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Just heard this fun, fresh track on BBC 6Music during Lauren Laverne’s show. One of the benefits of being married to a British lady with great music taste is being showered with good tunes as she flips through her library of music and favorite radio broadcast from the UK. This one caught me quick in a way that made me stop what I’m doing, lean forward, and figure out more about this artist and where to get the tune. This track is called Choregraph and is from Gilligan Moss. I couldn’t find much about Gilligan Moss on the music services or generally on the web, but regardless, I hope the music keeps flowing from this source. The track has a lot of bleeping and bouncing around of sounds. At first I didn’t know if I was getting agitated, going a bit insane, or being coaxed into a fun little groove. It’s kind of like being inside a pinball machine, bouncing around soft sounds with a slightly discernable pattern and rhythm. At the end of it, I didn’t want the ride to end.

It doesn’t seem to be on the streaming services, so I’m sharing it here via Soundcloud. Looking forward to hearing more from Gilligan Moss. Please keep it coming.

Beardyman has been hailed by the BBC as a “King of Sound, Ruler of Beats” for his amazing skills at beat boxing, looping, and general music making. When I was living in London, I heard of the legend of Beardyman from an agent while working out of the Topspin office at William Morris in Soho. I quickly realized why the “legendary” status was bestowed on Beardyman when I saw videos of him performing and heard his tracks. Beardyman  released his album in 2011, “I Done an Album,” which I thought was a wonderful work of art in sound and hilarity. The funny clips in between tracks made me crack up and the cross-genre tracks showed Beardyman’s diverse skills as a master of sound. I couldn’t find an embed of the album to post, but you can get it on iTunes. I highly recommend buying the whole album. It has may levels with a variety of styles and genres. A video for one of his tracks, Vampire Skank, is below. The song starts with a skit and then goes into some heavy wup wup wup dubstep with an ironic twist. I got a lot out of that track in 2011.

What really motivated me to post about him today was the Beardyman TED talk video embedded below. It shows the genius and skills of Beardyman and speaks to what can be achieved when the technology is good enough to represent precisely what’s going on his mind. #MadRespect for Beardyman.

 

A video of one of my favorite Beardyman tracks, Vampire Skank (warning: heavy dubstep mid-way through). Devilishly cheeky.

 

If you ever find yourself able to attend an exhibit for Tokio Aoyama, I would do everything possible to see his art in person. In the spring of 2012, I was lucky enough to stumble into the Hoxton Gallery in Shoreditch on the way to get my groceries at the Organic Grocer on Kingsland Road. My old London neighborhood at that intersection and the general area near the Shoreditch Triangle can be magical in the art and culture it bestows to everyone on a daily and whimsical basis. Passing by the gallery, I saw glimpses of mega cool in his paintings set in a great vibe, and it pulled me inside. I glided into a procession around the bricked arch Hoxton Gallery soaking in the great art.

Tokio’s paintings have musical themes to them and have rich exacting styles. They feel like surrealist expressions in vivid fantasy settings with jazz, soul, hip-hop, rock, funk, all sorts of musical grooves. Some are mellow, others are adventurous, and when looking close at each painting you can get a strong sense of Tokio’s genius, skillz, depth, and values. His work is truly awe inspiring, and I would welcome a chance to bring him to California as I feel many in the US and especially California would appreciate. I had a chance to talk to him, and he was nothing but gracious, humble, and a genuine bad-ass human being. If there was anyone I would give a proper #madrespect salute to, it would be Tokio Aoyama.

Tokio Aoyama

 

Tokio returned to the Hoxton Gallery for another exhibit called Loop in August 2013. They describe him well:

World-acclaimed, Japanese-born painter Tokio Aoyama creates beautiful, dizzyingly surreal paintings marrying pop culture with the symbolism of modern and traditional Japan. Music is always at the heart of Aoyama’s paintings. Although not a musician himself, Tokio has engaged in various collaborations and friendships with the members of the world-wide music scene, including the ‘Live Painting’ series. The ‘LooP’ exhibits feature numerous heads of the icons of the music world embodied in the psychedelic, mythological landscape of his mystifying paintings.

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11593939454_2f5be14b04Those were the best my iPhone 4 at the time could do. Here are some more from across the web.

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Those above pics are from Sam Woolfes post about Tokio’s art and exhibit. Go check out his post for a great montage of Tokio’s art. If you could see his paintings up close, you’ll immediately appreciate the precision of his touch, and then stepping back you’ll soak in all the great grooves and the incredible spirit of his imagination. 

 

 

 

 

As this calendar year fades for Topspin, I look back at what our team has achieved. We have been heads down, working hard to make radical improvements in our products and throughout the company. We’ve significantly progressed, and the Topspin team deserves all the credit for being exceptionally productive and fun to work with.

Last week we released a simple metric in our Topspin Platform app that calculates the average value of an artist’s fan. This AVF metric is an early precursor to how we will eventually measure the Life-time Value (LTV) of an artist’s fan in Topspin. It’s just the beginning and will evolve into a more useful number to help artists figure out how much they can afford to spend in acquiring fans in different promotional channels. This Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) metric for a Fan can be weighed against how much revenue a potential fan brings to an artist. These LTV – CPA > 0 types of calculations have existed in different industries and performed exceptionally well for many companies like Netflix.

Sometimes it’s easy to get rubbed the wrong way with terms like “advertising,” “profit,” “LTV,” when talking about art and artists. We need to be respectful that art and our human connection to it is highly personal and uniquely important beyond any monetary value we place on it. Topspin’s mission is to help artists make a living, and we tend to get excited and obsessed about introducing artists to proven marketing methods that could increase their bottom line. We will be championing the use of these standards and speaking in their terminology, but please keep in mind that it’s for a purpose: to help artists make more money.

Hannah Karp at the Wall Street Journal, wrote a story about the artist-fan data in Topspin and shared the different AVF metrics from several artists. For example, Arcade Fire’s is $6.26, Sigur Ros is $10.91, Umphrey’s McGee is $32.96, and the Pixies is $4.26. The AVF when looked at in comparison is not helpful because the metric is unique to different artists depending on the number of fans they have, their specific methods of direct marketing, and their product bundling and pricing strategy.

The AVF metric, however, can be actionable for an individual artist to keep a baseline and heartbeat of their direct-to-fan business. They can measure improvements in their baseline values and tie them back to their promotional activities. It should give a sense of what worked and what didn’t. Across Topspin over 5 years and millions of transactions, the general average AVF $3.78, so if you’re looking for a good arbitrary general average to compare to your own AVF, that’s a good a number as any. That value at least supports giving your media in return for a monetizable email would be a good exchange, since earning $3.78 on average is far higher than the price of a song download.

This AVF figure in the Topspin Platform will grow into a future LTV metric as we learn how to model fan value in a meaningful way for artists. This LTV will be eventually be measured against a CPA metric for a fan derived from Topspin’s ArtistLink product, which just released a free cross-marketing network called the Promo Exchange along with a paid advertising program.

The new ArtistLink release is a significant evolution of Topspin’s efforts in helping artists with a self-serve advertising product. It’s Peter Gotcher’s original vision of Topspin, and our recent feature releases represent Topspin going back to our roots as a data driven, artist-focused company aimed at solving the hardest problem in fan acquisition: turning the unaware into the aware at the top of the marketing funnel.

There’s so much more to come on both the Topspin Platform and ArtistLink, and I can’t wait to share all the exciting developments ahead.

 

 

James Blake won the Mercury Prize in 2013 with this Overgrown album, a tremendous work of art. I keep listening to the album again and again. Some tracks are just sublime like To the Last.

 

 

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