Episode 44
October 4, 2017

The Future of Music isn't *just* Digital

The guys discuss the future of music, digital goods, ephemeral products, and how Spotify is changing our consumption behaviors and expectations. With John Beeler and Lowell Brams of Asthmatic Kitty Records.

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The guys discuss the future of music, digital goods, ephemeral products, and how Spotify is changing our consumption behaviors and expectations. With John Beeler and Lowell Brams of Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Phillip: [00:01:08] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Phillip. And before we get into today's episode, I want to make sure you have some context. We have someone who is notable, potentially legendary in the indie music scene, the founder of the label as Asthmatic Kitty, Lowell Brams is on the show today. And he actually is going to engage in a little bit of storytelling, which some of it's a little bit inside baseball. But for those of you that know this label, they have produced dozens and dozens of artists, including most notably Sufjan Stevens, who has just a prolific catalog and is an incredible indie music artist, over the last couple decades, putting out arguably one of the largest bodies of work in modern history, at least. He's also joined today by John Beeler, who helped kind of administrate the success of the Asthmatic Kitty label. And so they're going to talk a little bit about what the music industry is going through and the digital transformation that the music industry has made, what digital has done, and not just to the consumption of music, but to the way that we all actually integrate music into every part of our lives today. So sit back and relax, grab something cold the drink, and let's get right into the interview.

Brian: [00:02:32] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:02:36] And I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:02:38] Today we have John Beeler and Lowell Brams from Asthmatic Kitty on the show, which I am very excited about. Say hey, guys.

John: [00:02:48] Hey, guys.

Phillip: [00:02:52] {laughter}

Brian: [00:02:52] {laughter}

John: [00:02:52] That was a bad joke. I'm sorry.

Phillip: [00:02:52] No, that's great. As always, we want you to join in on the conversation at Future Commerce. And you can do that by hitting up the Disqus comment box for the episode on FutureCommerce.fm. Remember, you can also subscribe on Apple Podcast. It's weird. Can't say iTunes anymore. But Apple podcasts. You can also subscribe on Google Play or you can listen on any Amazon Echo device with the phrase "Alexa play Future Commerce podcast." And for those who don't know Asthmatic Kitty, John, could you explain a little bit about what Asthmatic Kitty is?

John: [00:03:28] Oh. Lowell might be better at that. Mine would be a long winded. Lowell, do you want to give it a shot? Because you guys started the label.

Lowell: [00:03:41] Well, back in '99, Sufjan and I were living in the same town. He was going to college there, and he was in a couple bands and a lot of things were happening at once. He graduated and these two bands disbanded. And we decided... We thought about starting a label. Well, there were a lot of people and these bands who made good music and then some people like myself, who was kind of reclusive in then one of the bands, basically just a garage band. But there were some really talented people. And so we were talking about the label to put their music on CD. The band Sufjan was in at the time. He wasn't even the singer, he did a little backup singing. But basically he was writing songs and playing recorder and guitar sometimes. So we didn't start with any expectations, any high expectations for him or for anybody else. It was just something we were going to do because it sounded like fun. And it took a number of years for Sufjan to... Well, he got a CD together pretty quick, but it took a number of years for him to start getting some attention. Eventually, he did. And it kind of went on from there.

Brian: [00:05:47] Nice. Nice. It's sort of just kind of fell into it sort of situation?

Lowell: [00:06:00] Hmm mmm.

Brian: [00:06:00] Cool. Now what I think is really unique about Asthmatic Kitty is that for a musician like Sufjan, that's so well recognized and has had so much success, you and Sufjan own his catalog of music out right. And so when you founded Asthmatic Kitty, were you sort of making a conscious decision to self distribute vs. signing with another label? Or how did you end up in this situation?

Lowell: [00:06:39] Well, we were trying to get distribution from the start and it turned out to be a difficult process. It took us a long time and we started out with a couple situations that didn't really, you know, do the job very well and for various reasons. And during that time, I don't know about Sufjan as much, but I was really dedicated to being as independent as possible. And we weren't always at the beginning able to do that. In fact, it took quite a few years, but being independent was just something that meant a lot to me. So that's kind of how we ended up. We do have a distributor. A very good one. But it took quite a while to get fixed up with them.

Brian: [00:07:54] Nice. For our listeners, John, maybe you can give a quick break down. And actually we didn't really get a chance to introduce you. John Beeler is the label manager for Asthmatic Kitty, and Lowell Brams is the co-owner of the label with Sufjan Stevens. John, can you give our listeners a quick break down on how an artist on a label is typically compensated for an album sale versus when Sufjan sells an album?

