SOME AWESOME SLOGAN OR QUOTE ABOUT THE BOOK GOES ACROSS HERE.

Supply And Demand


starboy

It used to be that scarcity drove up value. It was simple supply and demand. When something is rare, it is more valuable.

In music we can find endless examples. The posthumous brand values of artists like Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, and Elvis Presley are far greater than their brand values prior to their deaths.

After John Bonham died and Led Zeppelin disbanded, every Page/Plant interaction became a major event. Their 2007 reunion show at the 02 Arena in London became the live music event of the decade.

We have yet to experience it, but there is a good chance that each unreleased song from the Prince archives will become extremely valuable.

Low supply = high demand = even higher value.

Today it seems like that equation might be broken.

The Weeknd is one of the top-selling artists in the world. His first single appeared in the fall of 2012, just over four years ago.

Since that time, The Weeknd has released three studio albums, three mixtapes, one compilation album (featuring all 3 mixtapes), and a mind-boggling 26 singles.

In just over four years, The Weeknd has released 26 singles. That’s an average of 6.5 singles per year. Think about that for a second.

To put that in perspective, over the course of their career The Rolling Stones have released 109 singles so far. But they put their first single out in 1964… that was 52 years ago. That’s an average of just over 2 singles per year.

Aerosmith has pumped out 63 singles since 1973. That’s an impressive number, but it is only about 1.5 singles per year.

Bruce Springsteen has given us 69 singles since ’73, a production level similar to Aerosmith.

Madonna’s career has seen her release 83 singles since 1982, which is a solid 2.44 singles annually.

None of those legendary artists even come close to The Weeknd’s incredible pace of 6.5 singles per year.

The game has changed.

For those heritage artists, the game was about releasing the right number of albums and singles, and touring just the right amount. Artists timed their releases so that they could do an album, release multiple singles while touring to support the album, take a year or so off, and then release a new album. And it worked.

Today’s artists live in a world of instant gratification. They compete with artists everywhere on the globe, creating and releasing new music incessantly. They exist in an environment where you can create and release a song, get millions of streams and downloads, and then decide if you even want to do an album or tour. They collaborate and co-create in an unprecedented way.

Today’s artists also live in a cycle of perpetual media exposure. If you’re not doing something noteworthy, you’re irrelevant.

Is your business staying top-of-mind?

Being top-of-mind today means being perpetually present in your marketing, having a constant social dialog, and continually evolving your products and creating new products.

You never want to flood the market to the point of devaluing your product, but in today’s world you cannot sit back and be invisible, hoping your die-hard fans will crave your product in six months or a year. You need to be evolving, growing, changing, and adapting.

The Weeknd has released 26 singles in four years, and that’s the new normal.

Drake has released 85 singles in his nine year career. That blows The Weeknd out of the water! Drake is averaging almost 18 singles per year.

Drake’s girlfriend Rihanna has released 64 singles since 2005, just short of 6 singles per year.

Kanye West has released 110 singles since 2003, just about 8.5 singles per year.

The game has changed.

Will you change with it?

By the way, the new album Starboy by The Weeknd is nothing short of amazing. You really should listen to it. The man is prolific because he’s brilliant.

Put the lessons of music legends to work to help you build a better business. You can still order Brand Like a Rock Star with one-click on Amazon and have it delivered well before Christmas. 

Aerosmith, Bob Marley, Drake, Elvis Presley, Kanye West, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Rolling Stones, The Weeknd 474 Comments

Axl Rose: Brilliant or Bonehead?


 

The week before his band Guns ‘N Roses is to be inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Axl Rose has released a letter written to the hall rejecting his nomination into the shrine and telling them that he won’t be attending. He has even asked that the hall specifically not include him in name or image when they induct the band.

Some people are saying that Axl Rose is an immature idiot. Others are giving him credit for standing by his personal ethics.  No matter what your opinion is, you can learn from Axl Rose.

GENERATING BRAND BUZZ

Everyone is talking about Axl Rose today. That hasn’t happened in a long, long time. He has gotten his name in the press in a major way. But… consider the massive buzz a one time Guns ‘N Roses reunion would have created had Axl showed up, accepted the honor, and joined his estranged former bandmates for a jam session. The Police did it in 2003, playing together for the first time in two decades. It was magical.

