Monthly Archives: January 2013

Successful branding

gbWhat music has stayed with you the longest?

The very first cassette tape I ever bought with my own money was Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms. It was 1984 and I was eight.

I can still remember sticking it in my ghetto blaster (yes, that was what we called them) for the very first time and sitting cross-legged on the grass, as Mark Knopfler demonstrated what it was to stroke a guitar.

29 years later, still listening.

How about you?

Addendum One: Here’s the reason I liked Dire Straits: the record industry told me to. This was 1984. Small-town Nebraska. Before Walmart, even, so I bought the tape in a Kmart. There was an independent record store in town, possibly two, but like my mom was going to let 8 year old me venture in amongst the stoners and metalheads to peruse Motorhead and the Doors outtakes. Also, I think I’d seen the Money For Nothing video – revolutionary at the time – at a friend’s house on MTV. I had certainly heard the song on the radio. I believe the local rock station was live with an actual DJ at the time but they still got their marching orders from corporate, and played what the people wanted to hear. Which was what the home office told them the people wanted to hear.

Talk about successful branding. Here I am, nearly three decades later, pimping the Dire Straits band on my own time, for free.

Addendum Two: I don’t care. Dire Straits are (were) a great fucking band. I prefer to think they used the music industry to get their music out. Rather than the other way round. Exhibit A,¬†as proof:

Addendum Three: In the pre-internet days, the music industry was the method by which great music was efficiently distributed to the hinterlands, i.e., where I lived. Some trucker hauled that tape 3000 miles from the tape factory to the Scottsbluff, Nebraska Kmart. So I could buy it with lawn-mowing money. Everyone wins, no?

*Historical note: Brothers in Arms, which I bought on tape, was the first CD to sell a million copies. Either the record industry is very persuasive, or that was a great record. Both?

She was wearing another dress now, a purple creation that was more than just tight. It looked as if it had grown up with her.

– David Goodis, Black Friday