John: [00:08:26] Yeah. So it's actually pretty basic. I mean, when they sell a record... Back in the old days, if they sold a CD, we would eventually give them money on a quarterly basis or something like that based on their CD sale. And the only way to buy a CD was either directly from the label, which at the time when Lowell and Sufjan started was just mail order and maybe a little bit of eCommerce. But it was pretty rudimentary. And now, I mean, goodness, there're hundreds of income streams. Not excluding, of course, retail distribution. But when you factor in digital streams, it gets really messy. So in the old way was most independent recording contracts for 50/50. So the old way was like if we make six bucks and we recoup the expenses and you make three bucks, so we make three bucks. So pretty simple arrangement. That gets harry when we're talking about someone playing YouTube track, and the income is like .006 cents. But it's still 50/50 after recoupable expenses. But that income tracking is a lot more complicated than it used to be.

Brian: [00:09:48] The music industry certainly has changed a lot, you know, over the past few years, even certainly since Napster. Right? I know that Phillip has some pretty strong feelings on this. So, you know, with Spotify and Amazon music and Tidal, you know, the compensation model is just changing all the time.

Phillip: [00:10:08] Rest in Peace Tidal.

John: [00:10:13] I used to use Soulseek.

Phillip: [00:10:16] Oh, yeah. Wow. There's a name I haven't heard in ages.

John: [00:10:19] Yeah. Yeah. That was my tool of choice.

Brian: [00:10:25] So yeah, maybe I'll let Phillip run this line of questioning here. Phillip, I bet you have some questions around how they view this and...

Phillip: [00:10:35] Well I think what's what's really interesting in this conversation is sort of touching on ownership and what ownership means in a modern day sense and maybe in a more sort of existential question, which is we're talking probably two people on the last front of music that actually think music is lasting and enduring and something not to be a commodity that's easily disposed of. And so I'd love to kind of get both of your takes. I mean, I just feel like we don't just have a new paradigm in the delivery mechanism. We don't just have a new paradigm in the performance or ownership mechanism in music anymore. But we have a different means of consumerism in music that has made that art form disposable. And so everything around it and everything that's architected in this industry is geared towards profiting on the disposability of music. And yet Sufjan is making lasting and enduring music. And your label is enabling them to do that. So maybe you could touch on some of those. And I'll let you guys redirect the question as necessary.

John: [00:12:03] Yeah, Lowell feel free to chime in on this. I'll take a stab at it. Maybe you can correct me. {laughter}

Lowell: [00:12:12] Ok.

John: [00:12:12] Yeah, I mean, the thing is that music has always been changing. I mean, that's the fundamental nature of rock and roll, right? And the idea that companies, of course, would want to profiteer off of artists facts and creative work is also nothing new. I mean we go back to the patronage model, and that's still wealthy people making money, paying an artist to do something right?

Lowell: [00:12:46] Paying the ____ to do something.

John: [00:12:47] Yeah. Yeah. And that hasn't changed, really. So artists have always had to... There's always been a tension between the need to eat and this inward desire to kind of achieve what you see as art. And I actually think that the resolution of that tension creates something really interesting. Where if artists simply speak to themselves, there's a version of that that's very interesting. The act of commodifying something can destroy it. But that danger also gives it the opportunity to turn into something more palatable or understandable or accessible for people. So there's definitely a dark side to it, for sure. But the way that it has changed really in the last 10 years is, of course, talking to your comment about disposability, I think it's this idea that I would call kind of a subconscious or unconscious digital entitlement. Like, if an album is out there, it ought to be accessible in 20 different ways. And we experienced that with a couple records. We have an artist named Chris Schlarb who has a great record coming out on Joyful Noise records in just a bit under the guise of something called Psychic Temple. Just a fantastic record. For a while, Chris refused to be on Spotify, and we'd hear from people, "Hey, come on, why isn't this on Spotify? I should be able to stream this," and of course our nice response was like, "Well, we've chosen not to put it on there," but also I also feel like you could just buy it. {laughter} Right? So, I think that there's a value to, of course, doing vinyl, and for Sufjan's music, he's always done really well with physical products. And I think that something that, you know, if there's like a kind of a growth chart of how his music has been available through different mediums, of course, initially it was CD. He might have done some tapes pre Asthmatic Kitty. But we certainly started doing vinyl kind of around Michigan or Illinois. And then I remember a conversation about whether Illinois should be on iTunes with my predecessor, Michael Kaufmann, which is a really funny idea. Illinois was released in I think 2005. So that was, strangely enough, the beginning of iTunes. Right? 2003, 2004 or so. Now, of course, I actually think there's this introduction of streaming, and I think that people would still like to purchase and own a physical product. So we've seen very comparatively high sales for vinyl for Sufjan's music, as well as many of our other artists. But I actually think people buy it and then also listen to it via Spotify in the car, but they may be a work and listen to it over YouTube because it's easier.

