is my 1,400th post.  For me, a major milestone.  And, one that is hard to believe.

Rightly or wrongly, I have always considered myself to be a writer.  Have always enjoyed it.  And have not worried about writing partial sentences like that one, because that is an aspect of my informal style -- an informal style that matches who I am.  Spell-check be damned!  

My official “professional” writing journey began 8 years ago on October 11, 2006 with my first words in this "Digital Media Update” blog.  1,400 posts over those years averages out to about 1 new post every 2 days.  That’s a lot of early mornings.  And a lot of coffee.

My first post focused on Google’s recent acquisition of YouTube.  Not a bad place to start, given my continuing and accelerating writing about the over digital media/video transformation happening before our eyes.  Back then, I wrote this about that GooTube 1-2 punch:  "The deal certainly underscores the power of video over the Internet -- and the fact that consumers have fully embraced video over the Internet.”  That was then, when most both in the “traditional” media and tech worlds scratched their heads at the $1.65 billion price tag.  This is now (a recent post about the state of multi-platform media/video today) when no one does (although many today similarly scoff at Disney’s $500-$950 million acquisition of leading multi-channel network (MCN) Maker Studios, which itself may look like a bargain in the years to come).

Over the years, and in addition to my writing here, I have also accelerated the pace of my writing for other leading media and tech publications, including TechCrunch, Variety, Billboard, Venturebeat, The Huffington Post, Wired, VideoInk and others (a list of some of those articles can be found on my LinkedIn page).  This has enabled me to extend my reach -- and hopefully add some insights to you and the overall conversation.

Speaking of LinkedIn -- and with this 1,400th post -- I have officially added the position and title of “Writer/Journalist” to my profile.  And, that is no small thing.  For me, that designation represents a core element of who I am.  What I like to do.

As one example, in all of my spare time, I have begun to write my first book focused, of course, on media’s overall transformation over the past 15 years, during which time I have been fortunate to have a front-row seat to, and active participant in, this disruption with some of the pioneering companies who led the charge.  I first spent a decade in major media companies when the Internet first commercially “hit.”  Then, I served as President & COO of Musicmatch, a true innovator and white hat in the world of digital music amidst the storm of piracy and Apple’s early domination and near take-over of distribution.  Next, together with Dmitry Shapiro, I pitched (unsuccessfully) YouTube’s vision before YouTube (Dmitry went on to take that vision into Veoh).  After that immersion into digital video, I dived (dove?) deeper and first became CEO of video community/technology company SightSpeed which gave us all the power to communicate via live video chat before Skype video and when no one believed (except for Logitech, who ultimately bought us); and next, CEO of Sorenson Media, a key driver of the overall digital video revolution in the first place.

Now, here I am based professionally in LA, but doing the vast majority of my writing at my home in San Diego (no, I don’t commute every day).  In my role as CEO of Manatt Digital Media (a role I love and deeply appreciate, by the way, because it ties it all together) I have deep access into the great minds and innovators who understand and actively lead the digital transformation about which I write.  That’s a lot of deep insightful perspectives.  Perspectives I process, synthesize, and ultimately transform into my own.  Into my own voice.

For those of you who have followed me along the way, heart-felt thanks.  It is appreciated.  And, for those of you new to the ride, thanks for checking it out.

And, for all of you, please buy my book when I finish it!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

For Hot (Yet Still “Under the Radar”) Video Company Jukin’ Media, Failure Is the ONLY Option

Jukin’ Media.  If you’ve never heard of it, read on.  You should.

I met with this next-gen YouTube economy-based video company the other day at its offices in Culver City, California (the home of leading now Disney-owned Maker Studios and others).  Sat down with President & COO Lee Essner and Mike Skogmo.  Learned a lot.

Jukin’ Media’s mission is to be “THE Home of Viral Video.”  All viral video on all platforms -- initially digital, but certainly its vision can extend upstream to more traditional TV platforms, etc. (in fact, many “clip-based” shows on TV depend upon Jukin’ Media for their content, as well as well-known brands that include MTV, CNN and ESPN and Today).  The company’s roots -- and still its bread and butter -- are in “stunts gone wrong” (in other words, so-called “fail” videos) that go viral due to their inherent humor.  Think of them as “America’s Funniest Home Videos” -- with a heavy dose of “Jackass” -- for YouTube.  And, they tell me that their “special sauce” is their ability to find viral videos before they go viral.  Jukin’ Media to date has over 1 billion total views and 12-13 million uniques per month with a demographic that skews, not surprisingly, heavily young male.  They also have a deep international following, because the concept of “ouch” travels and has no language barrier.

