A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business, when it’s fundamentals are about to change.
Strategic inflection points can be caused by technological change but they are more than technological change. A strategic inflection point can be deadly when unattended to. Companies that begin a decline as a result of it’s changes rarely recover their previous greatness.
But strategic inflection points do not always lead to disaster. When the way business is being conducted changes, it creates opportunities for players who are adept at operating in the new way.
Andrew S. Grove – Only The Paranoid Survive
“Look out honey cuz I’m using technology. Ain’t got time to make no ap0logy.” – Iggy Pop & James Williamson – Search and Destroy
It’s Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2.
I don’t know about you but I lived a long time where I didn’t welcome change in my business/industry and ran away from it scared shitless.
And then, this whole Note Taking Nerd concept was introduced to me by the Chief and next thing I knew, I was neck deep in an opportunity that was WAY ahead of the curve, scaring people who think they’re our competitors… and having the service we provide being lovingly embraced by people like you who are completely overwhelmed by the fire hose of information that’s being blasted at you in the internet marketing, sales and offline marketing world.
Today I’m gonna share a story with you that beautifully illustrates why it’s incredibly important to embrace change in your market place. This wild tale comes from the book, “Appetite For Self Destruction: The spectacular crash of the record industry in the digital age” by Steve Knopper…
I don’t know even know why I started going through this book.
At first glance, it was easy to look at this title and think that the music industry’s crash has nothing to do the current projects I’m working on. I’m not in the music industry, right? Wrong.
I started reading and discovered it has EVERYTHING to do with what I’m doing. And, with what you’re doing too.
The biggest breakthroughs in your business(es) come, not from within your industry, but from outside of it. Within your industry the retardation that comes from incest idea swapping, stumps the “lazy and fearful majority’s” thinking. The herd clings to ideas that imprison them while the wise are willing to be scorned for bucking the system and slowly but surely leading to way to the industry’s rescue via evolution.
Now watch how this saga unfolded in the billion dollar music business in late 70’s and early 80’s…
Prologue 1979-1982 – Disco crashes the record business. Michael Jackson saves the day. And MTV really saves the day.
One man almost destroyed the music industry in the late 70’s. His name was Steve Dahl. He was a roundish Chicago rock disc jockey with huge glasses and a shaggy bull cut. In a maniacally nasally voice he pioneered shock radio with his outrageous stunts.
The WULP FM DJ didn’t find widespread recognition until he started smashing Donna Summers records in the studio, calling to arms a crazed group of followers he dubbed, “The Insane Coho List”.
He scored a few DJ gigs and married a young woman who called one night to request Leonard Cohen’s “Susanne”. Naturally, they divorced. But when he was 19, less than a year after they’d split up, Dahl sat in his Subaru in front of her house waiting all night for her to come out.
This was the 1970’s, so rather than having him arrested for stalking, she used personal connections to land him a morning show job at a struggling station as far away as possible. In Detroit.
Almost overnight, Dahl turned his new stations ratings around.
Big time Chicago rock stations came calling and Dahl accepted a job at WDAI, where he worked until it abruptly switched formats in 1978, dropping Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones and transforming into… “Disco DAI”.
Pictures of the Village People started appearing in it’s promo ads. Dahl, a rock guy, had no choice but to quit. He accepted a morning show job at another Chicago rock station, WLUP. “I was just mad at my previous employer,” the now white haired, still Hawaiian shirt wearing Dahl says. “The mid-westerners didn’t want that intimidating disco lifestyle shoved down their throat.”
The Anti-Disco campaign became the centerpiece of Dahl’s morning show with co-host Gary Meier.
They invited listeners to call in with their most hated disco songs, and after airing a snippet, Dahl and Meier would drag the needle across the record and cue the sound of an explosion. The show was wildly popular. When the duo offered membership cards to a “Kill Disco” organization, 10,000 listeners called the station within a week to sign up.
Dahl took the show on the road, packing a suburban Chicago night club with a “Death To Disco Rally”.
But what was so intimidating about people dancing in night clubs? Why did rock fans in Chicago hate disco so much? Because it sucked. That’s why.
The songs, the dancing, the roller skating, the disco balls, the heavy make up… it was so massive and goofy and over the top. Andy Warhol, Studio 54, Skate Town USA, Disco Duck… people were getting sick of this stuff.
