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2011 – One Of Gabriel’s Favorite Things

Next in our ‘best of 2011’ series, is a favorite of Associate Music Supervisor, Gabriel Marowitz. If you’re a fan of bluegrass or skilled musicianship you’ll enjoy this, and if you’re not a fan…well, you just might become one.

Chris Thile & Michael Daves – Sleep With One Eye Open

 http://www.thiledaves.com/

This album rocks because Chris Thile, possibly the best mandolin player alive, met a dude named Michael Daves at a bluegrass jam in New York City and discovered that Michael was pretty damned good himself. The new friends decided to go old-school and cut an album together playing all their favorite bluegrass tunes; naturally, they went to Jack White’s place in Nashville to make the record where they stood around the mic for a day and ripped through some live takes. What we get is a classic and authentic sound with a lot of youthful energy and bravado.

[youtube http://youtu.be/4wtkYFy8LxE]

– Gabriel Marowitz, Associate Music Supervisor – PlayNetwork

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Heather’s Top 10 Albums of 2011

We hope you’re enjoying your holidays! As we reflect back on 2011, our second installment of ‘bests’ n music as seen by PlayNetwork’s Music Superivisor’s brings up Music Supervisor, Heather Thueringer’s Top 10 Albums of 2011. Without further ado…

10. Ellie Goulding – Lights

PlayNetwork was fortunate to host a PlayLive event featuring Ellie Goulding just weeks before she was tapped to play the Royal wedding and Saturday Night Live.  She did a great set on our mainstage and was as nice as could be.  Listening to her album Lights, it’s easy to see why she was one of the top-selling British artists in 2010.

Watch Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” Video…

[youtube  http://youtu.be/0NKUpo_xKyQ]

9.  Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting

I was lucky enough to catch Jamie Woon at South By Southwest and he was fantastic!  His whole album is great and I would highly encourage seeing him live if you can!  You will not be disappointed.

Watch Jamie Woon’s “Night Air” Video…

[youtube http://youtu.be/EL0pTo9Z_XU]

8.  Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

Lykke Li had one of my favorite albums as well as my favorite video of the year. 

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PlayNetwork Plays It’s Favorites (of 2011)

Another year of great music, and  most of us have only scratched the surface, exposed to radio favorites or a few buzz-worthy notables in-between. But beyond that, a sea of music exists that most of us have not been exposed to.

And then there those like members of our Music Services team who eat, drink, sleep, and live music: over morning coffee, in the car, at work, in meetings (wait, in meetings?!), back home again, out on the town, and falling asleep. Rinse, repeat, another morning of coffee and music.

Every year, our passionate and talented music supervisors listen to and catalog, both mentally and literally, thousands of songs and artists while they craft the sound of a brand. So to send off 2011, we’ll share some of our favorites from this past year. Look for several posts over these last two weeks as members of our Music Services team share some of their favorites.  We hope you enjoy!

First up, an in-depth look by Director, Music and Messaging Services Sean Horton at his pick for best album of 2011: James Blake’s self-titled release.

My Top Album of 2011 by Sean Horton

James Blake : S/T on Universal,

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Caveman Visits the PlayLive Stage

Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Caveman is currently sound checking on our PlayLive stage for what is sure to be a unique and intimate acoustic performance! They’ll be performing songs from their wonderfully ambitious full-length debut album CoCo Beware, a release that got them on Stereogums’s 40 Best Bands of 2011 earlier this year! Visit the bands official website and find them on Facebook and Twitter for music and tour dates.

Below you can check out a performance of the opening track of Coco Beware, “A Country’s King Of Dreams”, recorded live on KEXP at the Ace Hotel in New York during CMJ 2011.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBJr2V1qZOE&w=560&h=315]

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Turning Up the Holiday Music; and other tips to get cash registers ringing for the holidays

Tis the season for your sales to sing! If you are in retail, these tips will help you attract more customers and even put a smile on their face!

 Help consumers navigate the chaos

  • Use overhead and in-store messaging to provide gentle reminders of those things we often forget
    • (i.e. a grocery store might have gentle reminders of those things we so often have to return for or (heaven forbid) send the husband to pick up – “Making Pumpkin Pie this Thanksgiving?  Did you remember the evaporated milk?”)

Be social!

  • Make sure you don’t forget about your Facebook and Twitter followers. Send them special offers to drive sales in store and online.
  • Offer a deal of the week or day via social media/web – a coupon via social media that requires that they redeem it in-store for a discount or gift with purchase for coming in.

Go mobile

  • Distribute free mobile coupons that drive people into the store.  Sync up with a geolocation app and give out freebies to nearby potential customers.
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Mack Attack!