In some ways, Jukin' functions like an MCN.  But, I don’t consider them an MCN (nor do they), because they feature only a small number of channels and feature ONLY content that they exclusively license, produce and own (unlike MCNs that generally primarily feature hundreds to thousands of individual personality-driven UGC content).  And, this fundamental difference enables a very different kind of multi-pronged business model.  Think of Jukin’ Media as having 4 separate areas of focus:

(1) Content Acquisition/Video Library

Jukin’ Media’s essence -- from which all else flows -- is its prowess in content acquisition and its resulting deep library of viral video that can be mined in myriad ways and over and over again.  That means that margins are high.  Content development for Jukin’ is primarily a function of editing rather than video production (with its associated costs).  And, they know what they are doing when they acquire that content.  One example -- they strip out potentially infringing music and substitute their own.

(2) Content Licensing 

As a result of its deep library of content, you can think of Jukin’ Media as being, in part, a Getty Images for viral video.  The company licenses its vast library of content to others (including those mentioned above).  But, the company tells me that, unlike Getty and its stock images and videos, it focuses on a smaller volume of non-stock videos that its licensees can feature more exclusively.  And, that means higher price-tags.

(3) Turnkey Services

The company also outsources its overall video “platform” for the benefit of others who retain Jukin’ to find precisely those viral videos they need (again, including major networks).   Jukin’ automates and optimizes the finding, clearing and acquisition of rights from owners of relevant viral videos.

(4) Original Content Development

Increasingly, the company is in the world of original content development -- albeit “original content” in a different way -- i.e., organizing multiple viral videos under one relevant theme (such as those “fail” videos under the name of its “FailArmy” channel).  The beauty here is that Jukin’s type of content development -- unlike Hollywood or story-focused content development -- can be almost wholly data-driven.  Genetically engineered, if you will.  Jukin’ precisely knows which videos are performing (i.e., going viral), why they perform, and -- therefore -- that those videos will succeed within the umbrella of a larger show.  Just think of the possibilities ...  Out-flixing Netflix?

Jukin’ Media.  What some call the hottest “under the radar” digital video/digital-first media company around today.  I like them.  A lot.

Am a believer ....

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MCNs - They Matter (Because They Represent Media’s Fundamental Digital Transformation & the Accelerating Millennial Movement)

[NOTE -- this article was published yesterday as a guest article in VideoInk.  Different title, essentially the same content.]

I write a lot about the multi-channel network (MCN) digital video world.  And, I follow it closely.  Why?  Is it because I think MCNs are the only relevant players in the new world video eco-system?

Of course not!

Rather, I follow them so closely because the rise of MCNs -- and the massive M&A and investments in those companies -- are key data points for the overall digital “movement.”  Of the fundamental transformation of Hollywood.  And, of the fundamental transformation of the overall media business.  MCNs represent the new multi-platform media world that we had anticipated for years, but finally came into its own in a mainstream way just this past year.

It is here.  It is now.  Consumers “get" that.  Especially millennials.

But do the major “traditional” media companies?  Do the big brands?  Do you?

Certainly not to a significant degree -- and that is at their and your peril (if you fall into that camp).  I recently wrote about this after attending my first VidCon.

Core to this transformation is the mobile device -- a device that is with most of us (even non-millennials) virtually 24/7.  Now high quality video is available to consumers virtually any time, anywhere.  And, we are voraciously eating it up (to the pleasure of the carriers and their data plans).  The bottom line is that different platforms are optimized for different forms of content.  And, the vast majority of video consumption on the small screen is of “bite-sized” short form video.  That means that premium content development for that small screen is fundamentally different than it is for traditional longer-form video platforms like TV.  That requires specialized expertise.  Expertise that most traditional media companies don’t have.

That’s where MCNs fit in.  They don’t supplant traditional platforms.  Rather, they EXPAND them.  They enable consumers to consume the full spectrum of entertaining, informative, and impactful video content.  The mobile platform -- that small screen -- is finally ready for prime time.  Scratch that.  It isn’t just ready -- it is here -- it is now.