Besides, in order to make it with a lady in the disco craze, a guy had to learn how to dance! And wear a fancy suit. It was an OUTRAGE!
It’s also possible that these rock fans hated disco because black and gay people liked it. Although nobody talked about that in public. Whatever the reasons, the backlash was inevitable. Disco needed to be destroyed and Dahl appointed himself the pied piper for this enraged crowd.
He found a compatriot in 28 year old, Mike Veeck, a failed rock guitarist. “I loathe disco,” Veeck said later. Veeck happened to have an excellent forum for what would be a decisive event in Dahl’s campaign; Comiskey Park – Home of the Chicago White Sox.
He was the son of then Chicago White Sox owner, Bill Veeck, a 75 year old baseball legend who walked on a wooden leg with a built-in ashtray. When he owned the Cleveland Indians the elder Veeck made Larry Doby the first black player in the American League.
With his father’s permission, Mike Veeck and Dahl hatched a plan…
On July 12th 1979, the Chicago Whitesox were to play a night double header against the Detroit Tigers at Comiskey. In the days leading up to the game, Dahl announced on the air that White Sox fans could enter the park for just 98 cents if they brought a disco record.
Sister Sledge, the Bee Gees, I will survive, it didn’t matter. Everything would be obliterated.
The sox averaged 16,000 fans at their home fans that year and the expected a few thousand more than usual because of Dahl’s stunt. They were completely unprepared for the army of over 59,000 fans who showed up at the first game, carrying stacks of Bee Gees albums in their arms.
Another 15,000 spilled along the outside of the south side streets. They wore Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath T-shirts, smashed bottles, smoked god knows what and chanted their almighty rallying cry… “DISCO SUCKS!”
In the stands, sharp edged records flew like Frisbees. Players were clearly unsettled. The Tigers Ron Leflore wore his batting helmet in centerfield during the first game.
Dahl was surprised and nervous.
He had prepared for a monumental failure, not thousands of minions waiting for him to lead. Wearing a green army helmet the size of a fish bowl, and a matching jacket with wide lapels, looking like a hippie Colonel Klink, Dahl arrived in centerfield with a military jeep between the two games.
“I didn’t think that anyone would even show up.” Dahl says today. The socks fireworks crew had rigged crates of records to explode with dynamite. He managed a few incomprehensible screams and his best anti-disco catch phrase from the radio, “That Blowed Up Real Good.”
It worked. Unwittingly, he rallied 10,000 fans to storm the field, climbing down the foul poles, and turning the record explosion in centerfield into a raging bonfire.
Sox officials hesitated to call in the cops for fear of stirring things up even further. They allowed fans to linger, shredding the dirt and turf beyond recognition. The senior Veeck and the legendary baseball announcer Harry Carey impotently attempted to exhort people back to their seats over the loudspeaker.
For 37 minutes, Sox fans, disco haters and all purpose rabble rousers united in a massive jamboree of public destruction.
Here’s a video clip of the madness that ensued…
Dahl, who went to work the next morning expecting to be fired, wound up a bigger celebrity than ever.
The week of the demolition, July 8th – July 14th, Chic’s “Good Times” hit the top ten. One of six disco songs to do so. On August 18th, three disco singles were in the top ten. By September 22nd, the number dropped to ZERO.
It seemed pretty immediate. Bars that had gone disco seemed to turn back into rock and roll clubs. “Live music began to thrive again.” Dahl says. “All I know is that the Bee Gees and KC of ‘KC and The Sunshine Band’ are still mad at me.”
“Disco Sucks” was the new mantra of rock fans in America.
In 1979 Disco had rammed head long into the wall of the brick house. “People were trying to murder it,” says Gloria Gaynor who had the misfortune of peaking with “I will survive” in the year of the backlash.
The reason disco died was economic, but it wasn’t really a decision.
Are The Note Taking Nerds Kick Ass Reports That Compress Weeks Worth Of Studying Into a Couple of Hours… The Real Reason The 5 Jillion Dollar Guru Launch Days Died?
Nope. We’re not that powerful. Even though like Dahl, we didn’t expect this thing to take off the way it has.
The common enemy you and I rally against is not the Guru’s. In fact, I fuckin’ LOVE the Guru’s. I have gratitude for all the brilliant concepts they’ve exposed me too.
