February 2008

Because I work in media, I’ve supposedly been trained not to be sucker punched by marketing ploys. This doesn’t mean I’m immune to a shiny point-of-purchase display at Target hawking some very slick, coal-black David Bowie/Keanan Duffty jeans—I bought ’em in an instant. But I’ve been less taken in by the current “Web 2.0” hype. This is mostly because I dig history, and I actually try to learn from it. The simple truth I gleaned from Web 1.0 was that the business and consumer constituencies were a bit out of synch. The result was less simple, of course, and it ruined some livelihoods when tons of startups went belly up, and massive numbers of corporations never got the desired returns from their initial Web investments.

But now Web 2.0 is here, and all is forgiven. Consumers are consuming, business is delivering, and the future looks bright. And all is forgotten, as well. This is the aspect of Web 2.0 that makes me giggle, because many of the ideas and plans developed during Web 1.0 are often recast as “new” strategies. Haven’t we all read news stories of some genius advocating a brilliant Web 2.0 enhancement that sounds very familiar to something that first appeared in the early 2000s? Rename it, rework it, and claim it.

I laugh about this stuff, but I can’t really bag on someone for slapping fresh paint over an old, rusted concept. I’m a musician, and I steal or evolve riffs from other musicians all the time. Mining from the past is the currency of pop music. Some players are honest about this activity, and others are not, and it doesn’t matter in any case. If audiences only supported truly original talent, legions of really famous musicians would be bagging your purchases at Wal-Mart.

So—getting back to the main point—I’ve decided that Web 2.0 is about resurrection. The ideas of years back are surfacing again, and marketing cats can call it “Web 2.0” or “The New Age of Media” or “Harlequin Snagglepuss,” but it’s simply about good ideas returning to constituencies that are now ready to exploit or embrace an online business proposition.

In MPN’s case, we planned “private” interactive Webcast lessons with music stars years ago. Development and commerce glitches—and tons of other detris—tanked the proposal before it could become action. Today, we “have the technology” so to speak (sorry, Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers), and those star Webcasts are now a reality. GP launched its first one with Larry Carlton on November 26, 2007 (see the story in the March 2008 GP), and Bass Player (Vince Wooten), Keyboard (Jeff Lorber), and EQ (Craig Anderton) also debuted excellent Web seminars. All are wonderful opportunities to learn from legends in the comfort of your home, and we’ll continue the program throughout 2008 (you can view all previous Webcasts at visualwebcaster.com/musicplayernetwork/storefront). So, call these babies what you will, but they’re here, and, more importantly, they can broadcast a ton of essential knowledge into any brain that wants to sound better and play better.