A Quick Update...

Fumigations suck.

My apartment building’s being fumigated for termites this week. I’m not one to make excuses for myself, but (ok, you can cue in the violins here…) because of the necessary preparations for the fumigation, I wasn’t able to write this week’s post. I know that life gets in the way sometimes, but I can’t help to feel a little guilty of not following through with my goal of creating a weekly post. That being the case, instead of promising a post once a week on my blog, I’ll be posting once every two weeks from here on out.

This extra week will also give me a bit more time to write up more fleshed out posts. I have a couple interesting posts in the pipeline covering topics from the UX of Amazon Alexa to Deezer, but again, I need a little more time to produce better content, instead of spewing the content out for the sake of having a post for the week.

All this being said, I thought I’d leave you guys with some thought-provoking figures I came across in Statista’s Digital Economy Compass 2018 report that was published early this year.

When it comes to biometric technology, I would have expected wearables to outpace smartphones until the market’s saturated. However, according to Statista, smartphones will outpace wearables in 2019 in terms of the share of the technology that will include biometric sensors of some sort.

What are the implications for health and fitness related companies? Clearly there’ll be more consumer data to collect, but, when looking at the evolving digital landscape from the music industry perspective, this type of data provides further opportunities to contextualize music/playlists - a obvious unique selling proposition for major music streaming players like Spotify and fitness-related startups like Studio, which are working towards building “exciting digital experience far beyond what a traditional treadmill offers”.

How The Music Album Strengthens Brand Relationships

In a recent write-up from Music Business Worldwide, the consumption of the album versus singles was discussed. An idea was pointed out about fans being encouraged to develop a less-committed relationship with new artists due to the nature of music streaming platforms. It’s clear that in today’s attention economy, consumer behavior is shifting to consume singles as opposed to entire albums. When looking at the consumption of the streaming consumption of Drake’s 25 track long album Scorpion from earlier this year, 63% of global streams from Spotify came from three songs: “God’s Plan”, “In My Feelings” and “Nice for What”.

This brought up an internal debate within myself on the topic of how artists can establish a more committed relationships with consumers, turning them into superfans. I hypothesized that the underlying idea to driving fandom is through emotion.

The Artist As A Brand

Through academic studies on branding like one conducted by Robert Heath, David Brandt, Agnes Nairn, and Eivi Lyon, we’ve come to understand that it’s the emotional creativity, and not the rational message in advertising that builds brand relationships. How does this idea apply to the consumer and the relationship to an artist?

When we look at communication appeal through the lens of Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, an emotionally-driven form of communication makes a quicker and greater impact on the System 1 part of our brain, which is capable of making quick decisions based on very little information. Emotions and feelings will always be formed pre-cognitively and pre-attentively before any information processing takes place, as argued by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. As a result, we can establish that emotions influence us in ways we don’t even realize.

Furthermore, not only is mental engagement greater when there’s a greater level of emotion in the message, but emotion helps drive long-term memory encoding. According to Peter Pynta, “what’s key to turning [a recent memory] into [a] long-term memory is how intensely emotion is experienced. The more intense, the more likely it is to be remembered.”

So, emotions influence us on an unconscious level AND emotions help drive long-term memory encoding? Sounds like emotion-based communication is the way to go for brands…

Being that artists are essentially brands, it’s pretty fascinating to think about the implications of emotional communication to potentially consuming audiences. Let’s take Drake and his long-standing rap beef with Pusha-T earlier this year as an example. Whether or not you think Drake won the rap feud with King Push (imho, Drake got bodied), the novelty of the rap battle and lyrical jabs thrown by both artists drew attention and made us feel some type of way. These emotions not only captured our attention to the feud at hand, but also helped embed this as a long-term memory for many rap fans. At the end of the day, whether it was concerning the lyrical abilities of each of the rappers or the dirt thrown around, the rap battle was also a well-played means to a marketing end, considering that Pusha-T dropped his album DAYTONA a few days before the beef reached its peak with “The Story of Adidon”.

Where the Album comes into play

In our “attention economy”, we face constant cognitive overload from brands in our everyday lives. When it comes to music consumption, things are no different. It’s overwhelming to think about the insurmountable amount of music when we log onto our go-to music streaming platforms. Due to the cognitive overload, most of the times the artist selected is the one that’s top of mind.

So, how to artists/brands become top of mind? Well, as mentioned above, it’s through emotion-based communication that we come to recall brands, not only in the short-term, but also years from now since the emotionally-charged message that we recall down the line. Artists can use emotional narratives to not only draw attention and engagement with frontline repertoire (a new album release), but also leverage emotion to help encode their brand in the consumers mind for catalogue engagement years from now.