Our enemy is information overload. This bitch MUST die if you and I are ever to succeed on any level of significance. So, that’s why my battle cry is…
“Info Sucks! Info Sucks! Info Sucks!”
It does. Info does NOTHING for you sitting on your shelf in home study course. ACTION is the name of the game. And the reality is, most people buy an info-product to get a result, not more info.
Therefore, Info alone with no action sucks and Results Rule!
Now let’s get back to the story…
As always, record labels went where the sales were. And for much of the late 1970’s, that was disco. Soon, the boom made record executives complacent. (READ: Soon, the boom made internet and offline marketers complacent)
When they should have been scouting for new talent, the labels should’ve lost more money. “They should’ve fucking closed for what they did.” says Nicki Fiano
Between 1974-1977, any record that had the word “Disco” on it, would just sell. People didn’t have to hear it. They just took it and bought it. When the record companies saw that happening, they put any old piece of garbage in that wrapper.
People starting getting burnt. And they got really pissed off. And, they stopped buying. (READ: INFORMATION OVERLOAD SUCKS
When disco fans stopped buying, record stores around the United States suddenly found themselves inundated with millions of unwanted LP’s. The stores had to return them to the labels. It was a recipe for the music business disaster.
And in 1979, labels started to crash.
Sales plummeted that year by almost 11% after more than a decade of growth. The first to go down in spectacular fashion was over the top Casa Blanca Records.
Casa Blanca had been founded 6 years earlier by Neil Boggart who had an ear for fads and a gift for burning through a lot of money. Born Neil Bogat, he was a postal workers son who learned show business by singing and dancing in the Catskills.
His first industry job was ad salesman for the trade journal Cashbox and by the end of the 60’s, he’d worked his way up to President of the new label Buddha Records. In his first year, Buddha made $5.6 Million dollars thanks to bubble gum hits like the Ohio Express’s “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”.
Bogart’s specialty was elaborate and shameless promotion. Some worked and some imploded. While at Buddha he tailed a prominent radio program and director through the streets of New York City in a rented limousine using a loud speaker on top of the car to blast the names of his act.
Bogart flirted with bankruptcy until the mid 1970’s when he met Italian producer, Giorgio Moroder who introduced him to a gospel, turned disco singer named Donna Summer.
With singles like Summer’s, “Love to Love You Baby”, Casa Blanca rode the disco boom hard going platinum on just about every record it threw at the market place.
Remember the days of back to back to back Million Dollar Day Launches? You don’t hear about so much of that talk nowadays, right?
Of course, this partly due to the economy but I also believe that it’s partly due to information overload.
When people come down off of the high of their buying trance, and they’re looking at 40 hours of videos and audios and reading that needs to be dissected with just one of the $2,000 thousand dollar products they bought… overwhelm sets in and it becomes easier to just ignore the big box of goods than to take the 80 hours it’d take to consume their shiny new object.
Yes I said 80 hours. For the amateur note taker, it probably takes double the time of the course to take really comprehensible notes. (Here’s an example of some awesome notes I took from one of these beastly 12 week long courses of Eben Pagan’s)
So what I believe is happening is people are associating more pain to buying than to not buying. And that my friends is a recipe for lowering of sales.
But now back to the story…
But more than songs or sales, Casa Blanca was legendary for it’s excesses. Quaalude dealing was rampant as were food fights at the fancy restaurant across the street. Bogart equipped all 14 of it’s executives with brand a new Mercedes.
He presented Donna Summer, when she flew from Germany to New York, to promote her “Love to Love You Baby” album, with a life sized cake that looked exactly like her. It was even the same size.
The cake took two seats in a cross country airplane and a freezer ambulance to get to Summer’s performance in New York.
The companies executives were out of their minds. Promo man Danny Davis, who didn’t do drugs of any kind, famously recalled talking to a radio programmer on the phone while a colleague trashed the stuff on his desk with a golf club, then, lit the desk on fire.
“Almost anything coulda happened at Casa Blanca,” says Bill Aucoin who managed Casa Blanca’s most famous rock act, KISS, in those early days.
The first offices were a converted home with a pool house. If you went to the pool house at any time, day or night as a record promoter or a DJ, you probably could get laid at any moment.
