September 29, 2008

To The Freestyle Community… Wake The F@#K Up!

Filed under: Latif Mercado — Latif Mercado @ 02:14 pm

Freestyle Clock

Okay, now that I have your attention. Let’s begin with a little math.  Freestyle began to sizzle around, let’s say, 1987. At that time, the “Average Age” of the artist were around 18 years old.. With exceptions of maybe Lil’ Suzy who was very young and a few of the acts that were already in their 20′s.   So here we go, a little math. 2008 – 1986 = 22 years ago.

22 Years + 18 Years = 40 Years Old!  There you go, the average age of today’s established Freestyle Artist. Again, these numbers are just my best estimate and don’t apply to everyone.

Now tell me, who are our record buying audience?
Well since this is my blog, let me initiate my opinion. “They Don’t Exist”!
To all the artist and producers, sorry, but we gotta be real here.
Yea, a few people will buy a download or CD here and there, but the number of sales will NEVER again be as significant as they were during said artist’s Sizzle.

This might seem crazy coming from me, maybe even a bit contrary to my actions in the market, but in order to try and find a solution, we must understand the problem, then admit it.

Many people within the last few years have released new material. Most, if not all of it we’ve supported within our organization, namely La’ Radio Live.

So what’s the problem?
First off, many of us don’t buy music anymore. One of the reasons is, it is so easy to get for free. Am I lying? No! Should we expect the Freestyle audience to go out and support us by buying our music? No we shouldn’t! Very few people will pay for something they could get for free, I wouldn’t! Would you? Don’t lie!

This is really not a bad thing. It is just evolution within the music industry.  Think of all the top Pop acts from back in the day. Do you think they could still sell records as they did during their sizzle? Sorry, they can’t either!

You see, the “Average” audience of an act is usually the same age as the acts themselves. Now note, I use the word average for all you analytical asses. When Freestyle artist in their teens grew into their 20′s, so did their audience. Many of the fans began college or entering the work force during this time or earlier. This was still a great time for the market.

When the acts got into their 30′s, again, so did their audience. At this time, most were either done with school and working or were married with children. At this point, the audience begins to conserve, and as much as they would have loved to support us with all they had, it just wasn’t feasible.

Record sales begin to slow down and the clubs weren’t packing like they use to. Radio at this point switches format to a more popular brand of music, why? Not because they don’t like the music anymore, but because they are always after the majority of the listeners.

So here we are, 2008. Can we ever see Freestyle peak again? yes, I think we can, but it will not be with any of the artist who’s sizzle has already passed. We will need new artist, young artist, young producers and then will come the new audience.  I have been saying this for years. Should our established act ever stop recording new music? Absolutely not, and whenever they do, be sure the La’ Org will support it.

But keep in mind and don’t be disappointed when the reaction to your new release is less than desired. Doesn’t mean it sucks, it’s probably better than some of your more classic stuff, it’s just the record buying audience is at a different level as to what they are looking for. Their ears are fresh, and sounds that we hear are not the same sounds they hear. Think about Grandpa when he wants to play you some old 33′s that he claims is the best music ever. You’ll be doing the same when you sit your grandchildren down to listen to your Classic Cover Girl records. They’ll look at you like you’ve lost it and try to sneak out the room when you are busy trying to demonstrate to them that times popular dance.

So what was the point of this blog? You see, even-though “our” record buying audience isn’t buying anymore, and the clubs are starting to attract our children and grandchildren. The Freestyle audience still wants to be entertained, but at a slower and more conservative setting. Say a nice outdoor concert, cruise ship or casino. Yes, eventhough it may seem a bit scary, that’s where we’re heading people!

September 25, 2008

WTF!!!

Filed under: Angel (OCG) — Angel "The Original CoverGirl" @ 01:44 pm

The Cover Girls 

I can’t stay away from CNN, it’s like a horrible car crash, you can’t take your eye’s away.  I can’t believe the financial crisis our country is in right now. How can the greatest country in the world be in the risk of another depression? This is the worse time for it to be an election year, I can’t concentrate on the candidates because I’m to worried about the economy. The gas shortage is blowing my mind, I’ve never in my life gone to a gas station and been told “sorry theirs no gas”, OH Shit that’s crazy.  We have to get on line at the gas station by 7 am and wait an hour or two for gas.  I noticed the mortgage problem about a year ago.  Houses all over our subdivison were going up for sale, I thought it was cause we moved into the neighborhood(The P.R.s) yeah kid lock your doors before we rob you.  Latif made sense of it all for me,  he explained to me how these were people who they gave mortgages to they did not really qualify for, and adjustable mortgages that would change in a few years and be to high for them, (My husband is so smart).  Latif told me this a year ago and now is when the government is admitting the mistakes that were made and trying to find a resolution. I hope they find one soon, God help us all.

September 11, 2008

MY 911 Experience

Filed under: Latif Mercado — Latif Mercado @ 08:19 pm

Remembering 911

I use to work at “Freestyle Major” Metropolitan Records during the time of the attacks. I lived in Queens, NY and would take the E Train to The World Trade Center stop. (Last Stop On the E Train).

From there I would go way down to the lower level to catch the New Jersey Path Train. For those who didn’t know, Metropolitan Records was in East Newark, New Jersey.

