THE WE-ENHANCE BLOG ROLL [TISSUE 5]

Posted: December 2, 2010 by We-Enhance in Uncategorized

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This is not thought of as “entertainment” by many, but, oh, yes, it can be and should be just like any sport. The only problem is that many who run the industry have as yet to realize this is the 21st century and the need to attract a new audience. The old one is dead. Often, literally.

The horse racing industry is scarily similar to the music industry: Technology is going to kill it off if it does not change- now -while those running 99% of the racing clubs have their blinkers firmly on and are only looking out for Number One and hiring like-minded people.

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Like  music company execs, they are busy talking to themselves and treating punters as a “consumer group” that will “always be there” and always be able to be sold on the same thing: Betting. On horses and in the same old ways. It’s eerily like thinking the CD would never disappear.

They tend to forget that punters like to bet on anything and right now, the online world has made it possible for them to do just this- and which they are doing with online gaming which is sexy to many.

Who wants to buy a horse when one can buy a car? Who wants to rub shoulders with mugs when one can glide with style merchants?

Horse racing and many of its sponsors are like a bottle of scotch or cognac: Old- and happy to be part of an old man’s sport.

And if the music industry is up in arms over illegal file sharing and piracy, the horse racing industry is hit from all sides by illegal bookies, in-fighting and with no real “industry” per se. Every racing club has its own rules and damned be the other.

Together, these clubs can create a real industry and, literally, guard its turf.

Right now? Right now, it’s fragmented on so many fronts largely due to massive egos and many afraid of change.

Sound familiar? Hell, Bernie Ecclestone sounds young and “new” compared to many running racing clubs.

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Know the amount of money the Hong Kong Jockey Club loses to illegal bookies in China every year on football/soccer betting due to antiquated government laws and the bleatings of the anti-gambling lobbyists? Over US$30 BILLION.

A non-profit making organization, the HKJC could pour back a sizable chunk of this money -right now going to illegal- bookies into the city through its Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities and the fact that it is Hong Kong’s single largest taxpayer.But, red tape is allowing bookies the “run of play”.

This is where the music and horse racing industries differ: The horse racing industry has money. In fact, it has so much money, often, they have no idea what to do with it. Or those in charge of the money, don’t know what the hell to do with it. And which is why racing and entertainment- mainly music- has still to connect- to co-mingle to mash-up and to succeed together.

Horse racing and music, racecourses as venues for music should go hand-in-hand, but few are thinking along these lines. All they know about are their race days. And that’s it.

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In many places, horse racing is still being run like a pukka old boys club and the Sport Of Kings could easily go the way of the European royal families.

As for those in music, how many music executives have even been to a racetrack? If they did they would know that their marketing efforts are being wasted in all the usual places. Who cares about Irving Azoff and Live Nation and all the usual suspects. A cash-rich racing club like the Hong Kong Jockey Club can have them all for breakfast and spit them out.

Attend the Melbourne Spring Carnival and music executives will get a  completely different picture of horse racing- and how and where music can fit in with a partner who can be a new revenue generator. But both industries must, however, move fast- and with people who know how to reach these new racegoers.

For the Melbourne Cup this year, the powers-that-be booked America, Chicago and Brian Wilson to reach the twentysomethings. Oh dear.

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According to data from the Queensland Treasury, in2007-8,  gamblers in Oz spent AUS$2.38 billion on racing, or 13 percent of total gambling expenditure of AUS$18.09 billion. Where did the rest of the money go? Other sports and, especially, online and, especially, online poker.

Right now- and forever- the biggest market for horse racing will be Hong Kong- and this is purely because of the love of the punt by Chinese gamblers.

What few realize is that one race in Hong Kong takes in more money than every race meeting in the UK- combined.

Plus, with money being bet from China and where racing is still officially banned though the prospects of this ban being lifted are high, it will all have a very strong impact on horse racing and music and fashion and even movies coming together. It has to.

We are willing to bet on this and maybe- just maybe- this is the big breakthrough the music industry has been looking for- but in all the wrong places and filled with years of navel gazing.

Plus, who owns the most famous race horse in the world today? Jerry Moss who started up A&M Records with Herb Alpert.

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What was the horse named after? The third album by a group Mr Moss signed to A&M named- Police- Zenyatta Mondatta. Mr Moss named his horse Zenyatta for short and which has now earned over US$35m in prize money.

