Guitar bands coming back in 2013

Ed SheeranOne of my annual highlights is getting free tickets to T4’s Stars of 20##. It’s a fun afternoon of drinking and watching the pop artists of the year doing their greatest hit. This year there seemed to be less pop, and the crowd were loudest for The Wanted and Ed Sheeran.

I knew Ed Sheeran had a strong fan base but I was not expecting the reaction he got. On stage, alone, playing acoustic guitar through effects pedals, he had the entire audience hanging off every note and singing along. He’s not a conventionally attractive boy but you could tell that girls loved him.

I’ve always believed that kids’ passion/obsession with pop bands when 11-16 gives them a love of music that grows into a proper appreciation when 16+. Boy/girl bands are important to this. Take That/Spice Girls led to a shift to more serious music of the mid-2000s. Now we have girls getting far too excited about One Direction.

In the past, the ‘serious’ music has been grunge, indie, rap and singer-songwriters. I’m willing to bet the influence of Ed Sheeran will lead kids to pick up guitars and in a few years we’ll have a new breed of guitar bands.

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Streetview photography

A New American PictureI’m fascinated by photographs by decaying America. Usually it is photos of closed diners or cinemas but there’s also something moving about seeing streets in the supposedly developed country that are crumbling with poverty. I always wonder about the photographer’s set-up: were their photos staged, did they take hundreds of pictures to get that one shot, did they just chance upon that location?

Via Mashable I found Doug Rickard’s A New American Picture. His photos have the poignancy and power of other photos I’ve admired, but they are just more grainy and blurred.

The reason for this low quality is they are taken from Google Street View. This puts their ‘realness’ without doubt. And the answer to how many photos were taken is millions. I suppose Doug had a good idea of what streets to look at but it is still an impressive project. It makes me want to try the same in the UK.

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Pricing psychology

Woolsey MenuThis is not new but something I saw an enlightening talk about recently. It will come as no surprise that pricing is all about psychology and making you feel comfortable about paying more.

Restaurant menus turn this into an art form. As Wired explains tricks include putting an expensive dish top to make the others look better value. Boxes draw the eyes and statistically diners are more likely to order whatever is in them. And something as simple as removing the £ signs increases spend.

For digital services it’s all about the tier pricing plans. Here the free plan needs to be just enough to tempt you in, start using the service and then find it doesn’t quite give you everything you need. Then there needs to be at least three paid-for tiers with the middle one being the feature set you know most people want.

The cheapest should do just a few things that probably don’t add much to the free offering. Price this just below the middle one, so it looks like you get everything you need for just a few pound more. Go to town on the most expensive offering features most people don’t need for a much higher cost. This makes the medium one look like great value.

The expensive one will still make money. There’s a small group of people who panic at seeing choice and always go for the full expensive package just to be sure it does what they want. There are also the corporate clients who aren’t spending their own money and don’t want to risk buying something cheap which doesn’t deliver.