 Source:  Tumblr

Source: Tumblr

An album as a body of work, as opposed to releasing solely singles, could serve as a tactic to continue to build the brand narrative of the artist and thus drive fans up the fan pyramid. One album that does a great job on building an artist narrative is Kendrick Lamar’s chart-topping, conceptual album Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. Within the album, Lamar “chronicles [his] experiences in his native Compton and its harsh realities, in a nonlinear narrative. The songs address issues such as economic disenfranchisement, retributive gang violence and downtrodden women, while analyzing their residual effects on individuals and families.” If you’ve gone through any of the the experiences narrated by Lamar at any level, the storytelling hits home and you get the feels. Could this level of story-telling have been achieve by solely releasing singles?

While I’m aware that some artists are album artists, while others are singles artists, my key message is that an album gives the chance to further build the narrative for the artist. While artists have the ability to relay emotionally-charged messages to potential audiences through marketing-related stunts, an album gives the chance to further nurture the narrative sonically through the music of the artists.

Behaviorism And Its Momentum

Happy Sunday everyone!

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to work on a fleshed out post this week, but I have an interesting one in the pipeline (hint: it involves the branding behind Drake and the human amygdala).

In the meantime, I figured I’d take a look at the momentum of a passion topic of mine: behavioral economics.

I’ve written a bit about behavioral economics on my blog, but I thought it’d be interesting to take a step back and look at interest for the topic at hand.

Interestingly enough, the queries for the term “Behaviorism” look to be cyclical when looking at the trend line on a global scale, with most of the queries coming from the African continent. The peaks happen from February to May and September to December, while the dips occur in late July and late December. The peak in the trend line for “Behavioral Economics” occurred around the time that the Noble Prize was awarded to Richard Thaler for his work on the topic. I wonder if the increase in terms have to do with psychology students in school that have to look up the term.

When looking at the trend lines focusing on USA, we see a similar seasonal trend for the term “Behaviorism”, with the peaks occurring in late August/early September and the dips around mid-December. Being that the school year usually starts around late August/early September, Being that some of the top related queries for the term “Behaviorism” are related to pet behaviorists in the vicinity, could it be that most people are looking up for a pet behaviorist around this time? Or is the start of the school year (which coincidentally happens around late August/early September) have to do with the peaks we’re seeing? Last theory: could it be that investors are conducting research on behaviorism leading up to the dreaded month of October? Some food for thought until next time… Would love to hear any thoughts on the subject though!

Binaural Beats on Spotify

In my later days of being a Visual Artist (I normally go with the title of “Photographer” for the sake of simplicity, but photography was only one of the mediums I used for conceptual projects), I was pretty fascinated with the concept of synesthesia, which ultimately led to studying binaural beats for a video project. Since then, I’ve been using these tones to help me focus when reading or writing. While the science behind the cognitive effects of listening to binaural beats seems to be far from complete, there’s a chance that listening to binaural beats might not have an actual effect on my cognitive processing, but I chose to continuing listening to them even if it’s just the placebo effect I might be experiencing during mentally-demanding tasks.

On a day when I have to write, I usually hop on youtube to listen to this specific “beat”, but my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to check if there were any binaural beats on Spotify. It turns out there’s handful of Spotify-curated ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) playlists, one with over 125k followers containing binaural beats.

Source: Statista

A criticism frequently brought up on Spotify’s business model is the operating expense that comes in the form of royalties they have to dish out royalties to the three major record label companies for the act of licensing out their IP on the Spotify platform. In order to decrease market share from the record labels, which held 79% of the share of listening on Spotify in 2017, and as a result decrease operating expenses, the streaming company has been launching strategic initiatives that included the suspected low-royalty ‘fake artists’ fiasco earlier this year.

I would think that binaural beats would potentially provide higher-margin revenue for Spotify. It looks as if there are actual people (artists) that upload these tracks, as seen by the artist of the first track on the ASMR Sleep Sounds playlist, Creative Calm ASMR. However, who’s to say that some of these beats aren’t coming from Spotify themselves? I mean, they’re just tonal frequencies so how difficult would it be to export these frequencies and upload them onto the platform?

