Top 10 Tracks of 2015

It was a pretty intense year filled with a lot of transition and change. Undoubtably, the transition and change had a major impact on the music that I listened to and the artists that I discovered, versus years prior.

The creation of the list started with the most played tracks of 2015. From there, the evaluation criteria focused on tracks with a significant memory and emotion, tracks that I couldn’t stop listening to and tracks that helped define me and the last year of my life. It is important to note that some of these tracks were not released in 2015, but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s a personal list and a list that reflects the life, emotion and events of 2015.

Here we go!
10. Funk With Me – Snails, Big Gigantic
spotify:track:7uYxd23SPp7a35kVUU7GG9

9. Play With Me (Radio Mix) – Platinum Dog
spotify:track:7lBZ4c3Rn3jaCYUmPe1ygv

8. High You Are (Branchez Remix) – What So Not
spotify:track:6zpCJDhdpHPZCcFCJZDqX5

7. Revolution (Party Favor Remix) – Diplo (feat. Faustix & Imanos and Kai)
spotify:track:3V467e5wzDCUl1Dp8U9iDd

6. Dangerous (Oliver Remix) – Big Data
spotify:track:3PVukkbEGmJGoyJG2lfBPP

5. Get Free – Major Lazer (feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors)
spotify:track:42xDAj5qNVFcxciJP3hSJd

4. Ocean Drive – Duke Dumont
spotify:track:0k93MXOj0kSXo84SvSDeUz

3. No Sugar in My Coffee – Caught a Ghost
spotify:track:3eu6yCblDDyuqvDTkPZksu

2. You and Me – Bassnectar (feat. W. Darling)
spotify:track:3x94KfC5QAsqFKjUGQBH4k

1. Careful You – TV on the Radio
spotify:track:7DjtLnZKMipNZDt6SE9iEq

And if you want to subscribe to the Spotify playlist, here it is:
spotify:user:ebreakdown:playlist:32GkV6MWvfkEJMrXNu1mQK

Happy 2016!

Spotify and Elvis: How To Create Innovative Digital Experiences

In honor of his would be 80th birthday, Spotify (the king of online music experience) created two applications that celebrate Elvis’ influence on music.

The first application, The Elvis Influence allows a user to type in their favorite (or any) band or artist to see how they have been influenced by Elvis. The best way to describe this experience is that it’s the Six Degrees of Elvis. The application backtracks the influence of each artist to Elvis himself. Additionally, the application allows a user to listen to the whole timeline or the individual artists.

The second application, The Elvisualization, is an interactive infographic which details the influence of Elvis overtime. Very similar to a “bloodline” if you will, it illustrates how Elvis influenced every artist after him all the way to contemporary times, across many different genres. In addition to illustrating the influence, the interactive graphic is dynamic allowing a user to click on any artist listed for a preview of their sound.

http://static.echonest.com/insights/elvis/index.html

Beyond Elvis being awesome, why should we care about these two applications from Spotify? Well, Spotify has historically been fantastic at leveraging their content, their assets and their library/database for enhanced user experiences than just streaming music. They are offering users more context, the ability to explore new content and share that content with others.

  • Innovating with Existing Product: Every brand or company has a product or service. However, what helps make good marketers is finding ways to innovate using that existing product and share that innovation to the customer. Yes, it is easier said than done with some clients and Spotify is unique in the fact that they have music as their product. Yet, the music isn’t their product, their database is and they are very smart with that database and consumption/tagging data that comes along with it. If you really think about it, Spotify didn’t create the Elvis apps because they have Elvis music, they created the apps because they have access to influence metrics and consumption of music stemming from Elvis’s music. That level of innovation and thinking, beyond simply what product does a brand have and how do we market the product, can create extraordinary experiences for consumers and the industry.
  • Moving Beyond the App: Yes, Spotify has a mobile application as their main source of product consumption, but they also have a web version too. Spotify has been good with creating experiences that don’t necessarily rely upon a platform, but experiences that rely upon their API and database. You don’t have to download the Elvis apps and you don’t need to be a member of Spotify to listen to the music. Don’t always design for the platform, design for the experience.
  • Consumer Value through Context: Spotify is a content consumption and curation experience. The brand has been very good with adding context to that equation as well. Music is very personal and selective, it makes sense for a brand like Spotify to hone in on that and create experiences that allow for the user to create their own experience.

Spotify is not only an amazing company offering a service to users that directly taps into passion points, they also, and one could argue changed consumer behavior from a purchase model to a streaming/leasing model of content. Because of that success in the industry and the access to content and consumption, it allows them to be on the forefront in digital marketing.

