I am not a musician. In spite of such a strong personal affinity to music, I lack even the most basic instincts among its instruments. Instead, I rely on my deep appreciation of it, one which admittedly borders on the obsessive at times, to bring me near to nirvana. To be sure, I am a helpless junkie, always looking for a new fix to tickle my ears and lift my head to the heavens…
I am fortunate to have met and become close friends with many extremely talented, and prolific, musicians in my life. We have, at various times, with various strategies, and with even more varying degrees of success, attempted to sell their wares on the open market. It was not an easy business to enter, let alone master, to say nothing of making a profit. Even with critical acclaim, the cost of doing business the old fashioned way (pressing vinyl, of course) was prohibitive.
Ultimately, we put those dreams on hold and went our separate ways. I was thrilled when Stewart Brown and I recently realized that we were living less than a mile apart in San Francisco, and finally reconnected after nearly ten years apart. We are older and wiser now, and while still foolish enough to dream that same dream, we are intent on finding new ways to fulfill it…
To be perfectly honest, I never stopped thinking of how best to market music, and these thoughts only intensified as this “second life” of the internet and its free and easy tools of creation came to be. Brown’s music is infectious (in a very good way) and made to be spread far and wide, and it has long been clear to me that the ease of “spread-ability” is the key to success. So we set out to eliminate anything that inhibits the free flow of music, starting first with the cost to acquire it, so that everyone can hear it instantaneously. That is why you can stream every song in its entirety within the page itself, and even download good quality 128 kbps mp3s (no DRM!!) for free.
I was adamant that we spend as little money as humanly possible (I think our greatest expense so far was buying the domain name). Brown wrote and recorded the music, I designed and built the website, and Kristin tied it all together with her words. If I may say so, it looks and sounds like a million bucks!! Check it out at FORKLIFT ENTERTAINMENT.
I want to point out and thank a few of the many people who helped make this happen…
To Hugh MacLoed and Fred Wilson, two guys who continually experiment and explore new ideas in real-time, right before our very eyes. Their passion and persuasion inspire me to no end. I had trouble finding a singularly illustrative quote from each one, but if you’re at all interested in reading more there’s a combined 71 posts tagged on my del.icio.us from Hugh and Fred.
To Bob Lefsetz, who sums it up best in a recent post entitled “The New Reality”, “You can’t reach them by asking them to buy first. Quite the contrary, it’s like catching a fish. You’ve got to drop quality bait and wait.” He continues, “You establish a beachhead. You try to get people to notice you. And the way you do this is not through endless cross-linking and widgets and all the tools of the helpless, hapless wannabes, but quality music. It’s the only way you can get recognized.” That’s the blueprint right there.
And lastly, to my beautiful wife Abby, who has lived through my countless great ideas and nonexistent execution, who nonetheless never once wavered in her support and always encouraged me to go for it. I could not have done it without you. I love you.
Wow, that was way more than I originally intended to write; still, I left so much out.
I think Brown’s music is poised to take off, and I believe our approach to doing business can help make it happen. I am so excited to see where this goes. I would love to hear what you think, so leave me a comment here or on FORKLIFT ENTERTAINMENT.
As always, more soon.