Posts Tagged ‘music’

1. Fashion — (clothing line)

Problem: Having a couture brand that retails at prices only 1% of the world can afford, maybe 5% has to be backed by investors, legacy, trust funds to be able to generate the global revenue needed for profits considering distribution will be limited if not scarce. All of the above Kanye West does not have, look at the careers and line launches of Tom Ford and John Varvatos as examples of how it’s done, how and why it’s funded and then distributed. Also keeping in mind John’s line is sold heavily by Nordstrom Rack to support his next lines coming, liquidation down the chain is needed and Kanye does not have those deals in place. Both of these super successful fashion entrepreneurs built legacy inside of existing super legacy brands…Ralph Lauren & Gucci, they were not musicians buying their way into fashion.

Solution: If investors are there to support a SMALL couture line then launch and run that but it’s time to call Kohl’s and get probably about $10–15 million in a contract to design an affordable line for the masses, as strength is in numbers. This has not hurt the brand of Vera Wang who has much more history, success and legacy in couture then Kanye can build even in the next 5–10 years. Its also made Marc Anthony and JLO millions and they’re performers like Kanye…stick to artist business models that work. Also more importantly this would give you the ability to sell clothes you make to your FANS that would love to be able to buy/afford them.

2. Fashion — (sneakers)

Problem: The Yeezy sneaker is really a hot design and if it were even obtainable I would not buy it at $350.00 which I can afford, maybe 10 years ago in my 30s but even then I would not chase them with PR marketing of supply and demand issues that drive the price up to $1000.00 to get your hands on a pair…no sir! Here we are again at the legacy issue, it’s a pair of sneakers designed by Kanye West in partnership with another brand…it’s not a brand. It’s not going to be a sneaker turned into a company called Nike, or Reebok, etc it will fade out as all designs like this do. So smart business decision is larger distribution and the ability to create more designs… a good example to look at there is Tesla Motors and Elon Musk a similar model would help, a new Tesla is on it’s way for $33.5K!

Solution: Create a large amount of them with a very slight supply and demand PR campaign and distribution model but retail at $100.00. They will sell like hotcakes, get them in stores that Pharell has broken into over the years via the skateboarding and hipster markets that are boutique in the sense of local like ALIFE or Unbreakable as examples, but ensure you are in all major DMAs and distributed by the right “cool” locals shops. Look at the KarmaLoop model. Yes the company ran into issues but Greg had the model right and successfully was able to move local and specific “couture” but affordable brands via the web without creating brand dilution and too much market distribution, a great partnership between him and Pharell.

3. Fashion — (fragrance)

Problem: As far as I know you don’t have a Kanye West Fragrance

Solution: Simple, start one with your wife ASAP she has all the connections and business team to help you probably secure a deal pretty fast and get some upfronts on the contract for your liquidity problems considering she has and still makes millions in fragrance. Along with other artists like JLO, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and more.

4. Streaming Music –

Problem: Tidal since day one has had their own issues well documented in this article here by James Cook and Business Insider. But evidently there is something here to build on.

I am sure Kanye’s new album got some serious money being released only on Tidal for the first week (a company he owns stock in) and evidently more money based upon a re-up for a second week and holding a release to Itunes and other digital distribution, however Kanye brought a lot of attention and downloads for the streaming app that was not “technically” ready for it. That’s not good for customer service or a what may be viewed as a threat play to Apple. Like a game of Poker, looks too much like a bluff here.

Kanye then hits Twitter with tweets that he would not work with Apple on selling his music…in my opinion that would mean Kanye is going SHORT on TIDAL when the smart play would be going LONG.

Let me explain, to me this looks like an attempt to get Apple interested in acquiring the company and Kanye getting a payday on the sale, of course he is looking at the Beats deal. However Beats was a strong established brand supported by 100’s of millions of dollars in revenue from products before it even launched a streaming business, more important to note the brilliant packaging, branding and HUGE celebrity TV commercials Dre and Jimmy put together to go LONG for a big payday…it worked. It was packaged for Apple from day one!

Solution: First get more upside, you are bringing more users and attention to Tidal than any other exclusive release it has done, (although the past 3 weeks it’s safe to say it was a combination of Beyonce and Kanye) so call your buddy and mentor Jay Z work out the technical kinks ASAP to support driving more installs of the app and more streams, then work out a business development deal that you get a larger payout if you can influence/broker a deal to Apple to acquire the company.

