Tag Archives: Madonna

Visualeyz. We rocks eyeballs!

The artist formerly known as Mos Def rocks the mic with Visualeyz on the visuals.

The artist formerly known as Mos Def rocks the mic with Visualeyz on the visuals.

If you pay attention to anything I say, you might recall that I dropped the name Visualeyz a few weeks ago.

I was talking about a JDilla tribute featuring DJs Questlove, Mike Nyce and Rich Medina in Philly.

I also brought up Mark Hines, of Visualeyz, who was manning the visuals for the night.

If you read that post, you probably thought, “Who is Visualeyz and what does ‘manning the visuals’ even mean?”

You would have been well within your rights to be curious.

As the purveyor of information, I am duty bound to disabuse you of your ignorance.

Visualeyz is the video production, VJ, and marketing arm of The Marksmen.

The About page of visualeyz.net describes Visualeyz as follows:

Visualeyz is a Video Production, VJ, and Branding outfit that brings stylized club and in-venue video mixing and branding together into a powerful marketing tool. In other words, we rock eyeballs.

Visualeyz provides video mixing and branding together into visual presentations and powerful cultural and social experiences.

That’s a mouthful.

But I feel like I haven’t really said anything.

Let’s try this again.

When Madonna was looking for the final dancer to join her crew, as part of the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange, Visualeyz was tapped to provide background visuals for an on-stage dance routine.

When Masters of the Mix was looking for a crew to shoot and edit the final scene of the second season, announcing the winner, they called Visualeyz.

When the Philadelphia Museum of Art needed to do something interesting to kick off their Art After 5 series, Visualeyz was at the top of their list.

When big dogs need visuals done right, they call Visualeyz.

Visualeyz offers businesses and brands numerous opportunities to connect with and engage their clients, customers, and sponsors.

Whether it’s a small local business targeting a niche audience or a big brand with a national pitch, Visualeyz has to tools to reach them all.

With the proliferation of smart phones and increasingly powerful mobile devices, Visualeyz helps brands target the mobile generation by providing 2nd screen experiences, microsites and integrated smartphone apps that engage audiences before, during and after events.

Visualeyz pushes live on-screen social media feeds, real-time posting of photos, audio and video content to brand profiles, and supplies full analytic data about who attended, how they accessed and interacted with your brand.

They’re part of the same crew who developed the interactive Red Rooster, Tillmans NYC, 1300 Fillmore and Townhouse mobile web apps, which let users browse the venue’s playlist right from their mobile devices.

In a nutshell, Visualeyz helps bridge the gap between engagement and conversion.

I’m kinda excited to see what the future has in store for Visualeyz and the brands they work with.

Here are a few branded teasers.

Okayplayer.

Goodie NYE.

Worship Recordings.

If your a brand looking for a deeper level of engagement with your audience, you better get you some Visualeyz in your life!

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Filed under branding, digital advocacy, iPhone, mobile, technology

Rule No. 1 for the unsigned artist: Get on your grind (aka check yourself before you wreck yourself)

Everyday I'm Hustling DigitallyRecently, I’ve been approached by a number of artists and producers looking to get signed to a record deal.

I always entertain anyone who seeks out my advice, because it shows initiative.

But I’m always concerned when the objective, notwithstanding my advice, remains fixed on securing a deal.

It’s not that it’s an unobtainable goal.

But it’s unrealistic.

As one record executive told me, getting signed to a record deal is more difficult than shooting a hole in one – by hitting a golf ball through a hole in a brick wall first.

For some reason, these cats act like the labels are just handing record deals out.

“All you’ve got to do is be discovered.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told about artists that are discovered.

That’s all it takes.

Record a song.

Post a YouTube video.

Get discovered.

And go from obscurity to fame, overnight.

“Madonna was discovered.”

“Lady Gaga was discovered.”

“Katy Perry was discovered.”

Yada yada yada.

My response is uniformly: “No. They weren’t.”

To be fair, there is that rare exception of a truly discovered talent, plucked from obscurity.

Like Rihanna.

But that’s a different story for another time.

The reality is that virtually every artist you’ve ever heard of, especially the superstars, busted their asses to get where they got.

Invariably, they were passed over, several times, by several A&Rs, at several different labels, before they finally got on.

Do you know how many people dissed Kanye before he was finally signed to the Roc?

It was a running joke in the industry how often Kanye asked folks to listen to his demo.

Katy Perry was dropped by Columbia before being signed to Capitol Records.

Lady Gaga was performing at open mikes since she was 14 (and she attended The Tisch School) before she was signed by Akon.

Justin Beiber is probably one of the few artists truly ‘discovered’ in recent memory, when Scooter Braun happened upon his video before taking him to Usher.

But their deals didn’t just happen.

It was the result of relationships, work and in some instances, dumb luck.

Many of the people who have approached me don’t have even the most fundamental basis for talking record deal.

There’s no website.

