From The Other Side

Who hasn’t heard Adele’s song, “Hello?”  When it was released, it took the Internet airwaves by storm, flooding every market, and tearing up the charts.  That being said, sometimes a song covered by another artist has more appeal than the original version.    For example, Conkarah from Jamaica and Rosie Delmah from the Solomon Islands have done an amazing reggae cover — putting their own artistic stamp on the catchy ditty — with their version racking up almost 15 million views to date.

Now compare that version with Adele’s original recording.

For comparison sake, I’ve cherry picked a few more covers of Adele’s new song, “Hello” from YouTube to show the diversity of versions floating about in the digital world.  Versions such as Conor Maynard’s, that, like Conkarah and Rosie Delmah’s version, has nearly reached 15 million views.  Conor is signed to Parlophone Records (a division of Warner Music Group in the UK).

This next version is by Rebel Rock recording artist, 24-year-old Leroy Sanchez with an impressive 25 million plus views.

There’s a Spanglish version of the song by Karen Rodriguez.

Sam Tsui and Casey Breves decided to take it on as a duo complete with unexpected percussion and harmonies that give a song a different flavor.  Check it out for yourself.

And just to throw you for a loop, this is a Mozart-influenced arrangement of this song in a classical mash-up with “Lacrimosa” from Mozart’s Requiem, courtesy of The Piano Guys.

As you can see, the creative types who have decided to wrestle Adele’s song into something fits their unique style have found ways to imprint themselves on the bones of this song.  If you’ve heard a version of “Hello” that you think deserves a wider audience, feel free to add the link in the comments below, along with your reasons why you think it’s an awesome version.  Let’s share the diversity of musical expression.

Elyse Bruce

Idle No More: Super Bowl 50

Super Bowl 50 sees the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos going up against each other for the coveted top prize.  Good teams, and good team names.

However, let’s not forget that some teams still insist on using inappropriate team names that disrespect Indigenous peoples.

Waiting On WalkerTube

According to Craig Smith, Director of Marketing at DMR (formerly Digital Marketing Ramblings), these are the facts and stats about YouTube.

  • over 1 billion people use YouTube;
  • there are over 4 billion video views on YouTube every single day of the week;
  • there are over 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every single minute of the day;
  • there are more than 325 days worth of YouTube videos viewed on Facebook every minute;
  • in 2014, it was reported that 82% of teens aged 14 to 17 used YouTube;
  • in 2015, it was reported that 81% of Millennials used YouTube;
  • in 2015, it was reported that 58% of Gen Xers used YouTube;
  • in 2015, it was reported that 43% of Baby Boomers used YouTube;
  • globally (excluding China), 85% of online adults self-reported as being regular YouTube visitors; and
  • YouTube’s estimated 2014 U.S. ad revenues were $1.13 billion USD.

It’s important to know these details as they  have an impact on the next segment of this article.

Doug Walker (aka The Guy With The Glasses aka The Nostalgia Critic) of Channel Awesome recently posted a rant (in two parts) on YouTube complaining about YouTube.  For reasons that he claims are unknown to him (although he does mention that he receive notification of a claim of copyright infringement from an anime copyright owner in Japan), the Channel Awesome channel had their channel monetization temporarily suspended.

Did he infringe on copyright?  I’m not privy to the details so I can’t say if he did or didn’t.  But I do know a few things about Doug Walker.

He’s a smart guy.

He understands his audience incredibly well.

He knows that a great many of them are of the opinion that if they see or hear something from their latest internet sensation hero on YouTube or other social media platforms, that internet sensation MUST be telling the truth.  What that internet sensation is saying MUST be real!

He knows that if he creates a biased video that skews the facts, he can manipulate his followers and fans into believing that he is being unfairly imposed upon.

It’s a great way to play the role of victim, and if things aren’t as purported to be, he knows that the mea culpa defense will cover him — at least among his followers and fans.

