Is Frank Ocean a Genius or a Man without a Country?

August 25th, 2016

by Bill Greenwood

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in August 2012.
Photo by Fred von Lohmann. View original image on Flickr.

Frank Ocean certainly seems to have gotten the best of the world’s biggest music company, pulling the wool over Universal Music’s eyes with the self-release of new album Blonde only days after his contract-fulfilling visual album Endless. That means that, according to Billboard, instead of receiving only 14% of Blonde’s revenues under his old contract, Ocean will now get to keep 70%, while Universal is left with what many consider a subpar album linked to a tedious video that is only available for streaming and not for sale. It certainly feels like a victory for Ocean, and taken as a modern day David vs. Goliath story, it’s hard not to cheer for him.

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Don’t Hit The Road, Jack

August 19th, 2016

by Kyle Wall

There have been murmurs for months now that Apple was considering ditching its headphone jack. Jason Snell echoed my mindset of denial in PCWorld:

So when the first rumblings of the headphone jack being removed from the next iPhone surfaced, it was easy to laugh them off. Outlandish rumors are common early in the iPhone product cycle. The next iPhone release was nearly a year away. There was no way Apple would do something as shortsighted as removing the worldwide standard for attaching headphones to electronic devices. This was just a silly rumor filling the space during a quiet period for Apple news. We’ll be the ones laughing come September.

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Hooray for the English Majors

August 12th, 2016

July-August-2016_401 IncCatching up on my reading, and was going through the cover story on the July/August issue of Inc. magazine on Robert Herjavec, the co-founder of the Herjavec Group, on the lessons he learned being a Shark Tank judge. His comments on the value of his non-technical college major caught my attention, both as a fellow English major and a PR person (emphasis mine):

“I went to college for a business degree but thought it was boring. So I wound up graduating with a BA in English literature–and then I didn’t know what to do with it. It took becoming a judge on Shark Tank to realize just how valuable that degree really is. At Herjavec Group, we’re experts in cybersecurity–but my degree has allowed me to compete with people in this field who are smarter than I am technically, because I could always tell a better story. Shark Tank is the American dream being played out every week in front of judges in half-hour segments. The format forces you to tell a concise and compelling story. As a result, I’ve learned how to squeeze drama out of every moment and make an impact–both on the show and in my work.”

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Summer “Word from a Bird”

June 30th, 2016

It’s summertime, and we hope you’re enjoying the warmth and sun as we head into the Fourth of July holiday! While this season is typically a quiet one, we’ve been working hard to ensure that our clients continue making noise in some of the biggest publications around, and the results speak for themselves. In the past few months, we were heavily involved in organizing and promoting the Music Business Association’s Music Biz 2017 conference in May, announcing the merger of NY Tech Meetup and the New York Technology Council to form the NY Tech Alliance in early June, publicizing Music Reports’ historic licensing agreement with the U.S. Copyright Office, and helping to create and promote videos and infographics for Rainbow Broadband and Vlado Meller. It’s all led to significant coverage in diverse outlets such as Forbes, Billboard, the New York Business Journal, American Songwriter, HITS Daily Double, Music Row, The Tennessean, Crain’s New York, and many more. Read more here!

The Only Guy in the Room

May 24th, 2016

by Laurie Jakobsen

At the end of April, I spoke at the first Women Entrepreneurs Bootcamp (WEB), created by Lynn Loacker of Davis Wright Tremaine. My co-panelist was Jake Dunlap of Skaled, who just posted this story on VentureBeat about the experience of being the only guy in the room, and what he learned from that experience – and his advice to address the “parity problem” in the sales industry.

You should read the whole piece, but this paragraph struck me in particular: Read the rest of this entry »

Seeing Is Believing: Why Does Diversity at the Oscars Matter?

January 27th, 2016

by Laurie Jakobsen

The spotlight on gender and ethnic diversity has never been harsher, as people are demanding real change. Last Friday, in response to the backlash regarding the all-white nominee slate for the 2016 Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced changes to its board and voting structure to double the number of women and minorities in the organization. Mind you, that will still be a pretty small number, as a 2012 study by the Los Angeles Times found the organization was almost 94% Caucasian and 77% male, with both Blacks and Latinos at about 2% each.

Earlier in the day, I was greeted with the new issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on my doorstep, with the cover story “Coders Like Us,” looking at the efforts of the historically black college Howard University to get its students into Silicon Valley jobs, where only 1% of the technical employees at companies like Google and Facebook are African American. In two years, only three graduates have been hired: two at Google and one at Pandora. Professor Charles Pratt notes that, on the one hand, it may take Howard years to gets its program to be a top “feeder school” for tech. However, he also feels that there may be an “unconscious racial bias” because the students don’t “fit the profile of what they think of engineers. Even though people think of Silicon Valley as a big meritocracy, I don’t think that’s how it works.”

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Adele, Star Wars, and the Power of the Blockbuster

December 22nd, 2015

By Bill Greenwood

Earlier in the year, Jaybird President Laurie Jakobsen wrote about Anita Elberse’s book “Blockbusters,” which explains how today’s digital economy has amplified big hits and realigned the overall entertainment industry to put an even bigger focus on superstars. And now, as we prepare to put 2015 in the books, we have been hit with two massive events that illustrate Elberse’s theory: the record-shattering releases of Adele’s new album, 25, and the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

According to Elberse, it is far more profitable for entertainment companies to throw most of their annual budgets behind a few giant projects that appeal to a mainstream audience rather than many smaller projects that appeal to various niches. In the case of Adele, Sony Music Entertainment certainly seems to have embraced this tenant. The marketing campaign surrounding the release was ubiquitous, with Adele’s single “Hello” being nearly inescapable, a plum performance slot on Saturday Night Live, a live concert special on NBC, and a slew of interviews with some of the biggest TV, print, and online outlets in the world. Even more interestingly, no tracks from the album other than “Hello” and an officially released live recording of “When We Were Young” made their way to YouTube, even after the record was officially released. This indicates that Sony had allocated significant resources to keeping the remaining tracks a secret, which in turn aided the marketing campaign in selling the full album.

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NYU Steinhardt Entrepreneurship Capstone

December 19th, 2015

Latest “Word from a Bird”

December 17th, 2015

Catch up on all of the latest Jaybird Communications client news in our holiday newsletter. We’re ready to hit the ground running in 2016!

Laurie Jakobsen Guests on NorthStar’s “Ice Cream Social”

November 3rd, 2015

Jaybird Communications President Laurie Jakobsen checks in with NorthStar Communications’ “Ice Cream Social” blog and shares her daily online and social media consumption habits… and answers the important question, “Cone, cup, or straight from the container?”