No Facebook page.

No Twitter account.

No YouTube channel.

Not digital presence whatsoever.

If they have any of the above, then there are few (if any) likes, followers or views.

If they’ve got a MySpace page, SoundCloud or ReverbNation account, there are virtually no fans and abysmally low play counts of their songs.

The content on their pages are old and haven’t been updated.

At the end of the day, I’m left scratching my head, trying to understand why these cats seem so…entitled?

If you haven’t done the work, how can you expect to win?

It’s like saying you’re going to win a gold medal at the Olympics, but you’ve never trained a day in your life.

Sure, it’s possible that you could get off your couch, hit the starting blocks and blow Usain Bolt away.

But it’s not probable.

Sure, it’s possible that you could record a song tomorrow, post it online, and some A&R somewhere will be at your doorstep offering you a deal.

But it’s not probable.

And with the ten hundreds of thousands of aspiring artists out there on their grizzy, going HAAM, what makes you think that you’re going to grab the brass ring first?

The game has changed.

If you’re trying to be a successful artist, know that your success is being gauged by empirical measures:

Facebook likes.

Twitter followers.

YouTube views.

SoundCloud plays.

A Google results page.

This is how A&Rs today are gauging an artist’s viability.

Can you draw a crowd – online?

Sure, you can sing.

But so can literally tens hundreds of thousands of others.

What makes you stand out from the crowd?

It’s your hustle and your (digital) ground game.

So artists, if you’re reading this blog, and you want to know what it takes to get a record deal, it’s one of two ways:

1. Know somebody;

2. Get on your grind (and build a digital presence).

Any questions?

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Best female rapper in the game? I think not. Who is Nicki Minaj, Part 2

I’ve gotten a bunch of push back from folk who felt like I didn’t give Nicki Minaj a fair shake in my post yesterday.

Is Nicki Minaj the best female rapper of all time? Nah!

A few suggested that Nicki Minaj is the ‘best female entertainer’ in the game right now. Others claimed that she’s got exceptional lyrical abilities, unmatched by her peers. And at least one person opined that she’s the best female rapper of all times.

Not one to forego an objective and even analysis, let’s examine each of these claims in turn.

Claim No. 1: Nicki Minaj is the best female entertainer in the game right now.

Response: Bullocks! Sheer and utter bullocks.

Rationale: For anyone to make this claim, and believe it, they’d have to say that Nicki Minaj trumps the likes of serious entertainers like Beyonce, Shakira, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga, each of whom puts on a wicked live show.

If you focus solely on female rappers, then perhaps that claim has some validity. With Remy Ma doing a bid, Foxy Brown on permanent hiatus, Lil Kim struggling to make records, Lauryn Hill lost in la-la land, and Missy Elliott relaxing in her riches, there is an absolute void of female MCs. Moreover, artists like Trina, Da Brat, Rah Digga and Lil Mama, have ceased to be relevant, making this void even more pronounced.

Summary: Nicki Minaj is NOT the best entertainer in the game right now, but perhaps she is the most entertaining female rapper out today.

Claim No. 2: Nicki Minaj’s lyrical abilities are unmatched by her peers.

Response: Negatory. No. No. No. No. NO!

Rationale: Unmatched by her peers? It’s fair to say that Nicki Minaj is a rapper. That would place her in the same group as Biggie, Jay Z, Nas, Rakim, Grand Puba, Tupac, etc. But we’re not going to pretend that she can hold her own with any of these icons. If we focus only on female MCs, then she’s in the ranks of Lauryn Hill, Missy, MC Lyte, Rage, Queen Latifah, Eve and Remy Ma (to name but a few).

Even the most cursory examination of the lyrics of any of her songs, illustrates that Nicki possesses fundamental lyrical ability. But she’s got nothing to match the sheer wordplay of a Lauryn, the complexity of Missy or the intelligence of MC Lyte. Even if we focus only on her delivery (if you can get past that annoying voice), she pales in comparison to Remy or Eve, whose signature staccato delivery can’t be matched.

Summary: Compared to virtually any of these rappers, her stuff is marginal, at best.

Claim No. 3: Nicki Minaj is the best female rapper of all times.

Response. Pure unadulterated nonsense.

Rationale: Nicki Minaj has a total of ZERO records charted on Billboard. Outside of her ‘mixtapes’ she has released ZERO albums. She has no real spins to speak of in BDS or Mediabase. Grammies? Nada. With most of the female rappers named in this post each generating units moved in the MILLIONS, she’s got a loooonnnnngggggg way to go before she can even be mentioned in the same sentence.

Summary: Nicki Minja does not possess the track record to qualify for the ‘greatest female rapper of all times’ moniker.

Cats need to slow their rolls when it comes to Nicki Minaj. She’s got passable skills and a banging body, but passable skills and banging body do not a female rapper make. Let’s see if she’s got staying power, and can come with something more than pity-pat simple lyrics.

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