Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Feature -- "Pete's Picks" -- MUST CHECK Out New Bands/Music

My long-time readers know that I am a passionate music fan.  I listen to music 24/7 (just about).  And, I frequently write about some of my favorite bands.  Music reviews.  Concert reviews.  I also frequently Tweet some of my favorite new music.

Now, I plan to formalize it a bit.  Every now and then -- no schedule, just simply when warranted -- I will throw out my favorite new bands and music via this new "Pete's Picks" feature.

Here are my first three MUST CHECK OUT picks:

(1) Band -- Kodaline.  Song -- "All I Want".  STUNNINGLY beautiful with a vintage U2 vibe.

(2) Band -- Icky Blossoms.  Song -- "Babes".  Couldn't be more different than Kodaline and "All I Want."  Cheeky.

(3) Band -- New Politics.  Song -- "Harlem" (not to be confused with the very different "Harlem Shuffle", which most definitely is not a "Pete's Pick."

(4) Band -- Widowspeak.  Song -- "Dyed in the Wool".  Haunting band, with a David Lynch-ian "Twin Peaks" vibe (and a heavy dose of Stevie Nicks).  I've liked this band for a long time.  And, they just dropped their new album "Almanac" (in fact, speaking of Stevie Nicks, check out the album cover for "Almanac" -- VERY Fleetwood Mac-ian).

Pandora & Spotify -- 1 More Goliath Coming Your Way -- How Can You Win?

Last week I wrote about goliaths Google and Apple widely reported to be soon starting their own music subscription/streaming services to compete directly with Pandora, Spotify and the host of other "Davids."

Well, that ain't all.  Yesterday, just after Pandora and Spotify had wiped off the sweat from their collective brows and recovered from that news, it was reported that Twitter too likes music -- and plans to enter the fray, Tweet-style.

How can much smaller players like Pandora and Spotify "win" against this coming onslaught?

First, they must offer a significantly better and differentiated customer experience.  Their service simply must be the best.

Second, they must use every effort to optimize their economics as compared with the goliaths.  Most significantly, they must reduce overall COGS -- and that means, primarily, to minimize overall music licensing costs.  Here, the fact that these players are "smaller" should help them.  No music/content company wants to see Apple, Google or Twitter corner the subscription market a la Apple via iTune downloads.

Third, each must think outside of the (Pandora) box to offer a differentiated "experience" and differentiated customer engagement.  One example here is to bring their customer engagement into the physical/offline world -- "Outbox" music festivals for Pandora is just one such possibility (I wrote about this in my recent Huffington Post article titled "8 Ways to Maximize Live Sports & Music Revenues").

Sounds easy?  It ain't.  But, urgency creates opportunity ....

CityBot -- I Predicted Its "Love" at SXSW

I am a mentor of The Founder Institute.  Over one year ago, I judged a "pitch-fest" in the San Diego chapter, hearing about 10 entrepreneurial spiels.  The winner -- hands down -- was innovative travel guide CityBot.  I wrote about the company/service at the time.

Well, call me prescient.  Laptop Magazine just named CityBot one of the "10 Best Apps and Gadgets from SXSW 2013."

Congratulations to CEO/Founder Greg Solovyev and the entire CityBot team.  And, check it out.