Most of the tracks are 2-3 minutes in length and, in my own consumption behavior, I normally listen to binaural beats on YouTube an average of 1-2 hours. That would mean that if I’m listening to a binaural tone for 2 hours on Spotify, I would be looping a track 40 times. What about people that use binaural tones as a sleeping aid? If someone sleeping about 7 hours a night, a track would be looped 140 times! With the potential of stealing share of listening via binaural tones, I’m not quite sure why binaural tones on Spotify aren’t advertised.

Test Driving YouTube Music

As I had mentioned in a previous post, humans are creatures of habit. Being that I feel invested in my premium Spotify account due to the the fact that I have the comfort of navigating a user interface I’m familiar with, I figured I’d step out of my comfort zone and give YouTube’s paid music streaming service a try. I was also going into the experience pretty curious about the music recommendations from the streaming service. Being that the Google-owned platform has their own proprietary recommendation algorithm and understanding its potential for new music discovery for consumers, my curiosity was getting the best of me.

The on-boarding was fairly fluid. Upon staling the app, I was asking to log in using my existing YouTube account information. Resourceful on behalf of the YouTube Music app since this applies already established consumption behaviors from your existing YouTube account. The app also had me to select artists that I liked, further collecting more data on my listening preference. After setting up, the app presented the main screen (mind you, I usually stream when I’m at the gym, hence the slew of rap artists and hip-hop recommendations). Two things struck me on the main page: the endless personalized “Your Mixtape” playlist and the simplistic approach to the total number of tabs shown at the bottom of the screen. The bottom bar is extremely similar to Spotify’s latest app redesign for users in their paid premium tier, which rolled out the redesign after I started my YouTube Music trial run. The main difference is that while YouTube Music has a Hotlist button, Spotify has a Search button in the same middle positioning. YouTube has a search button in the upper right corner of the screen.

The hotlist shows a selection of new and trending videos. What I found really convenient was the option of selecting whether you wanted to play the video or just the audio version of the track. Being that I primarily stream music in the gym, I’ve been finding the Spotify vertical videos a bit of a nuisance. It’s great content, I don’t necessarily want to sift through videos to find the right track for the moment.

When it came to the Search function, one thing I found limiting was the lack of searching through a voice query. Knowing how much voice interfaces are going to play a pivotal role in the years to come, I was pretty surprised to not find this option available. Other than that, the Search function was easier to navigate than Spotify’s. In similar fashion to Spotify, you scroll down the screen to see the results, whether it was a song you were looking for, an album, a music video, or a playlist featuring the artist of interest. However, what I found convenient were the buttons underneath the search text box, in order to jump to the section of interest, instead of having to endlessly scroll down the search results.

The last thing found a little annoying with YouTube Music was the lack of an option to add a track to the queue. One could drag and drop a track to position the song to be played next, but that a lot of dragging and dropping if you want to customize an existing playlist.

Now this might be subjective (in fact, I know it is) with a hint of confirmation bias, but I thought the suggested tracks from YouTube Music streaming service was much more in line with my personal taste, was fitting to the playlist being listened to, and most importantly consistently included new artists in the mix. While Spotify hits the first two of the three points above, it’s not very successful in introducing me to new artists (at least in my experience). Due to all of the music consumption data YouTube/Google’s been collecting from me for years, in addition to the slew of artist- and user-generated content they have on their platform, they might have the leg up on new artist discovery for consumers.

LATAM: Greatest Smartphone Use for Music

 Source:  GS StatCounter

I came across the recently published 2018 IFPI Music Consumer Insight Report, which offers a snapshot of the role of music at different parts of our day and how music is driving growing adoption of technologies on a global scale, amongst other insights. When going through the report, I found a headline particularly interesting, The Highest Rate Of Smartphone Use For Music Is In Latin America. Knowing that Spotify’s been focused on high growth markets outside of the United States (where their facing steep competition) and that they recently announced a partnership with Samsung, in which “Spotify will become part of the set-up experience on Samsung devices”, I thought I’d check out the potential market for the android operating system market share in Latin America. Unsurprisingly, the two biggest players are Android and Apple IOS, with the Android OS having 85% of market share as of Q3 2018. With Mexico coming in at 93% of people using smartphones for music, Brazil at 92%, and Argentina at 89%, the whopping android market share undoubtedly places them in a better position to solidify their own music streaming foothold in Latin America. Touché Spotify.

Creatures of Habit

Tweet by Chris Ciovacco

I tend to reflect on the idea of habits pretty often.