Macklemore that is…

This Thursday we’ll be welcoming Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis, our first hip-hop gig, to the PlayLive series. This is a fitting genre debut to our concert series. You see, Macklemore (aka Ben Haggerty) has been labeled somewhat of a hometown hero in the Seattle area. With songs that hit close to home like “The Town”, and “My oh My” performed on opening day 2011 for Seattle Mariners’ fans during a tribute to Hall of Fame Broadcaster Dave Niehaus, it’s really no surprise.  Even other local faves Death Cab For Cutie serve up props.

Here’s Macklemore’s official video for “The Town”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIBdAdnTqqo]

The only people that seem to be more passionate about his music than he is (if even possible) are his fans, proven recently at Seattle’s arts and music festival Bumbershoot where he performed at Key Arena in front of 13,000 screaming fans.  You can catch a short clip of the opening of his performance (more footage from the event supposedly coming):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmhyqz24oTs]

We’re hoping to catch a glimpse of that energy on the PlayLive stage when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis join us.

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PlayNetwork Welcomes Paul Kelly to the PlayLive Stage!

Today we’re excited to welcome internationally acclaimed musician Paul Kelly as our next PlayLive guest!

Paul Kelly has recorded seventeen studio albums as well as several film soundtracks and live albums, in an influential career spanning more than thirty years.

Also a celebrated author, his memoir, How to Make Gravy, (born of a 2004, 4-night concert series in which he recanted stories in-between the 100 songs he performed) was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award in the non-fiction category in May of 2011, and in July it was named co-winner of ‘Biography of the Year’ at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

Should be a great show! Check us out on Facebook and Twitter for pics!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Sl0jXAOG1M]

Blake Kirpes, Associate Music Supervisor PlayNetwork

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Top 10 In the Summertime…

A few weeks ago we put together a “Hot Picks” list of 10 of our Music Supervisors’ favorite songs of summer 2011. While those are our personal new faves, we also love programming some “classic” summertime songs for our clients.

Just like the traditional Christmas songs that become the ubiquitous sound of the holiday season, there are songs for all seasons. As Music Supervisors we are often tasked to pick songs that sound like summer or evoke the feeling of sunshine. These songs become our summer standards.

The following 10 songs are some of our most often selected, iconic summer songs. What are the classic summer tunes that evoke that sunshine feeling for you?

–          August Day Song- Bebel Gilberto –          Groovin’ – Rascals –          Holiday- Vampire Weekend –          Hot Fun In The Summertime- Sly & The Family Stone –          In The Summertime – Mungo Jerry –          Seven Sunny Days in June- Jamiroquai –          Summer in the City- Lovin’ Spoonful –          Summertime- The Sundays –          Sunshine – The Beach Boys –          The Tide is High – Blondie

–  

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Pop Rocks! Matthew Sweet Comes to PlayNetwork!

We’re pretty stoked to have power-pop rocker Mathew Sweet as our guest this Monday, August 22nd for our next PlayLive series event!

The hard working veteran is gearing up for the release of his new album “‘Modern Art” slated to drop September 28th  (check out the debut song “She Walks the Night” here), and is about to tour in support of the 20th Anniversary of the release of his 1991 album “Girlfriend”. You can see tour dates on his website: www.matthewsweet.com and follow him on Twitter.

Sweet’s career since the mid-80’s has given us over 15 commercial album releases, and includes collaboration with the likes of Michael Stipe, Susanna Hoffs, and Pete Droge,  but is probably best known for the title track to his album “Girlfriend”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYOt9_5v1cA&feature=player_embedded#!]

 

He’s also lent his talents to TV and film (remember when he was the bassist for Ming Tea from the first Austin Powers movie?)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1w85qMqIjs]

 

And for some added fun, here’s a link to his appearance on Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Always a good entertainer,

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Imelda May (and Fridays) Rule!

This is sure to be a kick-ass Friday…

Dublin born artist Imelda May and her renowned band of hepcats are bringing their unique Rockabilly Revival sound to our PlayLive stage this Friday. Imelda May’s current world tour (follow her tour blog here) has included stops on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as Conan! You can follow Imelda May on Twitter (@ImeldaOfficial) or see what they’re up to on Facebook. Also, be sure to check out the official video for the title track off Imelda’s new album “Mayhem”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxj5wlXY9No]

Blake Kirpes, Associate Music Supervisor PlayNetwork

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Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter

PlayNetwork’s most recent PlayLive guests, Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, just released their wonderful new album, Marble Son! Their intimate PlayLive set featured new tracks from Marble Son, as well as past material spanning back four albums to their 2002 debut (Reckless Burning).

Below you can check out the official video version of a song featured in their PlayLive performance called, “Air Is Thin” (From their 2007 release, Like Love Lust & The Open Halls of the Soul).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZdZnhV1EUk]

Pictures from their performance can be found in our PlayLive photo album. For more info be sure to check out the bands’ Facebook page, as well as follow Jesse’s new Twitter account @JesseSykes

Blake Kirpes, Associate Music Supervisor PlayNetwork

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Songs of Summer 2011

Seems like summer always has its own soundtrack that helps weave the fabric of stories that only summer can pump out. The barbecue that ended with a visit from the fire department. The epic road trip. Water skiing for the first (and perhaps last) time. There’s usually a song or two associated with those summertime events that trigger memories of them long after they’ve happened.

