I produced a unique live webcast of David Byrne performing to 75 folks at the Microsoft Studios in Redmond, WA to promote his solo album "Look Into the Eyeball" in 2001.
Virgin Records--Vice President
In Dec of 1999 I was recruited by Virgin's Senior VP of Marketing to restructure Virgin’s new media efforts. This was just before all the mp3 file sharing was just starting with Napster and MP3.com. Here are a few highlights of the assignments I oversaw:
- Developed marketing partnerships with Microsoft, AOL, Delta Airlines, MTV.com, BET.com and VH1.com.
- Managed the web presence of 50+ recording artists.
- Produced award winning online properties for Janet Jackson, Mick Jagger, and Lenny Kravitz.
- Conceptualized, negotiated and implemented Microsoft’s first multi-million $ artist sponsorship campaigns for:
- MSN 8 global launch campaign with Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away”
- Janet Jackson tour sponsorship 2001
Microsoft to Donate $50,000 to Kravitz's Favorite Charity In Recognition of His Pioneering Uses of Digital Media Technology
REDMOND, Wash., and NEW YORK - May 6, 2002 - Microsoft Corp. and Lenny Kravitz, along with EMI subsidiary Virgin Records America, today announced that the multiplatinum recording star and the record label are inaugural recipients of the Microsoft® Windows Media(tm) Innovation Award.
Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft, presented the award to Kravitz in New York on May 2 for his pioneering use of digital media, including Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media digital rights management (DRM) technology, to distribute music securely and easily to fans over the Internet. The award recognizes innovative achievements in digital media from pioneering recording artists, film and music distributors, and enterprises.
The award, which Microsoft plans to present biannually, carries with it a donation of $25,000 (U.S.) in cash and $25,000 (U.S.) worth of software to be made to the recipient's favorite charity. Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates sent a letter to Kravitz congratulating him on his innovative use of digital media. Gates wrote in the letter to Kravitz, "Your experimentation with digital media is setting a groundbreaking example of how the Internet can be a secure and powerful medium for legitimate music distribution. I'm impressed by the many cool ways you're using this technology not only to share your work, but also to build personal, ongoing relationships with your fans over the Internet."
"We're establishing the Windows Media Innovation Award as our way to recognize those organizations or individuals who are using digital media in breakthrough ways," Fester said. "We're excited about presenting this award to Lenny Kravitz because of his groundbreaking example of how to deliver music on the Internet to his fans all over the world."
"Music is all about expressing yourself freely and communicating ideas," Kravitz said. "The combination of digital media and the Internet is helping me connect with my fans all over the world in new ways, and it's cool to be recognized for this."
Already widely recognized as a music-industry innovator, Kravitz's aggressive adoption of digital media technology to promote his work with existing fans while attracting new followers distinguishes him among recording artists. Microsoft's choice of Kravitz as the first recipient of the Windows Media Innovation Award was based on accomplishments such as these:
- Kravitz was the first artist to qualify for a GRAMMY Award nomination through online sales of downloads for the hit single "Dig In," which resulted in his fourth consecutive GRAMMY Award.
- He was one of the first musicians to provide a music video download, in September 2000, over the Internet. Using Windows Media DRM licensing rights controls, fans could download and view the music video to Kravitz's hit single "Again," an original song off his "Greatest Hits" album. More than 110,000 people downloaded the video in 12 weeks, far outstripping Virgin's expectation of 40,000 downloads.
- Proving digital media's effectiveness as a promotional tool, Kravitz and Virgin Records teamed with the BET cable network during Black Music Month in June 2001 on a highly successful weeklong promotion that enabled site visitors to download Outkast's remixed version of Kravitz's hit single "Again."
- Kravitz used the Windows Media format to create online remixes for the song "Believe in Me" in a contest co-sponsored with Sonic Foundry.
- He offered the first video downloads with mtv.com and vh1.com.
- Kravitz made music history by becoming the first artist to have a single qualify for a GRAMMY Award based on sales from online downloads. Using Windows Media Audio, Kravitz released the single in digital form on the Web early enough to qualify for a GRAMMY Award. Acceptance of online sales by the GRAMMY's controlling body, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, is a major step in establishing the legitimacy of online music. After qualifying for the award, Kravitz received his fourth consecutive GRAMMY Award, a GRAMMY first, for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
"Lenny has always challenged us to come up with new ideas to embrace the Internet to reach his fans," said Ty Braswell, vice president for New Media Virgin Records. "Time after time we turned to Microsoft for help with our digital media promotions, and time after time it gave us the tools we needed to be innovators."
In March, Kravitz and Virgin Records co-sponsored a digital song remix contest in which fans downloaded Sonic Foundry's free ACID XPress software to remix Kravitz's song "Believe in Me." Fans submitted entries in WMA format, offering CD-quality audio in half the file size of an MP3 file. The contest winner received an all-expenses-paid weeklong trip to the Winter Music Conference in Miami from March 23-30, courtesy of Virgin Records, and an autographed guitar from Kravitz during a ceremony at the conference. The winning remix of "Believe in Me" is featured at ACID Planet's Web site.
MSN to Be Exclusive Online Sponsor For Janet Jackson's "All for You World Tour 2001"Deal Includes Exclusive Rights for MSN Music in Providing Never-Before-Seen Video Footage, Interviews, Contests, Photos and "Janet on MSN" ISP Service For Nearly 230 Million Worldwide MSN Users and Jackson Fans
REDMOND, Wash., July 10, 2001 — MSN® , the exclusive online sponsor of Janet Jackson's "All for You World Tour 2001" concert tour, is connecting Jackson with her fans around the world like never before. From exclusive online interviews and behind-the-scenes video footage to the opportunity to meet Jackson in person, fans will have the ultimate window into the four-time Grammy Award winner's world during one of the most highly anticipated tours of the year. Beginning today, fans can access all this exclusive content at http://music.msn.com/ .
