Home Think Tank

animated-map

Nathan Yau at Flowing Data dipped into the funny side for a list of 19 maps. This is my favourite one.

4. Changes over time and space

Several mini-explosions are going off in your head at this very moment, so brace yourself for what comes next. The most telling of maps is the one that ebbs and flows with the people who reside in the area. The data flows like water in a bendy river with a lot of rocks. This is a picture of life as we know it — random, unorganized, and unpredictable. When life gives you lemons, you make a map of those lemons, because the result blows your mind every single time.

The animated map above is only a snapshot of the millions of lives that the lines and shapes represent. The animation likely shows something interesting. Sometimes a state turns orange, others turn black, and the rest turn white. What will happen in the next frame? It is hard to say. Just like tomorrow.

From Completely Ignored:

Does staying away longer help pad your bottom line in terms of ticket prices?

To help answer this question, I took a cross section of 18 of these notable bands who have returned to Toronto in the last decade after some sort of hiatus. I compared ticket prices for the “farewell” and “hello again” gigs and in an attempt to keep this apples-to-apples, I only included headline shows. This latter piece gets kinda dicey when we speak in terms of demand (i.e. the Constantines’ headline “reunion” show in Toronto this fall will technically be the third time they’ve played in the city since reuniting) but more on that later…

Also, none of the prices reflect services charges, venue fees or anything of that nature. Because people tend to hate taking about services charges, venue fees or anything of that nature.

Here is a list of the 18 bands in question, sorted by the year they returned to Toronto and also showing their last Toronto show before they disappeared for a while:

ticket2

Now, the first graph below shows who had the longest gap between Toronto headline shows. The second graph shows who had the largest spike in ticket prices, expressed in terms of price percentage increase.

ticket3

ticket4

If there was a decent correlation between length of absence and increase in ticket price, these graphs should look somewhat similar shape-wise.

They don’t. At all.

When I was a kid, my grandfather, who had a blues/jazz bar in Toronto, passed to me a photocopied sheet with the title Reasons Why Radio Won’t Play Your Song. It was probably one of the first pieces of viral I’ve ever seen – no author, no date, no source, nothing except for a funny list of about 20 reasons.

I never forgot about that list throughout my years of working in the music industry. With an exciting extroverted passion for music, Music Directors of radio stations are, no doubt, the gatekeepers to get your song heard on the radio. I’ve spent many a meetings talking to the fine men and women about their roles, and why they love songs, and why they don’t. There’s still only one reason why they would – because it’s great. But that would make for a very short post. I found an extended list at Music Biz Academy that extended the same list to about 60. And that got me thinking – in 2014, how much different would the list look like? What would be added? So, with the help of anonymous MDs, PDs and radio pluggers across North America (you know who you are) and that list to start it off all those years ago, here are now many more reasons why radio won’t play your song.

