Apr 22, 2014

ACL Lineup is HERE! Eminem, Outkast, Pearl Jam and Skrillex to headline this year’s festival

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Behold, the 2014 lineup for Austin City Limits Music Festival. This year has a little of everything from EDM to rock to rap to reggae. Eminem, Pearl Jam, Beck, Lorde and Foster the People will bring fans young and old.  We’re also stoked to see some of the lesser-known acts like Jagwar Ma and Tune-Yards.

Stay tuned to see who will be performing on the Honda Stage this year, and we’ll see you in Austin! 

Apr 21, 2014

Silent Music and a Free Tour? Yes Please.

Last month, the relatively unknown Los Angeles Funk-Rock band Vulfpeck released what may very well be the most interesting record of the year.  Sleepify features ten, 30-second tracks of total silence.

Despite the deadpan insistence by the band that the album not be played on shuffle (from their Twitter: “Please don’t shuffle Sleepify.  I know this might come off snobbish, but we spent a lot of time on track order”) and the tongue-in-cheek John Cage comparisons, Sleepify is not a lofty performance art piece but rather a sincere grassroots effort to draw attention to the shifting economics of the music industry. 

The group released the record exclusively on Spotify and subsequently posted a YouTube video urging fans of the group to stream the silent album on repeat while they sleep.  As one member of Vulfpeck explains, each time a song is streamed on Spotify, it generates a paltry $0.005 in revenue for the artist.  For all but a small percentage of big-name musicians (1% of artists account of 77% of all revenue on Spotify) this translates to, essentially, nothing.  By streaming Sleepify on repeat for 8 hours while you sleep, a grand total of $4.00 goes to the band.

But Vulfpeck is not simply looking to line their pockets with Spotify’s money through this clever stunt.  All profits received from users streaming Sleepify will go directly toward funding a totally free national tour (which will not be silent), the routing of which will be determined by calculating which cities streamed the album the most.

In an era where music piracy is in steady decline and we are all patting ourselves on the back for paying $10 every month for Spotify Premium or suffering through the natural male enhancement ads on Pandora, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the role of music in our lives and the value we place on it.  I’m a huge supporter the democratization of music (and have been proudly paying for Spotify since the day it launched), but let us take pause lest we fool ourselves into thinking we’ve reached a sustainable system of consumption. 

- Dillon

Apr 16, 2014

Train Secretly Remembers the Alamo

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Last week, Marketing Factory (MFI) travelled to San Antonio, Texas to bring high-profile entertainment to the annual gathering of American Honda executives and their dealer body representatives. MFI arranged the opening night reception entertainment. Three Texas-sized artists took the stage during the cocktail hour at La Villita on the Riverwalk. Jesse Dayton, a Honky Tonk and Rockabilly artist who has contributed to the music of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, performed alongside the rockin’ swing band Heybale and Blues guitar legend Alan Haynes. Our artist relations team braved the sweltering heat to make sure everything ran smoothly.

For the final night of the conference, MFI turned the San Antonio Convention Center into a full-blown concert venue. Our production designers and team of Riggers and Lighting and Audio engineers built a beautiful performance space. The headliner was the Grammy Award winning band Train. MFI and Maritz co-managed a meet and greet with lead singer Pat Monahan and guitarist Jimmy Stafford for Honda VIPs. Hundreds of Honda dealers, marketers and salespeople sprinted towards the stage. They crowded around, cameras in hand, dancing and enjoying the private performance from the popular pop-rock group.

During our stay in San Antonio, MFI also had a chance to attend the Honda Business Meeting and auto salon luncheon. We’re proud of Honda’s past achievements, especially the success of Civic Tour and the Honda Stage at music festivals. We’re excited for what’s next and thank Honda for making us part of their marketing team.

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Apr 11, 2014

COACHELLA: FOMO Brand Events

The first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival gets underway with a killer lineup, tons of emerging talent, and pool parties galore. Many brands flock to the first weekend to throw elaborate, celebrity studded bashes that draw huge crowds. This year, brands are shaking up the status quo as they compete for trendsetters and hipsters. However, if you’re a celebrity, you’re most likely getting paid big bucks to attend any parties or to attend the festival wearing branded clothing.  Yes, some are envious of this status.

Coachella continues to be a big draw for fashion brands including H&M, Guess, Urban Outfitters and Lacoste, in addition to hundreds of fashion bloggers, vloggers and trendy scenesters. A few brand parties to check out: 

H&M, the official fashion brand of Coachella 2014, will throw a late-night party at a never-before-used venue near the festival grounds on Saturday.  H&M’s rager is set to rival the popular Neon Carnival held at a nearby small airport by Nylon with Olay Fresh Effects and GUESS.

GUESS will also host their annual invite-only weekend hotel bash in Palm Springs.

Marc by Marc Jacobs will host a one-day-only pop-up shop at the Ace Hotel, which will feature the labels Spring 14 eyewear. On Sunday, Adidas will host The DO-Over’s 4th annual BBQ and pool party at the Ace Hotel, expected to bring dozens of “all-star beat junkies and mystery guests.” 