Phillip: [00:15:57] Right.

John: [00:15:58] There's this kind of built in expectation that I can get it 100 different ways, and it's gonna be there, you know, just kind of this faith in the Internet. {laughter} So I think that's how it's changed now, is that people multitask the way they experience music, and they're not really thinking about it in silos anymore. Like, here's this vinyl. Here's a stream. Here's this live set. It kind of is all mumbled together, right?

Brian: [00:16:33] Yeah, I think it's a really relevant discussion right now because digital goods go far beyond music. We've got software and images and stickers and and digital collectibles and personal digital images and other data. And you've got future mediums like augmented reality and virtual reality, where people gonna be creating new pieces of digital material that, you know, that we haven't even experienced yet. And so the idea behind digital ownership and owning that physical album versus owning physical album versus digital music or owning a piece of art versus some display for your augmented reality headset or whatever it is. There's a very large discussion about how to pay for that and especially for the creators and resellers of these digital goods. It's a really interesting question, like, how do you go about distributing these things? Should you be involved in in something that a distributes for you and you have to give up rights to? I think the do lessons that you guys have learned through, "OK. Do we do we sell on iTunes?" You know, these are interesting considerations for these newer companies and these new mediums, because I think a lot of what you're learning, or you have learned, and the wisdom around that and especially like, again, I think the uniqueness of Sufjan owning his own catalog is huge. I think maybe there is a lesson there for these companies and creators. The subscription model is particularly interesting because it's also not just being applied to music, but software and Netflix and, you know, all kinds of other business services.

Phillip: [00:18:40] Right.

Brian: [00:18:43] What do you what lessons have you kind of seen from being in the music industry that maybe could be applied to some of these other industries?

John: [00:18:50] Yeah, that's really interesting, because especially... I mean, would you be thinking about non physical goods exclusively or are we talking about, like, style boxes like these kind of boxes that, you know, you pay fifty bucks a month and you get ten chocolate bars or two ties or whatever? Right.

Brian: [00:19:08] Well, good question. Is there...

Phillip: [00:19:10] Is there a difference?

Brian: [00:19:13] Is there a different right?

John: [00:19:16] {laughter} I don't know. Let's just pretend like there isn't. I mean, there is. Right? Because one thing you can hold and the other thing exists as a series of ones and zeros. Right? But let's just assume that as a consumer, this idea of ownership is like, you know, obviously very apparent in the physical world and less so in the digital world. Let's just say that like mentally, there really is no difference. I think there's a lot of lessons you can learn. Obviously, you'll never get chocolate bars served up like you do like a music track via Spotify, right? You're never gonna get...

Phillip: [00:19:56] Well, not with that attitude you won't.

John: [00:20:01] {laughter} I mean, I guess you could get a lick. I don't know what the physical equivalent of licking a chocolate bar and then passing it on. I don't know how that would work. I mean, the thing is that, of course, when you... The wonderful thing about digital is consuming costs almost nothing. Right? So I can consume as many times as I want. And this is true of like CDs or vinyl to some degree. But I always loved... I don't know. One of the most seminal projects, music project for me, is William Basinski's Disintegration Loops, which he supposedly recorded around 9/11 and from the events of 9/11, of course, let the tapes run. And what we hear here now in this project is these tapes that were recorded, but being run over and over again. And he extended this project into four albums worth. So over time, you hear these same loops and they slowly degrade as the tape plays and plays and plays. I also remember Lowell and I having this conversation about whether we should do tapes. And Lowell, you're a big collector of cassettes. Or at least... I don't know. Do you still have cassettes sitting around?

Lowell: [00:21:12] I still have cassettes. Yeah.

John: [00:21:12] Yeah, of course you do. I mean, we sell cassettes, and every time you listen to a tape, you're in some sense robbing the... You're making the quality worse every time you listen to it. But that's not true for Spotify. So it'd be like eating a candy bar and then the candy bar reappears if there was a physical equivalent. Anyway, I just got super metaphysical. But the point is in an age of disposability, there really actually isn't because there's always another tie waiting for you. Like, let's say you got a box of ties every month, and you didn't like one. There's always another way to get another tie. Right? Like, things just appear so quickly that it is almost as if it is like you're streaming ties. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:21:59] Right.