REINFORCING YOUR BRAND IMAGE

Snubbing an organization like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is, well, pretty damn rock ‘n’ roll of him. By doing this, Axl builds up his anti-establishment image. Not that it needed building up, considering his past behavior.  But… there’s bad-boy behavior and then there is just being an a**hole. Plenty of people would suggest this borders on the latter. Notoroious bad boys like Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, AC/DC, The Ramones, and many others are in and they all accepted their awards with class and grace.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK? 

Is Axl Rose a genius for standing pat on his beliefs? Or is Axl Rose a petulant punk for blowing off the rock hall?

Order Brand Like A Rock Star now and start reading immediately with a digital download, or have the paperback delivered directly to your home.

AC/DC, Aerosmith, Axl Rose, Guns N' Roses, Ramones, The Clash, The Police 1,805 Comments

Make Your Business Fly Like Aerosmith


 

The Aerosmith interview on 60 Minutes last weekend was one of the most revealing and interesting band profiles I’ve seen, and there were plenty of take-away points that could easily be applied to business.

One thing that caught my eye were the shots from the band’s early days in Boston, showing Steven Tyler decked out in the same wild clothes he wears today. In the background was a rougher looking version of the famous Aerosmith logo that has appeared on every one of their albums. I love that kind of consistency. It is amazing that the band has the same vision branding cues that were in play before they were famous!

There is an obviously long-standing love/hate relationship between the lead singer and his band. They recognize Tyler’s immense talent, as does Tyler himself, but they also resent his behavior from time to time. Joe Perry admits that he loves Steven Tyler, but doesn’t cherish certain aspects of his personality. Meanwhile, Tyler acknowledges that his style isn’t always popular, but he credits the blunt perfectionist within him for creating so many of the band’s hits.

Here are five business lessons you can learn from watching the tumultuous career of Aerosmith:

1. Your career isn’t over until you’re dead. Aerosmith has been brought back from the brink of extinction several times, including a few years ago when Tyler fell off the stage in Sturgis, ND and ruined the band’s summer tour plans. Yet they are back again, working on a new album and riding a wave of new-found popularity thanks to Tyler’s role as a judge on American Idol.

2. You have to reinvent yourself to stay relevant. Aerosmith’s reinvented in 1987 when hip hop pioneers Run DMC invited them to help remake ”Walk This Way“. That song relaunched Aerosmith’s dead career. Today they’ve been reinvented thanks to American Idol. Do you look critically at your brand to make sure it is always evolving and staying relevant?

3. There is a difference between “respect” and “love”. Reading the Steve Jobs biography left me with the same feeling. Jobs came across in that book as someone that wasn’t always easy to love, but even his biggest detractors respected him. The boys in Aerosmith don’t always love Steven Tyler, but they definitely respect him. As a leader, can you easily accept that?

4. Any publicity is good publicity. Appearing on 60 Minutes was a coup for the band, even though the interview didn’t paint them in the kindest of lights. Aerosmith knows by now that nearly every piece of publicity they can get is good for the band. When people are talking about you, you are winning. There are exceptions, like BP’s infamous oil spill. But most of the time you should be more concerned about whether the media spelled your name right, and less concerned about what they said about you.

5. Never lose sight of how good you have it. Clearly the band has been through hell, and it appears that quite often they don’t like each other that much. But you can sense that all of them understand that they are better together than they are apart. Even when things aren’t going well within the band, they know they are damn good at what they do. And the payday, $20 million for 10 concerts last year in South America, is pretty good too.

You can order the digital download or paperback version of Brand Like A Rock Star now with one click. The book takes you backstage to discover the core marketing strategies of rock’s legends, and shows you how to put them to work in your business right away. Don’t forget to also download the free “Musical Companion” to go deeper into the bands profiled.

Connect with me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brandlikearockstar. Let’s also connect on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rockstarbrands.

 

Aerosmith 111 Comments

The Best Lesson Rock ‘n’ Roll Can Teach You


 

If there’s one thing I love about rock stars, its that they never give up. They never surrender. They always believe, no matter how bad things might be, that they are one great song away from a comeback.

Aerosmith was pretty much a piece of rock history in 1986 when an up-and-coming hip hop act named Run-DMC invited the band to re-recorded a rap-based version of “Walk This Way”. The song became a bigger hit than the original, and skyrocketed Aerosmith’s career back to the top of the charts. They went on to one of the most prolific phases of their career in the following decade.