What else?

Our multi-platform media world -- in which consumers demand these new forms of premium content (after all, they are “voting” by their sheer numbers) -- also demands “personalities” who can speak most effectively to the massive young audience that has shifted much of its content consumption downstream to that mobile device.  And, that personality isn’t the mainstream celebrity.  Rather, because these “bite-sized” videos ideal for mobile viewing are typically produced on very low (or, more usually, non-existent) budgets, they are grass-roots-driven (at least initially).  They began with people like you and me (well, not me, I am not in that demo).  And, some of these grass-roots videos and personalities take hold -- for some reason -- and rise to the top.  Somehow some of them rise above the din.  It is THESE YouTube personalities who are the new “celebrities” for millennials.

A recently published study confirms that reality.  YouTube celebrities are now more popular than mainstream celebrities to U.S. teens.  Think about that!  Brands -- you better.  If you want to reach this key burgeoning demographic, then you must -- RIGHT NOW! -- shift significant marketing funds to the YouTube economy.  To MCNs.  To YouTube “celebrities."  To Viners.  Play time is over.  It’s time to go “in” big.  And, with these digital platforms, you have the added benefit of being able to reach and pinpoint the precise “right” audience for your messages.  Then it is up to you to engage with them, effectively.

And, that takes “authenticity” -- a word that is foundational to this new world order.  YouTube personalities rise -- MCNs rise -- and brands effectively rise -- only with authentic voices.

Take some of the leading MCNs.

I recently profiled #1 dance-focused MCN DanceOn and its founder/CEO Amanda Taylor.  Why did she start DanceOn in the first place?  Fundamentally, because of her love of dance!  Because she already was helping professional dancers expand their opportunities because she was aware of their challenges.  She felt their pain.

I also recently profiled Larry Fitzgibbon, founder/CEO of #1 food-focused MCN Tastemade.  Why did he start Tastemade after his successful IPO of Demand Media (which he also founded)?  I’m sure he had already made some significant cash -- so it certainly wasn’t all about the dollars.  Rather, when I met with Larry, he started our conversation talking about his love of food.  Of the beauty and creativity of food and cooking as an art form.  And, of the international bridging of cultures that food makes possible.  That is authentic!  (And very very cool).

That same authenticity is pervasive by essentially all founders and CEOs in the MCN world, several of whom I have come to know well (and some of with whom I have the good fortune of closely working).  Founder/CEO John West of #1 sports-focused MCN The Whistle?  Absolutely -- love of sports -- believed that millennials deserved their own voice of sports.  Not their father’s ESPN.  Roy Burstin, founder/CEO of Mitu Networks, the #1 Latino-focused MCN.  Same story.  Roy -- from Colombia -- “felt” the dearth of compelling video content for the Latino market (which he tells me has higher mobile consumption rates than other cultures).  Stepahine Horbaczewski, founder/CEO of #1 fashion-focused MCN StyleHaul?  Again, the same.  You can feel it by the faux furs she wears around her neck at events, even in the summer!  And then there’s Allen DeBevoise, Chairman of #1 gamer-focused MCN Machinima and the godfather of the MCN world in general.  Allen is such an authentic believer in this new world order that he personally has invested in virtually all of these (and more).

THAT’s why MCNs matter.  That’s why I follow them and the entire multi-platform media/video world so closely.

And, that’s why I am excited about the massive opportunities in (and privileged to be in) the media world that is now transforming in fundamental ways right before our eyes.

Let’s be clear.  It’s not “out" with the old.  But, it is absolutely about “in” with the new ....

Monday, August 25, 2014

DanceOn - EXCLUSIVE Insights from CEO Amanda Taylor of Dance’s #1 MCN

As you know, I follow the multi-platform media/MCN space very closely.  Last week, I featured an interview and studio tour of leading foodie-focused MCN Tastemade.  Today’s featured CEO is Amanda Taylor, founder & CEO of leading dance-focused MCN DanceOn (with 11 million subs, 70 million monthly video views, over 2 billion total views, and 8.3 million fans across Facebook and Twitter).  DanceOn’s all-star list of founders and investors include Madonna, Nygel Lythgoe (creator of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “American Idol”), and Allen DeBevoise (founding father/godfather of the MCN world).  Manatt Digital Media is also an investor, as am I individually.  We are believers.

