Most of the time I’m not a first mover. Early, sure (blogging, Channel Frederator, VOD Cars), rarely first. But with my music jones I’ve tried to be on top of most everything and often just wanted to kill myself. Over the years, I’ve been a musician, a record producer, a music television producer and most of all a stone music fan. Pop, rock, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, you name it, I’m there. So, the digital revolution has given me a wonder of hopes and frustrations.
I’ve used ‘em all –the original Napster, Winamp, MusicMatch, the HangGo, the Airport Express, heck I’ve even ran SonicNet Radio for a while– and eventually just chocked on the exasperation. The inventors have caught up with my needs –selection, convenience, and (relative) quality for a reasonable price– and though I’m a little behind the true hipsters, I’m finally at (almost) fan nirvana.
It’s 11:21pm, Friday, July 20, 39 minutes before the official release of the new Harry Potter. I’m in line at the Maine Coast Book Store in Damariscotta, Maine (”We’re not online yet — someday!). I’m with over 300 fans (including my two boys and my wife)–most of whom are well over 16– waiting for our reserved copies of Harry Potter + the Deathly Hallows. I’d never been in Maine until six hours ago and standing in this small town with all this excitement is a fantastic introduction to the state. I’ve never stood in line for the release of anything and it’s thrilling to see that a book can motivate all these folks as much as a movie star. I can’t believe I left my camera at the hotel.
This post has absolutely nothing to do with animation.
I’ve been cleaning out my drawers lately which caused me to scan some of my stuff and throw it on my Flickr page. Some of it’ll eventually get linked to on my old branding agency archive, but who knows about the rest.
The picture above is from the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. It’s from a random collection of photographs I found in a box at a junk shop specializing in then-uncool mid-century furniture. I couldn’t resist the hundreds of vintage prints of these amazing deco buildlings I’d really only seen in amazing stylized illustrations from the fair. I had no idea what I was going to do with the snaps –hell, I still don’t know what I’m going to do with them– but they were great just to have.
In the late 70s I was producing jazz records and became friendly with Michael Cuscuna, soon to become one of the medium’s most revered producers and the leading reissue producer in history. In the early 80s he and BlueNote executive Charlie Lourie started the pioneering MosaicRecords as the first company specializing in boxed set reissues of classic performances, available only by mail order. Michael and I became reacquainted when I ordered their first set (The Complete BlueNote Recordings of Thelonious Monk) and he asked me to get involved with helping them out of the hole. It turned out their ’sure thing’ idea wasn’t having many takers and they were worried about shutting down. My partner Alan Goodman and I turned them down two years in a row with a lot of unsolitcited advice about what they could do better –we were broke and our company was barely alive itself– even if we were talking through our hats. Everything we knew about direct mail cataloging was from being mail order customers ourselves and from a direct mail how-to book I’d read the first chapter of. We loved Michael and Charlie, and we admired what they were trying to accomplish at Mosaic, but we were just too low on bandwidth.
Three years in our company was doing a little better and Mosaic was doing a lot worse; Michael and Charlie successfully prevailed on us to finally help. We knew no more, but full of the arrogance of youth we lugged out Alan’s first generation portable computer and invented the first Mosaic 12-page brochure on our summer picnic table. Alan wrote every word (I supervised “strategy” — what else is new?), our friends Tom Corey and Scott Nash designed the thing, Jessica Wolf supervised the production and we mailed out the first Mosaic catalog ever in the summer of 1986.
We waited for the order phones to ring, and lo and behold, in the first three weeks Mosaic’s business had increased 10 fold. They were in business forever. Alan’s still writing the brochures, I’m still getting the free box sets and lobbing in ideas from the side. What a world we live in. I’ve never been prouder of any project I’ve worked on in my life.
We’ve had a few films in a few festivals, but this year was our first ever with two. And, truth be told, I never ever think about winning; it sounds dumb, but I actually feel it is an honor to be nominated.
But two wins! Holy cow! As I think I’ve said before, I’m honored you choose to work with us. Thank you.