Jerry Brenner, 1940-2014, R.I.P.
February 28, 2014
This past week Jerry Brenner, one of the music industry's legendary, most loved and respected independent promotion men, passed away at his home in Swampscott, Massachusetts after a battle with cancer.
If you didn't know Jerry, you missed working with a man who was loved by everyone who worked with him, for him, and all the radio people he talked to for decades. He was the best of what an "Independent Promotion Man" represented.
I wrote this back in the newsletter back in 2004: "As an industry veteran of some 30 years, I remember well the Federal investigations that were sparked by Brian Ross' NBC Nightly News piece about the alleged 'Network' that controlled radio and had a chokehold on the record industry. I also remember telling investigators at that time (under oath), if the independents indeed had all the power people thought, then every record that labels spent money on to promote would be hits and it would've made our jobs a whole lot easier. After millions of taxpayers' dollars were spent, one program director in a secondary market was named for accepting payola from a secondary independent promotion person."
Almost no label executives realized back then that great independent promotion professionals like Jerry Brenner grew out of working for smaller independent distributors and labels, before the majors came along with their own distribution and promotion staffs. Most thought "indies" were "bag men" or middle men to do the dirty work of paying the right people to get records played. Yes, I'm sure that existed in some cases, but I never witnessed it in my tenure as a head of promotion.
What I witnessed was, in many cases, best exemplified by Jerry Brenner, who was respected by every radio station and music retailer he ever talked to, and again, loved by everybody on the record side of the business. Jerry WAS Boston radio and records personified. It was that simple.
Good independent promotion such as Jerry Brenner, who worked closely with a label's promotion department people, were once the much-needed glue between labels and radio.
Jerry Brenner worked synergistically, communicated regularly, and was enthusiastic and excited about the music he promoted, regardless of what label it was on. He turned me on to great songs and great records long before they were hits, and that same enthusiasm won him respect at radio. His symbiotic relationship fostered success for all he worked with and in the process he helped expose a wealth of great music and artists to the public.
I remember Jerry calling me every time he got a record played, and especially how excited he was if he was helping break a new artist. Jerry took great pride in being a part of the success of every artist he promoted, and every artist he ever promoted loved him as well. Just check out the pictures of Jerry with the dozens of artists who paid him respect on his Facebook page.
Jerry also took the time to work with all the local Boston promotion people, and those who were new to the game, he helped tutor them to make them better professionals as well.
I was deeply saddened to hear about Jerry's passing this week. I lost a long time friend.
And so did the music industry.
My condolences go out to his family.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
THE TOUR MANAGERS FOR THE STONES, FLEETWOOD MAC, AND FOO FIGHTERS TELL SOME WILD STORIES
Behind every music tour -- from Beyonce's Vegas-styled extravaganzas to Phish's weed-and-'shroom-fueled odysseys -- is an unsung individual who's equal parts field marshal, political fixer, armchair psychoanalyst and bag man.
The tour manager on a major artist's outing is often responsible for shepherding more than 100 musicians, gaffers, carpenters, lighting technicians and accountants on voyages that span the globe and entire seasons. At the same time, they have to anticipate hundreds of demands from not-always-appreciative employers while keeping the entourage happy, safe and out of trouble. Read the article on Billboard Biz
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
OPENAURA LAUNCHES TO HELP ARTISTS
Hypebot reports that Kevin Arnold, Founder of IODA Music and the Noise Pop Festival, today announced a new service called OpenAura.
The new service is intended to provide artists and musicians with more control over how they perform online, and give them a new system to generate revenue. "Artists or their teams are able to control and curate a set of content for publication and syndication via APIs, and, for the first time, be able to make money off of a set of content information that represents their digital identity — so, essentially anything in digital form created by or about an artist," said Kevin Arnold, Founder of OpenAura. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
MORE ON THE OSCAR-NOMINATED DOCUMENTARY '20 FEET FROM STARDOM'
If you still haven't seen the terrific documentary about the music industry's most famous (within the business) back-up singers, do so and you'll enjoy every minute of it.
"And it's not like it changes overnight for you ... but what it has done for me is it's gotten me in a whole lot of other places, gotten me out of New York and New Jersey," Darlene Love tells TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
HAS STREAMING RADIO OVERTAKEN MUSIC VIDEOS?