Last week, Amanda and head of sales Mike Praw joined me and others from the Manatt Digital Media team for an informal brown bag lunch to hear more insights -- more about who they are, where they are, where they plan to go.  These are some of those insights from our special session:

(1) DanceOn’s Focus -

-- Amanda underscored that DanceOn focuses on “dance videos," not “music” videos; music videos feature music artists

(2) DanceOn’s Core Demo & Overall Market Opportunity -

-- 63% of viewers are female, 50% are “multicultural,” and 61% are in the coveted 13-34 age bracket
-- the market opportunity is “massive” in Amanda's words -- why?
-- dance “travels” well internationally, since there is no language barrier
-- no other single multi-platform dance-focused media company exists, and “bite-sized” dance video works well for the smart phone/tablet world

(3) DanceOn’s Business Model -
-- advertising-focused video on demand (AVOD) -- a primary component
-- sponsorships, including branded integration/content -- a primary component -- and the company has had major traction already with several of the biggest brands (examples include Coke, Unilever)
-- syndication opportunities to other platforms (including television) -- but Amanda stressed that these are only interesting where the DanceOn brand is featured and preserved
-- interestingly, unlike some other leading vertically-focused MCNs like StyleHaul and Tastemade, commerce is not a key element of DanceOn’s business model; the company is NOT a commerce play; DanceOn’s core/essence is pure entertainment
-- the company is now dipping its toes into the live event space and has its first major event at the LA Convention Center this Friday, August 29

(4) DanceOn's Pitch to Professional Dancers/Creators
-- Amanda tells me that, at most, professional dancers can earn $120K/year in the “traditional” model and with traditional platforms; but digital platforms open a new world of monetization opportunities; and, even more, now professional dancers can build their individual brands and monetize in myriad ways that go well beyond dance (which already is happening with some dancers on the DanceOn roster)
-- a key part of DanceOn’s pitch to professional dancers is to directly address their relatively short professional “shelf life” -- i.e., DanceOn helps dancers maximize opportunities now in a Carpe Diem kind-of-way
-- and, because professional dancers can build their individual brands, they can also extend those brands into different areas beyond dance as they mature 

(5) DanceOn’s Biz Terms with Talent
-- DanceOn has exclusive digital relationships with its talent roster, but Amanda tells me the company is not an agency
-- the company's talent can utilize the DanceOn platform as a springboard to showcase their talent, build their brand, and move well beyond digital (and into all other platforms, including traditional media) on their own

(6) Future Plans -- Where They Are Going
-- DanceOn's video content is almost exclusively non-scripted now; but the company already develops significant original programming, a natural extension of which ultimately is to move beyond its current focus

Definitely an MCN to watch.  And, an MCN that was founded with the same fundamental principles shared by Larry Fitzgibbon of Tastemade (as well as essentially all other major MCN CEO/Founders whom I have come to know) -- authenticity and passion.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tastemade - My Interview & Studio Tour with CEO Larry Fitzgibbon of the Leading Food MCN

Tastemade is a leading MCN -- and is THE leading MCN focused on food, nothing but food.  The company’s mission is to be “Connecting the World Through Food.”  And investors have bitten -- to the tune of $25 million in their latest round led -- predictably (and smartly) -- by Scripps Networks Interactive (owner of, of course, the Food Network).  Mega-media companies Comcast (via Comcast Ventures) and Liberty Media also are investors in the company’s latest round (which is on top of $15 million previously invested).

Yesterday I drove down the street to Tastemade’s Santa Monica, California headquarters and studios and met with CEO Larry Fitzgibbon (the picture to the right is the unassuming exterior of Tastemade studios, which previously housed MTV).  Larry and I had previously crossed paths a couple of times -- while I at SightSpeed and he at CitySeach; and while I at Sorenson Media and he at Demand Media.  Demand Media is where Larry honed his chops for short-form video content.  After Demand Media’s IPO in 2011, Larry and his other co-founders used their recipe of best practices and mixed in key ingredients of experience, learnings (e.g., focus on a passionate target audience/vertical market and build a brand), expertise, and passion for food to bake Tastemade.  And, here we are.  (The picture below and to the left is one of several fully functioning production kitchens in the studio, this one being more urban and hipster-focused; while the picture further below and to the right is the kitchen typically used more for live audience demonstrations).

