Spotify + Starbucks = Smart Move…Ramble

The streaming game has been hearing up the last five years, turning a once geeky, slow connectivity and often frustrating early adapters experience into the preferred way to consume new music.

Jay-Z may have a point about artist payments, but the way he launched his own service, TIDAL, (in partnership with labels) has left a sour taste in the air of greed. I read his autobiography. He had a tough childhood, he’s been part of the one percent longer at this point….

We don’t look anything alike, you may be wearing a Yankee’s cap, but you owned part of a sports team, a management company, you party on yachts and hang out with PPP culture’s A-listers. I don’t feel bad for you, you have Beyonce on your arm. But back to the point.

Taylor Swift is in a unique position to sway younger listeners getting their feet wet with streaming, but does she need her own service with another select group of artists that range from hipster cool main streamers to super wealthy? Doubtful. Too many factions and artists cutting out will lead to fans getting the raw end of the deal or turning, once again, to piracy, which is what streaming in general, was developed to stop.

That’s where a business, in this case Spotify, has to look at their roadmap and reassess what is going to make them maintain their audience, and provide the next step of enhancement. What will make their content more compelling than the same kind of exclusives other content sites provide? They are going to add video, that’s great but that game is heating up with competitors, so where can they go next, where competitors are not? Spotify’s new relationship with Starbucks brings together the U.S.’s other daily need – the one for caffeine.


I’d much rather have baristas involved in Spotify DJ’ing and talking about music, with an added bonus of coffee perks, then the disastrous race relations program, #racetogether. This new relationship is forward thinking and beneficial to both brands. I say yes to Starbucks trying out new products, especially now they serve flat whites and cold brew.


This is not the first partnership to expand Spotify’s cool brand offline experience. Their parnership with Uber has my man tortured while I play DJ. It’s a mobile party in the U.K. Smart branding all round and making the streaming experience communal.

Congrats Spotify, now can we please expand the deal to Europe so this premium streamer can get in on it? Cheers.

The Power of Three…Ramble

The past month many of us in the music tech and tech world lost three truly great men- John Loscalzo (MTV, CBS Radio & much more), Dave Goldberg (Survey Monkey, co-founder of Launch which became Yahoo! Music) and Michael Deputato (Universal.)


When John passed I was speechless. My dear friend Courtney Smith called to tell me the news. John was her boss at MTV and her current role at CBS Radio. My brain could not take in what she was saying. John and I were not only colleagues at MTV Networks, we were neighbors. He owned the local news source, and we had only been in touch on a local issue the day prior.

John was a quirky guy with an offbeat sense of humor, who loved his wife Traci Zamot and daughter, Gracie with such joy, it couldn’t help but make you smile to see them together. He was only 51. He liked to scheme, to take part in local politics and he always did it with a tremendous grin on his face. Walking down the streets of the neighborhood after his passing, you can feel John noticing things to report on, delight in and rally in the air. A truly great human who is very much missed.

Then, last week, another friend sent me a Viber message asking if I had heard about Dave Goldberg’s sudden death. My first reaction was to curse, not very ladylike, but it was another blow. When I worked at Yahoo!, I loved to see Dave in action. There was one meeting, the first working day of the year, I’ll never forget. Dave was fired up in a good way. He wanted to counteract a bad contract. The head of legal shook his head – he had put in many months of work with his team and said the ink was still drying on the signatures. Dave was not happy with the terms and asked me for my support.


It was a deal that effected the programming of the website for years afterward – and Dave was right in his stance. He didn’t need my support, he could’ve, like so many other powerful men, simply dictated for me to carry out his orders. He was a great leader who knew how to inspire and be real.

Between his fire and beliefs in what he did at work, and his big heart- Dave handed out roses to everyone on Valentine’s Day and hosted amazing annual Super Bowl parties with his wife, Sheryl Sandberg at their home in the Palisades, Dave never let anyone feel like he wasn’t interested in what they had to say, and a true example of people who are truly successful championing other people.

It was on Facebook that another smart and wonderful fellow, Jon Vanhala, broke the news of a lovely man, and long time colleague, Michael Deputato succumbed to brain cancer this past Saturday. I remember calling Michael when Spotify first launched in the U.S. to ask his advice about naming conventions. The account was handled by sales, but the only way to make a daily impact is to create playlists, which tapped into my music programming experience.


