Posts Tagged ‘country music’

Big birthday bash

Posted: August 30, 2010 by chrisbagley in F3 Technologies, FargoTube, Uncategorized
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Sherrie (left) and Stephanie Miller, F3's SVP of Business Development

On another sales-and-networking trip to Nashville, Stephanie and Frank helped Sherrié Austin celebrate her birthday Saturday evening. She claimed to be turning 40, but I have my doubts. Then again, Sherrié has been in the game longer than most country musicians her age, and certainly long enough to fill her videocentric social network on FargoTube immediately after setting it up a couple of weeks ago.

The birthday girl

Before Sherrié’s music career even took off, she got into acting, co-starring in 15 episodes of NBC’s long-running “The Facts of Life” sitcom in 1987 and 1988 and appearing in an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air alongside Will Smith.

Her first musical fame had already come at age 14, when she opened for Johnny Cash on his 1985 tour of her native Australia.

Sherrie Austin on the deck of the USS Enterprise in 2004 (courtesy of Wikipedia)

She released her first studio album in 1992 as half of the “Colorhaus” duo. Based in Nashville, Sherrié followed with albums in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003, including the top-40 releases “Love in the Real World” and “Streets of Heaven.” Four of her singles have broken the top 40 on U.S. country-music charts.

Sherrié is recording new music in Nashville, including several tracks we hope to offer through FargoTube.

Paul and Stephanie got back Wednesday evening from Nashville, where they made progress on several fronts for FargoTube. As you may know, FargoTube is F3’s revolutionary platform for profitable online distribution of videos (and now music and hi-def photos).

I was especially gratified to hear that country musician Coles Whalen, one of our first partners in the industry, plans to have an August 6 gig in Denver filmed and uploaded to FargoTube. This is the sort of content that we believe FargoTube helps to bring into existence. Musicians won’t necessarily hire a videographer and video editor without an outlet for distribution and a way to cover the costs, but FargoTube is both: Artists can direct their fans to FargoTube by mentioning it at a concert, as Coles plans to do, or by integrating it into an existing fan site. Fans can pay a few dollars for access to a single video or sign up for a monthly subscription.

Another country musician with Nashville ties, Nik Wyllie, told us he plans to begin uploading content as soon as next week, when FargoTube takes on a set of new features. Nik is set to release an album both through iTunes and through FargoTube; he plans to add video content to his FargoTube tube in the next few months.

While we don’t know whether FargoTube will take the place of iTunes, we do think our service is advantageous for Nik and other artists in several ways that Apple’s isn’t: FargoTube is a social network built around video and other content, so it keeps fans in contact with the tube owner’s content for longer and also provides owners with quicker and more complete feedback on fans’ buying habits. And FargoTube offers music in the universal mp3 format that plays on devices other than the iPod.

Paul also met with a couple of potential clients who themselves serve the country-music industry. One of them, a public-relations representative, is considering FargoTube as a way to distribute the four-minute video tutorials he makes for fellow musicians. The other is a video-production company that F3 may enlist to make a promotional video for FargoTube. We hope that company, too, could become a source of content partners for FargoTube.

(This post has been updated with details of Coles Whalen’s concert)

F3′s sales team is back from a productive trip to Music City USA and preparing for yet another Nashville trip, its fourth in two months.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were busy for Paul Campbell, our chief operating officer; and Stephanie Miller, our SVP of business development. They met with a talent-management agency, a public-relations firm, a large music-licensing firm, and a couple of country musicians who have become television stars.

We expect some of these meetings to have indirect but very important results for our FargoTube entertainment service. The licensing agency, essentially a group of sleuths that track down unlicensed use of songs, could eventually give FargoTube enormous credibility as a force for the rights of musicians and other content owners, who are trying to break their addiction to free online distribution.

“A lot of things we’re doing are not just short-term,” Paul said. “They’re things we’re doing to ensure that the site has longevity. Everything we do as a company is about getting to the point where we have sustainability.”

With some of the other meetings, the goal is a partnership where the content owner makes FargoTube a key part of distribution strategy. After signing Strange Celebrity Entertainment, LLC, and its country musicians last month, we’re aiming for a second major content partner. We expect that to happen soon because we’ve drawn a lot of interest from a lot of different content owners, who range from Nashville musicians to producers of instructional videos.

The sales process is a bit like planting a tree and waiting for it to bear fruit, even for the discussions with content partners and potential content partners. For one thing, FargoTube is pioneering a new business model that content owners are only beginning to understand. Artists have been using their online presence mainly to promote their concert tours and sales of physical albums, and the costs of such promotion are often larger than the revenue they generate. And while free music videos have helped generate advertising revenue and have probably aided in the sales of digitial music files through third-party websites such as iTunes, those two sources have replaced only a fraction of the loss from declining CD sales. In short, online distribution hasn’t been a smashing success, so content owners are having to become more judicious in how they fit the internet into their business models. F3 Technologies is working with them to ensure that FargoTube is the online source of the future.