Once that deal is done, stop telling Apple you are not going to release on Itunes, for 2 reasons — 1. they know you will and 2. they don’t care if you don’t but they would like you to.

So go have a meeting and set the date for the Itunes release and show major support with some exclusive tracks just for Itunes.

Now you are forming a good partnership with them and can start talking about Tidal, long term strategy.

5. Music Touring –

Problem: Over the past few years Kanye’s album releases and tours are like that of his fashion ideas…small audience, huge production, wildly expensive and do not gain enough consumer reach.

Solution: Kanye needs an 18 month all out tour that doesn’t have a multi million dollar jumbo screen and promises fans a mix of the new music and the old that got him the wealth that he has not over extended. While on this major “grassroots” tour, have the right equipment on the tour to start producing tracks for the younger artists that are outselling you right now, the ability to be an artist and a producer is a blessing for Kanye. Every artist starts to sell to smaller audiences as they get older but having the opportunity to support, grow and make money on the new artists by creating their next platinum track is a HUGE opportunity.

Look at Eminem as an example here, yes he still outsells anyone his age as well as younger artists but he started building up his label again, producing for younger artists and doing more duets with the younger artists supporting their careers and his. And well Eminem really doesn’t need much money at this point in his life.

6. Asking Mark Zuckerberg for 1 Billion Dollars to Invest in Kanye West Ideas –

OK well this was just stupid first off I am sorry I can’t be subtle here, it’s pretty evident Mark does quite well investing in his own ideas. But that’s not even the big issue, here is why this was the worst idea…

 zuck req

Problem: Mark like other technology billionaires does not spend money like most artists, actors and athletes do…not into the bling. They are into making world changing technology, global aid and building massive consumer reach via experience and affordability. The TOTAL OPPOSITE of what the brand of Kanye West represents. Kanye via his ideas has been trying to build businesses by producing products for the 1–5% of the wealthiest people in the world therefore making these items unobtainable by the audience/fans buying his music, a total injustice to the concept of customer service and experience. A backwards business model in the technology sector.

A good example is Kim Kardashian, all the products and endorsement deals she has done are affordable by the audience of her TV show(s), monetize the existing fan/customer base…a proven successful model and widely embraced in the technology sector…however Kanye’s business model is the total opposite of it.

Mark Zuckerberg created a $280 Billion company by doing everything completely opposite of Kanye’s business model. First off the product Facebook and all the products that have been built and acquired are free and allow access to not 1–5% but rather 80% plus of the people in the world.

Mark’s goal is to allow everyone to have access to Facebook and the internet, not just a few people. He wants anyone who likes what he creates to be able to use it for anything they choose, the last thing he would want to invest in is a concept that says to consumers “I know you like this, I know you want this and I know you need this but I have made it so you can’t have it.” Not a very grateful strategy, and you need to be grateful for demand and appreciation of something you create.

Solution: Say you are sorry for being so selfish in your request for $1 Billion of Mark’s money when you know he is spending billions trying to aid the world, create more technology and deliver product to everyone that wants it…so solution #1 here is APOLOGIZE for being short minded and selfish, solution #2 ask nicely for some time from Mark to hear an idea that is based upon Mark’s goals, Facebook’s users’ goals and delivering a great benefit and experience to those users as well as Kanye West fans.

An Idea for Kanye and Facebook — work on a live event broadcast via Facebook with a Q&A from your fans via Town Hall, this could be the biggest album listening party ever on Social Media and get brands to sponsor and buy ad space via Facebook existing advertisers as well as your own brand relationships. NOW more importantly get some of those Yeezy kicks and make a contest part of this and let people win them!

7. Kanye West Brand — Asking People to Pray For A $53 Million Personal Debt Issue…

Problem: Karma — You are not nice to people and you did it again with the shot at Taylor Swift who the industry knows was and is super famous and successful and that has nothing to do with your drunken stunt at an awards show. OK so I could understand you are scared, having that much debt is scary, losing all your money is scary, not being successful and having to start over is scary and praying for help to understand and deal with your situation is understandable.

kanye prayer

However asking others to pray for your 53 million dollar overspending problem is really just messed up and I am a little disappointed that I have to explain why, but I will…

So first off people have a lot more problems in this world not having food, water, education, family, homes, jobs and even a bank account with a dollar in it versus spending 53 million dollars on lavish ideas, lifestyle, pictures of Mercedes and a Rolls Royce via Twitter to show the world how “blessed” you are!?

kanye cars

What People Are Praying For — People are praying for support, love and help with their own problems, people are praying for the residents of Flint, MI, people are praying for innocent lives being lost to the war of terrorism, young soldiers dying as they fight for what they are not sure of in the Middle East, gun violence in schools taking children’s lives…I hope you get my point here. To ask that in these prayers they include a prayer for your overspending of $53 million when you earned $22 million last year and live a very publicly lavish life just doesn’t seem very caring of others.