While Michael and I discussed the account he asked me how many people were on my digital team. I’ll never forget his shock to find out I was a one person team with ten dotted-line reports, wok ring the active roster. After that Michael would call me to check in on me- and give me a bit of a sanity check. What a good man he was, as were Loscalzo and Dave Goldberg.

What I learned from these men is to pursue your passions, make time and notice people who need your help – most of all do something, so watch life from the sidelines.

Exactly on Target…Ramble

I get to go to my fair share of conferences. Panels and open discussion forums can quickly digress into personal agendas (see Bandwidth Conference, but perhaps the music industry just isn’t mature enough to progress but only rehash because it can’t get out of it’s won way).

This week I flew out to Indiana for the first time for the Exact Target (that’s a two word title folks, no affliation with Target retail stores but that is part of my story too), a back-end hub for email, web and marketing intiatives online. This conference was so well organized, they had buses waiting for participants to take us to the hotel. Registration took all of two minutes.

I was a little bummed to realize the conference was starting the same day as Target’s Missioni sale, but fortunately I had just enough time to order a few pieces online before I left for the airport- although the net being slow at the time, I’m super bummed I didn’t scoop up a few more of the homeware pieces. I think this is the first time they have launched one of the designer collections on a week day ultimately leading to the Target servers crashing. I digress… here are some of my personal highlights from the Exact Target conference:

1. Starting with keynotes the focus of the conference was the Power of One (also a really great book of that same title by Bryce Courtney is one you might want to check out darlings!). I believe in the power of one. One person can make a difference and there’s nothing that makes that easier than the Internet and it’s tools.

2. Keynote speaker Jimmy Wales founder of Wikipedia talking about the collective “ones” who make up the world’s free encyclopedia. Wales broke down his contributors are 86% male, somewhat due to the complicated code needed to update parts of the site. This isn’t a sexist statement because as I’ve referred to in the past, females enrolling and graduating with engineering degrees are down since lower than the were in the 70’s. Wales gave further insight saying their’s is an authoritative website and there’s nothing man like to do more than talk authoritatively about subjects they no nothing about 🙂

3. Everyone is a winner! My coworker and I both won $5 bucks and $5 dollar Starbucks Gift Certificates. There were notes each night as motivation in our hotel rooms along with treats and even the baseball field next to the hotel was branded with “Exact Target.” Free goodies were plentiful wherever you looked.

4. I attended a panel with someone from NASA. Seriously if that is not the coolest social media job ever than you need to rethink your American Dream. 🙂

5. Katy Perry in concert was part of the conference. Seriously. Now Katy can write a great hook and some really catchy tunes, but Katy could you stop with the gross-out humor and writing for a soprano when you are an alto? I share that same fate and honey, nothing is sexier than hitting the right notes.

6. Meeting an English Bullie named Blue. Turns out Blue is the mascot for Butler University. When I was informed of that fact I recalled watching something on TV about him. Celebrity Mascots. Love it! Blue was asked to sit, instead, shiny waxed floor had him spralled out on his belly on his attempt.

7. Being amongst digital people who want to improve from all sorts of backgrounds. My people!

8. I went on stage for an award. You know I can’t miss a photo op!

Overall I would say this was my favorite conference this year- sorry SX you totally jumped the shark a few years ago for me and now I just endure you.

What a Geek…..Ramble

Well, I uh find it hard to follow a blog about someone who had so much impact with her voice in so short a time. I do. My Taylor Swift concert photos did not seem like a good follow-up or my advice to interns which needs more shaping.

Yet, here we are another post. This one I have to make fun of because last week was a surreal geek week in which I started with taping a show for engadget:

Non-geeks click here now:

I think I look better than I thought I would, however given my friend Badass Betty took my favorite umbrella or lost it (!) on her last visit here, I think my somewhat disheveled via a torrential downpour , isn’t too bad. They do have a thing about moving the chairs off the mark. I was so uncomfortable in that chair and what is the result? I’m moving around too much!

The host also had to say my introduction twice as he called me Colin instead of Colleen. The studio audience was also pretty interesting and mostly male dominated …..what did you expect? Apparently most guests are a lot less over-the-top. I’m just being me and getting my geek on and I do apologize because the original point they wanted me to discuss was digital distribution and how that is effected by the introduction of Spotify into the marketplace here.