Meatloaf is a living-breathing comeback story. After recording one of rock’s best selling albums in 1977′s Bat Out of Hell, Meatloaf sunk into obscurity and eventual bankruptcy before rising back to the top with Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell in 1994. His life has been a perpetual rise and fall and rise again.

It happens with companies and brands as well. Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, I would have never considered wearing Old Spice cologne. The brand was nearly worthless until it was revitalized over the past decade, and now is the top-selling men’s bath product on the market.

Apple might be the most valuable company on planet earth today, but there was a time when their $500+ stock was worth about $5. At one point – not so long ago - the company was nearly bankrupt. Pretty decent comeback, no?

Lindsay Lohan is on the comeback hunt these days, hosting Saturday Night Live last weekend. Reviews were mixed, but despite the reviews it was one of the most-watched SNL episodes in recent memory.

Rock stars believe that every state is temporary.  Sure your song might be #1 this week, but that doesn’t guarantee anything for next week. You might sell-out tonight, but tomorrow is a different show in a different city… and there could be plenty of empty seats.

Like legendary rock stars, entrepreneurs believe.

You are down, but never out.

Never give up.

Order or download Brand Like A Rock Star now, the book that takes you backstage to explore the marketing strategies of rock ‘n’ roll legends, and how you can put them to use to make your business more successful.

 

Aerosmith, Apple, Lindsay Lohan, Old Spice, Saturday Night Live, Uncategorized 148 Comments

The Weekend Brand Brief: May 7, 2011 – Everything Is Temporary


Steven Tyler has a rejuvinated career as a judge on American Idol. He launched a new book this week, and next week will premiere the video for his new solo song “(It) Feels So Good“.  All this from a guy who, just two years ago, was rumored to be leaving Aerosmith, entering rehab, and pretty much written off.

No matter how crappy it feels, failure is temporary. Just ask Old Spice, Apple, Spam, and 86 years of Boston Red Sox futility.

No matter how glorious if feels, success is temporary. Just ask Hummer, Circuit City, MySpace, and the 2010-11 Chicago Blackhawks.

Don’t let either state get embedded too deep inside your head.

By the way, this isn’t the first time Steven Tyler has ressurected a forgotten career.

If you enjoyed this post and are passionate about music and business, please consider subscribing to Brand Like A Rock Star by email. I will never share your contact info. You can also subscribe by RSS feed using the button on the upper right portion of the page.

Aerosmith, Apple, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Circuit City, Hummer, MySpace, Old Spice, Spam, Steve Tyler 114 Comments

What You Don’t Say Says A Lot


 

It was week two of the NFL season, and I was at Invesco Field at Mile High to watch Denver take on Seattle.  It wasn’t even close, but like most fans I stayed until the very end.

I went to a movie the other night.  It sucked, but I stayed until the very end.  I didn’t see anyone else leave either, but everyone I spoke to still hated it.

Why?

The human mind hates the incomplete.  We strive to draw conclusions, figure things out, and wrap them up in a nice package that makes sense.

If the human mind seeks completion, it stands to reason that the incomplete challenges the mind and engages it.

Remember the powerful silence near the end of “Animal” by Def Leppard?  The entire song comes to an abrupt halt leaving nothing but silence for slightly longer than seems natural, before Joe Elliot screams “… and I want…” and the song carries on for 10 more seconds.
“Living On The Edge” by Aerosmith did the same thing, as did “The Look” by Roxette.

Of course we can’t forget ”Strawberry Fields Forever”, a Beatles classic that fades out and leaves only silence behind, and then gradually fades back in again.  As a radio DJ it was painful to watch the VU meters sink down to nothing for several seconds during that song!

Incomplete is a pretty powerful tool.  Visually, it is known as white space. FedEx used white space to create the famous arrow in their logo.  You’ve never noticed the arrow?  Have a look at the incomplete space between the “e” and the “x” in their logo below.  You’ll never see that logo again without noticing the arrow.

Toblerone chocolates is another logo that famously uses the white space.  They are made in Bern, Switzerland.  “Bern” means “bear” in English, so they’ve creatively worked a bear into the white space of their mountain logo.

So many brands are afraid of the incomplete!  Volkswagen bravely used white space and an incomplete look in their early print campaigns, and as a result they created award-winning and attention-getting creative that helped make the Beetle a massive success.

