Music – The Original Perennial?

Forget Millennials, GenX, Baby Boomers – they’re all wrapped up in the “Perennials”. Coined by Gina Pell, Content Chief for theWhatList, a popular marketing blog, “Perennials” refers to people of all generations who share a common interest.

If you’re someone, regardless of age, who stays informed about the world around you and likes learning new things, consider yourself a Perennial. No more labeling under gender, age, racial background, etc.

Millennials, who have long borne the “entitlement” moniker, are particularly happy about the change. If you have any Millennial friends, as I do, you realize there are lots of them who have great ideas and are willing to work hard to implement them. Completely the opposite of anyone who considers themselves “entitled” to anything.

The Case for the Original Perennial

Happy as I am that Ms. Pell found a way to unite the generations, I’d like to make the case for music being the original Perennial. Think about it – people of all ages have always listened to all kinds of music, even more so today.

Before you remind me about past battles between young and old over first jazz, then rock, and finally rap, consider that my Millennial friends listen to both the Beatles and hip-hop. While it may be true that in the past, people segregated themselves according to their musical taste, I believe that’s no longer the case. Possibly it’s because there’s so much more music readily available than in the past.

For instance, using SoundCloud, I can listen to the latest in any music genre I want. And YouTube is a great resource for discovering music from the past. Those are just two musical resources…type any song title, musician or music genre into Google and a virtual universe of music awaits you.

In my younger days, when I was on the move across the U.S., my mother, who was based in New York City and a true Perennial, kept me current on the latest art shows, books and music. My son does the same thing for me today using the Internet from his home base in Phoenix, Arizona.

Musical families, such as mine, tend to be more liberal with the types of music played in the household. For example, I grew up singing the Broadway show tunes beloved by both my parents. Later when I discovered the Beatles, my mother played their songs on piano while I played them on guitar. Although they liked some rock songs better than others, my parents never prevented me from listening to any type of music.

People of all ages enjoying all types of music and discovering more each day. What could be more Perennial than that?

The King is Dead – Long Live the King!

All we need to do to unite America is play a Chuck Berry record! Something about his upbeat tunes makes everyone forget whatever they’re thinking about and dance. Or at least tap their toes. Whatever. The point is you quickly get lost in the music and, for that moment in time, nothing else matters.

As most of the world is aware, Chuck Berry passed away this past Saturday, March 18, at his home just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. He was 90 years young.

I watched a fascinating interview on YouTube in which Robbie Robertson of “The Band” interviewed Chuck Berry in 1986 (link below). By then Berry had been in music over 30 years and had a very mature outlook on the business.

Among other things, he revealed he’d only had one manager. When he caught his manager taking $50 out of every $150 Berry had made, Berry bought out his manager’s contract and never replaced him.

Berry learned the music business quickly. He not only had a reputation as somewhat of a tightwad – he was also a very savvy businessman. He insisted on being paid the full price of the gig in cash prior to the performance.

Although he learned that the star closes the show, he said there were advantages to being the opening act. If he was the opening act, he would try to make the audience his fans. In addition, he was already paid and didn’t have to worry about whether the show would be cancelled because of riots, fires, etc.

A lot of people are familiar with Berry’s unsavory side, the one that got him sent to prison a couple of times. His anger, too, got him in trouble occasionally.

During his first prison stay, Berry finished high school and took 5 business courses. From these courses, he learned accounting and business management.

He also learned that if you go away for a while, you can sometimes get more money when you come back. He earned $1,200 per gig before he went away. When he came back, he earned $2,000 per gig because the Beatles and others had covered his songs, growing his audience in the process.

He put his business knowledge to good use…running not only his music business but also his real estate investment business.

Berry was an astute marketer. In their interview, Robertson asked him why he wrote a song like “School Days” when he was 29 and long out of school. Berry answered he wrote it because that’s what his audience, mostly teenage girls, wanted.

In that same interview, Berry also revealed that he loved poetry, even back in the 50’s when only the Beats were into it. For him poetry told a story and inspired his song lyrics.

His last performance was October 15, 2014 at Blueberry Hill, a St. Louis club where he’d played once a month for 21 years. He didn’t hang up his guitar, though. Instead he went into the studio and worked on his latest album called Chuck.

Chuck Berry’s musical legacy will live on…especially since his family has agreed to proceed with the release of Chuck, including the song “Big Boys” which you can hear at the link below.

Is Chuck Berry the King of Rock ‘n Roll? That’s for you to decide. No matter what you think, though, I bet that “Big Boys” will be a hit.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.


Chuck Berry Interview  Part 1 Chuck Berry Interview Part 1

Chuck Berry Interview Part 2 Chuck Berry Interview Part 2

Listen to “Big Boys” here

What Makes GaryVee Run?

I learn copywriting from many sources. And many people. Case in point…recently I started following Gary Vaynerchuk. His site headline “I day trade attention and build businesses”…a USP in 7 simple words…knocked me off my feet.

I accept the challenge of coming up with something half that good for my site.

In case you aren’t familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk, he came with his family from Belarus in the former USSR. Starting right after college he used his natural gift for building businesses to grow his father’s wine business from $3 million to $60 million in 5 years.

He’s the author of best sellers such as “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” and, his latest, “#Ask GaryVee”.

Today he runs his own digital agency VaynerMedia. He’s also an influential investor in companies like Twitter, Facebook and Uber, among many others.

His #AskGaryVee show on YouTube is where he answers business building questions from his followers.

His DailyVee show on YouTube draws thousands of views. A recent episode was about optimism and how there’s a general lack of it in the world today…but he also gives great insight into what makes GaryVee run. Check it out here: Gary Vaynerchuk – Hacking Optimism

The episode reminded me of exactly what appeals to me about Gary Vaynerchuk:

  • He preaches self-responsibility…you are responsible for your life
  • He’s the most grateful person I know…says “thank you” to everyone
  • He really knows who he is…that’s how he keeps his message authentic
  • He’s naturally optimistic…he can see the good side of everything

A couple of memorable moments from another video Advice to a Young Man That Many of You Need:

He talked about packaging your ideas in an investable vessel. It’s not enough to have a great idea. You have to know how to sell it to investors. What am I investing in – explain it in business terms. Example: you’re going to build a website and get traffic and sell ads? I can put up 20 percent.  That’s how you make money.

He also said “document don’t create” – that’s how he tells the kids who follow him to produce 6 social media posts per day. Examples: Video everything then reuse parts of that for different social media platforms – interview people and get their stories. You can distribute or facilitate – you don’t have to put out your thoughts all the time.

Oh, and did I mention – he’s one of only a handful of people who are actually making money with social media?

Definitely check him out!

Welcome to The Write Note Blog

Your source for music industry news and curiosities! In addition to music industry items, I’ll be sharing stories and insights about people related to the music industry but not strictly music industry professionals.

Case in point – this post on Gary Vaynerchuk. He runs Vaynermedia which has hip hop artists as well as Fortune 500 companies among its many clients. Gary’s been a great supporter of the hip hop community.

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