From MediaPost, "While there might have been a time when music television had taken a higher place than radio in teens' esteem, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction with the growth of streaming radio services.
Unlike traditional radio stations (which also offer streaming), the services below offer teens customizable, on-demand listening options that they can take anywhere. There's a battle brewing among service providers to win over young listeners with free, ad-supported options, and it's a competition that marketers should watch with interest." More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
MOST OF US IGNORE ONLINE ADS ... WHAT A SURPRISE ... NOT!
Four of Five American Consumers Ignore Online Ads Most Frequently: According to the results of the first annual Goo Online Advertising Survey, from Goo Technologies, 82% of Americans ignore online ads, ahead of television ads at 37%. 92% of Americans ignore at least one type of ad seen every day across six different types of media.
The online ads Americans are most likely to ignore included: online banner ads (73%), followed by social media ads (62%) and search engine ads (59%). The highest wage earners, those with a household income of $100k+ per year, were statistically more likely than those households making less than $50k per year (86% vs. 78%, respectively) to say they ignore online ads.
Please visit here for more information from Goo Technologies.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
OSCAR STAGE MANAGER TELLS BACKSTAGE SECRETS FROM 25 YEARS IN THE WINGS
Newly retired stage manager Dency Nelson saw everything that happened on and offstage during his 25 years at the Oscars, and talks with TheWrap about what he will miss most.
Full story at TheWrap
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
* 12 Late-Night Talk Shows That Didn't Last
* Fallon, Armisen Reimagine the Beatles in the Twitter Age
* Watch: Springsteen Wraps Australia Tour, Covers the Bee Gees
* Listen to Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir," Unmixed
* David Lee Roth, Mike Love: 'California Girls'
* Green Day to Issue Demo-Filled LP 'Demolicious' for Record Store Day
* Music Photos of the Week
* Six Oscar Upsets to Watch For
* 10 must-see videos of the week
* TV Is Dead; Long Live TV
* Amazon Readying Set-Top Box
* First full trailer for HBO's 'Silicon Valley' (with Steve Jobs joke)
* 5 Awful Stories You Shouldn't Laugh At (But Probably Will)
* This is the brand-new Samsung Galaxy S5
* TiVo co-founders launch $49 video streamer
* Vizio's cheap E-Series TVs are brimming with local dimming
* Tesla Model S wins 'best overall' car by Consumer Reports
* These routers pack some serious power
* Created and taught by Professor Rick Peckham, Guitar Chords 101 presents Berklee's time-tested approach to the construction of chords and provides the basic foundations guitarists require to write and perform in any number of different styles. Sample This Course for Free
Short News Items ...
STAMP COLLECTORS TAKE NOTE:
The U.S. Postal Service will unravel several lines of celebrity-adorned stamps over the next two years, with subjects ranging from Apple founder Steve Jobs to gay rights activist Harvey Milk. It will also be offering numerous music-related stamps, including Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix this year and a James Brown stamp next year. 2015 will also see a re-release of Elvis Presley's 29-cent tribute from 1993 -- the Postal Service's best-selling stamp ever -- according to The Washington Post. A stamp for John Lennon has been planned for an as-yet-unannounced date.
NEW 'BOSS' MUSIC COMING:
Bruce Springsteen will release four songs on a new EP that will be available for Record Store Day on April 19th. Also coming is a DVD of the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year concert with Neil Young, Sting and more saluting Springsteen with covers of his songs.
'IDOL' GOES LOWER:
Fox's "American Idol" hit an all-time ratings low in the key demo last Thursday (2/20) and had its smallest audience since 2002, the reality competition's debut season. "Idol" dropped 20% week-to-week. Full story at TheWrap
NO KISS MUSIC:
Kiss won't rock and roll all night when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, the band said Sunday. The 40-year-old group is unable to agree on which lineup should perform during the April 10th ceremony in New York City, and has decided not to plug in at all. The dispute concerns whether original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss would join Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley in a live performance, or whether the current lineup of Stanley, Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer would play instead.
