The Life Lessons and Sonic Treasures Hidden Inside the Music of Justin Bieber

Posted on September 21, 2010 by 2 Comments

I’m a man well into his 30s. So it should surprise no one that my music collection is relatively Justin Bieber-free. I say “relatively” because I came across a brilliant twist on The Bieb’s music recently that both blew me away and got me thinking about pushing limits and evolving in a creative environment.Justin Bieber

Last month, music producer Nick Pittsinger gained viral Internet fame when he used a free audio editing program called PaulStretch to slow down Justin Bieber’s song “U Smile” by 800 percent. The result, whether by accident or design, was a yawning, aching, spectacular soundscape that washes over you in waves and melts your brain into lava lamp globs. No joke. Put on the headphones, close your eyes … this song will make you fly. I promise.

Did Pittsinger know his experiment in sound would transform JB’s normally cavity-inducing, bubblegum pop into a soaring work of sonic art you could easily file alongside Sigur Rós or Dead Can Dance? I seriously doubt it. I mean, he knew he’d end up with something different. But I don’t think he could possibly have imagined the result would be as magical as it is.

At Waggener Edstrom, we put a lot of emphasis on creativity. And to achieve creative results, we often challenge ourselves to attack common ideas or problems from many different angles. Take something you know, turn it on its head or run it through various filters, and see what you come up with.

There’s no guarantee the time and energy you invest in creative experimentation will yield the “happy accident” outcome Pittsinger found. And when you’re as busy as we all are, setting off on potentially fruitless endeavors is difficult to justify. Still, as this song reminded me, unexpected and beautiful results often lie at the end of untraveled roads. If we’re going to find what’s there, we need to walk them.

Image by Daniel Ogren.

What PR Can Learn From Nine Inch Nails

Posted on June 11, 2009 by Comments Off

Tac Anderson, Digital Consulting Director

Trent ReznorIf this guy gets it, then surely you can too. Despite his appearance, his lifestyle or your opinion of his music Trent Reznor is a very savvy business person. He’s an even better marketer.

Faced with the decline of the recording industry the complete disruption of the business model and the rise of social media Reznor took the smartest approach anyone could have taken:

I found myself realizing that for me to have any concept of how to interact with the community and know what they might want / what they find appropriate, I need to immerse myself in that world and live it for a while. The reason no record label knows how to market anything to new media is they don’t live there. They don’t get it because they don’t use it.

If you have not yet adopted this approach for you and your team you’re being left behind.

Ultimately Reznor decided to leave Twitter because it wasn’t providing value. Along the way he discovered a lot of useful tools, including building his own social network for his fans and an iPhone app that pulls content from that site along with music. But he wouldn’t have known what would work until he tried it.

Neither will you.

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