That brings us to summer 2011. Our team of Music Supervisors picked ten of our favorite “Hot Picks” for your 2011 summertime playlist. These songs make a great soundtrack for your sunshine day-dreaming, adventuring and storytelling.

What’s in your heavy rotation this summer?

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The Arena Rock Concert Evolution: Is U2’s 360 Tour the Best a Stadium Show Can Ever Be?

Seeing U2’s monumental 360 tour in Seattle last month left me reminiscing for weeks about all the shows that came before and the evolution of the stadium concert experience. My first arena show was in the early 80s when I was lucky enough to catch Def Leppard at the Oakland Coliseum on their Pyromania tour. My friend’s parents dropped us off on their way to see Harry Belafonte (I kid you not!). We waved goodbye to their station wagon and exchanged a “I can’t believe they actually let us come” look. Then we were off on our slow walk to the entrance, passing guys with long hair, chicks in spikey boots, Camaros blasting “F-f-f-foolin!” and vendors hawking bootleg cassettes and t-shirts. Once inside the arena, the collective vibration was staggering as we enjoyed a four hour rock and laser extravaganza, featuring opening band Uriah Heep and ended with Joe “waterfall-mullet” Elliot taking off his Union Jack shirt to reveal one with an American flag during the encore. If this was what all stadium shows were like, I was hooked.

Of course, wouldn’t we all rather see our favorite legendary musicians in a small club? Of course!

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Audri & Aaron Go “Home”

What a year it’s been for Audri & Aaron! After winning maurices “Small Town Sound” nationwide band search, our favorite duo from Alton, IL performed at their local maurices store, played a showcase at SXSW, flew to Los Angeles to record their winning single “Home” and shoot the video right here in our PlayNetwork studios!

We’ve loved working with Audri & Aaron and their debut single is incredible. We’re so excited to watch their success continue.

Check out Audri & Aaron’s “Home” music video:

[brightcove vid=909710097001&exp3=680197487001&surl=http://c.brightcove.com/services&pubid=679256126001&pk=AQ~~,AAAAnibR8jE~,M5MuohdnRy1KA5y7g2Y6ifBUOe6i-LAi&w=480&h=270]

Also, be sure to catch them on Facebook and Twitter and tell them their friends at PlayNetwork say hello!

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Why Creativity Matters: The Power of Original Thinking

The industry is changing….. Brands today have high expectations for their marketing programs and consumer expectations of what’s original are even higher. Large numbers of Gen X, Millennials, and Baby Boomers share an evolved online and social media-fueled habit of content consumption. Consumers today have more options, more demand, and more control over what they want to experience, and how and when to do it. With that in mind, traditional communication strategies must be re-focused to capture and hold the attention of this media savvy, content-craving audience in new ways. As a result, a shift towards new models that facilitate big ideas, custom production and alternative distribution channels of exclusive and relevant branded entertainment content is not only necessary, it’s happening.

With every new customer comes a new opportunity to extend that critical brand-to-consumer conversation “outside of the four walls” of the retail space and into their daily lives. This mindset offers a broader, more personal, opportunity for brands to engage with their audience on a variety of digital media platforms to tell stories that are authentic and strengthen brand loyalty not only in the store, but beyond the store. Having an initial “emotional” conversation rather than dialogue that is purely “transactional” is more meaningful,

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One eskimO’s “Amazing” Now On Palladia!

We’ve got some great news to kick off the week!  One eskimO’s video for “Amazing,” which was shot originally for one of our PlayLive sessions, has just been added to Palladia, the music-centric high definition television channel. Keep your eyes peeled for it on the channel’s video rotation so you can see it in all of its hi-def glory!

Congrats to the band!  We’re honored our PlayLive session video was chosen to be the song’s official music video and if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out “Amazing”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2w3MM8htP8]

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SXSW in Perspective – First Time Around

2011 was my first SXSW experience. Based on the reports from friends and artists I know that had attended, I never thought of SXSW as a festival that catered too deeply to electronic music or hip hop. Though there was a very obvious focus of blues, rock, folk and guitars in general (they were everywhere) this year’s SXSW boasted in an impressive line-up of quality underground electronic music and hip hop, including the likes of Richie Hawtin, Boys Noize, Diplo, James Blake, DJ Premier, Trentemoller, Mount Kimbie, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Marco Carola, Talib Kweli, Switch, Moby, Housemeister, Daedelus, Big Boi, Afrojack, Addison Groove, Skrillex, De La Soul, Starkey, MSTRKRFT, Spank Rock, Jamie xx, EPMD, Baths, Shabazz Palaces, Pharoahe Monch, Beats Antique, Eskmo and Gold Panda to name some standouts. Though it was a pleasure to see so many familiar artists, the real joy for me came from new discoveries like soul singer Charles Bradley, folk-rock singer Sharon Van Etten and electronic crooner Jamie Woon, all of whom delivered stunning sets.

