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The New YouTube Music

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

YouTube musicIf you’ve visited YouTube recently you’ll see that the signature logo has a temporary makeover.

Click on that logo in the upper left of your screen and you’ll get taken to the new  YouTube music page.

Under the Recommended Music section, YouTube suggests videos you may like based on what you have previously viewed. Not sure what it says about me that it suggests both Dolly Parton and Tenacious D, but I like to think it means I’m well-rounded.

If you scroll down you’ll also see a Recommended Artists section, chosen for you the same way; and beneath that you’ll see Upcoming Concerts Near You, a handy calendar, videos and concert info for shows in your town, which is actually one of my favorite features.

As a business takeaway you should note that it’s never too late to up your game, and create helpful improvements to your most popular products and services. YouTube has been a music discovery tool for some of its audience since its inception, and now they have made music discovery a priority rather than an afterthought, helping the audience discover rather than leaving the audience to its own devices to do so.

For more information on YouTube music, click “Learn More,” and you’ll be taken to a video page that outlines the features in a more sparkly way than I just did.

 
Or you could just watch it here:

 

Posted in marketing, Music, social media, Social Networks, youtube | No Comments »

The Power of Words

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

I wonder often how anyone could have coined the phrase

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me

when we’ve all been at the hurtful end of prejudicial words that cut deep, and sometimes leave wounds that last longer than a bruise. Especially when I have also seen words inspire and start movements. And, for me, there has been nothing more powerful than the first time I said my son’s name allowed to him moments after his birth. That kind of power is staggering…humbling.

I believe in words and the roots of words. I was the kid who looked forward to that section of the SATs where I had to match a word to its meaning by dissecting its Latin root and hoping I got it right. Maybe if I’d actually ever truly prepared for those tests, I would have even done well at them. Thing is, words, their rhythm and meanings, have always struck a chord with me.

When you pick a name for your company, brand or service, how deep are you digging to find the right name? Are you testing it out with friends and family? Are you investigating the origin of the word or words and their meanings? The people at large may not be thinking about that or even care when they hear your name, but you should. Does it resonate? Will it be timeless or timely — know why you need one, the other or both.

Think, too, about the words that you know only as “140 characters.” I think we have all heard the term “140 characters” so much that we forget the power of the words we create in a tweet. They will be gone in mere minutes, but could be read by thousands, and repeated by even more. Don’t underestimate that power, and don’t waste it. Respect your words and your potential to impact another.

There are no pictures and no video in this post for a reason. I want the words to stand alone…together, to mean something. Where have you seen the power of words used well in branding or social media?

Tags: linguistics, phonetics, power of words, semiotics
Posted in Advice, authors, blog, blogging, brand, marketing, Music, social media, Social Networks, Twitter, writing | No Comments »

Lessons Learned from Classical Music

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I used to hate practicing. At 12, there is nothing worse than being forced to sit at the piano for thirty minutes on a summer day, when the rest of your friends are outside playing in the sun. I think that playing solo piano is one of the loneliest instruments a child can play. However, those thirty minutes a day taught me something invaluable.

1. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
If you continuously practice something incorrectly, that’s how you will remember it for the rest of your life. Always strive for perfection when you’re practicing. It is truly the only way to get better.
2. Someone will always be better than you, and someone will always be worse.
There was nothing more terrifying that playing right after someone who was great. But it was even worse if you performed right after someone who was horrible. Surround yourself with great people who continuously challenge you. If you ever feel like you are the best at something, chances are you’re just becoming lazy.
3. Small bites finish the sandwich.
I always hated this expression, but usually because I was gorging myself on something delicious in huge mouthfuls. However, this is definitely true in business and in life. Whenever I find myself struggling with a daunting project, I find people or the time to break the project into its’ simplest tasks. I typically do the easy stuff first, so I can spend the most time getting through the hard stuff. If you knock one or two easy items off your list, you will feel more accomplished and more motivated to get through the tough stuff.
4. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.
Don’t do something simply because it sounds easy. I watch many friends and colleagues maintain the status quo and complain about how little they’re getting paid, or how bored they are. Don’t be that person. Companies can always be improved, and when you feel overwhelmed with the challenge you gave yourself, see #3.
5. Seek advice of others.
If you don’t know how to do something, no one is going to fault you for asking questions on how to achieve your goal. I learned that by listening to recordings of pieces I was to perform, I better understood the piece that just by sight reading it. Emulating something that works, but adding your own personal touch to it works.

6. Go for it.
Never do anything half-assed. Everyone can see right through it. Trust me. When you don’t give it 110%, conductors, instructors, teachers, colleagues will remember it. You truly get to make a first impression every day, because every day is a new day.
7. You can’t be everything to everyone.
I have small hands, so Rachmaninov and I do not get along. I had to learn the hard way that there was no way I could play most of his pieces. If you simply can’t do it all, it’s okay. Learning to say “no” is one of the most powerful tools a person can have in his or her arsenal.
What is a life lesson you learned early that’s stuck with you?

Posted in Advice, Classical, Music | 4 Comments »