Want more? Take a look at these recent experiences Spotify has offered their consumers:

My Top 20 Tracks of 2014

This year was a great year of music exploration for me. I listened to a variety of new genres, artists and tracks that I normally wouldn’t. This isn’t to say that I stopped listening to EDM or alternative music, I just expanded my music consumption a bit.

Last year I created a list of my Top Albums of 2013, that were released in 2013. This year, I’m taking a different approach. This year, I am providing a list of Top 20 Tracks that I listened to on an ongoing basis, tracks that I love, tracks that helped define 2014 and tracks that I couldn’t “put down.” Now, I want to caveat this by saying this is a list of my personal Top Tracks of 2014; they were not necessarily created in 2014, nor were they top tracks by the amount of times I listened to them, they simply helped define the last year for me.

So, here we go, as promised, my Top 20 Tracks of 2014!

20. I Just Wanna Love U (Jean Tonique Remix) – Jay Z featuring Pharrell
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/120588881″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
19. Do It Again – Röyksopp & Robyn
[spotify id=”spotify:track:4y8XhpQ7YqFLyz2o7c7r7X” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
18. Flipmode – Mt. Eden
[spotify id=”spotify:track:4Y9e0rBUg3ZTnA8c9tHu9u” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
17. Love Is All I Got (Feed Me’s Matilda Remix) – Feed Me featuring Crystal Fighters
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3vjO5aLXmVqTCVntVOtMY4″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
16. Made to Love – John Legend
[spotify id=”spotify:track:1G2Ya2ubnlS7xFfs1CfY3j” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
15. Prayer in C – Lilly Wood and the Prick (Robin Schulz Remix)
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3k9FFXVPn3ua8dlpkxlCvZ” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
14. A Pain That I’m Used To (Jacques Lu Cont Remix) – Depeche Mode
[spotify id=”spotify:track:4nkXTcOSYGnMhaHSg6LsfK” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
13. Big Talk – Conway
[spotify id=”spotify:track:25zni6gEnbrX40IWa3xKVp” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
12. Million Voices – Otto Knows
[spotify id=”spotify:track:2nIDPOUOprhe14XoCK6gxw” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
11. Fading Nights – Parra for Cuva (Original Mix)
[spotify id=”spotify:track:6euRvhoyzVtjdKohdL78QH” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
10. Fade Out Lines – The Avener
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3VjFTsWQLvOVr2oJ4PMyjC” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
9. Allein – Pryda
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3LLq1sGvqXgv26VZbicu5i” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
8. All of Me – John Legend
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3U4isOIWM3VvDubwSI3y7a” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
7. Pushing On – Oliver $ and Jimi Jules
[spotify id=”spotify:track:00lopN8UjPU58scvfgjSPK” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
6. Under Control – Calvin Harris
[spotify id=”spotify:track:4J7CKHCF3mdL4diUsmW8lq” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
5. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons featuring Kendrick Lamar
[spotify id=”spotify:track:69yfbpvmkIaB10msnKT7Q5″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
4. Til Sunrise (Pairanoid Remix) – Goldroom
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/170052247″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

3. Rage the Night Away – Steve Aoki featuring Waka Flocka Flame
[spotify id=”spotify:track:0Ev2T20215s50FusZoHCBk” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
2. Ritual Union – Little Dragon
[spotify id=”spotify:track:40wDuyifkj27ahVCpfJWq5″ width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

And my Top Track of 2014…
1. Dare You – Hardwell
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3GNHC4hmpOpcFnVhtoHfhS” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

Not only is this a killer track and Hardwell is probably the top EDM artist of the year, but this is the track I heard on approach into Sky Harbor and will forever remind me of my move to Phoenix.

#Burberry’s Global Christmas Campaign is Beautiful, But Needs Some Refinement

Burberry has just launched their first global Christmas campaign. The campaign launched with a four-minute spot featuring Romeo Beckham, yes, the son of David and Victoria. Additionally, it features a new audio track from Ed Harcourt which will be released in December. As far as we know so far, since this is just the launch of the campaign, “the campaign will include outdoor, cinema, and social media advertising to generate interest in Burberry.”

Now, you assumed that Burberry typically does Christmas campaigns and they do, but what is different is this one is global. Yes, that was a bit redundant for me to say, however, coming from my experience working on global accounts, I want to talk about how global campaigns are somewhat difficult to undertake. Firstly, when creating global campaigns, relevancy in all markets (or a select few primary focus markets) is essential. Music choice, voice-overs, time and more importantly message is important as well. Global campaigns are extremely complex, expensive, highly criticized and difficult to produce.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojBufhpPgMo]

It’s not my place to tell Burberry what to do with their first global campaign, nor is it my place to assume what their global objectives are. However, what I can do is review the creative from the lens of my experience on global accounts and my experience working in advertising.