1. Not for us or our sound
2. No room
3. No label support
4. I want to give record the best shot, so we will have to wait till when we have more room
5. There are no local sales
6. There is national action
7. Considering…
8. I’m watching and waiting
9. It’s the wrong image
10. It’s not modal
11. I need another copy
12. Poor reaction from test marketing it
13. The jocks don’t like it
14. No phone reaction
15. We played the import
16. We’re going to wait and see what the competition does
17. Will wait for the single
18. The record’s not in any kind of stores around here
19. Need approval from head office
20. I like it but the P.D. doesn’t
21. It was vetoed in the music meeting
22. Too hard
23. Too soft
24. It’s wimpy
25. Not as good as their last release
26. It needs to be re-listened to
27. It sounds too EDM-ish
28. It sounds too pop
29. We didn’t get the co-promotion
30. Trade #’s don’t merit airplay
31. Sounds like everything else
32. It’s not a good record
33. I don’t like it
34. The MP3 file wouldn’t play
35. The music file crashed my computer
36. We only play stuff that “rocks“
37. Saving room for when new releases get scheduled
38. Going into the library
39. We already have a female-fronted band on the playlist
40. We want to hear a hook
41. No tip sheet advertising
42. Nothing about it hits me
43. Don’t like the mix
44. Not enough guitar
45. Too many strings
46. Over-produced
47. Under-produced
48. Don’t like the band’s name
49. This song is not consistent with their last release
50. Our listeners won’t be able to relate
51. Too rhythm oriented
52. Send all our jocks copies
53. Can’t play too many singles
54. That music only works in the big markets
55. We’ll wait till more stations play it
56. Not our kind of music
57. Too alternative
58. Not alternative enough
59. Where’s the beat…the BEAT!
60. I’ve misplaced it, but its here somewhere, call me back
61. Our competition got on it first, we have to be different
62. I don’t like the cover
63. We didn’t get a co-presents on their last show
64. Too many vulgar words
65. We’re going for a younger demo
66. We’re going for an older demo
67. We don’t have an MD right now
68. We’re not the right station for this
69. The chorus comes in late
70. The intro is too quiet
71. We have too many song by the featured artist in rotation
72. There’s no release date
73. We missed the release date
74. No radio edit
75. I don’t like the radio edit
76. No campus radio promotion
77. Let’s talk when the tour starts
78. The .wav file was block because of the size
79. The YouSendIt file was blocked by my spam filters
80. There’s no story happening
81. They’re overexposed
82. I’m still waiting on feedback
83. Too much CanCon right now
84. Too much International right now
85. It sounds like something my mom would hate
86. We never received your submission
87. I don’t agree with the political view
88. We’ll play the song next week (they didn’t)
89. I’m watching the charts, it’s not very impressive
90. I’m waiting the charts, it’s pretty impressive
91. Their set at CMJ/SXSW/NXNE/CMW was way too long
92. It’s too country (from a country station)
93. It sounds like karaoke
94. We’re playing too many covers now
95. We love the song and band but have no room
96. The intro is too long
97. The chorus is too long
98. You know what? The whole song is too long (with Stairway To Heaven playing in background)
99. I’ll listen, but no promises
100. We should be playing this song but haven’t played the artist for years
101. I know this doesn’t help but your band has no relevance
102. I can’t take this band seriously until they sell 100,000
103. What are you going to do for ME?
104. Let’s face it, would you be working this song if you weren’t being paid?
105. We can’t play this. He’s/She’s way off-key in the chorus
106. Too much rap in the middle
107. The stations on BDS aren’t on it
108. There’s only one original member left
109. Didn’t the lead singer die?…oh…I thought they broke up
110. They’re only big in the east
111. They’re only big in the west
112. They’re only big in the north
113. I don’t care if they’re big down south
114. You sent us the wrong promo cds
115. We only play established acts
116. Why should I play a band that sounds LIKE Led Zeppelin when I can PLAY Led Zeppelin
117. Their website hasn’t been update in a year
118. It sounds like their last song
119. It sounds so different from their last song
120. We get no calls
121. Ever since they cut their hair….
122. I’m having trouble with DMDS
123. I can’t find my PD. Can you help me find my PD?
124. We’re a talk radio station
125. Sounds too ‘Active Rock’ for us
126. Sounds too Hot AC for us
127. Sounds too ‘Modern Rock’ for us (this, and the above 2 were all the same song!)
128. They don’t sound as good as they do live
129. They suck live
130. It sounds like something my mom would hate
131. Their video on YouTube doesn’t have enough views
132. Nobody’s listening to them on Spotify
133. Not enough Twitter followers
134. Not enough fans on Facebook
135. Didn’t they break up last week?

With thanks to all the MDs and PDs and labels who sent in their amazing stories. We couldn’t work in this business without each other. If you know the original source of the list, or have a great ‘reason’ yourself, please let me know!

From Nielsen:

For as long as Americans have been hitting the road, radio and the cars we drive have been closely linked. And now, based on findings from a new major market test, we can connect what consumers listen to on the radio with what they buy at the auto dealer.

To correlate auto purchase behavior with radio listening trends, the test relied on Nielsen’s Local Insights service to combine portable people meter (PPM) results in the nation’s three largest radio markets (New York, Los Angeles and Chicago) with insights from Polk automotive data, which tracks ownership history for more than 600 million vehicles nationwide.

By connecting these various datasets, the results highlighted the uniqueness of each local market, the importance that radio formats have in reaching specific listeners and vehicle preference based on the type of radio listeners prefer.

“One of radio’s great strengths is its ability to impact consumers in unique ways on a market-by-market basis, which isn’t easily copied from one local market to the next,” said Farshad Family, SVP, Local Product Media Leadership. “Formats really make a difference in reaching certain auto buyers in different markets, and this test proves the importance of being able to use specific, granular radio data to explore those connections for both broadcasters and marketers.”

FORMATS THAT ARE EFFECTIVE AT REACHING ROADSTER OWNERS VARY BY MARKET

Firstly, the test revealed that every market is unique. Radio’s local connection to listeners across the country shapes how the medium serves each market. And just as traffic patterns are vastly different in Chicago from those in Los Angeles, the radio landscape is just as varied. So in that regard, it’s no surprise to see that roadster buyers (e.g., those in the market for an Audi TT, BMW Z4 or Porsche Boxster) don’t all favor the same format. Based on the index of radio-listening roadster buyers in Chicago and L.A., the News, Talk and Information format leads the way in both markets when it comes to the likeliness of reaching those consumers, but the similarities end there.