In Part I of the Doug Walker / Channel Awesome rant, he created a false sense of alarm for his followers and fans who have uploaded their family videos to YouTube by insisting that what happened to Channel Awesome can happen to them as well.   He alleged that YouTube could delete their memories forever unless they re-downloaded said videos immediately to safeguard them from the clutches of YouTube.   He prophesized the demise of his followers’ and fans’ precious home videos, all at the whim of YouTube.

Except that the copyright for home movies and videos rests with the creators of those home movies and videos, which means the threat he reveals is no threat at all … unless, of course, the home movie and video creators have used copyright protected music or other copyright protected images without permission in their home movies and videos.

However, most people these days know enough to make back-up copies of all their media if for no other reason than for safekeeping.  Why?  Because you never know when a glitch could cause permanent damage to a file, regardless of whether it’s uploaded to a social media platform.

It’s a strange approach for someone to take in light of the fact that the reasons he states were given to him (by YouTube) for the channel’s restricted access (and suspended revenues) have nothing to do with home movies or videos.  It has to do with a certain anime series that he incorporated into a video that resulted in the problem.

Why would Doug Walker purposely mix two separate issues with each other, and serve them up piping hot with a side order of righteous indignation?

Four hours after uploading Part I, he was back with Part II to let his followers and fans know that YouTube had reinstated their revenues.  He thanked his followers and fans for their support in sharing Part I of his rant (in other words, he manipulated his followers and fans into believing that they were responsible for scaring YouTube into returning their share of revenues that were previously suspended).

Except that it’s just as likely — and my guess is that it’s far more likely — that between the time Part I of the rant was posted and when Part II was posted, YouTube (having investigated the claim further) made a determination on the matter.

Another point Doug Walker tried to make in Part I of his rant was that YouTube owed him an explanation for what happened (which he already admitted was due to a DMCA Takedown Notice being filed against Channel Awesome).

Actually, Doug, they don’t.

YouTube is FREE to use, and it’s FREE to not use (or leave as the case may be).  It’s the same with most social media platforms.  If you don’t like the way the FREE service does business, you’re just as FREE to leave as you are to stay.

Nothing stops you from creating your own social media platform, and inviting all of your 370,000 plus subscribers to start posting on WalkerTube at no cost to them — FREE!  All you have to do is make sure that you have the framework in place to provide seamless service with no glitches.  And when a DMCA Takedown Notice is filed against one of the Walkerites, your subscribers will be pleased to know that WalkerTube will immediately address the situation without interfering with the monetization of their WalkerTube channels at the expense of copyright owners protecting their copyrights.

You know, maybe it’s time for YouTube to put the responsibility of proving permission or the right to use copyrighted materials in YouTube videos on the shoulders of content creators.  Maybe every time a video is uploaded, content creators should be forced to file a form identifying what copyrighted materials are being used in their video, and under what right said copyright materials are being used.  Then YouTube will have paperwork to share with copyright owners who challenge the content creators’ claims of having the right to use the copyrighted  materials in question in their videos.

Of course, in a perfect world, copyright infringement wouldn’t even be a problem as all law-abiding content creators would ensure that nobody ever infringed on copyrights.  Why, they’d even make certain that the community was self-policing to help keep people from accidentally going astray.

Elyse Bruce

5 Reasons Marketing Campaigns Fail

Marketing your services, product, or business is most likely going to fail if you don’t know who your customers and potential customers are, if you don’t understand what they want and need, or you jump from viral hashtag to viral hashtag in the hopes of garnering attention from social media communities.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to focus your efforts on what works for your demographics instead of trying to trend.

Recently, I watched a YouTube video that explained the problem that nearly every failed marketing campaign shares in common, and I felt it was well worth sharing it in today’s blog article.

Thank you Adobe Marketing Cloud for a 1 minute and 24 second video that highlights five reasons why marketing campaigns fail, four of which fall under the “data shows” myth.

If you’re always running with the latest “data shows” statistics, you’re not investing enough time in “customer feedback” reality.  While “data shows” statistics are helpful in the creation of your marketing plan, the fact of the matter is, the broad base for “data shows” is going to be far greater than the base from which you draw your customers and potential customers.