Larry shrugs off the label “MCN,” choosing instead to call Tastemade a “Modern” media company.  I mentioned to him that it was intriguing for him to use that word (“modern”), because that is a rarely used word in this day and age.  His response to that was equally intriguing -- i.e., “we are not a next-gen media company, because the audience has already migrated to digital platforms.”  Amen to that!  And, Tastemade’s content is developed natively for those digital platforms unlike content produced for the Food Network or other traditional platforms like television (that is then frequently ... and frequently clumsily simply carted ... over to digital channels).  Different strokes (content) for different folks (platforms).

And, here’s the interesting thing about Tastemade as opposed to many other major “MCNs” (yes, I am generalizing for ease of reference).  Most major MCNs have thousands of channels.  Not Tastemade.  Tastemade counts about 300.  And every single one of them -- every one -- is identified by pin, string, and individual profile on a massive world map on one main wall inside the company’s offices.  Yes, old world recognition by a new world “modern” media company for the old world art of cooking and food.

Here’s another one.  Tastemade’s app (which is really cool, by the way, you should try it out) enables anyone -- you, me -- to be a “foodie” and instantaneously and drop-dead easily make a beautiful professional video at our favorite restaurant while we order our food and enjoy our meal.  Everything is automated (editing, etc.) -- and you can also select music tracks to accompany your “rave” (not reviews, because reviews can be negative) of your food experience so that others can enjoy.  But here’s the punchline.  Every single prolific Tastemade raver has his/her picture and profile on that same Tastemade office wall in an old-world format (via post-its this time), so that the Tastemade team sees their audience, their users, all day, every day.  It is a great authentic reminder of what it is all about -- to connect the world with food! Bravo to Larry and his team for those nice human touches.

Tastemade now gets 18 million unique visitors per month and its core audience is, not surprisingly, 18-34 and about 60% female, with over 50% residing outside of the U.S.  This truly is an international play, because food travels well (at least digitally).  The company’s business model is, as expected, primarily ad-driven (including significant branded content and sponsorship opportunities).  But, the company -- like all other MCNs (and virtually every media company, period!) -- is also experimenting with paid content (via subscriptions and/or micro-payments for access) and ultimately with relevant commerce opportunities.

It’s only a matter of time until some big fish devours them ...

(The picture to the upper left is another interior shot of the studios, while the picture to the lower left is the bar used for viewers to learn about libations and where the Tastemade team will celebrate their inevitable liquidity event.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

MCN 101 - A “Cheat Sheet” for Key Multi-Platform Video M&A, Strategic & VC Investments, Partnerships

The overall multi-platform video/media and multi-channel network (MCN) space continues 
to be white hot, with accelerating M&A, strategic and venture capital investments, and an ever-growing list of significant strategic partnerships.  Tough to keep up with it all, but my team and I at Manatt Digital Media follow the space very closely.  To help, here is a scorecard/“cheat sheet" of key representative (1) M&A, (2) strategic investments, (3) VC investments, and (4) strategic partnerships -- all in reverse chronological order (most recent first, so that you can get a sense of the accelerating pace, even during the purportedly slow-moving dog days of summer):


StyleHaul (the leading fashion-focused MCN) heavily rumored to be up for sale right now – potential buyers said to include Hearst, Conde Nast, Amazon and 21st Century Fox

Legendary Entertainment acquired Geek & Sundry (geek culture) in late July 2014 for an undisclosed sum

Otter Media widely rumored in late July 2014 to be mulling over taking a majority stake in leading MCN FullScreen for a sum reported to be between $200-$300 million (no updates since initial reports)

Relativity Media was widely rumored to have bid for leading horizontally-focused Fullscreen for an amount reported to be between $500 million to $1 billion in early May 2014 (since that time, Otter Media is rumored to be the leading contender -- as discussed above)

Disney acquired Maker Studios in the mid-March 2014 mega $500-$950 million deal that fueled and accelerated all of this year’s MCN activity

DreamWorks acquired AwesomenessTV for $100 million+ in the first major MCN deal in early May 2013

Consider all other major vertically-focused MCNs to be in “play” at this point, given all of the M&A activity (here are my predictions about likely M&A targets from a few months back).  