Who sold Zenyatta to Jerry Moss? Eric Kronfeld, former CFO of PolyGram records- for US$60k and when a yearling.

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The horse racing and music industries: Where are the degrees of separation?

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We loved this snippet about Cowell The Scowell from our mates at Popbitch: Does Simon Cowell listen to the lyrics of the songs he picks for his charity singles? Or does he just stop after hearing the title?

We were prepared to overlook the unusual choice of Everybody Hurts for Helping Haiti (the lyrical message of which seemed to be “Come on, Haiti. We’ve all got problems.”) but the video for the X Factor Finalists’ version of Heroes – which intersperses photos of soldiers with footage of the singers – is too much to ignore. What’s being inferred exactly? That they could all be heroes too, with Matt, Katie, Wagner et al getting shot at on the front line?

If so, great idea. Put down the microphone, pick up a gun and get out to Afghanistan:

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The failure of the movie “High School Musical China” has been described by some as “The perfect case study on how not to do business in China by a Western company”.

In a nutshell and from what we know, Disney did not show any “face” at all to its local partners, Shanghai Media Group [SMG] and the local distributors. Anytime there had to be a change, requests had to go all the way to Burbank. And not “just to Burbank” but straight to Disney Chairman Rich Ross.

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Found a new talent, Rich Ross apparently had to approve it. Change a chord to a song, ask Rich Ross for approval. Wanna fart, ask Rich Ross if you could.

The partners in China are said to have got so tired of being “Rich Rossed” around, orders from Burbank and the stop-go starts of the entire project that they simply let Disneycarry on regardless and didn’t step in to save the entire production from being the flop that it became. And making less than rmb$800,000 is a huge flop and nothing to make a song and dance about.

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Look, we are not fans of Susan Boyle, but we do admire everything she has accomplished. How long will she carry on? We are willing to bet, not for too long. SuBo, as she is known to fans, is said to be quite a fragile lady with a very fragile state of mind.

Plus, as we keep being told by many, “the truth about Susan Boyle will destroy Simon Cowell.” We have a fair idea what this might be, but these days, it seems that everyone is ready to forgive a con.

It’s also incredible the number of people who don’t know that Susan Boyle didn’t just appear outta nowhere. She has been trying out in talent shows in the UK for almost twenty years, something seemingly kept away from the American media.

Was she “cast” on “Britain’s Got Talent”? Who knows? But when we see clips like the one below where the lady gets a “Kermit” in her throat and the media makes it headline news, we have to wonder how long she will carry on and how long before she spills the beans on quite a few no-no’s.

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In Hong Kong, after over a year of auditions and some incredible hype, the girls who will make up Project Lotus were unveiled. Sorry, but this whole idea of finding “the world’s first Pan-Asian girl band” reminds us of so much that hs come before- even two decades before.

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Ages ago, the late Malcolm McClarren spent almost four years trying to put together such a group and ended up with Junck- an all-girl group supposedly from China. Over the years, there have been various attempts to re-create a combination of the Spice Girls and Pussycat Dolls and with the latter surely modeled after the former.

As for these Project Lotus lovelies, all we can say is, And now what? Reading a snippet about the “unveiling ceremony” in the South China Morning Post, the reporter was less than impressed with the end result. Others have said that the one Chinese girl in the group has been knocking around for ages trying to get a recording deal.

Others say that, apart from the Philippines, interest in the project was so poor that teams were dispatched to comb YouTube to find talent and beg them to audition. We still ask, And so there is this group. Then what? A CD? Then what? A tour? Of where? How long will all this take? Who cares?

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The French Connection, anyone? So here’s how this deal has gone down: The Editor of one of those Hong Kong freebie magazines suddenly has a parcel delivered to their offices. He opens it up and there is around 2 kilos of coke. He reorts this to th police and all they know is that the shipment ha been sent from Canada.

Over the course of the new few weeks, several other bundles of kilos are sent to the same address and duly handed over to the police. Then come phone calls to the editor asking about “the shipment”. Then, late at night, shady characters are seen outside of the publication’s offices.

The story so far: The offices of the publication have moved and there are some terrified people in Hong Kong. It’s worth a film script. And who says nothing ever happens in Hong Kong?

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  1. Christy says:

    @Hans

    Did you hear about Susan Boyle’s collapse on the U.S. show “The View” a couple of weeks ago? Sad spectacle. Inhumane. Let the lady retire in peace.

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