Even when “data shows” results are broken down into smaller demographics — age, gender, et al — the bottom line is that their categories rarely mesh with the composition of your business’s actual demographics, online and in real life.  What’s more, if you’re always kowtowing to what the ubiquitous “they” say, you’re failing to focus on what your customers and potential customer are actually telling you matters to them.

By relying solely on “data shows” information, you’re making the mistake of thinking that your business can be all things to all people who are looking for services and products similar (or even identical) to those you offer.  If you rely solely on “data shows” information, the reason your marketing is failing is because you aren’t appealing to the extraordinary nature of your customer base.  The message your customers and potential customers are picking up is that you see them as everyday, garden-variety, no name, generic, cookie cutter people.

In the Adobe Marketing Cloud video, every time the marketing campaign is counting down to launch, everything comes to a screeching halt within seconds of taking off because of “data shows” reliance.

The logo is too small according to “data shows.”

Millennials don’t like the logo’s color according to “data shows.”

The campaign needs a hashtag according to “data shows.”

Mars is no longer trending according to “data shows” closely followed by the research empty decision to re-route the campaign to Pluto.

Then the last call comes in and the marketing campaign is scrapped entirely because all this “data shows” reliance has resulted in budget exhaustion.

In then end, while a great deal of effort, time, and money has gone into the Adobe Marketing Cloud fake marketing campaign, nothing is accomplished other than to run out of money with which to fund the marketing campaign.

This is why doing your own market research is vital to the success of your marketing campaigns, your promotions, and your business’s overall financial health.  If you don’t know or understand what your market expects and demands from you, you’ll forever be spinning your proverbial business wheels in the mud.

Take the time to listen to what your customers and potential customers are telling you about their expectations from you, your business, and businesses like yours.  Then give them what they’re asking for and fill the needs and wants they have expressed to you.

You don’t have to go to Mars or Pluto with your marketing if you know your customers are only interested in going as far as your place of business.  Not only will your marketing budget thank you, so will your customers and potential customers.

Elyse Bruce

Coincidence Can Be Catchy

Last week, the most recent Missy Barrett chapter book, “Fantastic Things” was published.  It’s the story of Missy Barrett and her 15-year-old brother, Josh, who was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (a rare, incurable, life-threatening neuromuscular autoimmune disease) when he was seven years old.  The cover for the story was illustrated in October 2015.

MG Treasure Chest_SMALL_Signed

I liked the implied curvature of the treasure chest lid, and the heart-shaped lock.  I liked the metal bands on the treasure chest, and the gold and bronze coins nearly spilling out of it.  And I liked the feel of the worn wood with the natural wood pattern easily discernible.

Yesterday, mainstream media published a news article about the Fenn Treasure (although the accompanying story itself was sad), and the photograph that accompanied the news story was both surprising and coincidental to the cover artwork.  See for yourselves, my friends.

In The News_30 January 2016

It was an almost identical treasure chest to the one on the latest Missy Barrett chapter book.  It had the curved lid with the same heart-shaped lock and in the same colored metal!  The coins were nearly spilling out.  The metal bands were similar to the one in the illustration (albeit the front of the real treasure chest divided the chest into thirds, not as halves as in the illustration).  And the natural wood pattern was easily discernible.

This isn’t the first time something I’ve published — or that was set to be published and had to be held back — has coincidentally mirrored part of an important news story.  It’s actually the fourth time in two years that it’s happened.

Why am I sharing this particular incident with you?  Because sometimes it’s important to be reminded that fact is sometimes stranger than fiction.  The next time someone says to you, “That could never happen in real life,” I urge you to think back to this article.   You’d be surprised what could happen in real life that seems unbelievable until it happens.

Meanwhile, click on through to learn more about the latest Missy Barrett book.  Who knows, it might just be something you’ve been looking to add to your home library!

STORY SYNOPSIS:  Missy Barrett loves her brothers, Aaron and Josh. She loves them both so much that there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for them. Josh has a rare health condition called Myasthenia Gravis, and Missy thinks it’s about time she asked Josh some important questions about what that is. After all, brothers and sisters are supposed to help each other out, and knowing what to do when Josh needs help matters.

