Monday, June 23, 2008

Feed the Animals: A New Era for Music Creation, Distribution and Monetization

On June 19th, Illegal Arts released Feed the Animals (2008), Girl Talk's follow up album to Night Ripper (2006). The album is available to download and purchase through Girl Talk's Myspace, using a similar pay-what-you-want system to Radiohead's release of In Rainbows (2007) last December. Although professional Artists have been distributing their music through the internet for years, Girl Talk, and by extension Feed the Animals, is truly revolutionizing the way artists create, distribute and monetize music.

Girl Talk or Gregg Gillis, takes small portions of existing pop music and combines them to create something truly new and unique. For example at one point in "Give Me a Beat," Gillis, a former chemical engineer, combines samples from Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Hot Chocolate and Daft Punk. In Good Copy Bad Copy, a documentary looking into modern remix culture, Gillis said that he gets the majority of his music digitally and then uses free software to create his music using only a laptop. Girl Talk effectively leverages his Myspace page, creating a portal to the world and allowing listeners to stay up to date with concerts and download the latest tracks. This means that conception, compilation, creation, marketing and distribution are all done for free with a laptop and the internet. By using the internet for all aspects of his profession, Girl Talk has been able to create a sizable fan base sans large record company and thus has retained more control over his music.

Girl Talk monetizes his music through frequent concerts, often playing up to three a week. In the February 2008, he played a Thursday night snow in Montreal, A Friday night show at Colby College in Maine (where he was paid 10,000), and a Saturday night show in Burlington Vermont. As Girl Talk's popularity grows, he will be able to charge more for two intense hours.

By embracing the combined power of a laptop and the internet, Greg Gillis is turning the conventional paradigm of music monetization on its head and disrupting the space.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Is any one else upset with the conservative approach international soccer teams are taking in match play? Look at today's 120 scoreless minutes between Spain and Italy, and the 2006 World Cup Final. Take more risk people.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Discrepencies in Political Futures Markets

On The Iowa Electronic Market, a predictive futures market ran by the University of Iowa, the contracts for Obama winning the Democratic Presidential Nomination is trading at .928 on the dollar. On the Intrade Prediction Market, the very same contract is trading at .948 on the dollar, or a 2.2% premium to the IEM contracts. Why the discrepancy in prices? Both contracts pay out at the same time, August 26, and the same risks? Arbitrage Opportunity.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Desperate Situaiton

Today Yahoo announced that they will offer two email options, and Gmail anyone? Yesterday the husband wife duo behind Flickr, Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, left Yahoo in search of better pasture. Butterfield and Fake are the two most recent defectes in long string of executives fleeing the burning ship. Carl Icanh can now either dig in and stay for the long haul or dump his shares for an estimated 25% loss. I would abandon ship.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

IBM and Intel dabbling with Solar

The news came out today that IBM and Intel are both dabbling in solar energy. They both intend to leverage their experience working with silicone and development of commercial products to disrupt the solar market place. It baffles me why companies with no competitive advantage are eager to enter a competitive market that hinges on high energy prices and government subsidies. I believe that solar energy will play a vital roll in providing energy in the future but that the market is over heated and experiencing a similar run up to tech companies in the late 90's. Did IBM and Intel pay inflated prices to enter the solar market? How is this going to fit into IBM and Intel's strategic plans? In addition, IBM and Intel will need to continue to invest in their fledgling solar businesses at the cost of their core businesses and shareholders.

Monday, June 16, 2008

IPhone VS Blackberry: Winner Qaulcomm

For the foreseeable future, Blackberry and Apple will dominate the domestic smartphone market. Its very hard to predict the out come of who will prevail in this contest. But if you look inside your Blackberry or Iphone, you will find a chip made by Qualcomm. Instead of trying to pick a winner, why not bet on the smartphone as a whole with a company that pays a good dividend and is essential to the growth of the market?