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This site is really about my take on a number of media, technology and music business issues as I smack into them in my life and my business. Among them are: The challenges of running a small record label in the Music 2.0 (sorry) world, audio and music technology and business, learning and instructional technology and media, and just being a 40 something desk jockey with (now - gulp) 10 year old twins. (Sheesh - kids just keep growing and getting older no matter what you do!)

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Coffee Cup

IMG_0881.JPGI hear that coffee is the new wine - whatever that means. I will say that I have really gotten into coffee this past year. I am no barista and I probably don't even qualify as a coffee geek, but I have put some time into pouring a good cup of joe while supporting fair trade distributors. Currently I am brewing/drinking what so far has to be my favorite source of coffee; Counter Culture coffee. Very fresh, Fair Trade and Organic offerings - check out some of their micro lots. Mmm-Good.

Other good ones: Global Libations in Kutztown Pa, I like their Costa Rican La Amistad, and Alterra Coffee in Milwaukee Wi, thier Dark Sumatra - strong stuff but mmmm good.

Don't forget Joe's Coffee Bar in Philidelphia. Excellent fresh roasted beans and fair trade too!

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Big 3 (well 2.5) and the Record Industry

The record industry reminds me a lot of the auto industry in some respects. They were caught slumbering and running their businesses lazily and with out thought for the future. Now that the "future" has already past so to speak, they are flat footed and reactionary. The big labels all but got rid of their A&R departments years ago and put no thought into new artist development or new mediums to deliver their product to their customers.

This has been the case for long while and we have been through it a number of times, both with the record industry and the auto industry. For the auto industry its always been the Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Oil prices, the environment etc that  was the cause of sales down turns - and for the record industry it was the cassette tape, the DAT, the CDR and now MP3 and digital distribution.

Suing people really isn't going to help, just like adding tariffs and whining to the government isn't going to help the auto industry. I was at the Platinum Producers forum at the AES convention last October, Joseph Puig,  Executive Vice President of Geffen/A&M Records and a producer I have immense respect for, basically said in response to a question regarding MP3s and digital distribution, - paraphrasing - "give us time, we are figuring out the best technology and the best file format for distributing our music digitally."  My response, like many around me was - What???? That is what the record companies should have been doing 15 years ago! - not now. Technology and file format have essentially already been decided. The record industry (and recording industry) missed their chance, and that is unfortunate because MP3 is not that great of a format and input from creators could have really helped produce a more robust format.

There is still time to tweak and create working and profitable distribution models and systems. But that doesn't seem to be where the record industry's collective "head" is. Instead, they seem to want to sue people and cut their way out of their troubles. Very similar to the US auto industry, instead of putting money into developing more efficient and quality vehicles, they are laying blame outside of themselves.

Now the technology is here and the resulting "long tail" enables fresh artists and small labels to make their own music and get it out to a mass audience. Here is a cool article by David Byrne in Wired about the state of the industry from an artists perspective (sans the comparison the the US auto industry). 

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