MIKE LOVE REMEMBERS GEORGE:
On what would have been his 71st birthday, George Harrison is being honored by his friend Mike Love with a previously unreleased track called "Pisces Brothers." The Beach Boy bonded with Harrison on their mutual trip to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. Read More
COURTNEY LOVE OWES HER SHRINK:
Next month a New Hampshire auction house will make available Led Zeppelin demos from the sessions for their 1975 album Physical Graffiti. The collection also includes rough mixes from Eric Clapton, Bad Company and more. Listen to the Zep tracks here. Read More
Pandora Media, which is trying to boost its ad revenue, is aiming to predict whether a listener will favor ads for or against hot-button political topics. Last week, it began serving political ads tailored to musical tastes of its 73.4 million monthly users. The Internet radio service found a way to get pretty accurate about a listener's political leanings by analyzing a combination of music genres and geographic voting patterns. Read the whole story
ADAM LEVINE SHARES ADHD INSIGHTS:
'Voice' judge and Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine, is helping to kick off an initiative to help motivate other adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder by sharing his own personal story. The campaign, called "Own It" and is funded by Shire, an international pharmaceutical company whose products include Adderall XR, a commonly prescribed drug for ADHD. Read the whole story
SMART GIRL SELLS LOTS OF COOKIES!
Want to sell a lot of Girl Scout Cookies? Set up shop outside a pot dispensary. Just about everyone loves Girl Scout Cookies. And one 13-year-old girl came up with an ingenious strategy to significantly boost her sales: setting up shop outside a San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary. In a major surprise to no one, it was a huge hit, with Danielle Lei selling 117 boxes in just two hours. setting up shop outside a San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary.
JOAN JETT HONORED:
Joan Jett is also on deck to receive a trophy naming her the Golden God. It's the first time in the show's six-year history that a woman will be honored with this award, which previously went to the likes of Kiss's Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper. "No one deserves this award more than Joan Jett," Cooper said in a statement. "She's never compromised who she is – she's a rocker through and through. I wish some of the younger bands had the balls that Joan Jett does!"
ROCK STAR ARRESTS:
Trashing rooms. Exploding toilets. Driving a Lincoln Continental into a hotel swimming pool ... while naked. When rock stars get arrested, they really go big. (And that was just Keith Moon, in a single night!) Here are 29 more humiliating times when big stars got busted. Read More
GO JIMMY, GO:
Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" closed out its most-watched week in 20 years with an average audience of 8.8 million on Friday, up 14% from the prior night. Full story at TheWrap
"Piers Morgan Live" will be canceled after a three-year run in CNN's 9p slot. (Editor's note: I can hear you all applauding!)
'TRUE DETECTIVE' A HIT:
HBO's "True Detective" is shaping up to be a true hit. The Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson drama hit a series high with its Sunday night episode, drawing 2.6 million total viewers with its initial 9 p.m. airing — its best showing since its Jan. 12 series premiere, which attracted 2.3 million total viewers.
Harold Ramis, the Chicago-born writer, director, actor and producer whose films "Stripes," "Caddyshack," "Animal House," "Groundhog Day" and "Ghostbusters" are among the most beloved and successful comedies of all time, has died. He was 69. Ramis died early Monday of complications from auto-immune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that causes swelling of the blood vessels. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and friends at his Chicago-area home where he returned to live in 1996 after 20 years in Los Angeles, according to a statement from UTA, which repped him. Read more about Ramis at TheWrap
Quotes of the week
"There was a time the entire world didn't have a camera in their pocket -- the first thing that cell phones did was to kill the autograph business. Nobody cares about your autograph. There are cameras everywhere, and there are media outlets for them to "file their story." They take your picture in line for coffee. They're trying to get a picture of your baby. Everyone's got a camera. When they're done, they tweet it. It's ... unnatural."
-- Alec Baldwin, in his self-penned article Alec Baldwin: Good-bye, Public Life
"Category: Best Animated Feature: I have seen none of them. I have no interest whatsoever. That ended when I was 6. My son dragged me to a few when he was 6; I would seat him and go outside and make phone calls."
-- From 'Oscar Voter Reveals Brutally Honest Ballot' on The Hollywood Rrporter
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
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Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
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