Last week, I came across a tweet by Chris Ciovacco, Founder & CEO Ciovacco Capital Management, that touched on the idea of bad habits. With behavioral economics becoming an increasingly popular topic of discussion in the finance world, I’ve found the social chatter on behavioral finance to be quite constructive. Habits are pretty powerful and in most cases a subconscious process in people. Just think, this is why companies want to have consumers form habits with their products/services (increased retention).

We, as humans, have a tendency to use habits as mental shortcuts. While habits can start off as deliberate behavior, through repetition they become automatic. In understanding the power of habits through my interest in consumer psychology, I’ve come to consciously form some good ones - whether that’s going to the gym, tracking my personal expenses, and taking time out of my week to write on here. That’s not to say I don’t have bad habits. At the end of the day, I’m aware that I’m a creature of habits - both good and bad.

How Do Habits Work?

According to Britannica.com, a habit is “any regularly repeated behaviour that requires little or no thought and is learned rather than innate”.

habit-loop.jpg

The habit loop is a cyclical process in which behaviors become automatic. In the first step of the habit loop, we have a trigger that serves as a reminder of our routine. Triggers can be external, in which the information for what to do next is within the trigger itself, or internal, in which we decide what do to next through internally stored information formed through associations in our memory. For example, some internal triggers could be associating 6pm with dinner time or your personal office as a productive work space.

Following the trigger is the physical, mental, emotional behavior that’s part of the routine. Finally, the reward is the feedback that tells you whether the routine is good or bad. Through the associative learning and repetition (conditioning), we create direct links in our memory between a trigger and response and make an association between a particular behavior and a consequence. The more we repeat the process, the stronger the association and more automative the behavior becomes.

A lot of our purchase decisions are based on habits. Heck, just last night I purchased my usual pre-workout supplement off of Amazon because 1) I didn’t want to invest the time to research a new and potentially better supplement and 2) it was after a long day of work and I felt mentally drained. One of the main focuses for a business is to have potential customers try their product/service to have them become repeat buyers. Having customers form habits with your product/service should be the ultimate goal, as it has the potential to benefit the businesses bottom line. Again, pretty power stuff.

Smart Speakers and The Consumption of Music

In a previous post, in which I announced my new position as Insights Strategist for Universal Music Group, I expressed an interest in the evolving media consumption behavior as a result of connected devices.

 Source:  Edison Research

With the dawn of the internet of things came the introduction of smart cars, connected home automation devices, and wearable technologies among other nifty connected devices. While these gadgets are all fascinating smart technologies, none have taken hold in US households as much as smart speakers. In January 2018, smart speakers were being used by consumers that fell within the “Early Adopters” and “Early Majority” stages of the innovation curve. According to an Adobe Analytics study, almost 50% of US consumers will own a smart speaker after the 2018 holiday season.

The smart speaker revolution is undeniable.

What does this mean for the consumption of music?

In the same Adobe study mentioned above, 70% of the respondents reported using their smart speakers for music consumption, which makes it the primary activity followed by weather forecasting (64%), and alarms/reminder (46%).

In my personal experience, using a smart speaker seems to remove the friction when wanting to listen to music. When I want to listen to music, I don’t need to manually look up an artist, album, song, genre, etc. There’s a clear consumer pain point that was being addressed. However, since most smart speakers don’t have a screen, that means the results for voice queries for music have to be much accurate. If we were to look up an artist on a search engine or music streaming platform, we’re given several songs or albums to to choose from. With the lack of a screen to refer to, consumers are given the one algorithmic-driven result deemed most appropriate by smart speakers. That means that these smart devices have one shot to get the customer experience right and pull up the “right” song.

Keeping in mind choice paralysis (there are times when I want to listen to music, but feel a little overwhelmed by the vast catalogue of music out in the world) and as consumers interact with smart speakers in much more intuitive and natural ways (as opposed to written queries) the dependence on genre or mood queries will play a key role in music consumption. But, with the melting pot of music genres, how does one categorize the genre-bending band Gorillaz, for example? In an ethnographic study that Edision Research conducted, we can see the toddler asks Alexa to play “Elsa” and “Frozen”. Besides the fact that pronunciation is an essential factor for smart speakers to deal with (think about how many consumers might be mispronouncing an artist name or lyrics), the smart speaker device should comprehend that the “Elsa” and “Frozen” prompt means to play “Let It Go”. But doesn’t this change if there’s an artist named “Elsa”?

All this means that there’s going to be a lazer-like focus on getting the music metadata right to serve up the right music at the right moment.

This is an extremely fascinating time to be alive. Voice is here and seems to be the future.

