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Tools of Change 2013: What Excites Me Right Now

February 2nd, 2013 · 8 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

In about two weeks, I, along with a couple thousand or so of my closest friends, will be attending the 2013 Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York. As you may have guessed, recently I’ve felt I haven’t had much to add to the digital publishing conversation. In many ways — while I know there has been exciting innovation — I’ve felt like we’ve been at a standstill.

(Or, to misquote my friend Eoin Purcell, publishers feel like they have this whole digital thing sorted. Done and done.)

Of course, if you’ve been paying attention (and I know you have), you know there is a lot of innovation happening outside the world of traditional publishing. And, to be honest, inside of traditional publishing, though I would characterize many of those experiments as baby steps instead of bold initiatives. Perhaps this is how it should be.
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File Under: The Future of Publishing

The Daily Square

Certain Songs #547: The Greg Kihn Band – “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)”

May 25th, 2016 · No Comments

Greg Kihn Breakup Album: Rockihnroll
Year: 1981

Because I actually kept records for a short period of time, I can report that I saw The Greg Kihn Band six times between March ’81 & October ’82.

Why? For one reason, neither Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty were playing Fresno during that time period, and while seeing The Greg Kihn Band wasn’t even close to seeing Bruce or Tom — both of whom Tim & I road-tripped to see late in the summer of ’81 — it was a reasonable enough simulacrum, especially considering the amount of effort it took to get to the Star Palace, where he played a lot of those shows.

No one who wasn’t there is going to believe this — including middle-aged me, at this point — but Greg Kihn always killed when he played Fresno. His songs, which sounded OK on the radio, somehow gained extra power when he was performing them live.

This made it easy to root for him, despite — or possibly also because of — the ongoing series of puns against his name that made up his album titles. Early on, there was Next of Kihn (a good one!), and from 1981-1985, Rockihnroll, Kihntinued, Kihnspiracy, Kihntagous, and Citizen Kihn.

It’s like they had a drunken band session at some point in 1980 where they brainstormed all of these album titles and then figured that since they already had the titles, they might as well record the records. The biggest problem was that I never liked his records all that much.

Which is why I pretty much stopped following him at some point during that run — I doubt I heard all of 1983’s Kihnspiracy, which had his biggest hit, the MTV-driven (and Weird Al parodied!) “Jeopardy.”

That said, while I probably ended up getting sick of it at the time, his first big single, “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)”, is easily my favorite of the songs I heard, and the rare power pop single that actually became a huge pop hit, reaching #15 in 1981.

Hooked a snaking guitar line and as well as Greg Kihn’s “ah ah ah ah ah ah oh” after every line of every verse and featuring a chorus where against big staccato chords he shouts:

They don’t write ’em like that anymore
They don’t write ’em like that anymore

The best part was at the end, when drummer Larry Lynch added an awesome drum roll hook to the chorus, so the drum rolls, guitar chords and Kihn’s vocals were all battling each other for supremacy while combining to create what remains an irresitible chorus.

It’s also ironic that a song that traded in nostalgia to a certain extent has also kinda come true: for better or worse, they don’t write ’em like “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” anymore.

“The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em”)

“The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” performed live in 1981

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The Daily Square Archive

Quote Of The Week

On Acknowledging Truths

May 3rd, 2010 · 12 Comments

The shifts in today’s publishing business are happening lightening fast and iceberg slow. Epiphanies strike at odd moments. Brett Sandusky had one. Below is where he ended up; read his entire post (linked below) to see how he got there.

In the end, no amount of market research, anecdotal evidence, kaffee klatsches, or cocktail parties can ever replace actual and real interaction with our customers. Recently, I attended a conference where a panelist kept repeating throughout her presentation, “The reader is the consumer who is your customer. I openly admit that, at the time, I begrudged this panelist for stating the obvious. Of course the reader is our customer.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized what she was really saying: in an age of digital books, in an age where many of this industry’s institutions are, one by one, going away or becoming irrelevant, we are no longer the industry we thought we were. And, the reality is this: we can no longer afford to act as a B-to-B business. The future, if we have one, depends on our ability to reconfigure as a B-to-C business and start interacting with readers directly free of buffers and intermediaries. From product development, to consumer feedback, to buyer-less sell-in for digital products, to direct to consumer sales, to verticality, to providing readers with what they want, a new wave of customer interaction needs to guide us along our paths to the future.

Now, do you remember that money which we took from marketing budgets slated for BEA? What if we funneled that money into establishing direct consumer contact? Think of the awesome changes we could make in place of printing thousands upon thousands of galleys that end up in the hands of someone who could get the book for free regardless.

I can only repeat these wise words, something I didn’t fully understand just a few months ago, “The reader is the consumer who is your customer.”

Quote Of The Week Archive

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