Fear not the incomplete. Use it to your advantage.

What you leave out speaks volumes.

DaVinci and Michaelangelo were not afraid of the incomplete.  Nor were Led Zeppelin or The Beatles.  And a cult-brand burger shack in the southwestern US has made a business out of it.  You can read more about the power of the incomplete in this piece from March 2010.

Or if you’d prefer to rock out 80′s style, you can sit back and wait for the famous silence 3:55 into this Def Leppard classic.

Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Denver Broncos, FedEx, Led Zeppelin, Roxette, The Beatles, Toberlone, Volkswagen 134 Comments

Aerosmith’s Hard Working PR Machine


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So after all of the rumors and discussions and debates, the new lead singer of Aerosmith is… Steven Tyler!  The band is back together and launching a world tour in Sweden this June (which, by the way, is the best time to visit Sweden).

The past six months or so have been filled with turmoil in the band.  Tyler fell off the stage at a concert in South Dakota last August, and his injuries put an end to the band’s long-awaited summer tour.  Guitarist Joe Perry complained in public that Tyler needed to get his act together and quit holding the band back.  Tyler responded in the media by saying he was more interested in going solo than working with Aerosmith again.  Perry then declared that the search was on for a new lead singer for Aerosmith.

In seconds, Aerosmith was the most talked about band on rock radio stations.  They were suddenly a big story on CNN and Entertainment Tonight.  Despite not having a hit song in years, Aerosmith was a major story once again.  And now, they are making headlines again as they reveal that nothing has changed and Steven Tyler is their lead singer once again.

Without opening up Kennedy-style conspiracy theory, you’ve gotta salute the band for their timing.

The whole thing blew up on the eve of a new Joe Perry solo album.  Perfect timing, since Perry was in high-demand to be interviewed on every imaginable media outlet.

And now as Aerosmith gets set to hit the road again, is there any doubt they will sell a huge number of tickets to people nervous that they might never see Aerosmith play live together again?

With no new album, no hit songs, and nothing much going on to generate any interest, Aerosmith has managed to work the PR angle and make themselves genuinely relevant.

Well played.

In today’s fragmented media environment, PR is the new marketing.  And whether the Aerosmith drama was real or a publicity stunt, it did more to generate interest in the band than anything else they could have done.

Aerosmith 141 Comments

The Challenge of Changing Minds


After nearly 40 years, it may be the end of the road for Aerosmith.

 

Reports surfaced over the weekend the band is planning to meet, without lead singer Steven Tyler, to discuss their future.  Tyler was injured when he fell off the stage in Sturgis, ND last summer and the band was forced to cancel their world tour.  There are conflicting reports that the singer has also fallen off the sobriety wagon. Drugs and alcohol addiction nearly tore the band apart in the early 80′s.

As for Steven Tyler, he told Classic Rock Magazine that he doesn’t know exactly what he’ll be doing next, “but it’s definitely going to be something Steven Tyler, working on the brand of myself — Brand Tyler.”

My guess is that, assuming sobriety, ”Brand Tyler” has potential.  He’s been the voice and face of the band for nearly four decades.  He could quite possibly reinvent himself as a solo act and be successful.  Lead singers have a long history of successful solo careers.  It isn’t beyond comprehension to envision Steven Tyler putting together a string of movie soundtrack hits in the vein of ”Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” for years to come.

Brand “Aerosmith” on the other hand, has to be worried.  Without Steven Tyler, the band would be better off calling it quits and moving on to other projects.  They should be smart enough to know this, although guitarist Brad Whitford left the door open to finding a new lead singer.  He noted that Steven Tyler “leaves big shoes to fill but, if somebody was willing to do it and the chemistry was right, why not?”

Why not?  Because Brand Aerosmith is too valuable to damage with a new lead singer.  Get a new lead singer, and became a parody of yourselves.  Break up now, and leave with your dignity.  And keep the door opening for a multi-million dollar reunion tour when you eventually bury the hatchet.

Brand Fleetwood Mac, without Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks?  Didn’t do so well.  But they just completed the above-noted multi-million dollar reunion tour with Lindsey and Stevie in top form.

Brand CCR, without John Fogerty?  Not even close to the real thing.