P.S. While there might be some apprehension from digital immigrants to use smart speakers, isn’t it fascinating to think that the same toddler from above is going to grow up naturally accepting Alexa as a digital assistant?

The Sunk Cost Effect

This cartoon’s pretty brilliant.

According to WhatIs.com, the sunk cost effect is the tendency for humans to continue investing in something that clearly isn’t working. This tendency is due to time/effort/money already invested in the endeavor at hand. In the cartoon to the right, the sunk cost effect is shown by the dog’s irrational behavior to follow through with further digging even after not finding his bone after digging a bit.

This behavioral quirk is quite popular in the investing field. Instead of cutting losses, investors have an inclination to hold onto shares of a company after the shares fall in value, in hopes that the value would increase. These investors are reluctant to admit that they’ve made a bad investment and would prefer to hold onto those shares instead of reinvesting in another company.

To provide another example: I’ve recently been debating about switching my paid music streaming subscription service from Spotify Premium to Amazon Music Unlimited. Being that I’m an Amazon Prime member, my Amazon Music Unlimited subscription would cost $7.99 per month. In my current Spotify Premium plan, I’m dishing out $9.99 per month. If following rational economic theory, I would switch my subscription over to Amazon because… well, it just makes sense financially! However, in being the “irrational” consumer that I am, I haven’t switched over due to the fact that I keep thinking about all the time I’ve invested in creating my Spotify playlists - a clear case of the sunk cost effect.

Super-Size It

In customary, almost religious fashion, the new generation of iPhones were unveiled this last Wednesday at the annual Apple “Special Event”.

 Source:  Reuters

Source: Reuters

Data from social media chatter showed a lack of consumer purchase interest (and, in turn, investor sentiment) for the new models (dubbed the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs MAX, and iPhone Xr) in comparison to previous iPhone products. While the new models don’t really offer any major breakthrough features, it caught me a little off guard when I heard one of the phones was going to be bigger than the iPhone X.

Yup. Bigger.

For someone who has a 5.5-inch sized iPhone 6 Plus that can barely fit it into the front pocket of my slacks, it was difficult to comprehend why someone would need, much less want a huge phone (the iPhone Xs Max’s 26% larger than the previous largest iPhone display, diagonally measuring 6.5 inches).

The ginormous screen size will play a pivotal role in the Chinese market. Apple has been losing market share to Samsung and their series of Galaxy Note 9 products, and hopes to tap into the larger screen size trend.

Moreover, according to a Wall Street Journal podcast episode, Apple decided to supersize the iPhone to drive profits. When it comes to consumer behavior, bigger screens means more time on the phone and more time on the phone equates to an increase in the likelihood you’ll end up downloading applications to stream media or play games. The more apps purchased, of course, means more money in Apple’s already sizable pockets.

 Source:  Reuters

Source: Reuters

Smart move by Apple. While the company makes the majority of their revenue from the sale of the iPhones (about two-thirds of sales comes from iPhone sales), the company is undoubtedly taking certain steps to relay less on the sales of their hardware products and make their ecosystem even sticker. With Apple making further in roads into film industry with recent film acquisitions and even eyeing a subscription offering for a bundled entertainment service package, it’s clear why analysts are forecasting continued double-digital growth for Apple’s services business arm.

Bullish sentiment much? Yeah. Like most of you guys, I’m not sure what the future holds, but my fundamental analysis of Apple puts them at the center of the consumer tech space. Could this also be why Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway decided to increase their holdings of Apple shares 5%, making them the 2nd biggest shareholder, earlier this year? Perhaps…

What Doesn't Get Measured...

... doesn't get managed.

marketing-roi

This was too good to not share. Credit goes out to Tom Fishburne from the Marketoonist.


When it comes to the marketing field, I've always found it quite interesting that to many people, the term "marketing" is synonymous with "advertising". In other words, these folks think marketing is all about coming up with a well-designed ad and spreading to the word about a business or brand.

Yes, advertising is an aspect of marketing communications. Yes, it's important to communicate your value proposition to drive short-term sales and build long-term brand equity, but if you're not measuring your marketing campaigns, how do you know if your marketing dollars are being utilized in an optimal way?

Unless you're living in a world where money grows on tress, there's normally a limit to your marketing budget. With that being the case, resources have to be used in the most effective manner possible. In order to increase the return of investment (ROI) of the marketing campaigns, marketers and marketing researchers utilize a variety of methodologies, from marketing mix modeling to brand equity trackers, to evaluate marketing effectiveness.

