40 – HOW STARS ARE BORN AS MOUNTAINS CRUMBLE TO THE SEA

 

The door to the executive suite was open, and Stephen waved the kids in when they knocked. The King of Horror and Queen of Pop were engaged in a chess match that had just begun.

“Shall we come back later,” Kitty asked.

“Madonna, smiling and looking Kitty rigt in the eyes, answered, “No, of course not. Grab a seat. Have you eaten? You never did get around to your… what was it?”

“The penne garlic vodka mushroom. No, it’s fine, I got them to reheat it for me after my swim. ‘Twas excellent. Highest recommendation” said Kitty. The girl knew Madge would be studying her when she mentioned her swim, looking for an emoticon on her face. She was not smiling. She was not playing around. She was dead serious. Message delivered.

“Kitty has been pondering Commonwealth, and seen some things she finds… interesting? Promising?” Lance grasped.

“Yes, both,” Kitty answered.

“Things you hadn’t already thought of?” asked King.

“I don’t know. I told her to hold it until we were all together.”

“Great. Thank you. And here we are,” said Madonna. “Please, Kitty, share your contemplationS and conclusions?”

“Yes, happily. I’ve been looking at it from a creator’s perspective, and the possibilities are mind blowing,” Miss Kaboodle declared.

“The two of you are superstars, household names. You will have no shortage of sellers throwing themselves at you. And, as someone pointed out, Lance, I assume, you will have power to command high percentages of sales revenue, because of your positions. But new artists, emerging artists, starving artists, like Lance and millions of others will be less fortunate, at least at the start. But they will have a much greater chance of climbing, and making decent money as they do so, with Commonwealth, than they could dream of otherwise, under the present pyramid paradigm.

“For the sake of my argument, let’s make lance a musician, a singer songwriter, instead of a writer, no offense.”

“None taken,” Lear assured her.

“Emerging talents often get their first exposure on college radio stations, which are de facto mandated to find new stuff. So, he actually has a better chance of getting into the rotation of a college station than you have,” she said, looking at Madge, who nodded her agreement.

“College stations get their funding from student activity fees, usually through the student unions. They generate zero revenue. No advertising. But with Commonwealth, they can generate revenue without the hassle of trying o sell advertising. They can make money by having partnerships with the artists. Lance drops an album. I’m a DJ at a college station. I see it on the station’s Commonwealth notifications, give it a listen, and decide I wanna champion it by spinning it, and interviewing him. We do a deal through Commonwealth, and my listeners buy it directly from the station’s Commonwealth store, because they wanna support us, and him.”

“Exactly,” Lance confirmed.

“Because Commonwealth is open access, anyone can see what is selling. Lance starts to heat up, as other college stations see his album on out charts, and add him to their rotations. Before you know it, big commercial stations catch wind. Pretty soon, Rolling Stone is reviewing his album, interviewing him and selling him.”

“A new star is born!” Madonna exclaimed.

Kitty looked at Madge and wondered how many blowjobs Commonwealth would have saved her from having to administer, and grinned.

“Let me give you one example of a hypothetical that will make you understand the enormous potential.” Lance, being a night owl with a curious mind, is a semi regular listener to, “Coast to Caost AM. Most widely syndicated radio show in the world, with an average nightly listenership of close to three million. Four hours per night, seven days per week.

“And let’s say they have two guests per night, both of whom have something to sell. A book, doc, album whatever. The average price is $10, and the guest agrees to a 50/50 split with the show for all sales made through the show’s store for the next 24 hours.

“Now, let’s lowball it, and say both guests sell 10,000 units of whatever they are selling. The show has sold 20,000 units, and they get five bucks per unit, for $100,000 for the night. Multiply that by 365 and you get $36,500,000 per year for the show.

“But, let’s be wild and crazy, and imagine that the show can promo their guests enough prior to appearance to get a one percent sales rate on their three million nightly listeners. They’re now pulling in one hundred and ten million bucks per year, off Commonwealth sales. And that’s off a one percent conversion rate.”

“That’s just mind blowing,” King stammered.

“Here’s another mind blower for you,” Kitty cut in. “Obama is the most followed person on Twitter. Something like 110 million followers. Let’s say he reads Lance’s book, and loves it. Lance could drop the price of the book to two bucks, and with one tweet, Obama could sell a million copies of it. One tweet makes both Obama and Lance a million bucks.”

“Yes,” said Lance. “And it gets better. Let me explain a little about the elasticity, the versatility, how it has a thousand and one uses. Let’s go back to me, the smallish, indy singer songwriter who’s getting traction on college radio.  I am booking a tour. Well, not rigt now, but eventually. It takes me through the Midwest, starting in Omaha. My first stop is Des Moines, then the Twin Cities etc. I contact all Commonwealth sellers along the route, and offer them a partnership on not only my album sales, but also my ticket sales. They do all my marketing for me. I don’t have to pay a dime for it.”

“Because they all have profit motive,” King said, with a grin.

“It’s all about the money, money, money,” Kitty laughed.

“And because you are selling only through Commonwealth stores, no one can buy you on Amazon,” Madonna said. They can’t stream you on Spotify, can’t get tix to your shows through Ticketmaster etc.”

“Exactly,” Lance said.

“But they can still get all they want of you on Youtube?” King asked.

“Youtube does come into it, and I know how Commonwealth can shove them aside, replace them,” Lance assured all, “but let me save that for later.”

“We can take out Youtube, too?” asked Madonna.

“Oh, yeah,” said Lance. “And we will. They will all crumble and fall. But, as I say, I will explain that later. I wanna hear what else Kitty has figured out.”

41 – THE LONG TAIL

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