John: [00:22:01] And I think at that point when there's, what we're talking about really is the democracy of it being so easy to get a product from zero to actuality, right? With Kickstarter and the way that Amazon has really changed the distribution network and made it easier for everybody to send and sell things. And of course, there's platforms like Shopify. Magento. You can be up and running pretty quickly and not even have to manufacture the products. I think at that point, the lesson or the challenge is how do you stand out? Right? Before for music there was this curation through record stores or radio stations and magazines. And now people are still reliant on those things, they haven't disappeared, which I think is one lesson. Those curative aspects are still important. But in an age where you can get anything you want pretty much tomorrow, it becomes really difficult to stand out. The onus is on you. Is going to do it for you. So I think for things like music and Spotify, sure, you can get your music out there really quickly. But that doesn't always equal that people are going to get this, and I think that it used to be the case. So for a product, you can get it... Almost the emphasis is now on marketing the product and getting people and connecting with potential customers more than it is the actual creation of a product. That the way to think about it I guess.

Phillip: [00:25:27] I'm very curious if there is... I'm also going to can throw a little conjecture around. I have this theory that there really is no curation in the Birchbox and the bomb fell or whatever the current subscription box model is in the consumer world. I feel like it's more the endowment effect, if anything else, where people are ascribing value or they like something more because they paid for it. And I feel like when we remove the "pay for it" portion from something like art, from something like music, we no longer ascribe more value to it. So what happens is, you know, it's like I might like this Clairol eyeliner a whole lot because it makes me look more like Gene Simmons. But I paid for that to get it. You know, it might have been seven dollars a month, but I paid for it to get it. But in true nature, that will run out one day. And I'll have to make a decision of whether I'll ever want that again. And so I might have liked it for the time, but if I ever want it again, I have to pay for it again. It's not like it just shows up, right? If I want that exact thing again, I have to make a conscious decision to go get it. It's going to cost me something. But that's not the case with music. It's not the case. It's not the case with music today. And so I would come back to say that... It comes back to what you were talking about, digital entitlement. It's I think the fundamental value of ownership in the music space is a completely different paradigm in value than any other parallel that we have in digital commerce, in that it is the ones and zeros are a limitless and infinite commodity that can be thrown around and traded around and consumed or disposed of at will.

John: [00:27:22] Yeah, well, that's a great point. I mean, the work, of course in the chocolate bar, there's a degree of like what is the chocolate bar tastes like? There's an artisanry and so if you're going to, if we can put a percentage point to what's the front loaded creative work... Okay. We source these beans and we put them in. And then there's a just a straight up manufacturing cost where you've figured out the flavor. You know, at that point, you're just like there's no more R&D, essentially, right? You're just turning out a product.

Phillip: [00:27:53] Right.

John: [00:27:54] With music, it's almost entirely the musical version of R&D. Like, you spend weeks and months and sometimes Sufjan spends years or other artists spend years creating a record and that work isn't as noticeable because it's a digital product, right?

Phillip: [00:28:18] Right.

Brian: [00:28:18] Software.

John: [00:28:18] Yeah. Yeah. I can copy this as many times...

Brian: [00:28:21] Software has the same problem.

John: [00:28:23] Yes. Software and ebooks, you know, any kind of digital product, we know intrinsically in our heads that there's not a real like, hey, it doesn't cost anything to copy this over. No. Manufacturing was harmed in the creation's product. I don't know. I don't know where that leads us to. {laughter} I think that for our label, I mean, Lowell can speak to this as well. We've just always tried to take and adopt the policy of thankfulness because we know that the market is so glutted that there's so much and it's a deluge of really great content, really great music. We've always just tried to be thankful that people are listening, without being gratuitous of course.

Brian: [00:29:13] I think you bring up another interesting point, which is, does quality even matter? When you have infinite options at your disposal? And I think Sufjan puts out unbelievable music. I'm a huge fan. But you've kind of brought up this point that in a sea of talent and quality how do you differentiate? And if anyone can listen to anything at any time, it's almost like brands in America. Like have we reached peak saturation? Are we reaching peak artist saturation as a result of being able to access all types of music at any time? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on that saturation. And then ultimately, I think, and Phillip will have some thoughts on this, too. Is this sort of prohibiting some of the recognition of legendary artists that we had in the past? Like Michael Jackson and others. Does that make sense?