It’s too late to get into that my darlings however I will attempt to express my opinion on it soon. Promise! xoxo Grrlgenius

p.s. That was only Monday of last week. I did wind up going out to Silicon Valley and back- two days two red eyes but always worth it for a visit to Facebook. #geekon!

From What The Chuck to Seriously It’s Zuck…Ramble

Viva Nashvegas! Let’s say that three times and head to Robert’s for some real honky-tonk with locals. You’ll find everyone from old timers to debutantes coming from black tie events in that joint. After a taste of Robert’s, I was hanging out with friends at The Tavern when none other than country heart-throb, Chuck Wicks joined our table. I could not stop saying “What the Chuck?” anymore than everyone else could not playing with the fire for the smores they ordered for dessert. Girls do silly things when cute guys are around them. Oh yeah, he smelled good too.

Mmm, he is country strong!

I love Nashville and highly recommend hitting it if you are at all curious. After attending a double birthday party, laughing til I couldn’t stand up, it was time to head to San Francisco for some promo with a band. Silicon Valley has been a fascination of mine for years. I’ve often wondered why I didn’t move there after Los Angeles, but I guess I was really missing Brooklyn. Since one of my ideal places to work is anywhere, any time for Google, it is pretty rad I deal with folks over there all the time and got to swing by YouTube.

After that…..I was super stoked we went over to FACEBOOK for a personal tour from Zuck. Seriously. He introduced himself as Mark cause …that’s his name. He was a nice dude who was super enthusiastic to have The Dudes there. It was super sweet of Zuck to basically invite us to his house to meet his new puppy, Beast. See? Dogs are the best, they bridge the gap between billionaires and us regular folk.

You're my Geek Hero!

The Unfriend-ing Movement…Ramble

Last week I watched the video where Jimmy Kimmel declared Nov. 17th the National Unfriend Day for Facebook. He mocked a young woman’s profile who clearly updates her status with useless information on a regular occasion and said there is no way she could really have 500+ friends.

Apparently Jimmy’s test is for you to post you are moving that weekend and need help. The people who volunteer are your true friends. I am all for what I call “Defacing” (@copyright 2010!) people on Facebook. I work in the digital realm so, like, many of my contacts, I was quick to jump on there as soon as those doors opened beyond the college realm. It can be political and in this job market allow a person to stay connected with connections on a more personal level.

The episode of “South Park” was brilliant on the pressure to be on Facebook socially, spend too much time on it and how much of a time suck it can be. However the sheer magnitude of it’s numbers makes Facebook an undeniable community.

In light of National Unfriend Day, here’s my personal policy for who to weed out and may it help those of you who find it a challenge to do so:

1) Studies show you can only really keep up with 150 “friends” accurately online. Due to the politics of the digital world and having lead a life that involves many international friends as well as a multitude of jobs (start-ups or established online brands’ longevity is never a guarantee) I have known and worked with and liked a lot of people. My personal cutoff number is 500. It frustrates me to see that number reached too often.

2) I don’t accept people I don’t know as friends even if we have 40 friends in common.

3) If we met once at a party or you painted my apartment and we’re still friends, the likelihood that you are going to remain a friend  when I’m cutting is nil. The only reason we’re still friends is that your last name probably is somewhere in the middle of the alphabet and really who has the patience or the time to make it that far when some other person who is a tenuous tie comes up before I reach your name? But I will get to you because I am skipping ahead to different letters now.

4) Names I don’t instantly recognize or people who post too often about scratching themselves or selling me something.

5) Brands. There are those tricky brands who are now your “friend” and show up there instead of in “pages” and guess what? I stay on top of that so I find you and kick you to the curb. You are taking up a spot reserved for a life form.

6) If I see it’s your birthday and I can’t be bothered to wish you a good one, then we’re not friends.

7) I respond to your hello email or vice versa, then you can’t be bothered to respond or acknowledge it.

8) If you belong to the “Tea Party” and can’t respect other people don’t share your ideas or believe in basic human rights.

9) Delete your profile all together!

Good luck. I just did a pre-emptive cull since I was once again at 505 and now down to 498– room to grow as I start a new job and more requests come my way. 🙂