Brand Guess Who, without Burton Cummings?  A scam every time they take to the stage.  These guys should be ashamed, almost as much as Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

Even the kings of the revolving lead singer routine, Van Halen, eventually learned the hard way. After Sammy Hagar successfully replaced David Lee Roth, the next two guys, Mitch Malloy and Gary Cherone, failed miserably.

The lesson: you just can’t easily change people’s perceptions.  Once they’ve given you a spot in their brain, you are stuck there for better or for worse.  You might as well ride it.

You can’t deny the expectations of your customers and expect them to keep buying your brand.  When you stand for something – when you own a piece of their mental real estate – you either honor that or you quit.  It is Ries and Trout 101.

Success comes from living up to expectations and delivering on the promises your brand makes.  There is no job harder or more painful in marketing and branding than trying to change minds.  In the case of Aerosmith, they would be smarter not to even try.

Aerosmith, CCR, Fleetwood Mac, Guess Who, Lindsey Buckingham, Ries and Trout, Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Van Halen 240 Comments

Entry Points


There are two versions of the song.
A friend of mine who’s about ten years older than me loves the original. He doesn’t mind the remake, but in his mind the original wins.
I, on the other hand, enjoy both the remake and the original pretty much equally. But I heard the remake first, and was then introduced to the original.

The remake was my “entry point” to the band/brand Aerosmith. It was 1986 and I was just 16 years old. When I heard Run-DMC and Aerosmith kick out a rock/hip-hop mash up of “Walk This Way”, I was instantly hooked on Aerosmith. That introduction led to my discovery of the original from 10 years earlier, and that led to my first exposure to “Dream On”, “Back In The Saddle”, “Sweet Emotion”, and hundreds of other great rock ‘n roll songs. When Aerosmith returned with “Permanent Vacation” the following year, I was ready to crank up “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” and “Rag Doll”.

The cool thing about “Walk This Way” is that neither Aeromsith nor Run-DMC compromised their integrity. True Aerosmith fans may have been slightly off-put by the infusion of rap music into their classic favorite, but the duet still served as a primer for the Aerosmith comeback that went into high gear in ’87.

And fans of Run-DMC couldn’t object to the homage paid to the originators of the song. In the hip-hop world, using samples from classic rock and pop songs was not at all uncommon.

“Walk This Way” by Run-DMC and Aerosmith hit #4 on the charts in 1986, besting the original’s #10 peak in 1977. The song was one of the first mass-appeal hip-hop songs and helped introduce hip-hop to the mainstream. It was the first major hip-hop hit in the UK. And it helped revive the nearly-dead career of a great rock band, sparking one of their most prolific creative spans.

Your brand has plenty of existing customers who love your stuff.

So what can you do to gently create new “entry points” for customers who don’t already love you?

Are there aspects of your brand you can highlight to these new potential customers, without compromising your brand and alienating your core customers?

“Walk This Way” was the perfect entry point to introduce a 16 year-old to the Aerosmith brand, and to introduce a generation to hip-hop culture. The impact of that entry point was far reaching, as evidenced by Eminem in 2002.

Today’s “Walk This Way” is the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video game series. This fall, Rock Band: Beatles will become the next entry point for a generation ready to soak up the greatest band in music history. Watch for a spike in Beatles downloads this fall!

What’s your brand’s next entry point?

Aerosmith, Run-DMC 216 Comments

The Conflict of Cobain


Updated: April 5, 2011, on the 17th anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain.

Where were you when you first heard Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”? If you’re under 40, chances are good you can remember that moment.

I was a young radio DJ working the night shift on an AM top 40 station in Kitchener, Ontario. It was a Friday night, or more precisely Saturday morning. The songs I was to play were on a playlist chosen for my by the Program Director. Like most late night DJ’s, I knew damn well the Program Director was asleep for most of my shift, but I still tried to keep to the playlist as much as possible. At least until 3 or 4am, when I could be certain he was out for the night.

After playing “OPP” by Naughty By Nature, I put a CD I hadn’t seen before into the player. It was just another song on my playlist. In no way was I prepared for what happened when I pushed “play” on that CD.

The moment that opening riff ripped through the late night AM airwaves, I was keenly aware that I was hearing something truly different. And I had the amazing pleasure of sharing it with thousands (or at least dozens) of listeners.