John: [00:30:28] So Lowell you might be good to answer this one. I mean, so what you're asking is, is it harder to get noticed because there's so much?

Brian: [00:30:36] Or is it worth it to focus on the quality of your music? Aside from, obviously, the artistic value.

Lowell: [00:30:48] As far is it worth it, I mean, that's the first and most important factor in putting it out. Do we feel it should be out there and available. And that's been our mode of thinking ever since the beginning and quality is very important. You know, for us, Sufjan's popularity and his ability to sell quantities of his music is something that sort of happened, and we didn't refuse it or anything when it started to happen, but we were never counting on it. So in Sufjan's case, and I think it was the case with our other artists as well. You know, some to a greater degree than others in terms of their resilience and in how long they wanted to hang in there waiting for, quote, something to happen. But they all... Quality was very important, and it's been important to us as a label and we hung in with a number of artists for many years and kind of hoping for them to achieve more success, in the manner of Sufjan, and in most cases it really didn't happen. But, you know, that's the nature of the music business, and actually when it does happen, it's pretty rare. You know, like John said, we're thankful. I don't know if that's a good answer to the question.

Brian: [00:33:12] No, it's good. It is a good answer, because I think in your pursuit of quality, I think what you're finding is it doesn't necessarily equate to success. And you probably could go invest in creating EDM Music specifically for Spotify that might create more commercial success for you and more quickly. I know that, like, EDM is sort of cleaning up on Spotify. But as other businesses and creators of art that's digitally consumed can look at this and say, if you're going to focus on quality, and you should focus on quality, you have to understand what you're getting yourself into. I think that that's a very real part of being an artist. So I think it's also very, very, very poignant.

Phillip: [00:34:18] If I could sort of tag onto this discussion, because I like Sufjan's music, and I was exposed to it some time ago. But the way that I found Sufjan was through an unconventional means in that I think I was reading an issue of Mix magazine, you know, 10 years ago. And they were talking about unconventional recording methods. And they mentioned this album that I'd never heard of called Greetings from Michigan that was apparently and sort of historically and famously recorded using only an SM57 and mixed on like, you know, a digital Roland mixer through some headphones. And so it's funny that we're having this conversation about quality and probably not quality in the aspect of the outcome because I like that album. And I think what comes through is how honest the music is and the expertise of the musicianship and the songwriting and the performances. But I would not say that that's the most technical quality. That's not the most quality album, in my opinion, not the best sounding album that Sufjan has ever put out. So it's not just strictly about quality. Some things do have a... There are things that are characteristic that are sort of unquantifiable, like why is that album, you know, so much better to me than another one? But the point that I'm trying to drive at is that maybe that particular album came out of experimentation or just economics and that's all he had to work with. And so that's how it came about. Or maybe he's challenging himself. But I think that's part of the artistry of it is working within your means. And but yet, when it comes back to the conversation about quality and sort of the impact that we talk about on this show from a digital commerce perspective, is there an exacting and rigor that goes into it, regardless of the tools available? And I think the answer here is yes. But I hear you trying to chime in. I want to make sure that, you know, from the horse's mouth, you can lend to that thought process.

John: [00:36:55] Yeah. I mean, it is pretty fun that Sufjan was able to achieve what he did with little he had. I mean, not like income wise, but I just mean a lot of it I think... There's a great interview that he did with someone else on our label, a guy named Rafter, who is a producer out in San Diego, and I  can send it, and if you want you can link it. But what's great about it is Sufjan just had no idea what he was doing. So he did things the way he just wanted to do them to get the sound that he wanted.

Phillip: [00:37:34] Sure.

John: [00:37:34] So of course, down the road he had more budget. And, of course, more expertize. But at the time, he just layered things on top of each other in Pro Tools because all he could do was four tracks at the time. And that made a real mess for us later down the road when people wanted to license his music for commercials. And we're like, "Well, you can't take that drum out. {laughter} It's stuck there forever." So and of course, now, you know, it's very different. But I think the lesson there is, you know, to be a little cliché, don't let tools determine your outcome. Right? So for Sufjan, he wanted it to sound a very specific way. So he did it. And could it have been better with a studio and with better equipment? Absolutely. But he did things that give it a real charm because he's hooking up an SM57 to a snare drum, which you should never do. {laughter} He's doing all kinds of things that are just like, "What are you doing?" And if you know how to do these things, you get hung up on getting it right and getting the tools right. And I think Sufjan and really not just Sufjan, but the best musicians, don't get hung up on the production aspects. Right? What they get hung up on as the creative output.