Burberry Christmas

It’s beautiful, but needs some refinement.

  • The Idea: Let’s start with what I assume the idea is, “Christmas is the time for love and giving.” Christmas is also the time for the enjoyment of idealism and merriment which can be transcribed into song and dance. Christmas is tough, it’s tough to differentiate yourself within the Christmas season, especially if you are a clothing retailer. The campaign does feel a bit scripted and predictable, however, the song and dance is a nuance that not all brands can leverage or, furthermore, own.
  • Music: The new track by Ed Harcourt is brilliant. It captures the essence of the Christmas season and the feeling of idealism and love. However, it doesn’t feel as though it “fits” with visuals. There are some relevant cuts and timing with the dance and the storyline, but all in all, the track feels a bit forced to be a part of the story. At times, the music with the spot feels as though they are two disparate pieces of creative jammed together; less of a solution and more like a suspension. Additionally, I’m not sure why the track is not available until December. It would make sense to release the track at the same time of the campaign launch.
  • Choreography: “Burberry used 50 dancers who perform a dance inspired by classic musical films in front of theatrical London street background.” The choreography is beautifully done and expertly timed. Along with stubble cinematic undertones and perfectly timed cuts and pans (timed according to the dance, not the music), it almost appears that it’s out of a Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly film, or better yet, an early 20th Century stage performance.
  • Art Direction: First off, Burberry did not disappoint with the art direction. They have always been at the top of their game when it comes to finely crafted spots, beautiful tones and color, and the perfect balance of product and lifestyle. This spot almost feels as though it’s a print ad, Burberry print ad come to life. The look and feel of Christmas does come out, however subtly. Christmas is a magical time of celebration and merriment, regardless of which religion you are apart of. The snow showers and the dancing in the snow whilst wearing Burberry coats and scarves perfectly encapsulates Christmas from a Burberry point of view. All in all, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate the art direction in this film.
  • Four Minutes: I’ve experienced this time and time again, the four-minute “film” on YouTube. I understand that this is more of a music video, more of a campaign launch film than a TVC. However, as marketers, we do have to understand the consumer and determine whether or not one has the time to sit through at four minute film on YouTube. According to Google, after the first 15 seconds of every video on YouTube, that’s when viewers are most likely to drop off. That being said, there’s something to be said about crafting great pieces of art and content. Just as much as we talk about viewership, we also need to keep in mind the types of devices consumers use to watch YouTube videos; there are certain markets in the world where consumers are more likely to watch YouTube on a mobile device than on a laptop. So, who actually watches four minutes on a mobile device when walking around? In the end, let’s keep time in mind when creating spots.
  • Celebrity Casting: Don’t even get me started about celebrity casting. Yes, I see the buzz value in casting a celebrity for a campaign and leveraging their influence to generate buzz and excitement. However, as we have seen in multiple examples including Honda’s latest “Type R” campaign, it’s not entirely necessary. I believe the Burberry Christmas campaign would have the same influence whether or not they casted Romeo Beckham; especially since I just found out he existed. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a cute kid and a “cute kid” works for this execution; just not sure if it was necessary to cast Romeo.
  • Global Relevancy: This is a big one! Now, we haven’t seen a lot of the secondary executions to the spot just yet. They do have some images being leveraged on their Instagram account, but global relevancy is more than just platform activations; especially for a Christmas spot. The subtitle to the campaign is “From London with Love” and that’s all well and good, but London is not the globe; it is a global city, but not necessarily global. How would a market, let’s say, Brazil react to a spot like this? (Especially since during Christmas it’s Summer in Rio). Additionally, we need to look at ethnicity too. This spot is very heavy up on caucasians and doesn’t address the complexity of a diverse set of ethnicities in the world. The campaign is scalable, but not necessarily regionally relevant.

 

Burberry Romeo Beckham

Overall, it is a great spot, but it is lacking alignment with audio and visual; it really needs some refinement. Perhaps, the fix would be as easy as choose a different audio track to complement astounding visuals? It will be very interesting to see how Burberry runs with this idea in their longer-form campaign. Will there be further owned nuances to the idealism? Will there be more song and dance? Will they focus on giving rather than buying? One thing I do know, Burberry are excellent marketers and I can’t wait to see how they make this a case study that we all will use in the coming year.

Top Albums of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, I want to share with you my favorite albums of the year. Now, there are a lot of “Top Album” lists out there with many different conditions. Let me first outline how I came to this list and what factors I used to determine my Top Album list.

