09:29 AM

In a Digidesign groove with Booker T.

by Doug Millison for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

Digidesign and Pyramind are basking in the kind of press coverage glow that money just can't buy…or can it?

The company, based in Daly City, California, saw its Pro Tools music software product featured in the popular Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle today.

The hook that took this story out of the business section? Soul music icon Booker T. Jones - of "Green Onions" fame, a song that continues to receive global air time along with the rest of Jones' catchy catalog - is taking a course in how to use Pro Tools.

Come to think of it, this is the kind of coverage you can buy: getting this sort of endorsement from an artist of Jones' stature can't be free. At the very least, even if Digidesign hasn't paid Jones a fee or given him a special discount in exchange for the endorsement, somebody had to put in time and effort (an equation which equals $) to get the story to the attention of Chronicle and senior music critic Joel Selvin. Or, Digidesign may have worked with somebody else to place the story.

Considering the highly favorable description of Pyramind pasted into the story, the San Francisco-based training company that offers the course Jones is taking, I'd be willing to gamble my next latte that Pyramind was Selvin's source and the engine driving this particular puff piece:

Pyramind is one several schools in the Bay Area offering certification on Pro Tools, which was invented by the Daly City company Digidesign. Gordon and Donner folded their South of Market production business into an existing Folsom Street studio and slowly began to convert their part of the operation to a training facility. Gordon even took entrepreneur classes at a business school around the corner. They still do business as a recording studio, but Donner said the school now accounts for as much as 80 percent of their business.

With state universities and colleges perennially strapped for cash, only private schools like Pyramind can afford the latest equipment or find the instructors up to speed on the gear. In fact, Jones originally enrolled in the Pro Tools classes at Pyramind through the extension program at San Francisco State University, which had an arrangement with the studio. He plans to take his next level of training at a more intensive program offered by San Jose's Future Rhythm, six days of eight-hour classes at a private training facility with ties to Foothill College.

That's not to say it's not an interesting article, despite the PR flavor. Jones happens to be a personal favorite, so it's fun reading about him for that reason alone. Selvin's story has a powerful Baby Boomer back-to-school, yes-you-can-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks appeal, too.


Digidesign corporate site

It's back to school for soul great Booker T. Jones by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 December 2004

Pyramind corporate site

Booker T The MGs - Green Onions (Get Shorty Soundtrack) (polyphonic) ringtones

What's the story? Doug Millison also edits OnlineJournalist.org, "on a need-to-know basis"