LACOSTE will return with its fifth annual weekend-long “Desert Pool Party” at a private estate in Thermal. There will be a lineup of celebrity guest DJs and an array of sporting games at the event.

Each year more and more brands cleverly tap into Coachella to connect with music fans organically. What parties are you hitting?   

Apr 4, 2014

L.I.N.K.S. (Links introducing new knowledge substantially)

#VFX

Video effect graphics software and hardware has come a long way since the days of claymation. Check this out. 

#VIDEOGAMES #MUSIC

Music videos aren’t just on Vevo, they can now be found originating from Grand Theft Auto 

#TACOS #MILLENIALS

Playing it cool is essential when remaining relevant to millenials and teens. How does Taco Bell respond to teens asking them about marijuana legalization? "We make tacos, not laws," TBell said. 

#EDM

Beef doesn’t just reside in the world of hip hop. Tiesto is mad at Deadmau5 over Avicii. How cute. http://elitedaily.com/music/music-news/deadmau5-trolled-the-world-during-his-ultra-set-and-tiesto-wasnt-a-fan

#MICHAELJACKSON

The King of Pop has a vocal-only demo circulating the web and it proves his expertise as a musician and understanding of the language of music http://lacienegasmiled.tumblr.com/post/77598143356/demo-of-beat-it-composed-using-only-michael PLUS he’s got a new album coming out soon! http://www.thewrap.com/michael-jackson-xscape-new-album 

#MUSIC

Flaming Side of the Moon, a companion album to Pink Floyd’s Dark Sid of the Moon by the Flaming Lips is streaming online, and in this link http://thefutureheart.com/flaming-side-of-the-moon you can even listen to it while watching The Wizard of Oz

#MUSIC

There’s a new peace plan set out before Israelis and the Palestinians, and that is METAL http://planetivy.net/life-2/91585/brothers-metal-music-unites-israel-palestine

Mar 31, 2014

Activation review: The Gap at Sasquatch!

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From Friday, May 24 thru Monday, May 27, 2013, Marketing Factory produced a brand experience for Honda at Sasquatch! Music Festival at The Gorge Amphitheater in Washington – chock-full of vehicles, costumes, photo booths, custom photo prints and iPads connected to a social sweeps. Although Honda was the most recognizable brand at the popular Pacific Northwestern music festival - there was another brand presence that melded perfectly in the surroundings of the locale: The Gap.

The Gap footprint was aptly titled “Camp Gap,” which consisted of a large open-aired cabin with mariner’s rope fencing, lined with small spruce evergreen trees, areas to play backyard bean bag and ring toss, and great landscaping with custom rocks, gravel and more.

While stage changeovers occurred, concertgoers participated in activities like face painting, hair thread wrapping, temporary tattoos, professional jean short fraying (with the hashtag “#LifeIsShorts) and a penny imprint machine for a Sasquatch! keepsake.

These activities were advertised digitally via The Gap social networks and onsite via music festival handouts and signs made of tree trunks surrounding the Camp Gap cabin. 

The overly rustic decor fit like a square peg in a square hole - the environment of central Washington is the ideal setting for a structure like this, as if it was meant to be there, even when the festival is not. A natural footprint like this is not only inviting for the typical festival attendee, but is the type of brand awareness initiative that fosters positive feelings and keeps fans present in the activation for long periods of time.

Most visitors to Camp Gap were female and looked to be college-aged locals to the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia). While we consistently strive to push the boundaries for innovative event activations for brands that reach music enthusiasts in a similar demographic, we have to admire the detail and effort placed in to the Camp Gap experience and hope to see them at a festival again this summer.

Take a deeper look at the Honda Stage experience at summer music festivals across the country including Sasquatch!, Governor’s Ball and Austin City Limits Music Festival here. 

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Mar 27, 2014

Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

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#CONTENT
Need stock video footage? Need metaphors? Symbols? Representation of large-scale visions and company missions? Don’t be generic. Like this https://vimeo.com/89527215

#VIRAL #ADVERTISING
Most women have experienced the cat call. A whistle, a shout, a yell from groups of men in need of satisfaction. The big idea from Snickers has always been “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” and this is definitely not your typical ad about hunger. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gjsoSY18kg

#VIRAL #ADVERTISING
Are you cold? Is it snowing out? Get under a bus shelter. Find the closest stranger and hold their hand while connecting to each side of this great Duracell stunt.
http://digiday.com/brands/duracell-canada-wants-hold-hands-powerwarmth/

#MUSIC #WU
Although the Wu-Tang Clan will soon be releasing their 20th anniversary
album “A Better Tomorrow” this summer, alongside a museum tour - they will be making one, only one, special album as an uncopied piece of art available to one patron.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomalleygreenburg/2014/03/26/why-wu-tang-will-release-just-one-copy-of-its-secret-album/

#BEATS #TECHNOLOGY
Open up your Chrome browser. Crack your knuckles. Take a deep breath. In, then out. Allow this page to load Patatap and start
tapping the keys on your keyboard - A through Z. You’re welcome.