FORMATS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN REACHING THE RIGHT AUTO BUYERS

The results also revealed that connecting data on what consumers listen to with what they buy can help advertisers identify the right mix of radio formats for the type of vehicle they’re marketing. In Los Angeles, the basic luxury category (e.g., the Acura ILX, Infiniti G37 or Volkswagen CC) is important to many kinds of stations and automakers. And buyers in that category have a unique set of tastes for radio listening, which ranges from spoken word and information programming to religious programming to country music. Agencies, advertisers and broadcasters can all use these insights to be better informed about finding just the right mix of formats for reaching basic luxury buyers on the radio.

HIGH-END CAR BUYERS IN NEW YORK ARE TUNED IN TO SPORTS RADIO

The test also explored which vehicle types are preferred by listeners inside a specific format itself. Instead of asking which formats offer the right mix for a certain vehicle type, we flipped the focus to one particular format and examined the types of vehicles those listeners were most likely to buy. In New York, sports radio scored the best among high-end vehicle buyers, particularly those in the prestige sporty and prestige luxury categories (e.g., the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lexus LS or BMW 7 series). Among all vehicle types, sports radio enthusiasts are most likely to have purchased prestige sporty, prestige luxury, mid sport or mid luxury vehicles in the past year.

From Sonicbids:

Sponsorships, or aligning your music with a brand, are getting more and more prominent in the music industry. If you’ve ever been to a concert or festival, you’ve no doubt seen big brand names plastered across stage banners, offering their products or services to music fans. But, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a huge artist or even play at big-time festivals like Coachella to get sponsors. Now that you’ve identified some companies, we’ll go through some of the key deal points you should be looking for.

It’s not just about the money
The first thing to remember about sponsorship deals is that it’s not all monetary. This is especially true for indie artists in the early stages of their career. It’s really about building a mutually beneficial relationship. One that is built solely on money is not going to last long, and your fans may get the impression that you’re selling out. Instead, you need to make sure your ideals align with those of the company. Think about it: If you play acoustic folk music, would it make any sense to be sponsored by Red Bull or Mountain Dew, two companies that align themselves with extremism and skate culture

Make your pitch
Once you know which company you want to target, the next step is to make your initial pitch. You’ll want to email or call someone in the company involved with marketing and briefly tell them why they should work with you. Make this first pitch mostly about them. If you play chill, beachy music, you could work with your local surf shop to design and create merch. You could tell the surf shop owner that your fans are mostly local teens who spend most of their time hanging out at the beach and surfing. In other words, they are the exact target demographic of the surf shop. Remember, you’re going to be initiating these sponsorship conversations, so just saying “we want you to give us money” gives them no incentive to follow up. This isn’t charity, it’s sponsorship.

Continue reading the rest of the story here.

From The Washington Post:

A group of evolutionary biologists looked at the science of bump and grind, and say they have figured out exactly which dance movements catch a woman’s eye.

Researchers at Northumbria University and the University of Gottingen wanted to know what women look for in a dancing partner, since “dancing ability, particularly that of men, may serve as a signal of mate quality.” But isolating specific dance moves is difficult – facial attractiveness, body shape and even perceived socioeconomic status play a role in how people judge the dancing ability of their peers.

They found that women rated dancers higher when they showed larger and more variable movements of the head, neck and torso. Speed of leg movements mattered too, particularly bending and twisting of the right knee. In what might be bad news for the 20% of the population who is left-footed, left knee movement didn’t seem to matter. In fact, certain left-legged movements had a small negative correlation with dancing ability, meaning that dancers who favored left leg motion were rated more poorly. While not statistically significant, these findings suggest that there might be something to that old adage about “two left feet” after all. One final surprise – arm movement didn’t correlate with perceived dancing ability in any significant way.

From Atlanta Magazine:

Baseball is many things: an institution, a tradition, an obsession. It is also achingly boring to watch. Last year, the Wall Street Journal looked at three Major League Baseball games and timed how much real activity occurred in each. The findings? Although a typical baseball game stretches past three hours, the actual action in a game—moments like hits and runs and fielding—totals just eighteen minutes. And so, over the endless minutes of nothing, fans are fed distractions: food and beer, of course, but also absurd chants, mascot foot races, the wave, the Jumbotron. By the time Melky Cabrera came to bat in the bottom of the fourth that night, the Fletchers had already seen themselves on the seven-story screen three times.