For about 4 years, I had a routine, where I could get to The World Trade station, go down to the Path Level, and sit in this small cafe and have a cup of coffee and a muffin. I would usually get there about 8:45am and chill till about 9:15am reading and drinking coffee. The path Level was about 6 stories beneath Tower One.
Afterward I would get on the Path and ride to work. It was the same trip going home.
Lil’ Suzy had a show that weekend in Texas and we returned home on American Airlines on Sept 10th. I had picked up money at the show and wanted to deposit it in the bank before leaving to work. So I went to the bank that was just across the street from my building, but of course it didn’t open till 9:00am, so I waited.

Path Train at The World Trade Center

It finally opened, I rushed in, deposited the money then realized I left something at my apartment.  No biggie, I lived right across the street. I went upstairs, grabbed what I needed, when I heard a News Flash on the tevevision that a plane had just crashed into one of the towers.

The World Trade Center

I put my bag down and watched just as the second plane slammed into the second Tower. Just then, I knew it was an attack. I lived on the 6th floor and rush up to the roof because I was able to see the towers from there.

I could see both buildings on fire. I stood there, staring in disbelief. I decided to go back down to the apartment to hear on the News what was going on and just as I got down there, they showed as the first tower collapsed. I ran back up to the roof, and the entire sky was covered with smoke. I ran back down just to see again as the second tower also collapsed.

 

I tried to called my job to tell them that I didn’t think I was going in today and couldn’t get through for about 4 hours. I am convinced, that if that had been any other day during the week, or if I didn’t have to make that stop at the bank, I would’ve been one of the victims of 911… God Bless everyone we lost on Sept 11 2001

Raising The Flag on 911

In Memory of all our Hero’s

September 5, 2008

Freestyle Friends

Filed under: Latif Mercado — Latif Mercado @ 12:37 pm

www.FreestyleFriends.com

It was just a matter of time, wasn’t it? To be honest though, I had this idea way before myspace was around, or at least popular. I had mentioned to WMDave that we needed a site that basically would build itself.  Sort of how our La’ Messageboard worked. We build it once and it continues to build from then on with little to no assistance from us.
We played around with the idea for a bit. Created pages with photo, music and data up-load capabilities.  But no matter what, it was difficult to navigate and confusing.
We finally canned the idea for a bit, when suddenly, I was introduced to a site called “myspace”.

This site, in my opinion at the time was no more than a dating site, and as I played around and explored it, I didn’t want my wife catching me and getting the wrong idea.  Anyway, the more I used it, the more I thought, what a great product. I showed it to WMDave and told him, “This Is What We Need”.

This all happened around 2004 and when I saw the speed and popularity that myspace experienced, it was, damn! Once again, another incredible idea that someone else beat me to. So on with our business and life we went.

Many know I am a huge business magazine subscriber, and seeing sites like myspace and facebook take on the front covers, bragging about the millions they made or sold for, I was sick. But eventhough someone beat us to it, we did have on our side a market that we can cater to. Our very own Freestyle market. We had already covered all basis in the market with La’ Radio Live, FreestyleBlast, FreestyleBlogs, our cologne etc… Well what if we created a social site that catered to the Freestyle Market?
Okay, we got the idea, but how do we build it?

We did our research and outsourced a little help, but it was mainly WMDave, who got us what we needed. It was a bit pricey, very time consuming and extremely frustrating. But guess what?

On September 1st 2008 we launched FreestyleFriends.com and within just a couple of hours, we had over 200 registered members. The excitement was incredible. We watched as the numbers began growing, keeping a close eye out for the bugs, complaints and more importantly, the hackers who like to try and enter sites while they are first being launched.

We got a couple of calls and emails about minor things that we needed to address on the site.  One was the actual separation of the Fans and Industry databases. This was tricky because the site was up and running and we can see people registering while we were still doing small changes.

Suddenly, I hear an Oh oh, come from WMDave. “What happened” I asked. “I think I deleted the entire file”. I laughed, because he has cried that wolf before with some of our other projects. “No I’m serious this time”. He was!

I stayed cool, and thought this as more of a blessing, because I rather ask 200 people to re-register while they still hadn’t even built their pages, than ask 20,000. So I told him, shut us down and get to work. For those who think, “I” never sleep… I do sleep, just very little, approximately 4 hours a night.  Now WMDave? He doesn’t sleep. I think he gets most of his sleep while drive… A school bus! Lol.  Just kiddin, don’t wanna get him in trouble.

I tell people all the time, shut down early and try and be in bed before midnight, then get up early.  That’s my personal key to functioning the way I do.

So we fixed one of the problems and quickly re-launched the site. People were confussed. I decided to just deal with them as they come, instead of trying to explain to everyone what happened and what they need to do.  It was simple, re-register and re-build your page and re-request all your friends again. 

The site is running on a more frequest back-up system now, being backed up multiple times a day, instead of just once a week. You see, that’s where running sites like this become tricky and tedious.

So we are back up and running, and we still have a ton of work to do. We did our best to keep the navigating of FreestyleFriends.com as close to myspace as possible, only because we feel it would be a bit more familiar and easier to get started for those myspace loyalist.

I’m sure as you log on and begin to use the site, you will find many areas that need either improvement or even change. Believe me, if you spotted it, so did we and it is on the list of over 100 improvements already logged in out FF To Do List.  But, please, feel free to let us know anyway. Just send your ideas and suggestions to WMDave@La-Entertainment.com (he’s gonna kill me for that)

When you get a chance, please log and and register at www.FreestyleFriends.com it’s fast, free and fun. Then pass it along to your friends and family.

I’ll see you there!

La' Entertainment
© 2008