The eBook is reasonably priced at $2 (FREE on Kindle Unlimited) by clicking HERE, and the paperback is equally reasonably priced at $10 by clicking HERE.

And if you aren’t already following Missy Barrett on her Facebook page, feel free to click LIKE and enjoy her insights on life in general as they happen from day to day.

It’s More Than Just Rock’n’Roll

You’ve probably heard the expression:  Sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll.  And you’ve probably heard a number of people allege that drug abuse has taken over the industry over the past fifty or so years.

The odd thing about believing that drug abuse has taken over the industry over the past fifty or so years is that the claim turns a blind eye to the many references to drugs and drug abuse in the music from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

For example, in 1944, an Irish folk song, “Who Put The Overalls In Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?” was given new lyrics, and was later recorded by Harry “The Hipster” Gibson.  The new version was blacklisted, and got no radio airplay as “Who Put The Benzadrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine?”  But it garnered a lot of attention among record buyers.

The Memphis Jug Band was a popular American band in the 1920s and 1930s.  They had an impressive fan base, and sold out nearly everywhere they played.  Back in 1930, they had a hit with their song, “Cocaine Habit Blues.”

When Victoria Spivey recorded “Dope Head Blues” in 1927, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind what she was singing about:  Cocaine.

Just give me one more sniff of, another sniff of that dope,
Just give me one more sniff of, another sniff of that dope,
I’ll catch a cow like a cowboy, and throw a bull without a rope.

Victoria wasn’t one of the footnote singers of the day.  She performed with the likes of Louis Armstrong and Lonnie Johnson over her four-decade career.  What’s more, she had a reputation for singing about drugs, crime, and sex.

Some readers and visitors might think that these songs are like the novelty songs of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.  Not so.  There are a great many songs where drugs are the central theme.  Take, for example, the jazz recordings, “Weed Smoker’s Dream” and “The Candy Man” by the Harlem Hamfats, featuring Rosetta Howard on vocals for “The Candy Man.”

The Harlem Hamfats were a studio recording band out of Chicago, assembled by African-American talent scout Mayo “Ink” Williams.

They backed jazz and blues singers who recorded for Decca Records — singers such as Johnny Temple, Rosetta Howard, and Frankie “Half Pint” Jackson.  And despite their name, none of the musicians was from Harlem, and none of them was a hamfat (which was an insulting term for an indifferent no-talent musician).  Two were from Mississippi, three were from Louisiana, and three were from Chicago.

Most of their original songs recorded solely by the group revolved around drugs, drinking, and sexual activities.  More importantly, the Harlem Hamfats were among the more prominent musical influences for what eventually became rock’n’roll music.

Even the Ink Spots — responsible for the doo-wop style of singing that was popular in the 1950s — got into the groove with their hit, “That Cat Is High.”  In 1989, the Ink Spots (Bill Kenny, Deek Watson, Charlie Fuqua and Hoppy Jones) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame;  In 1999 they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.  In other words, the Ink Spots weren’t a flash-in-the-pan one-hit wonder group.  They had legs!

All four were northerners with Orville Jones hailing from Chicago (IL), Ivory Watson from Mounds (IL), Jerry Daniels from Indianapolis (IN), and Charlie Fuqua from New Haven (CT), and the group hit international fame in 1934 when it toured with Jack Hylton’s Orchestra.

The next time someone tries to sell you on the idea that music’s bad behavior thanks to drugs, drink, and sex happened about the time that the hippie movement got rolling in the 1960s, you might want to suggest they listen to some of the hits from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

When Safety Doesn’t Seem To Count

What would you say if I told you two-thirds of a volunteer fire department, including the fire chief, quit en masse one day?  Most of us would wonder how the remaining one-third of the volunteer fire department copes with the possibility of having to fight a fire should one break out.

That’s exactly what happened in Spaniard’s Bay (Newfoundland, Canada) recently.

The volunteer fire department in Spaniard’s Bay only had one female firefighter, and the town seems to be divided over the fact that this one female firefighter hasn’t bought into the concept that “boys will be boys.”

