David RD Gratton

Turned 40

March 30, 2007

My wife Mandy threw a 40th birthday party for me yesterday at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (the site is under construction). We aren't members but a good friend of ours is, so we were able to book a wonderful table for 10 to their Australian wine tasting with a 6 course meal. The host of the event, I will have to get his name as I have forgotten, was knowledgeable, engaging, and highly entertaining. He knew a lot but didn't take anything too seriously, when he presented the evening's closer, Yalumba Clocktower Port. He said, "This is the stuff for drinking after a long productive day. It's not very sophisticated. It really shouldn't be called port. Think of it as alcohol infused wine product!" The food was also amazing, the RVYC has spectacular dining. Lori Pike took pictures of each dish as it was served. Hopefully she will post them soon.

It was without a doubt one of the best birthday presents I have ever had. I really enjoy experiences like this much better than getting traditional gifts. When I am 92 and sitting in my rocking chair on the front porch, I won't remember that great watch I had or the car I drove. I will remember the good times I had with friends and family sharing food, wine, and laughs.

A fabulous birthday! Thank-you, Mandy.

Something I noticed about turning 40, your friends turn mean! Every birthday card I got was about how my life was now in decline, how certain parts of my body would stop working, the colonoscopies I would now endure, and how I will be gumming my food in short while.

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More on CD Sales Collapse

March 23, 2007

The collapse of the recorded music industry is now getting reported by the media. Techcrunch is reporting that music sales are collapsing and down 20% from 2006. My Prediction of a 30-50% collapse is easily going to be realized.

Mike's blog post and many of the comments basically assume that recorded music will not be a viable economic model anymore. Artists and entertainers will need to make their money in merchandise, licensing, and live shows. Recorded music is dead.

I for one do not believe that. Recorded music can be reinvented as I commented in his blog post:
There are other avenues than simply saying give the song for free and get them to the show. Are you really happy with the recorded music experience? If not, I and others believe there are opportunities to be explored there to bring value back to the recorded music experience:

I truly believe there is great opportunity in recorded music that will come to the fore as in the next 12-18 months.


Getting calendars with reciprocal synching

March 21, 2007

James Walker writes a post asking for Apple to provide a mechanism where two clients can mutually edit the same calendar. He asks if anyone else cares? I do for one! This is exactly what I want for my company. I have 3 different devices with calendar functions. But if I set up an iCal calendar with my desktop, I cannot edit the calendar with my PowerBook or Treo. If I use Google Calendar, I cannot add a calendar date to my iCal when offline for later synching.

I get around this issue by having our Studio Coordinator, Jenny Good, control my calendar. This is not a good use of her time. I figured it would only be a matter of time until all of this was sorted out by Apple et al., but it has been three years since I have been frustrated with this situation.

James, points out a great alternative if you are a Mac user, but I think the real solution should be a standard protocol that is device independent.

More On Music CD Sales Free Fall: Economic Disruption Upon Us

March 19, 2007

More on the ongoing collapse of music CD sales. Marc Canter noted today that when he visited the San Francisco Virgin Super Store that Music CDs are now $10.00. Less than 7 years ago CDs were $20.00. It will take twice as many unit sales to equal total revenue for the industry at this rate. Sure the cost of manufacturing these shiny discs have fallen considerably, but costs tied to retail overhead and margins, distribution, and manufacturing costs were about $7.00 per CD back then.

CDs are being sold at a loss for whole economic chain: retailer, record label, and ultimately artist. This is a disaster. There is no other way to look at it. I am more confident than ever of my prediction that we will suffer a 30-50% collapse in sales. I find no joy in that prediction coming true. Only some creative thinking and the full-embrace of new technologies by the industry is going to correct this massive economic disruption.

At the moment the focus appears to be strictly on changing business models around an audio file:

  • Subscription
  • DRM
  • Different pricing models
  • Give music away free and sell merchandise

I certainly understand the value in approaching these new business models, except DRM. However, I would hope that the music industry can reinvent itself into something grander, as it did when recorded music hit the market over 100 years ago. I think the DYLAN project is a great attempt at solving this problem in terms the industry and artists understand. I would like to see more creative thinking and see other projects develop to address what in reality is a great opportunity.


Documentary Gives "Insider" Insight into Second Life Phenomena

March 18, 2007

A couple weeks ago, I began working with a gentleman named Douglas Gayeton on a new social network for a mutual client in New York. The first day I worked with Douglas, he immediately began providing valuable insight and guidance to the team. His personality is a force of nature, and both the client and I knew immediately we had the right guy leading this project.

When Douglas came to our Vancouver offices last week, I learned that he devoted 6 months of his life in 2006 emerged in a Second Life developing an "In World" documentary of Second life. The first chapter of the documentary reached number 1 on YouTube last week. The documentary also has been accepted to the Hot Docs in Toronto and the Tribeca NY film festivals.

The first chapter is fascinating. Once you see it, you will see how unique this doc is. I asked Douglas for the other episodes, but I have to wait, too. Go check it out.

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