Wednesday, December 23, 2009 Ad Revenue Sharing Wackiness

One of my videos has gotten a fair amount of views - over 40,000. It's a piece highlighting the Halloween & Party Show, which also features a tune written & performed by me & some pals.

In the world of online videos, 40k views isn't really a big deal, but apparently it's big enough for to pay attention to - they recently contacted me & invited me to apply for an ad revenue sharing structure.

After going blind trying to figure out what the real payoffs would be - and some quick research around the net highlighted grumblings about other sites like paying much better - I still don't really know what the percentage splits really are. I saw a piece on the CBS Evening News about a year ago with Katie Couric; according to them, YT was paying between $15 - $20 per thousand views to selected popular producers. Which means they're charging double that to their advertisers...

What I do know is this: I had several back & forths with them (which I will post at some point) which reflected what a corporate, non-sensical, cumbersome entity YT (Google) really can be. One of my responses to them asked the question in response to one of their rejection claims: As the writer & copyright owner of all content on my video, can you actually be requiring that I need a contract & permission statement between myself & myself?!?!? Unbelievable.

Here's the vid:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 

Stone Age Vs. Digital Age

Another thought while going through my mountains of zip disks, floppies, CDs and DVDs: This media is so very very temporary. How much of this kind of stuff will be around 5 years from now? 10? 1000?

When you think about it, digital media is pretty much all just zeros and ones; binary code. Hard drives crash & fail; images get deleted; audio files get erased too. Just about everyone using a computer in the last 10 years has a story about important files floating off into the ether.

In contrast... how about a painting inside a cave that is thousands of years old? A pyramid? Stonehenge? Mayan structures? Makes you wonder about what kind of "modern" structures, software, hardware or art could actually stand the test of time. It also makes one examine the philosophy of striving to "leave something behind." Leave what behind - and for how long?

Soon: Another thought about digital piracy taking musicians back to the stone age to make money...

Sunday, December 13, 2009 

The King Of Chicago

I was going through (i.e., getting rid of) a bunch of stuff I have in storage, and ran across this photo I thought I'd lost of Mayor Daley & myself. If you think about it, it's somewhat amazing how he's stayed in office all these years, and how nobody seems willing or able to give him a run for his money come election time. To me, he pretty much exemplifies how most people would agree how Chicago (and, in fairness, every big city in the world) is run: dirty politics, payoffs, indictments, backdoor deals, patronage picks, blameshifting, mutual backscratching, phonies, con-men, union thugs and cops looking the other way BUT... there's one thing nobody disputes about the Mayor: He loves the city, and it shows. If the city weren't well-run and clean (mostly), or the snow didn't get removed, etc. - he'd be gone pronto.

This photo was taken by the Mayor's official photographer at some kind of Gold Coast homeowner's event I was catering. His office only releases photos approved by them, which I understand regarding "brand control." Obviously, the homeowners had enough clout to get the mayor to speak at their event (you can bet he doesn't do that for just any group). Beyond that, I found it interesting to witness the dynamic that happened leading up to this shot.

I had appeared with my band at The Taste Of Chicago not long before the event, and I had a program booklet with my photo next to Mayor Daley's on the inside booklet. I thought it might not be a bad idea to get an autograph on the booklet, with my photo as the entre to that request - and it worked.

I first spoke to one of his thick-necked, suited security personnel, and showed him the booklet, and asked if I could meet "da Mayor"; He pulled up one of those little security microphones to speak to one of his team standing next to Daley, who I could see down the hall a bit. And that's when I witnessed the "ripple effect."

The second thick-neck next to the Mayor whispered in his ear after he got the call from the first one I spoke to, and Daley's gaze went to me; I could see him nod yes, and the message came back to our end of the hall. From there, I could imagine how it felt for some medieval subject to be recognized by the king - and how that also affected his cadre of high-end hangers-on.

When the word came in that Daley would be speaking with me directly, the schmoozing (butt-kissing?) began immediately. And it was a strange sensation indeed.

A few of them came over to me preceding the Mayor, but the one I remember best was the owner of a very high-end "Viagra Triangle" downtown steakhouse called Gibson's rolling over to introduce himself, and checking me out; My feeling was he was sniffing around to see if I were someone he could "work," who he then would be then able to curry favor for him with Daley.

After that, it really felt like I was meeting some kind of Chicago royalty - he was very pleasant, his photog was snapping away, everyone was watching - kind of fun. He signed my program book, we shook hands goodbye, and that would be my first & only brush with the Da Mayor.

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Cheata, er... Tiger Woods Morals Clause

Although I could care less about all the press with Tiger Woods, I did hear two good jokes (the first is in the title of this post); the second is this:

Q. How is Tiger Woods similar to a baby seal?
A. They both get clubbed by blonde Norwegians.

Back to the other... the guy isn't a politician or spiritual leader, so nobody can claim he's done anything contrary to what his job description is supposed to be. He's a jock, he didn't get busted for animal cruelty or drugs or paying for hookers or betting on the game, or anything of the sort. He's a young billionaire, so why would anyone be surprised about all this?

After seeing he's getting most or all of his ads pulled recently, it made me think about something I've experienced myself with a corporate client: the (dreaded?) morals clause. Although it's most likely standard boilerplate language for any actor, athlete or musician endorsing a brand, it gives the sponsor an "out" if/when their spokesperson gets a little too jiggy wid it.

I'd have to dig up my contract for the exact language, but as I recall, it says stuff about the contract being nullified if the person is convicted of crimes, exhibits behavior detrimental to the sponsor's image, etc. You know - the fun stuff celebs usually get away with.

Remember Pee Wee Herman (Paul Rubens) getting busted molesting himself in a theater years ago? My first thought was this: CBS probably had the muscle to prevent that news from getting out if they'd really wanted to, and kept showing his TV show. But I was thinking it may have given them an out, without fulfilling any contractual obligations or payments, based on some kind of morals clause. I wonder if they make a shopping mall Santa Clause sign a clause?