Solution: Treat others as you want to be treated! — I know based upon your entry into this business when you were hungry and humble you understood this and respected it. However it seems to have slipped your mind how important it is to be nice to people, be respectful of all and the industry, be grateful for your success and really important dude…remember you are a musician, an artist and yes famous but HUMAN and bleed red blood like all other humans.

Be Grateful, humble and appreciate what your hard work over the years has given you the ability to afford and enjoy.

And dude if you really want to reach Mark Zuckerberg I highly recommend messaging him on the social network he owns, if you didn’t know it’s called Facebook…not Twitter. Here’s his page if you need it:

zuck page

I was wondering:

  • Should I send this text now
  • Should I send an email to question timing on a deal
  • Should I respond to an email just because the person is influential and wants to meet with me
  • Should I schedule the meeting even though I know the outcome is something I don’t want
  • Should I send flowers yet or again
  • Should I  delay launch again because I’m afraid I don’t have the best product ready
  • Should I wait for her to call or text me first
  • Should I apologize every time I feel guilty about not getting back to someone sooner
  • Should I…

Yup I know this list can go on and on and it’s a daily list we go through personally and professionally everyday and we all have one!

I don’t have to do much I’m an entrepreneur… I could wake up late, miss a meeting, take a day off to spend with my special someone, play pinball, I could send every call to voice mail, I could ignore any email I want and I can stop time that’s my super power. Well the real power and freedom is knowing I can do all of these things so I work that much harder on my life and my work.

However I will not progress, I will not beat my competition, my company won’t grow, I will fail, but I succeed and fight the fight because I know if I really wanted to I could stop time for a moment and all can be ok. This freedom is a gift that I must use wisely and share with only the most special people and parts of my life.

So how do we decide what we should do, I have thought about this a lot and sought advice from many but my friend James really broke it down to me by enhancing Einstein’s law of relativity to his own law to be announced by him. James and I agree a lot in business I’m his protege and business partner but more importantly his friend. I respect his advice.

Choosing whose advice to follow in life is very difficult in business and personal so I came up with my own rules on whose advice to listen closely to and sometimes follow. Also keeping in mind advice from others can be just a piece to of the advice we need to give ourselves.

Business Advice: This one is a bit easier for me because it’s more mathematical:

  1. What has the person done right and wrong in their career?
  2.  Do they admit and embrace their errors more than their accomplishments?
  3. What experience do they have on the topic or problem I need advice with?
  4. Knowing the difference between someone bragging versus just using a past experience as an example?
  5. What do they have to gain by giving me this advice?

Personal Advice: Comes down to just a few MAJOR rules/questions I have:

  1. My relationship with this person and how we have been there for each other over time?
  2. Never listen to any advice when someone says, you better take my advice
  3. When someone says, you don’t have to take my advice I am just trying to help
  4. When someone says, I know you are probably not going to take my advice but…
  5. When someone says, here is my advice but you will and need to do what is right for you and no matter what you do I will support you

The gut…what does that mean, do we grab our stomach and ask it what to do, do we wait until we think about something so much we throw  up and then boom there is the answer in the toilet bowl we are hugging?

My gut is my heart and every day I look closely at what I do to see if I followed my heart’s  guide me and then look at the outcome of all those things all those “shoulds” and how it made me feel emotionally and physically.

It is tough the anxiety that comes with this way of following your heart. My heart knows my brain well they have been working together a long time so I trust them. My decisions now come from a conversation between my heart and my brain that turns into heated arguments sometimes as my heart fears nothing sees no risk and my brain is concerned with emotions and how that may affect me, in the end they are both trying to protect me.

Emotions are tough, smiles, tears, butterflies in our stomach and fear sometimes all at once.