“The office was being used for non-social purposes.” is David Braun’s choice of euphemism. He would know. A veteran music business attorney who represented Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson, Braun moved from Los Angeles to New York to become President of Polygram records in 1981.
Polygram records had purchased half of Casa Blanca for $10 million dollars in 1977 thinking the disco hits would continue. Unfortunately for the label, Summer broke her contract and fled to industry mogul, David Geffen’s new record company.
KISS’s hits dried up for a while. Then there was the tricky little matter of Casa Blanca executives shipping hundreds of thousands of records at the time with little regard for public demand and being unprepared when stores returned them.
This problem was common in the industry. And as Steve Dahl’s public display demonstrated, the public wasn’t as enamored with disco as it used to be.
Anybody remember this incredibly awesome big-tittied, “Easy as Sending Email” info product?
Yeah, this is also the kind of “10 New Internet Businesses Each Month, No Computer Skills Needed” stuff from respected direct marketers that helped make us not so excited about buying more info.
I just hope that all the internet marketing superstars rushing down to live in the most expensive zip code in the United States, La Jolla, California, aren’t pulling a Casa Blanca records move because when you see the legendary Dan “Premium Priced” Kennedy running 40% off sales everyday on his website, you KNOW the times be a shifting.
But the future will tell all, right. Now back to the story…
Braun had to clean up Bogart’s $30 million dollar mess. These mis-steps almost killed Polygram records whose market share had jumped from 5% to 20% in the disco era. For a few years it had been the world’s largest record label. Casa Blanca imploded, and so did the industry. And so did Bogart, who died in 1982 at age 38 of cancer.
Although record companies sales had climbed from just under $1 Billion dollars a year in 1959, to a Saturday Night Fever fueled record of $4.1 Billion dollars in 1978, the anti-disco backlash lingered from 1979 to 1982.
CBS records laid of 2,000 employees and drastically cut it’s artist roster and budget. Susan Blonde, a publicity executive at CBS owned, Epic Records, says the company lost 300 employees on her first day.
Her staff eventually disappeared entirely. Blonde’s boss, the flamboyant attack dog chairman, Walter Yetnikoff, declared the industry in the intensive care ward.
Does The Guru’s Letting You Mortgage Their Info Products Over 15 Month Payment Plans Signal The Million Dollar Launch Day Business Is In The Intensive Care Ward?
Yep. I think so too.
What’s also putting the hurt to the guru’s are the innovative and sharp as razor blades, kitchen table entrepreneurs like Jason Fladlien and Robert Plank who give you the same, and dare I say in some instances even better info, in their super inexpensive products.
Oh, the times are changing…
But then came the savior.
The former Motown child superstar arrived in a black leather jacket, spilling over with belt buckles. He danced like a backwards angel. Screeched and squealed and inexplicably wore one white glove.
In late 1982, Michael Jackson almost magically restored the music industry’s super star clout by releasing one record. Jackson didn’t do it on his own. The most important music guy behind the success of Thriller was Yetnikoff, a coke addicted, fast living, bomb throwing, disrespectful, disloyal, provocateur.
He grew up in Brooklyn, the son of a painter with a hot temper and a sympathetic mother who cleaned his wounds whenever his father knocked him around. His grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Europe.
With his mother’s encouragement, Yetnikoff picked up garbage and made city deliveries on nights on weekends to put himself through Columbia Law School. His first job out of college was at a New York law firm where he met a young lawyer named Clive Davis.
Harvard educated and imaginative, Davis had tired of the legal business and had taken a job as counsel for CBS records down the street. Davis called Yetnikoff in early 1961 to offer him a job. Yetnikoff climbed through the CBS ranks around the same time the Beatles turned rock and roll into a gigantic world wide commodity.
Through the 1970’s, following Davis’s lead, Yetnikoff grew rich off Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Barbara Streisand. By the 1980’s, in his own words, he’d grown into a wild man.
The bearded, squinty-eyed tough talker who’s autobiography, Howling at The Moon, begins with this fictional sentence, “ After her third orgasm, Jackie O looked at me with a mixture of gratitude and awe.”
Yetnikoff was smart. To win the respect of Mick Jagger at a Paris Wine bar, he calculated the value added tax in France on a cocktail napkin. Jagger, a London School of Economics drop out subsequently signed the Rolling Stones to CBS record deal.
