for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant


This is a brilliant video that’s been doing the rounds for a bit but I kept forgeting to put it up. Thanks to futureshorts for reminding me of one of the funniest music videos i’ve seen in ages – and a great song too! Look out for fatboy slim making a sneaky appearance.

Filed under: creative ideas, entertainment, ,



Tonium, makers of the as yet to be released Pacemaker portable DJ MP3 player, have just unveiled their new online community DJ mix portal along with a free Mac/PC music editor.

The new site allows anyone to create DJ mixes of their own music collection using the Pacemaker music editor software, and then upload the mix to the Pacemaker online community, where the mix can be streamed by anyone. If the Legal section of the Pacemaker Web site is any indication, Tonium have taken great pains in making sure the music sharing service is airtight. Along with agreements Tonium has struck with international music publishing houses, the Pacemaker music editor has some built-in safety measures that prevent users from using too many tracks by any single artist. Mixes also require a minimum amount of songs before they can be uploaded.

At first glance, the free DJ music editor offered by Pacemaker is a pretty fun application on its own. Tacks can be dragged into an editing pane and then manipulated with DJ effects such as filters, delays, crossfades, and backspins. The Pacemaker audio editor supports MP3 (16Kbps to 320Kbps), AAC (8Kbps to 256Kbps), MP3 VBR, FLAC, WAV, and Ogg-Vorbis, and can calculate the song’s beats per minute automatically, to make beat-matching less of a guessing game.

“ is a meeting place, a hotspot, a centrifuge and melting pot for music inspiration. By sharing our music taste with each other, we hope to bring us all closer to the music we love and closer to the music we don’t yet know we can’t live without. Let’s hear it, let’s mix!”

Once the Pacemaker hardware is released later this month, it’ll be exciting to see how the hardware, software, and Web site all integrate.


Filed under: creative ideas, , ,


blackcabsessionsI’ve written before about the growing love for intimate venues heralding ideas like theatre in your home and gigs in your living room, but the Observer this weekend highlights the most extreme version of these – a performance with an audience of one. The Black Cab Sessions are live gigs recorded in the back of a black cab where the invited artist is challenged to record one song in one take, with the resulting video uploaded for all to see.

The brilliantly simple idea, conceived and produced by Just So Films and Hidden Fruit is explained on the site: “the sessions are all about great music and the venue strips this to its essence. We aren’t picky about genre and will happily open the cab door to anyone who blows us away”.
The videos, also uploaded to YouTube, are gaining considerable interest- with the recent performance by Benjamin Zephaniah receiving over 200,000 hits. BBC Radio One Online has heaped praise on the sessions, saying “A challenge has been laid down. Forget chart positions, forget ticket sales, or brand-extending toiletries or MySpace friends or any other measure of success. From here on in, it’s all about how well you can rock the back of a cab.”

The Observer article reports from an exalted position inside the cab:

‘ last Tuesday, as I sat on a jump seat nervously clutching a boom mike for the 31st Black Cab Session, I began to realise what a splendid arena a Hackney carriage is. Opposite me, Britt Daniel, the lanky lead singer of US indie stars Spoon, was leaning forward on the banquette tuning his guitar. Although Daniel had an audience of three – Johnny the cameraman, Terry the cab driver and me – this was a one-take deal and, if he faltered, the gig would be scratched. So there was tension in the air as he began strumming and we began driving.’

‘ The Black Cab Sessions have emerged as the music industry is struggling to cope with its dramatic loss of power to the internet: EMI is responding by laying off 2,000 staff, while Radiohead recently released their album online and fans decided what they wanted to pay for it. The Black Cab Sessions provide a small answer. ‘The gig is the cost of a cab fare,’ said Will Evans of Just So. ‘We offer a lift to a touring band from their hotel to the venue, so they can always fit it into their schedule. But I think it’s the stripped-down situation and the challenge of a single take that tempt the bands’. ‘

‘Watching the final product online, the perfect marriage of medium and message hits home. Whereas a music video or venue gig can look and sound strange viewed on a computer screen, the Black Cab Sessions’ single audio track and intimate performances translate well. Without make-up, lights, amplification, post-production, packaging or a large audience, and with their evident joy at the challenge, the varied artists rise to the occasion.’

The Black Cab Sessions

Filed under: arts & culture, entertainment, ,

Radiohead ‘Secret’ Gig Attracts 1500 Fans Within Hours

A supposedly surprise intimate gig by Radiohead caused a fair amount of commotion in London last night as the intended venue Rough Trade East record store and the surrounding area of Brick Lane was inundated with nearly 1500 fans. The band had quietly announced the gig on their website in the morning and had planned to give tickets to the first 200 fans and place screens outside for anyone else, but with the whole of London in the know by lunchtime and numbers swelling rapidly the event had to be quickly relocated to the club opposite; 93 Feet East. In return for running three hours late due to the move, the crowd was then treated to the whole of their new album rather than just the few songs they had planned. The event was also webcast live on for anyone who couldn’t make it to London that quickly!

After the great media coverage they received for sticking their fingers up at the music industry and giving the album away for free, the band have managed to get another dollop of free PR- with every newspaper across the country picking up on the story, the boys will have no doubt helped future ticket sales. But it somehow doesn’t seem like that was their aim. They are in no way the first band to offer ‘intimate gigs’, just the first to respond to their fans and adapt to a situation to be as inclusive as possible. As one fan said “the whole approach of Radiohead is different. Love it”.

From their website:

So, we’ve got a small gig tonight.

It’s in London at the Rough Trade East shop on Brick Lane, and we’re planning to play a short set of in rainbows material. It’s very limited free entry, first come first served. Also, as it might be a little uncomfortable for anyone queuing early, they’re planning a numbering system so people at the front of any queue can get snacks and toilet breaks in the store. Good bagels round there. But dress warm…doors won’t open until 7, and we’ll play at about 8.

For those who can’t get in – and it’s pretty small in there – we’ll have some screens and speakers outside, if we’re allowed. I think we are. And we’ll also webcast it. I’ll put the link up here, as well as any other info, later today.

Hope you can make it – should be….interesting. Us being us, we’re taking far too many instruments…..

watch a 3 minute video of the event at the Guardian website or watch the whole event at

Filed under: clever promotion, entertainment,



NightJam is a music and photography project exploring the London night through the eyes of homeless young people in King’s Cross.

“In early Summer 2006, Scanner invited young people at New Horizon Youth Centre in King’s Cross to collaborate on a creative project that expresses how the city at night looks and sounds to their eyes and ears. Through music and voice the group explored the sense of freedom and fear, exhilaration and solitude of the concealing darkness. Between sessions, they captured their nights on camera. NightJam presents two elusive visual and musical journeys through the city’s ‘quiet’ hours.”

  • NightJam
  • Filed under: search this out, Uncategorized, , , ,


    Poetry is clearly having a resurgence, with Thamesbeat music on the rise ( check out the arcade fire and larrikin love), and a website going live in October that offers over 1.000 poems to download onto iPods for 50p each. But now you can show your love of verse quite literally on your sleeve- lyric jeans is a new clothing line that prints the lyrics to your chosen song onto the denim. The company has joined forces with EMI Music Publishing to get permission to use some of the songs in their catalogue, and in the idea sounds like it could do well targeting the teen and tween audience, although the choice available (songs like “Rebel, Rebel,” “Daydream Believer,” “Stop in the Name of Love,” “What’s Goin’ On” and “Material Girl) seems to show that they have a more mature target audience in mind!

  • lyric jeans
  • 57 productions
  • Filed under: products with a purpose, Uncategorized, , ,