"The Internet is a great way for me to stay in touch with my fans," said Jackson, "and to deliver a great experience to all those people that frequent MSN. I'm thrilled to be able to provide MSN visitors the opportunity to get an inside look into my tour and to share my music with them."
The exclusive MSN Music experience will include a live chat with Jackson on Thursday, July 12, at 6 p.m. PDT about her tour; her latest chart-topping album, "All for You" ; and her new single, "Someone to Call My Lover." There will also be a special Internet radio station spinning Jackson's all-time favorite tunes and an opportunity for fans to listen to interviews and view behind-the-scenes video footage of Jackson's rehearsals, available online in Microsoft® Windows Media™ Format for the best-quality audio and video at http://music.msn.com/ . Finally, through the "Listen to Win on MSN" promotion on MSN Music, fans can enter to win a chance to meet and greet Jackson in person as well as see the "All for You World Tour 2001" in Paris.
Also today, MSN is launching a new cobranded ISP service, "Janet on MSN." Through this online adventure, Jackson fans and devotees can experience and share Jackson's world while easily getting online with the full features and benefits of MSN, including MSN Music, which provides consumers with one place online to find old favorites, as well as discover new music, and delivers a high-quality listening experience, powered by MSN Internet Access. With exclusive content not to be found anywhere else, "Janet on MSN" will bring Jackson fans the best online seats in the house.
"Working with a top artist and label like Janet and Virgin Records is a prime example of the MSN commitment to providing consumers with the best digital music experience," said Amanda Casemore, product manager for MSN marketing at Microsoft. "By our adding new music selections, features and artists, music enthusiasts around the world will be able to satisfy their craving for great music online."
"We're always looking to our technology partners to help us create big online venues that enable fans to interact with our artists - and have some fun when they get there," said Ty Braswell, vice president of New Media, Virgin Records. "With MSN reaching 230 million people worldwide, that's a nice-sized tent with lots of great rides."
MSN gives music fans even more reason to visit MSN Music with its new Album Preview feature, which offers the ability to preview and listen to new albums, read reviews, hear samples of songs and purchase newly released albums. This summer fans can check out the new "artist spotlight," which offers an interactive look into the artist's life on stage, and the "Listen to Win on MSN" sweepstakes gives fans a chance to meet a broad range of music superstars and win daily prizes. With more than 1 million Web radio stations, ranging from classical to reggae, MSN Music provides music enthusiasts with a way to find and listen to music they already like, as well as discover new music using the unique SoundsLike technology.
MSN Music is delivering on its commitment to providing consumers the best digital music experience, bringing them closer to new and famous artists throughout the summer and beyond. MSN Music will be giving away more than 5,000 prizes this summer through a music sweepstakes. From a European fantasy vacation to see Janet Jackson perform in Paris to meeting jazz great Dave Koz after his Christmas show in Los Angeles or hanging out country-style with Willie Nelson, music fans will have a chance to be closer than ever to the artists they love.
Consumers can discover their own world of music on MSN at http://music.msn.com/ and enter the "Listen to Win on MSN" contest with Jackson and other great artists (from July 9, 2001, to Sept. 30, 2001). Fans can sign up for the new "Janet on MSN" Internet Access service at http://music.msn.com/janet/ , which is now available in the United States. "Janet on MSN" is available for $21.95 per month.
David Byrne to Provide Promotional Music for Windows XP
"Like Humans Do" to Give Music Fans a Taste of the
Digital Music Experience in Windows XP
REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 1, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that every copy of the Windows® XP operating system will come with a promotional song from the musical innovator David Byrne to show off the digital media capabilities of the new Windows Media™ Player for Microsoft® Windows XP.
The song "Like Humans Do" from Byrne's latest album, "Look Into the Eyeball," on Virgin Records America, will come preloaded in Windows Media Player for Windows XP. The song will play as a digital audio track, complete with album art and lyrics, the first time the Windows Media Player is used, showcasing the high-quality music experience possible with Windows Media Player for Windows XP.
"Windows Media Player for Windows XP is a big step forward that will help digital music reach its full potential for fans, musicians and the industry," said Ty Braswell, vice president of New Media for Virgin Records. "Having a track from David Byrne included with Windows XP speaks to his broad appeal and gives millions of people a fun way to explore all the ways they can enjoy digital music on Windows XP."
Byrne first achieved fame in the late 1970s for his work with Talking Heads, a New York-based band that combined cutting-edge artistic sensibilities with clever lyrics and danceable rhythms. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Byrne has been active in a wide range of solo projects, including theatrical and international music.
"Throughout his career, David Byrne has redefined the boundaries of popular music," said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "This is a great song, with wide appeal, and I think users are going to really enjoy listening to the song while experiencing all the exciting new digital music features of Windows XP."
Windows Media Player for Windows XP takes advantage of improvements throughout the operating system to offer the best digital media experience on a personal computer. The new Windows Media Player for Windows XP offers dramatically improved media playback and handling, CD ripping with the industry-leading Windows Media Audio, enhanced MP3 support and more.
With the Byrne track, music fans will be able to experience how Windows Media Player for Windows XP improves virtually all their favorite digital music activities. As the track plays, showing off the high quality of Windows Media Audio, users can explore the new player visualizations that move to the music, view the album art in the Now Playing window, and follow the lyrics in the Media Information pane.
Microsoft also announced today that WindowsMedia.com will feature a free webcast of an hour-long concert Byrne recorded before a private audience. The webcast premieres on WindowsMedia.com (http://WindowsMedia.com/previewv2/xpconcerts/) at 7 p.m. EDT Aug. 2 and will be available on demand through August.