As useful as some of the above-mentioned methodologies are to help maximize your marketing ROI, you need to established what your current ROI is. To those aren't familiar with the concept of ROI, the essential ROI formula equals to net profit (from a certain marketing campaign) divided by investment amount (for said marketing campaign) multiplied by 100 (ROI's expressed as a percentage). An ROI of 0% is your break-even point and an ROI of 100% means that you doubled your money. I would suggest using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for the calculation and easily creating a chart to visualize the data.

While the idea of ROI starts to become a little fuzzy around branding, you want to keep your pre-established key performing indicators (KPIs) for the business in mind and work towards meeting the goals for these KPIs.

The moral of the story - marketing isn't just about creating pretty ads and promoting them.

Marketing's both a science and an art, requiring creativity in producing out-of-the-box strategies, but also analytical rigor to measure what works and what doesn't. Don't let your marketing dollars go to waste.

eSports, Graduation, and Miami

The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind.

Not only was I inundated with final exams, group presentations, and my capstone project to wrap up my Masters program, but having also recently landed a position with Universal Music Group in Miami, I had to find a place to live & coordinate my move from Madrid to the Sunshine State which had to happen before my graduation ceremony!

eSports

The first thing on the agenda was the capstone project. The Market Research and Consumer Behavior Masters program at IE requires a final 8-week project, which allows students to integrate all the knowledge and skills that were mastered during the program, to develop a unique solution to a real-world challenge provided by the client. My six-person consulting team was assigned the task of validating current business drivers and gauge new opportunities within the eSports industry in the Peruvian market.

I had heard of the term "eSports" here and there before the project, but I can honestly say that didn't know much.

I knew of PewDiePie, who's currently the most subscribed-to YouTube personality (for the sake of comparison, he currently has a whopping 64 million subscribers while Beyoncé has 17 million), and his rise to fame on the platform from video content in which he would document the playthrough of video games while including commentaries and reactions as he played through them.

I also knew of Twitch, the Amazon-owned video game live streaming video platform, but I couldn't come to grasp the interest in the platform. I couldn't understand why someone would want to spend time watching someone else play a video game. Then I thought back to my younger days (when I was a bit more into video games). I remember having just a good of a time watching my friends play Super Smash Bros. instead of playing. I didn't need to be playing to have a fun experience with the game itself.

As I came to find out, eSports is considered competitive gaming at a professional level and in an organized format (a tournament or league) with a specific goal (i.e., winning a champion title or prize money) and a clear distinction between players and teams that are competing against each other. The eSports industry is also rapidly growing. In the coming year, the global eSports economy will ballon to $905.6 million, up 38% YoY and, according to market research firm Newzoo, the industry is currently estimated to reach $1.4 billion by 2020.

Overall, this was a fascinating project to work on. The industry growth figures were pretty impressive, so I'll be keeping a close eye on eSports moving on. Being that our presentation to the Telefónica team took place on July 5th and was hired to start my new position with UMG on July 10th, I had to fly out Miami the day after our presentation. Not much time to celebrate, but there was plenty of time down the road for that.

Graduation

After setting up shop and getting settled in Miami for about two weeks, I had to fly back to Madrid for graduation.

The jet lag was awful, but there were no regrets in my decision to fly back out for graduation. Being that I graduated early from high school and that I had to travel during my Bachelors graduation ceremony from LMU, I hadn't graduated on stage since kindergarten. That being the case, my family really appreciated seeing me formally receive my diploma in the traditional graduation get-up and what not.

 
 

It was a quick four days back in Madrid, but I now officially have my Masters in Market Research and Consumer Behavior. Feels good to write.

Madrid - it's been great, but onto the next chapter...

Miami

I'm now back in Miami.

I swear, every time I hear "Miami", I think - palm trees, cuban food, and Will Smith (yes, I'm an 80's baby and very clearly remember the chart-topping single from The Fresh Prince). A friend had also recommended that I check out the HBO series, Ballers, which is set in Miami. I'm not a huge Dwayne Johnson fan, but the trailer looks pretty good.

I can't say I would have imagined relocating here prior to my position with UMG, but I've lived by the ocean for the majority of my life (with the exception of Outat El Haj and Madrid) so I thought "why not?".

My first non-consecutive three weeks at Universal Music have been wonderful. I have a good grasp of the business side of things and I'm now learning the proprietary insights tools I'll be using for work. I also went to my first concert (Pusha-T at Story) and my first work-related show last night (Nacho at The Fillmore). All in all, everything's been great and Miami's starting to feel like home. More updates to come.

 The view from our office.

The view from our office.