#TECHNOLOGY #INTERACTIVE
Going up? Rather than stand a few feet uncomfortably from a fellow
elevator rider, why not interact with a digital screen within the lift
that depicts movement and allows for you to interact via smartphone and more. http://www.psfk.com/2014/03/elevator-video-screens.html#!Bxfh0

Mar 26, 2014

Full Lollapalooza 2014 Lineup Announced - Kings of Leon, Skrillex, Eminem

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It looks like Lollapalooza has a fairly solid lineup this year with upcoming acts like Young the Giant, Grouplove, Phantogram and CHVRCHES.

Who’s going?  

Mar 24, 2014 / 1 note

EDM, the UFC and Endemic Brands

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an internationally famous, brutal, mixed martial arts promotion company that hosts the top fights and contenders in violent bouts that can at times, lead to gruesome displays of blood, injuries, and unfavorable arenas for brands to place themselves.

Big brands are starting to openly sponsor UFC fighters, but are managing to do it without endorsing the controversial UFC itself. On Saturday, March 15, Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks took punch after punch from the “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler in the packed American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. After five rounds, it was Johny Hendricks “hoisting the belt, smiling while bearing a busted right eye and wearing a bright orange Reebok branded shirt like he was king of the world.”

That’s great news for Reebok, who competes against the dominant fitness brands Nike and Adidas. Reebok has begun a re-branding effort focused on fitness. One of its first efforts was to associate with UFC’s Johny Hendricks. 

After the match, Hendricks told Forbes that he has been with gear companies in the past but would have problems getting the right gear to help him train. He said, “Reebok has helped me tremendously with my training. You have no idea how much it means.”

It’s surprising that a champion mixed-martial arts fighter has had trouble getting the proper gear to train for his sport. Reebok chose to associate with Hendricks because he lives a fitness lifestyle 365 days a year. The Reebok and Johny Hendricks partnership seems to be mutually beneficial, but Reebok isn’t looking to sponsor the UFC, according to Forbes. They’re only looking for people who are great fits for the brand, like Johny.

Controversial yet popular industries are touchy subjects for brands. 

Like in the UFC, brand sponsorships in electronic dance music (EDM) are lean. The Reebok/ Johny Hendrix partnership could serve as a model for brands hoping to partner with EDM artists without endorsing the controversial culture.

Recently, Ralph Lauren did a promotion with Avicii. The music video for Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ features items from the Denim & Supply Fall 2013 clothing line. Ralph Lauren taps into EDM culture with what seems a very brand-safe approach.

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Of course, there’s still risk for brands sponsoring UFC and EDM. 

For example, Andersen Silva (Middleweight champ with the longest title defense streak in UFC history) was sponsored by Nike and was expected to destroy Chris Weidman. Instead, he infamously got knocked out after showing unsportsmanship-like behavior in the octagon and followed that up by sustaining a horrific break when he checked a leg kick thrown by Weidman in the follow-up match.

Reebok demonstrates how the stars can align and the brand can reap the benefits of sponsoring a champion – similar to the success of Ralph Lauren and Avicci. Nike demonstrates the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to developing campaigns with high risk, high profile partners – which is exactly why brands have been so hesitant in the EDM world. 

As EDM continues propelling into the mainstream, more brands will likely take the leap and begin experimenting with EDM sponsorships. The current market is sparse and opportunity awaits those ballsy brands that will make a hit, just like Johny and Reebok in the UFC.

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Mar 20, 2014

What Is MFI Listening To?

Living in Los Angeles’ creative hub filled with musicians, writers, producers and sound engineers definitely has its benefits for an avid music fan. We’ve got friends like GASLAMP Killer getting booked at clubs in Hollywood, we stumble upon rad bands playing at a motorcycle shop’s Sunday BBQ in Venice, and we investigate everyone Pitchfork and Billboard talk about (because we would be bad at our jobs if we didn’t).

Here’s what we’re listening to at the Factory right now: 

Sasha – I’m currently listening to "Lost Boys and Girls Club" by Dum Dum Girls.

Rob - "Spreading Rumours" by Grouplove.

Sydney - Anything and everything by Jesus Sons, and "Ocean" performed live by John Butler Trio. (Both groups were in LA last weekend.)

Matt - Natural Child - Dancin’ With Wolves (came out last week on Burger Records); Denney & The Jets - “Bye Bye Queenie” (single off their debut LP Mexican Coke comin’ out in April. Brooklyn Vegan w/ the stream here.)

Dillon - "Lady Luck" by Richard Swift; "Hi Five" by Angel Olsen.

Levi - Broken Bells covering the Beatles on Letterman (w/Ringo).

Heather – St. Vincent’s ‘Digital Witness.’

Grant - "Claire" by Baxter Dury and "Boso" by ZAKOPOWER.

Let us know what sparks your musical fancy right now and tweet us @MFI_Venice!