I feel so tough saying this as if I can handle any emotion and just move on…total opposite I am nervous wreck, I worry about my list of shoulds, I worry if people like me, I worry if I can’t close a deal in time, I pace for hours at times to think of all these things I can’t control but need to understand, I stay awake for hours worrying about other people, finances, product, family and love. This is because I care and when I am passionate about something or someone I must give my all…my best.

I am able to keep a lot of these emotions to myself or oddly feel they are meant for someone special to only know about so I can either scare them away or feel safe that they know my crazy side and still like me. So they can be the same with me and feel safe that I appreciate even their crazy side.

We are all “crazy”, we are all afraid of our feelings and we all just want to be loved for who we are…we all bleed.

My heart guides all of me and with my brain helps me have spirit so I can feel the decisions I make, so I can take risks to be me, so I can show the right people the right parts of me so I can obtain freedom and share it.

After 38 years I thought nothing could feel that new I was wrong everything is new everyday so treat your first like your last and your last like your first.

Listen to your heart and argue with yourself, you know you better than anyone.

The honesty and open communication in G+ (from those I follow and that follow me) has been really exciting and inspiring. So I thought I would share a pretty honest story about my morning and the thoughts that came to me this morning as I really took in all the different posts and shares related to the death of Steve Jobs and my own perspective. As well as the song that came to me through this reflection.

“When you combine passion and hard work, then success is always possible.” – Arte Moreno

The loss of Mr. Jobs (a business soldier) hit us all differently and some the same, for me reflection came. I got home to my love last night telling me she is concerned with my work ethic and my health. Thank you B I love you with all my heart and am so grateful you love me and all my insanities.

I have lost friends damn near family large in part due to my work priorities and ethics and no matter why or who was “wrong” or “right” I still miss them, success and money does funny things to relationships sometimes evil whether it’s the gain of wealth and success or the loss of them. Just when you think you’re intentions are good that could only be your perspective.

I quote Jay-z “Everybody wanna know what my Achilles heel is, LOVE I don’t get enough of it”

I woke this morning remembering vividly my Mom’s face and tears when she saw at 17 what I was really selling to pay the mortgage cause dad left, I remembered my best friend’s face when I fired him after 20+ years in each other’s lives. He was right there to watch my Mom cry that day and a big part of the company doing really well during its first 10 years. Damn dude you broke my heart and I was so mad for so long but I hope wherever you are you and your family are doing well. Please respect the truth and find peace.

“I have had all of the disadvantages required for success.” – Larry Ellison

Music Inspires Me – I am 36 and grew up in NYC, I was a DJ in my teens (for weddings, bad bars (think Road House), bar mitzvahs) so I learned to love classical music, pop, rock, all genres but I am a big jazz, blues and hip hop fan. That said my thoughts this morning led me to “Lost Ones” by Jay-z a must listen on the way in I thought.

This entrepreneur thing is not so easy most of the times regardless what some believe but Jobs, Gates, Hughes, Simmons, Jay Z and so many more (imho) all are inspiration to keep fighting and to find the balance. They gave and give it everything they have, their hearts.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”- Jeff Bezos

I was one of many that watched the Stanford speech and then I watched Jobs and Gates during their rare interviews together…Awesome stuff!

Young, dumb, and too proud I turned down 2 exits years ago…if I knew then what I know now well I would’ve sold and been grateful. Didn’t see 2008 coming!

So if when I didn’t accept terms I didn’t really say thank you…A.M.C. and CBC Thank You for your consideration at the time.I follow closely and congratulate all your accomplishments since.

I wish all of them and all of us perseverance and humbleness and success. The troopers that make many sacrifices, the entrepreneurs doing it with heart may we all get to our goals and enjoy our lives…that’s good energy.

The sacrifices, the hours, the heartbreaks, the challenges I wouldn’t have it any other way but the only cost should be time, capital, and yes emotional but not so much friends, family, loved ones, and health.

“Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.” – Vince Lombardi

So again thank you to those that pave the way, that falter in the public eye for the sake of others to learn from their mistakes, that consider our futures as they innovate, that can affect so many from their own accomplishments, that are willing to give it all for the many rewards and challenges that come from success and sacrifice.

So to my Love, my Mom, to all my family, my friends that support me to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Howard Hughes, Eminem, Ray Charles, Shawn (Jay-z) Carter, +Larry Page , +Sergey Brin , +Mark Zuckerberg, the G+ers and so many more on my list that inspire, make me challenge myself, and work with heart Thank You.

Have a good day. – Brian