Part of the charm, and sometimes annoyance, of SXSW was the rapid fire pace and sheer magnitude of the performances (89 stages featuring over 2,000 acts with an average set length of 30 minutes).

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SXSW in the Rearview Mirror

Emotional withdrawal is an interesting feeling.

Putting volumes of effort, preparation, energy and soul into a project and the people surrounding it, blazing through five intense days of music, meetings and media, and somehow managing to document it all, when it is all over leaves me with two distinct feelings… relief and reward. As our PlayNetwork teams decompress and recover from the mad revelry of SXSW, I find myself reflecting on one thought.

We rocked it!

At multiple points during the week, I looked around our venue and within arms length were PlayNetwork crew, team, clients, board of directors, industry partners, artists, labels and fans… all unifying around a music and cultural experience that we created and delivered. It was a truly an awesome feeling.

Our clients are ecstatic. The venue was blown away. We moved the needle. We kept our word. We built new “trusted partnerships”. And we made our presence known at SXSW.

I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of such a kick $&:@ PlayNetwork team.

Next year…bigger and better.

Oh…And I really miss Audri & Aaron.

John Crooke,

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SXSW 2011 – Day Three

As I stare into my iPhone to collect my thoughts…and with 4 shots of espresso coursing through my veins…I am now aware that already almost 48 hours have passed since my last post. But considering the massive scale of this production, and total success yesterday of our maurices Small Town Sound showcase at Speakeasy and our Girls Rock Showcase at Cedar Street, it was worth the delay. The venue was packed. Audri & Aaron’s SXSWdebut, literally, brought more than a few folks on the floor to tears. Sick of Sarah and Vanity Theft absolutely blew the roof off. And the Bangles were amazing, rocked it, and brought it all home to a sold out house!

AND… We shot an interview and PlayLive live performance with Sir Bob Geldof at Austin City Limits. You have no idea how cool this was. Indescribable!

AND…We shot an interview with Moby from 28 floors high overlooking Austin at night…and then captured him DJ’ing to a packed house. Brilliant!

AND FINALLY…We had a private PlayNetwork and maurices industry party during the Girls Rock Showcase to celebrate this beautiful marriage that lasted into the wee hours.

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SXSW 2011 – Day Two

Beautiful madness…

The Bangles arrive tonight. “Small Town Sound” winners Audri & Aaron got in this morning. The crowd is swelling. We just shot video of Jackson Harris, Letlive,  and are in the thick of shooting the Red Robin Austin TX  street band with more shoots on deck for tonight. Looks like we might be shooting and recording a private performance by BOB GELDOF at Austin City Limits tomorrow night. HUGE!!

The storm before the storm. More to come…

John Crooke Sr. Director Creative Development / PlayNetwork

 

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SXSW 2011 – Day One

DAY ONE: ON THE WING

Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am stuck in the middle… between our field producer in the window seat and our recording wizard on the aisle. Fitz and The Tantrums two rows back. Label execs on every armrest. Our camera guys commanding Row31 in typical style. Crews already on the ground in Austin in full swing prepping for the madness and majesty–four glorious days of PlayNetwork music, bands, and brands.

We hit the ground, splash into the streets and see this…

maurices Small Town Sound SXSW Showcase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SXSW is on!

– John Crooke – Sr. Director, Creative Development, PlayNetwork

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Mom Knows Best; Reaching On-the-Go Moms in a Multi-Screen Universe

As the saying goes, mom knows best. As caregiver and purchaser of household items, moms play an important role in making sure a household functions smoothly.  As the primary person in charge when it comes to day-to-day purchasing decisions, moms also make up an increasingly popular market segment for advertisers.  Traditionally, advertisers connected with moms at home through television, radio, and print advertising. However, with the advent of internet-enabled phones, social communication platforms, and digital publications, advertisers can connect in new ways that moms can better identify with.

Enter the “Alpha Mom.” This new group of Moms is college-educated, tech-savvy, and wants to be involved with their children’s lives yet engage in a more active role outside of the home.  Alpha Moms are constantly on the go, and this difference in habit from traditional stay-at-home Moms presents a new challenge for advertisers looking to keep up with this audience.

Getting in front of an elusive Alpha Mom might at first glance seem like no easy task. However, part of the solution can be found in their active routine. As natural social networkers, Alpha Moms maintain relationships with their friends via online social networks: they blog, they use the mobile web to find deals,

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