It’s been a rough few weeks for the Classic Rock community, as musical and cultural icons David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Paul Kantner passed away in January. No one lives forever, especially those who perhaps have a history for living life in the fast lane, in many cases, for decades. An exception to all of this, of course, is Keith Richards, but that’s for another blog post for another day.
Everyone ages differently, of course. And when you talk to Medicare card holders in excellent health and spirit, their vitality is often attributable to a lifelong desire for learning, insatiable curiosity, and a passion for work and one’s craft.
All of that is embodied and then some by Paul McCartney. At the ripe old age of 73, “the cute Beatle” continues to amaze and astound. He is vital and energized, embracing new technology, along with the new guard of music stars. And he lives in a musical world that has evolved well beyond the four-track tape recorders George Martin used to create and mix iconic masterworks like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
In 2014, Sir Paul launched a free virtual-reality concert app featuring a recording from Candlestick Park of “Live and Let Die” in concert. The tech company, Jaunt, created the app, making McCartney one of the first artists – and certainly the most influential – to embrace VR.
Not to be outdone, McCartney’s latest endeavor is a project with Skype. The Wall Street Journal’s Digits section reports he created “Audio Mojis” that were sent out last weekend in time for Valentine’s Day.
Sir Paul posted a video of how the “Love Mojis” project came together. Not only is it a fascinating process to watch, but you’re looking at a septuagenarian at the top of his game, excited by the prospect of how his musical sensibilities and talents translate to the digital arena.
He told Mike Ayers of the WSJ, “I wanted the signature to sound electronic rather than acoustic guitar, for instance, so I got the overall signature on the Moog in order to give it a more modern flavor.”
McCartney very much sounds like a musician in touch with his creativity and craft and how they can be enhanced, adapted, and modernized, thanks to technology.
Email recipients click here to watch Sir Paul’s video
McCartney’s newest projects reminds us of the flawed assumption that digital natives are, by definition, always Millennials or members of Gen Z. The conventional wisdom is that virtually all young people are all skilled techno-nerds, capable of things that Boomers cannot even fathom. After all, they grew up with tech, computers, video games, and social media, therefore vaulting them past Gen Xers and Boomers.
As McCartney refutes that logic, so has research we’ve recently conducted. During consumer interviews last year among “connected car” owners, we ran into a Millennial male in Detroit who was flummoxed by the fact his vehicle’s touchscreen language was in Spanish. He had no idea how to use the car’s settings feature to return it to English. I had to focus very hard not to start laughing, much less explain to him the little gear “settings” symbol on the screen would unlock the secret to solving his dashboard dilemma.
On the other end of the spectrum, here’s former Beatle Paul McCartney setting trends and stepping into the future of music more than five decades after the British Invasion stormed our shores here in the U.S. It is remarkable to watch him and other mature musicians show us their innovation in the 60’s was no fluke.
All this suggests that simply stepping out and hiring twentysomethings on the assumption they have a deep digital DNA is faulty, just as concluding that existing radio staffers of a certain age just don’t get it or aren’t capable of adapting, changing, and morphing with these crazy times.
Paul McCartney might have thing or two to say about that.
Digital natives indeed.
Prior to launching the company, Fred spent the majority of his time designing and managing research projects as the Director of Research for the Radio and Publishing divisions for Frank N. Magid Associates, a leading research and consulting firm. Later, Fred became Director of Radio Research for the ABC-FM Owned and Operated Radio Stations. From there, Fred gravitated to the station side, becoming program director for legendary WRIF-FM in Detroit, before forming Jacobs Media.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults Jacobs Media’s major market Classic, Mainstream, and Active Rock clients, while having input in every client relationship.
Fred has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.
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