Producing the best website we can

Posted on the wall across from my desk is a classic, 26-year-old poster for Joe Jackson’s Night and Day album. They album features the time-tested “Steppin’ Out,” but has some of his best work in “Cancer” and “Target,” among other songs. Here’s a picture of the poster, taken from my chair…

Joe Jackson Night & Day poster

There’s a quote on this poster, which you may or may not be able to read. It says…

“People are too concerned with whether they’re going to appear cool, or hip, or whether their ‘street’ credibility will suffer if they do this, or that. No one’s going to be hip forever. Who cares. The important thing it to follow your instincts, and produce the best music you can.”

I’ve had this poster for years (given to me by my older brother… the same one who gave me all those TDK cassettes back in 1982). I’ve read the quote many times. I’ve always liked the sentiment. But I’ve only recently started dissecting it and taking it to heart.

We’ve been doing a lot of work on our brand personality, lately. We’re in the hunt for a marketing agency, and I’m getting a lot of questions about who we are, what we’re doing and who we think our users are going to be – or who do we want them to be.

There’s a lot of research we can do. And focus groups have been suggested to learn more about these people.

But I keep coming back to the quote on the poster that I see every day. I don’t want to try and be something for some specific target group. Never in my personal life have I ever tried to be anyone other than who I am. I’ve never tried to speak the language of any group I’ve presented to in my professional life, and I’ve never tried to be something other than what I am for anyone in my personal life.

Since my charge with NewTunes it to run our marketing efforts, I’m not going to start with this site. We are a new way to find new music for people that are interested in finding new music. I don’t care what kind of music they find, so long as they’re truly happy they discovered it.

I don’t want to design the site for the “hip-hop crowd” or for “indie fans” or anything else. It’s a site about finding music. We’re getting music fans off the cold, statistic-driven “people who bought this, bought that” model and trying to give them music they’ve never heard that is compatible with music they like. Pretty simple stuff.

This site is for people who truly enjoy music. It’s for people who are always sure they’ve got their iPod or their CDs with them. People who, when they rent a car, are most concerned with what medium will work in the car. People who could talk all day about the songs, the sounds, the instruments or the lyrics. This site will be for them. It will be for me.

If we deliver on that, we’ll stand the test of time and get past the phase of being the “site of the day” or some music fan fad and fall comfortably in to being a reliable source – day in and day out.

So, no surprise to those who know what a Joe Jackson fan I’ve been, but I guess he’s a driving force behind our brand personality these days… and I thing that quote truly sums up what we’re about.


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