Yetnikoff was also known for throwing outrageous tantrums. One of his legendary office exchanges with Larry Tisch, head of CBS Records parent company, television and monolith CBS inc., ended with Yetnikoff threatening bodily harm and pounding his fist on the table.
During a 1975 contract re-negotiation with Paul Simon, and his attorney, the mogul and the singer songwriter’s aggressive bargaining escalated into a full blown argument and Yetnikoff banned Simon from CBS Records buildings for life.
“Walter Yetnikoff was crazy and wild and weird like a fox,” says George Bradenberg, former general counsel for CBS Inc. “He could yell and scream and throw things and at the same time, wink at you.”
He snorted copious amounts of coke. He openly rebelled against his superiors at CBS. He tried to get Mike Wallace of CBS’s 60 Minutes, fired for investigating the music business. He engineered coups.
“If anything,” he said after an NBC payola expose, which pegged him as a coke head, “I became more defiant, more arrogant, more contemptuous of my adversaries.”
But as the fast living Yetnikoff suffered through the record industries post-disco crash, he was growing antsy.
Jackson’s last album, “Off the Wall” which had sold 8 million copies in 1979, was one of the few bright lights in a terrible year. Soon, that minor gold rush had faded. By the end of 1981, CBS records took in a little more than $1 Billion dollars, it’s worst yearly earnings since 1971.
So Yetnikoff pressured his biggest star. With just months left in 1982, he gave Jackson and producer Quincy Jones a deadline. “Finish a new album and make it a blockbuster by Christmas!”
They weren’t happy about having to rush but they obeyed and finished the final Thriller mixes in a month. They turned them in to Epic records for release just before Thanksgiving.
“I told you I’d do it,” Jackson told Yetnikoff. “I told you I’d out do Off the Wall.”
Yetnikoff responded, “You delivered. YOU DELIVERED LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER!”
Jackson: “Please, don’t use that word Walter.”
Yetnikoff: “You delivered like an angel. Arch angel Michael.”
Jackson: “That’s better. Now, will you promote it?”
Yetnikoff: “LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER!!!”
“Thriller” like “Off the Wall” before it wasn’t just brilliant music. It was brilliant business. Michael Jackson had effectively replaced disco by absorbing the dying genre into his own brand of dance music.
Steve Dahl’s demolition-turned riot may have killed disco commercially, but the fans were still alive and Jackson was a master at providing the slinky rhythms to warm their hearts.
The melodies catch in your head in a perfect way. The bass lines sound like poisonous snakes. The rebellious anger in “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” is palpable but never over the top.
It was the right album at the right time. All 7 of it’s singles landed in the Top 10. The album lasted a ridiculous 37 weeks at number 1 on the billboard chart and it went on to sell more than 51 million copies, the best selling album in the world until the “Eagles” greatest hits surpassed it. In the United States anyway, in 2000.
“Thriller’ single handedly rescued CBS from it’s late 70’s doldrum. The company’s net income jumped 26% in 1983 to $187 Million dollars, pushing fans back into record stores and propping up the industry.
“Thriller was like Moses carrying all the Jews across the red sea,” says Lee Solters, a veteran Los Angeles music publicist who worked on the albums campaign. “He rescued the music industry. The music industry suddenly became alive again.”
Our notes we take on the super high priced seminars you want results from DELIVER LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. And like “Thriller” it’s not just a brilliant product but it’s also brilliant business. (Here’s where the prime content we produce is)
I predict our notes are actually going to prop up the info-marketing industry by pushing fans into one-on-one coaching groups of their favorite guru’s because the customers need help with accountability and actually implementing what they have in our notes.
Are we the savior? Are we Moses carrying the Jews across the Red Sea? I don’t know. What I do know, is that THIS is the Right Service At The Right Time.
Now let’s see what happened next in the story…
And as ‘Thriller’ climbed the charts it awarded even more power to Yetnikoff, the star maker, with a direct pipeline into the reclusive Jackson’s mysterious personal life.
‘Thriller’s singles took off on the radio, beginning with top 40 stations and crossing over to rock thanks to Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo on ‘Beat It’. Then Jackson’s people produced a video for Billie Jean.
It was sharp and clean with Jackson in a pink shirt and red bowtie dancing all over the main street. It seemed perfect for a new music channel that had made instant stars out of nobodies like ‘The Stray Cat’, and ‘Billy Idol’.