II.  MCN Strategic Investment

As opposed to M&A, this category represents major media companies who have taken significant equity stakes in (but not outright acquisition of) leading MCNs:

AT&T and The Chernin Group committed $500 million in April 2014 to fund the new Otter Media joint venture to acquire, invest in and launch OTT services (including leading anime-focused MCN Crunchyroll

Warner Bros invested $18 million in leading and pioneering young male and gamer-focused MCN Machinima in early March 2014 (just before Disney’s acquisition of Maker Studios)

AMC Networks invested $4 million in leading dance-focused MCN DanceOn in October 2013 (NOTE -- Manatt Digital Media is an investor in DanceOn)

III.  MCN Venture Capital Investment

As opposed to the strategic corporate investments discussed above, here are key multi-platform video/MCN-related venture capital investments:

Leading Latino-focused MiTu Networks raised $10 million from Upfront Ventures and existing investors mid-June 2014

Leading sports-focused MCN The Whistle raised $10 million ($18 million to date) from SeventySix Capital and “name brand” long-time media execs Bob DuPuy, Garry Laybourne, Bob Pittman in mid-May 2014

Tastemade earlier raised $10 million from Raine Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Comcast Ventures in August 2013

Fullscreen previously raised an undisclosed 8-figure sum from The Chernin Group, Comcast Ventures, and WPP in June 2013

StyleHaul previously raised $17 million from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, RTL Group, RezVen Partners 

IV.  MCN Strategic Partnerships

As opposed to outright M&A or investment, MCN growth also is fueled by strategic partnerships.  Here are a representative few:

FC Barcelona will use Dailymotion’s video player on their site and Dailymotion will launch FC Barcelona channel, dedicated to soccer (announced early August 2014)

Fox Sports Digital is partnering with Sporting News Media to share and swap libraries of editorial and video content (announced late July 2014)

Conde Naste launches pioneering brand-focused The Scene with content partners including AOL, ABC News, Forbes, BuzzFeed, Vox Media (announced mid-July 2014)

The Whistle announces continuous string of mega-content co-creation, co-distribution and co-promotion deals with the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, PGA Tour, AVP Beach Volleyball, Harlem Globetrotters (ongoing throughout 2014)

Maybelline announced a deal with StyleHaul in June 2014 for branded content in its YouTube channels (with StyleHaul videos also appearing in Maybelline’s content hub and on TV)

Leading media company Lionsgate and Freddie Wong’s RocketJump Studios agree to a multi-year film, TV and digital content alliance (announced April 2014)

Mediakraft and British Pathe announce a major content deal in April 2014 to bring 85,000 videos to YouTube from their historical film archives of to YouTube – 4/14

NOTE -- these certainly are key strategic MCN/multi-platform video “moves” -- but certainly not all of them.  

And, the action is still in its early innings ...

Leading video “pub” VideoInk also published this article, under a different name.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Outside Lands 2014 -- Day 3 -- A Review

Outside Lands 2014 is a wrap -- and, another amazing festival EXPERIENCE in every sense of the word.  This one was different for me -- my entire family joined.  That made it even more special -- music discovery to an even higher degree.  My Day 1 review is here -- and my Day 2 review is here.

How about Day 3?  Went back to the amazing Day 1 sunshine -- which meant that warmth permeated the day.  Conditions were ripe for new music.  So, while proven powerful artists like Killers and Tiesto anchored the day, the true impact came from the new.

That meant the Twin Peaks stage -- where we spent much of the day.  First, with Eminem-flow-like rapper Watsky -- who amazed.  And, then the follow-up 1-2 punch of Flume - perhaps THE artist the kids wanted to see.  While Flume played in the early afternoon, the Twin Peaks area buzzed (and overflowed -- this picture proves the point) like a headlining show -- which it could have been.  Was a great set.  Flume delivered on all the Coachella hype.  He crushed it.

But, back to Watsky.  HE was the star of the weekend for me.  Had never heard of him before.  Listened to his music before the weekend.  Liked it.  Now I truly appreciate his skills.  And he is skilled.  Very.  And original.  He is no wannabee.  Check him out.

Outside Lands -- a “must attend” music festival ....