Almost 20 years later, the impact of Nirvana’s arrival cannot be understated. It was a song/album/band that kicked hair metal out of the room and established angst as a reasonable emotion. It gave musical voice to a generation that had been searching for one and not finding it in the rock of the day, which was pretty much all about girls, booze, and cars. Nobody was speaking to a generation growing up in the shadows of the boomers, raised in the “me” decade, left to wonder what would be left of the world when our selfish predecessors were done with it.

Nirvana – and the movement they were part of – sang about reality. They were angry, confused, uncertain, proud, and ready to talk about it.

But if the music Nirvana made was THAT groundbreaking, how did it hit mainstream culture so quickly?

Nirvana delivered something unexpected within an expected framework. The band gave us a sound that surprised and shocked us, yet they did it with familiar chords and harmonies that we had heard somewhere before.

Kurt Cobain himself said “We got attention because our songs have hooks, which stick in people’s minds”.

The songs on “Nevermind” were unlike any other songs on the radio in 1991. Yet they were absolutely full of simple pop music hooks. Songs like “Come As You Are” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” are almost formulaic in their use of memorable hooks.

Kurt also realized that he was doing something nobody else was doing. He was mixing two kinds of familiar sounds that hadn’t really been mixed together before. “It wasn’t cool to play pop music as a punk band”, he said, “And I wanted to mix the two.”

According to the band’s founder, Nirvana played pop music as a punk band.

We had all heard pop music, laden with hooks that stuck in your brain for days.

We had all heard punk bands, angry and loud and far from hook-filled.

But most of us had never, ever heard pop music played by a punk band.

That was part of the musical briliance of Nirvana. They presented conflicting sounds, yet brought them together in a familar sound.

When the brain heard Nirvana for the first time, it was shocked by the bizarre combination of two known elements. You couldn’t help but notice Nirvana because their music was so different. But the brain was also very familiar with pop and punk, and was able to reconcile the two sounds into a new sound.

Like Reece’s Peanut Butter cups! Everyone has tasted peanut butter, and everyone has tasted chocolate. But when Reece’s Peanut Butter cups combined the two, our brains were forced to reconcile them together into an entirely new product.

If you are ever in Winnipeg, try the Chili Chocolate Chicken at Fude Restaurant. We’ve all tasted chocolate. We’ve all tasted chicken. But most of us have never tasted the combination of seared chicken, slathered in a house made dark chocolate sauce off set with spicy cayenne cream and chilies.

Conficting ideas awake the brain.

Putting them in a familiar context makes the unfamiliar easier to digest.

Another reason that Nirvana was successful was because thay aligned themselves with Geffen Records, an established record company at the time. Geffen provided the unknown quantity (Nirvana and grunge music) with a spokesperson (the record label that released albums by Don Henley, Elton John, Donna Summer, John Lennon, Whitesnake, Guns N’ Roses, and Aerosmith). That’s a pretty cool combination of avant-garde music and mainstream promotion. By aligning themselves with Geffen Records, Nirvana was given instant credibility and access to a massive promotional machine to get their music heard.

Here’s what I think Kurt Cobain and Nirvana can teach us in terms of branding:

1. Surprise customers with something unusual, but put it in context that is easily understood. Just like people tell you a new food “tastes like chicken”, allow your customer to find a point of reference for your new innovation. James Dyson created a bag-less vacuum cleaner. He didn’t need to call it a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners have bags. This was something entirely new. But by calling it a bagless vacuum cleaner, he put it into context so that it was easily understood.

2. Align yourself with a winner who can give you something you don’t already have. Nirvana signed with Geffen Records, and as a result their new sound was given immediate exposure. They had priority access to the ears of influential radio programmers and trend-starters. Although signing with a mainstream record label may have risked them losing some alternative credibility, it gave them incredible access to an audience.

3. Don’t be afraid to buck the trends. In the midst of the hair band dominance of the late 1980′s, Nirvana emerged with a raw energy unlike any other band. They didn’t sing about the typical topics in typical ways. They broke with tradition. The offended some ears. But as Roy Williams brilliantly stated, “the risk of offense is the price of clarity.” Nirvana broke through and got noticed because they risked offending the mainstream by being different. Clarity was the result.

If only Kurt Cobain wasn’t such a troubled soul. His voice is very much missed.

Aerosmith, Don Henley, Donna Summer, Elton John, Geffen Records, Guns N' Roses, Hair Bands, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Roy Williams, Whitesnake 120 Comments