But there was a problem. MTV didn’t play videos by black artists.
Miles Davis complained about the lack of black stars on the video channel formed in 1981 which was rapidly growing in influence and power within the record industry. So did Stevie Wonder. Rick James, who had a smash radio hit with ‘Super Freak’ publicly railed that, “MTV was taking black people back 400 years”.
Nobody at MTV adequately explained this unspoken policy in public. The closet thing to a defense came from the channels only black DJ, JJ Jackson who told Davis at a party that the channels format was rock and roll and most rock stations didn’t play black artists either, other than the late Jimi Hendrix.
Is Note Taking Nerd The Black Sheep Of The IM Universe?
Most Guru’s are scared to publically endorse what we’re doing to prop the industry up. In private, that’s a whole different thing.
We’ve come to find through a few raving fan, highly connected sources that pretty much EVERY guru knows about us, some are even using their own personal accounts to buy from us. What helps us is that our notes are top notch, so much so that they’ve gotten the hush-hush nod of approval from some of the biggest names out there to the point of some heavy duty famous people wanting to work directly with us.
Another thing we’ve come to find is that the vast majority of the buyers we have, already own the courses they’re buying notes for but haven’t either opened the box or have only finished a quarter of the program (and if they did make it this far, it’s highly unlikely they’ve taken awesome notes to keep as a reference tool in the future) which means they’re not getting the biggest bang for their buck. This isn’t the guru’s fault.
And on the flip side, if the person doesn’t own the course, they didn’t buy it for any number of reasons… can’t afford it, too long, too short, etc. When these people see our notes, realize the power of the information in the course, use the time and money they saved to get some kick ass results using what was taught… they can become even BIGGER fans of this guru because of impact their teachings have had on their life.
But as of now, we get to do it on our own, which is fine by us. Now let’s see how Michael crashed MTV’s color barrier…
Michael Jackson smashed through MTV’s color line but it was Yetnikoff who solved the problem behind the scenes.
“I was the instigator I guess,” recalls Ron Eisner, Jackson’s early co-manager. “I took the finished ‘Billie Jean’ to MTV and they refused to air it, so I went to Columbia records, Watlter Yetnikoff and I went to powerful CBS Inc. Chief Bill Hailey. He called MTV and said, “This video is on the air by end of business today or else Columbia records is no longer is in business with you.”
One day changed the whole thing.
MTV co-founder Bob Pittman, who would later be a top executive at AOL Time Warner and today runs a New York City music investment firm called, The Pilot Group, remembers the history a little differently.
He’d heard about Rick James’s complaint but the very kinky girls dressed in Lycra lace didn’t fit in with programming in their pre-Madonna days. He says, “the channel couldn’t wait to play the Thriller video.”
Either way, the combination of MTV and Michael Jackson was a one-two commercial punch that began the resuscitation of the music industry.
When MTV first went on the air on August 1st 1981, it was the product of a unique brain trust of frustrated and slumming music business types waiting for something big and interesting to come along.
John Lack, a 33 year old rock fan and former CBS news radio executive, first came up with the idea. Marketing whiz Tom Freston, was an advertising executive who’d worked on the G.I. Joe account before fleeing the toy business to hike through the Sahara with a girlfriend, then landed in Asia to run a fabric export company. And John Sykes who’d been working at Epic Records, was responsible for the wildly effective promotional ideas.
The slickest of the group by far was Pittman, son of a Mississippi methodist minister. He’d begun his career as a 15 year old DJ and worked up to program director for a planned cable TV experiment called ‘The Movie Channel’.
Lack received a visit one day from Elektra Record’s founder and Warner Music executive Jack Olfman who showed up in his office with a stack of video tapes. Some were of Olfman’s old discoveries, The Doors, who’d recorded an amateurish $1,000 film for ‘Break on Through’ and aired it on afternoon TV dance shows. Others were surprisingly innovative clips like ‘Rio’ a psychedelic collection of rainbow colored effects set to music.
The clips gave Lack and idea. THE IDEA. Music on television had been around for years in the form of weekly shows. From American Bandstand to Album Tracks. But no one had ever attempted a 24 hour music video channel.
Everything happened quickly after that. Lack, Sykes, Pittman and Freston put on suits and ties, fired up Olivia Newton John videos for middle of the road executives who’s parent companies, Warner and American Express and came out of the meetings with $25 million dollars in financial backing.