  • Year: The albums must have been released in 2013.
  • Album: It’s about the entire album, not just individual tracks.
  • Consumption: I must have listened to the entire album many times during the course of the year.

Like I mentioned before, there are many lists like this. I haven’t aligned my choice to any lists by the critics or industry blogs, nor have I even looked at them. I wanted to make sure this list was what I listened to; my personal list.

Well, let’s get going! Here’s my, personal, Top Albums of 2013! (In Order)

Justice – Access All Arenas
Image
I’m a huge fan of EDM and particularly Justice. It is a live album and at times I find those types of albums annoying, but this one has fantastic rhythm throughout and a great musical story. Plus, there’s a great Jay Z drop in the middle of D.A.N.C.E.
Spotify Link

Pretty Lights – A Color Map of the Sun (Deluxe Edition)
Image
I find most of the previous Pretty Lights albums as average, however this album was off the charts! I love the band accompaniment and story telling within the Deluxe Version. Not to mention, his concert this year was one of the best concerts I’ve seen.
Spotify Link

London Grammar – If You Wait
Image
These guys are relatively new to the scene from England. I first heard them on the Annie Nightingale show earlier in the year; their guest mix blew me away and I couldn’t wait for their freshmen release. It’s a bit slower and a bit more lyrical than most of what I listened to this year, but still amazing. I just wish I purchased tickets in time to see them when they were in Chicago.
Spotify Link

Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
Image
Boards of Canada, what more can you say? One of the most anticipated albums of the year, in my book. Epic story, outstanding execution; I can listen to this album over and over again. Additionally, beyond the album, the music videos complement the music perfectly.
Spotify Link

Flume – Flume (Deluxe Edition)
Image
Another great find of mine from the BBC. It all started when I first heard “Holdin On,” his first single from the self-titled album. Somewhat atmospheric with a hint of EDM, this album is perfect for music during a house party or informal gathering. I just hope he comes to the States to tour soon.
Spotify Link

Man Without Country – RMX
Image
In all honesty, I don’t know much about these guys, but the album is a chill mixture of music and is ideal to start off your day.
Spotify Link

Kavinsky – OutRun
Image
I’m pretty sure most people know his music from the movie “Drive” starting Ryan Gosling. Beyond that, I really dig his album release this year, not because of Ryan Gosling, but because all of his music reminds me of the good old days of 1980’s music.
Spotify Link

Pet Shop Boys – Electric
Image
It was a surprise to me that they released an album this year, but once Eric told me about it, I was blown away. Surprisingly, PSB went far into dance music in this release. Epic beats make me want to just stand up and dance!
Spotify Link

Well, that’s my list. I welcome any feedback and other suggestions on albums I may have missed this year. I’ve provided some Spotify links to the albums so if you want to listen yourself, they’re just a click away.

Also, I’m pretty sure Kanye is going to be pissed with me.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Bitmap

A digital mosaic of beats.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

Download Bitmap Here

Or, you can listen to Bitmap here:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/33485130″ params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff00b5″ width=”100%” height=”81″ ]

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Stars

Don’t look to the skies for your path, look inward. The heavens may be full of stars, but remember, we’re all stars.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

Download Stars Here

Or, you can listen to Stars here:
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/18403558″ params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff00b5″ width=”100%” height=”81″ ]

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Synthesized Society

Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the web, but at the same time we feel emptier, lonelier, and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history. Is this a synthesized society? Listen and tell me.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

Download Synthesized Society Here

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Hi-Res

Son of Erik Mixtape: Hi Res
Intense and in High Resolution. We’re not talking about “high-definition” here, we’re talking about RESOLUTION. Strap on your safety belts and get ready for a ride.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

Download Hi-Res Here

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Don’t Stop

UPDATE: Due to a random “marked as abusive” click, the mix is down at the moment. I am working diligently to find another hosting site to offer it back up to the fans. Stay tuned.

Don’t stop the beats, don’t stop dancing, don’t stop rockin’, don’t stop the night, don’t stop lovin’.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

The track-listing is as follows:

New In Town – Little Boots
VIP – Ke$ha
Tik Tok (DJ Double A Remix) (Blend) – Ke$ha Ft. Pitbull, Kanye West, And Lil Wayne
I Know You Want Me On Blue Monday (Dj Mixy Mash-Up) – Kurd Maverick & Vandlasim vs Pitbull
What World – Damien J Carter
Bot – Deadmau5
Fight For You – Morgan Page
Say It – Booty Luv
Take Me Away (Dave Darell Remix) – 4 Strings
Watch The Sun Come Up (Fred Falke Remix) – Example
Spaced Invader – Hatiras
Power – Kanye West

Download Don’t Stop Here

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.