But the worst of it all — and one that has been confirmed by the instructor himself — is that at the end of one classroom session on vehicle rescue, the instructor chose to include a hardcore porn video he knew, or should have known, would be considered inappropriate in the workplace and classroom setting.

*cue crickets chirping*

I’m not making that up.  In fact, the Fire and Emergency Services that oversees firefighting training in Newfoundland removed the instructor from its list of recognized instructors for “displaying inappropriate material” during an instruction session.  In other words, the allegation of a hardcore porn video being played at the end of the classroom session has been proven to the satisfaction of Fire and Emergency Services.

The instructor is none other than the chief of the South River-based Bay de Grave regional fire department, and in his defense, he blamed the victim for the situation alleging that she got a chuckle out of watching the video.  He also claims that he had played said video on other occasions at the conclusion of other classroom sessions “as a joke.”  Besides, according to him, people were free to leave the classroom instead of sitting through the “Triple-X” video.

At a town rally, the suggestion was floated that the lone female firefighter resign so that “a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie can return to the department.”

Victim Blaming

Some are saying that she knew what she was getting into when the woman signed up to be a volunteer firefighter in Spaniard’s Bay.  When no women were members of the fire department, it was a boys’ club so to speak.  But that’s neither here nor there.  This seems to be a case of workplace harassment.

What Is Workplace Harassment?

Workplace harassment is behavior by co-workers and/or employers that creates a hostile or offensive work environment.  This includes, but is not limited to, displaying and/or viewing and/or playing sexually suggestive, inappropriate, intimidating, or insensitive pictures and/or videos, as well as engaging in activities that sabotage the victim’s ability to work in the workplace environment.

The fact that the instructor felt the need to voice a disclaimer with regards to the “Triple X” video that was played at the end of his instruction period proves that he was aware that such a video could be interpreted as offensive to some in the volunteer fire department.  It also means that he knew that playing the sexually suggestive hardcore porn video was inappropriate.  The Fire and Emergency Services also felt that the video was inappropriate hence the removal of the instructor from their list of approved instructors.

Workplace Sexual Harassment_Canadian Labour Relations
Is It Just Her Colleagues?

According to the media, it’s not just the lone female firefighter’s colleagues who are responsible for the abuse.  A discussion on a Facebook page among the firefighters’s wives is providing grounds for a complaint of third-party harassment towards the female firefighter.

Sexual harassment in the workplace, according to one study, is perpetrated by co-workers in 55% of cases.  Third-party harassment is perpetrated in 13% of cases.

STUDY:  “Perspectives on Labour & Income: Work-related Sexual Harassment” by Holly Johnson.

There’s a legal responsibility for an employer — or even the volunteer fire chief — to address allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace (even if it’s a solitary incident).  Blaming the victim or refusing to take action can sometimes lead to civil and criminal charges among other things.

It Was Just One Incident

Actually, it wasn’t just one incident.  The hardcore porn video was among the worst examples of workplace sexual harassment.  The lone female firefighter also claimed that there were other incidents including one particularly intimidating and offensive situation where she says she was told that some of the male firefighters had committed an indecent act with regards to her knitted hat (provided to firefighters by the department).  It was “jokingly” suggested to her that she might want to wash the hat before wearing it again.

While it’s a fact that in Canada a single incident is enough to create a hostile work environment, in this case, it seems to be more than one incident.

But Is It Illegal?

The Criminal Code of Canada, the Canada Human Rights Act, and the Canadian Labour Code prohibit sexually harassing behavior, so depending on what can be proven, it’s very possible that criminal charges could be laid against one or more people for the incidents that happened at the fire department in Spaniard’s Bay.

Final Note

Some people on social media and in real life are backing the volunteer firefighters who quit en masse.  However, some of those backers believe that a fire hall is no place for a woman — a shocking comment to see posted on social media or hear stated in broadcast media interviews.

What Some Are Saying On Social Media
The bottom line is that this kind of behavior has no place in society, including the workplace.  It’s a serious social issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.  Let’s not be silent bystanders who watch unfettered bullying take place in our communities.

Elyse Bruce












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