They scooped up as many old videos as they could find and tried to coax all the major record label executives to send them new ones, for free. That part of the plan was not popular.
“John Sykes and I would go out to the record companies and we would take a whole presentation… Look the record companies are in a doldrum. The pitch is, you’re losing money for the first time in decades. Radio stations have very tight play lists and when they do play your new stuff, they don’t identify what it is.” Pittman recalled.
“We said, ‘We’re going to play more music than they are. And when we play it, we’re going to put on it the name of the artist, the album name, the song name and the label. And, it’ll cost you nothing to give them to us. If this happens to work, we will change the record industry.”
Can “THE IDEA” the Note Taking Nerds Have Change The Industry?
I always tell people to go buy the resource we took notes on if they haven’t already.
While we save you a whole metric shit-ton of time with the notes we take, when you buy from the guru themselves you usually get access to them in some shape of form, whether it’s direct consultation via bonuses or through being able to ask them questions on the tele or webinars they host.
This, is an INVALUABLE asset and shouldn’t be overlooked or sneezed at.
Plus, buying from a guru and then using their product and THEN giving them an awesome testimonial raving about their product or service puts you on their radar. This, along with going to live events and introducing yourself to people, is how all the big time marketers have built relationships with each other that allow them to share the wealth that comes from mailing each others promos to each others lists which is where the REAL money is at.
If the guru is smart they’ll want to turn you into their show pony and trot you and your magnificent results in front of the whole list… AND they’ll be more inclined to want to help you even more knowing you’re one of the 5% of buyers who actually USE what they teach.
These are the reasons why I tell people they should get the notes AND buy the system or attend the live events. There’s perks for everyone all around. You get to compress the time between learning and implementation as well as having had personal access to the gurus themselves.
Let’s see now how MTV broke down the barriers of entry to the music moguls…
A few label chiefs were actually enthusiastic. Doug Morris, head of Atlantic Records at the time, signed on right away. Warner Bros. Records, Mo Austin and Elektra Records, Joe Smith, soon followed his lead.
So did Gil Friesen, then President of the influential, independent label, A & M. But Sid Sheinberg, President of MCA Universal declared at an industry convention…
“This guy Lack is out of his fucking mind.”
CBS’s Yetnikoff shared Sheinberg’s view. He still bitterly regretted the day that the record labels started giving radio their music for free some fifty years earlier. But eventually Yetnikoff’s underlings and CBS’s biggest name artist started pressuring Yetnikoff.
He had no choice but to sign on.
“I was a skeptic,” says Joe Smith now in late 70’s retired and living in Beverly Hills. “I said ‘Now why would anybody want to buy their records off of a video?”
You’re never that eager to give away your product to anybody. But labels agreed to part with a few small videos and when an unknown band ‘Duran Duran’ became a super star, purely from MTV airplay, Smith was convinced. “We said ‘Whoah! There’s something happening here!’ they convinced me.”
Before long David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Pete Townsend were lining up to shout, “I want my MTV!” on the air. Soon, other artist were jumping on board too. Like Tom Petty, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, and most dramatically, a young Bay City Michigan singer and dancer named Madonna Louise Ciccone.
Music stars were huge again. They were on TV. The money from record sales, which had dropped heavily in 1979 and wobbled up and down through the early 1980’s, jumped 4.7% in 1983.
Out of disco’s ashes had risen a new sales monster, Thriller, which Established the Video Blueprint For Fellow Superstars Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and Prince
Like everything else, when the tide comes in, all ships rise. This was not only good for CBS but good for the whole industry.
If this story of the music business has interested you, go out out and get this book. What I’ve shared with you is just the tip of the iceberg of what it has to offer you in inspiration and lessons for not becoming complacent in your market or industry.
Once again, the title of it is… “Appetite For Self Destruction: The spectacular crash of the record industry in the digital age” by Steve Knopper
I believe in my heart that what the Chief and I are doing here is a “Thriller-Like sales monster tide that can make all ships rise in an “INFO SUCKS” market. Maybe you agree, maybe you think we’re out of our fucking minds. Feel free to tell me what you think below in the comments section.
Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
PS. If you like what you’ve seen in this post, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Go check out the premium content we’ve got in store for you here…