Today Cabrera plays for the Toronto Blue Jays, but four seasons ago he was a Brave. The team roster listed him as six feet, 210 pounds. A switch-hitter, he was batting left-handed against right-handed reliever Elmer Dessens from the Mets. On the first pitch to Cabrera, Dessens threw an 88-mile-per-hour fastball on the inside part of the plate.

Cabrera’s swing, so quick and effortless as to seem almost an afterthought, connected solid but late. On the telecast, the ball disappears from the screen as if it were never there. How fast was it going? We don’t know for sure, but a line drive from a major league batter can easily exceed 100 miles per hour. We know some other things. We know that a baseball weighs five ounces. We know that force equals mass times acceleration. We know that Fred Fletcher’s six-year-old daughter, whom he will identify only as “A,” was sitting precisely 144 feet from home plate. The laces on her sneakers were knotted in neat bows. And she—well, not just she, but everyone around her—had less than one second to react to Cabrera’s line drive.

Less than one second.

Read the rest of the story here.

From The Atlantic:

Yes, there’s an Abbey Road livestream, a video camera trained on the crosswalk made famous by the 1969 Beatles album Abbey Road. And as far as livestreams go, this one instantly joins the ranks of other beloved feeds like Explorer’s bear cam and Nautilus Live’s shipwreck cam— but it offers something all its own.

Really, it’s the right nownessand the motion of the livestream that makes it so watchable. Seeing people move through space and time at Abbey Road brings into relief that it’s a real place, and underscores how it’s always changing. All of which is much more interesting than the album-cover-esque framing we already know.

It also raises the question of why so many people take the same pictures over and over. To pay homage, to be funny, to be part of something bigger, culturally, okay—but isn’t it much more intriguing to see a landmark the way you’ve never seen it before? It’s why there’s something oddly compelling about a 1960s photo of Abbey Road empty, which evokes the sort of pleasant disconnect you get from looking at an image of a now-famous landmark from when it was still under construction.

But our way of seeing the world is full of visual platitudes, more than we could ever possibly catalog, which we end up reenacting both intentionally and unintentionally. The writer Lawrence Weschler long kept a notebook of these sorts of visual rhymes. What he found was that people constantly echo what they’ve seen before—both geographically and interpersonally.

 

On Twitter, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats shared some of the wonderful wisdom she’s received working for the animation studio over the years. Of course, never fail to make them cry several times during the movie is omitted.

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

From Inc.:

Career advice is in no short supply. In fact, you could probably spend the duration of your working life simply reading through the tips and advice already online. But as in all areas of life, the more common something is, generally speaking, the lower its value.

Many oft repeated truisms are more about wish fulfillment than reality (sorry peddlers of endless, uncritical “follow your passion!” posts). Plus, tips that everyone and their mother (and their college career counselor) knows are unlikely to give you an edge over the competition. So what are the true hidden gems of career advice, the truths that few people are willing to say out loud that can actually transform a mediocre career into a rockstar one?

That’s what a someone on question-and-answer site Quora wanted to know recently, asking: “What are a few unique pieces of career advice that nobody ever mentions?” The community responded with plenty of uncommon, thought-provoking advice.

Doing your job well is not enough.

Being excellent at your job is a surefire way to get ahead, right? Nope, say several responders, including Victor Wong, CEO of PaperG. “Most people assume just doing their current assigned job well is enough–so many associates at law firms think doing all the paperwork and litigation properly is the road to partnership, and many PR account executives think that getting a few articles written about their clients will earn them a promotion,” he writes, but “becoming a principal, partner, or senior executive with P&L-level responsibility requires a completely separate set of skills from entry and mid-level jobs.”

How do you make that leap? “To make the big jump to the next level, they’re really being benchmarked on their ability to deliver future value to the firm in ways that are not taught or explained to them: chiefly how much business are they are able to bring in,” he asserts. “People who can think of what to do and deliver are the ones who ultimately are more likely to get promoted to the top levels.”

Another anonymous poster agrees: “You don’t become a star doing your job. You become a star making things happen.”

Who you work for is hugely important.

We all wish we lived in a world where who you know matters less than what you can do, but that’s often not reality, and not always for unhealthy reasons. Knowing the best in the business often means you’ve worked with the best, and people rightly admire that.

“You don’t have to be passionate about the product you are selling. You don’t have to be in the most glamorous industry. You don’t have to work for the company with the best ‘brand’ identity or reputation in your chosen field,” insists Jeremy Boudinet, director of marketing for startup Ambition. What does matter is who you’ve worked with.

“Few things are as valuable as going and working for somebody that is going to want to teach you anything and everything they know. You’ll experience tremendous personal and professional growth if you have the best person mentoring you,” he says, so “figure out where the absolute best person to work for would be, and go work for them.”

Continue reading the rest of the story here.