Archive for the ‘Friday Delights’ Category

The Guns N’ Roses Brand and Natural vs. Artificial Exclusivity

December 5, 2008

One of the big recent fads in the music industry – especially for older acts trying to recapture former glory – is exclusive sales of new albums at certain big-box stores.

AC/DC just released “Black Ice” at Wal-Mart and one of my favorite bands of all-time, Guns N’ Roses, did it last week with “Chinese Democracy” at Best Buy (though they at least also offered tracks through iTunes, too).

Is it a good idea to create this artificial exclusivity?

I don’t know what kind of financial deals AC/DC or GnR got from Wal-Mart and Best Buy so who knows if it was good for their pocketbooks. But, as fans and consumers, it’s bad for us.

Like I said, I love GnR. Grew up on them. Learned to play guitar to “Appetite for Destruction”. Couldn’t get enough then. Even had my first date with my wife at a GnR concert (though it was the strange 2003 version).


A lot has changed from 1988 to 2008....

A lot has changed from 1988 to 2008....


But I was ticked that I had to drive 70 miles to spend my money to buy “Chinese Democracy” because my hometown doesn’t have a Best Buy. (Of course, I could have downloaded the album on iTunes but there’s something really primally satisfying about holding the actual album of rock in your actual hands.)

So Axl, Best Buy and Universal Music Group got my $14.99 (x2). That means that my brand loyalty to GnR was so high that I was willing to drive lengthy distances and overcome my annoyed-ness at having to do so.

But, if they do it again (hopefully not with a long 13 year wait again), my loyalty will fade a bit more.

A good brand creates a good gut feeling when you think about it.

Listening to the album (well, most of it at least) gives me that good gut feeling. But my experience purchasing it – forking over my money – sure didn’t.

I wasn’t the only one. “Chinese Democracy” debuted at #3 on the charts. 267K albums is certainly respectable – but it’s disappointing for what used to be the world’s biggest band.

Natural exclusivity can be great. But artificial exclusivity just alienates your customers and gives you short-term rewards for long-term loss of brand loyalty.

(I’ll save you my full review of the album – but the short of it is that I’m pretty happy minus a few duds. Here is Rolling Stone’s review if you’re interested)


Friday Delights

June 2, 2008

Red Peppers

Attention professors and adjuncts – are you hot? If not, writer John Warner has advice to help you ramp up the chili pepper ratings over at McSweeney’s.

Actually, McSweeney’s recent archives offer a few interesting takes on how the new web impacts life – or might have impacted life. Check out’s Recommendation Algorithm Applies to Life Events by Maribeth Mooney and Proust Discovers LiveJournal by Summer Block Kumar.

And speaking of LiveJournal and other ugc, there has been a lot of attention in the media this week to the BlogHer | Compass study that revealed what many of us already knew: Blogging is mainstream. No one needed to tell me that.

But what is even more fascinating – and less touted – is that a sizable portion of the 16-million-strong league of lady bloggers falls into the “mature” age demographic. A full fourth (if my math is correct) of those who actively use and keep blogs (4 million women) are over 50. You can read more over at BlogHer.

This article in HOW magazine explains how monthly “creative jams” at the Dallas firm Mason-Baronet keep things lively. My first thought after reading this was that I wanted to suggest something like this at work. Then I broadened my thinking to include home as well. I’ll let you know if either suggested is met with delight.

Have a delightful weekend.