Lowell: [00:38:56] I'll just throw something in. Sufjan did an all electronic album with minimal vocals. And I guess it was the second album we released. And he recorded the entire thing in a closet in suburban New York. So he just made do with what he had.

John: [00:39:23] I think I'll maybe add to that and broaden it out. I mean, the necessity of a record label came, at least somewhat, not because I think you, Lowell, and Sufjan wanted to just own a record label for the sake of owning a record label. I think it's because that was the best path forward to get the result that you all wanted, which is to put the music out in the world.

Lowell: [00:39:52] Hmm mmm.

John: [00:39:52] So at least for me, there's always been an inspiration for my own work. I'm the kind of guy that likes to tweak everything and get it right before I do it. Like, if I'm writing something, I'll look up apps to write {laughter} for like two hours before I get to writing. And really, I could have either just gotten out a notebook and a pen and started writing or just typed into Google Docs or Word or Notepad or whatever. And the kind of thing that Lowell and Sufjan did 15 years ago in forming a label and that kind of artistry that inspires me is that kind of lack of thought given to tools and tool sets. And just getting the job done.

Brian: [00:40:36] Interesting. It kind of reminds me of a lot of startups now where they're out there and they're just, you know, they're pushing forward quickly, as fast as they can. And how they get their word out or how they go about building their product is not as important as actually getting it out there and getting it to the market. And I think that there's definitely a lesson there. So I know we're kind of running out of time here. We really appreciate you guys coming on the show.

Phillip: [00:41:09] Yeah.

Brian: [00:41:09] Do you have any near-term advice for our listeners who create and/or sell digital products?

John: [00:41:25] I have a little bit. I think that... I don't teach a full class, but I come in every once a while for a professor who teaches at University of Georgia. She does a music marketing class. And I always love going in there because I try to get more information than I give. And usually it's asking what kind of tools are you using today? You know, these are college students, right? And in the three years I've been doing it, it's different every time, like the first year it was Snapchat. But then the next year, Snapchat was lame because their parents were getting on it, and then it was Kik. And now it's just... I mean. I think that in terms of marketing and selling, you can get caught up in a churn of it because there are a lot of buzz words and there's a lot of numbers. And, of course, it's easy to try and attach yourself to any specific tool. But the reality is that most of this stuff will not exist or it will exist in a completely different form in five years. That's so far ahead. So I always like to talk about how iTunes didn't exist 10 years ago or 12 years ago. Facebook, Instagram, these things are brand new. And they've changed the way that we talk about not just music, but products and to each other. So I don't... I think my advice would be for anyone selling anything, whether it's digital or otherwise, I think you have to can you start to find ways to connect the people and build community around your brand. And we've done that, and it's taken a long time, but I think there's a group of people out there who love what we put out and trust us. And they love our artists. And we've worked hard to build that. And in many ways, it's taken much longer than the life span of a lot of tools that we were using. {laughter} I was going through my email the other day and there just so many old platforms that used to exist that no longer do. If you put all your time and money into those platforms... MySpace is, of course, a big one, but think of all the time we're putting into Facebook and Instagram and these tools that we're using, but those could go belly up. Right? Maybe not tomorrow, but at some point someone will think they're not cool. {laughter} And you'll have to figure out something else. So how do you adapt what you're doing and how do you draw those customers and make connections to them that kind of transcends tool or platform? I think that's a good challenge for anybody trying to get anybody to sell or buy anything.

Brian: [00:44:02] That's good advice. Definitely. I definitely fall into the group that you've created, that you've that community that you've built up. I'm not going to lie, I would have loved to talk about music the entire show. {laughter} But I appreciate you guys coming on and giving us your thoughts on digital goods. And I really enjoyed hearing some stories and definitely a really, really enjoyable experience for me.

Phillip: [00:44:36] Yeah. Thank you so much.

John: [00:44:40] It was a pleasure. Thank you, guys.

Lowell: [00:44:42] Thank you.

Brian: [00:44:44] All right, with that, if you have a chance, head over to iTunes or I should say Apple Podcasts. Tune in or down in our Disqus comments below, leave with some feedback, leave us a five star review. And as always, you can always listen to our podcast by saying, "Alexa, play Future Commerce podcast." With that, keep looking towards the future. Thank you.

Phillip: [00:45:12] Thank you, guys.

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