My Trip to LA; Nelly Furtado on AOL Live

This week, I’m in Los Angeles for StarStyle meetings. I arrived on Thursday via Jet Blue from JFK to Burbank airport. The first order of business was to meet with our PR agency, B|W|R, to discuss the launch of Mary J. Blige’s “We Ride (I see the future)” music video on StarStyle, which is scheduled for air on the site on Tuesday, December 12th. I was interviewed by the music & technology writer from the Hartford Courant for a story on our music section and the launch of the Mary J. Blige project. There are other interviews lined up this week and some confirmed mentions in Billboard and other industry trades.

Mary’s label hooked us up with a pair of Belstaff motorcycle boots MJB wore in the video. She signed them for us for an exclusive give-a-way on StarStyle that launches in conjunction with the video. The contest theme is “Follow in the footsteps of Mary J. Blige” and submit a pieces of text or a photo that represents how MJB has influenced your personal style. We’re planning a user generated contest where site visitors will vote for the winner. This a great viral marketing opportunity for us.

It’s a great time to be involved with Mary J. Blige. She’s been everywhere the past few weeks: Saturday Night Live, the Billboard Music Awards, performing on The View, and she was just nominated for eight Grammy Awards.

I’m very excited that all our hard work and efforts are beginning to pay off. On December 1st, it was my one year anniversary at StarStyle. We’ve accomplished so much, but it seems like a drop in the bucket when you think about the size of the music industry and all the artists who will benefit by sharing in the revenues by monetizing their image and lifestyle. We also have much more to do to develop the music player by adding new features both inside the application itself and in support of the application with flat HTML pages.

Although it’s exciting work, it can be very tedious discussing technical specs with offshore developers. There have been times in the last few weeks were I’ve had my head buried in the keyboard and monitor for three or four-hour sessions. You have to be focused and really patient. If you forget one small detail, it could be another 12-hours before it gets fixed.

On Thursday afternoon, I met my good friend Debbie Roldan from the high profile talent agency, The Firm, for coffee at my temporary office: Starbucks on Wilshire and Santa Monica. We had a great time catching up and sharing war stories. Hopefully, we’ll be working with a few of The Firm’s artists soon.

After my coffee meeting with Deb, I joined our President, Lincoln Brown and our CEO, Ashley Heather along with the rest of the LA staff from StarStyle for a Christmas party at Katen Mantellini’s Restaurant on Wilshire and Doheny. That’s the same spot where my girlfriend Missy and I ran into Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey’s manager, Benny Medina, in July.

On Friday, I had one of the best experiences in my professional career. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it, but it’s safe to say it was pretty amazing and will help StarStyle Music exceed our expectations in the very near future.

Later that night, I took my good friend Karen Langjahr from Primary Wave Music Publishing to the AOL Live, Nelly Furtado event at The Roxy on Sunset Ave. The show was so hot! Nelly Furtado was rocking it. Thanks to our VP of Sales, we were comped with VIP passes to both the event and the after party. You can check out the show on AOL at http://music.aol.com/videos/live-concerts/nelly-furtado.

Tomorrow I have a few meetings here in LA, then I leave for New York to manage the launch of MJB on StarStyle on Tuesday. I’ll be headed out of town again on Thursday for meetings in a different genre of music that I can’t talk about yet. Yeah…I’m under all this non-disclosure stuff. You know, you gotta keep things under wraps until after they launch. You never know who’s watching.

Today, I’m headed over to the Starbucks in Westwood to finish up some homework. Yup, even though I’m travlling the country, I still got to keep it real and keep my studies in check. No rest for the weary!

Peace!

Tony Z.

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