On a lovely Christmas Day I purloined one of Santa’s gifts to my wife and patiently listened to the latest release from Hall of Fame rocker Jackson Browne, Standing In The Breach. For his legions of long-time fans (like me) he dished up a very satisfying mix of singer/songwriter intensive melodies with some country swing and a few hard guitar licks thrown in. Then, as always, he delicately adorned all of it with his sublime piano playing. But a review of this “album” is not what I’m addressing here. It is something, though perhaps subtle, even more telling.

The recording’s opening track is a tune called “The Birds of St. Mark’s”—an easily recognizable song that sets the stage for listeners to hear his latest offering. The song is classic Browne with a refined sense of pop melody and lyrical narrative. Among the reasons the tune was so recognizable is that Browne originally wrote it in 1967! First recorded by The Byrds (and countless others since then), “The Birds of St. Mark’s” released now illustrates that Jackson Browne has grasped one of the most important ideas of the digital era—repurposing content.

Now remember we are talking about a performer who has recorded 20 albums, has been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 2004 and is the co-author of the second most widely recorded song in the English language—“Take It Easy.” In other words the guy has cred and has been a stud in the L.A. and activist rock scenes since Lyndon Johnson was President. So then why is he releasing such “dated” content on his 13th studio album?

Well perhaps there are many reasons and among them that he—a superb storyteller—knows a good story when he hears it. His repurposing of original content in the name of commercial art serves an important lesson to those of us daily plying the waters of “content marketing.”

Everything that we create in the name of marketing enterprise cannot always be new and unique relative to everything that we created before it. To do so would be to deny inspiration, wisdom, experience and simply our own evolution of opinion. It also denies that the second or even third iteration of an idea to fuel content creation can be of superior quality and communication value to the first time an idea was produced. That’s why as we start 2015 I want to urge all content marketers to consider it the year of “repurposing content,” to find new ways to take the most solid of old ideas and allow them a second day in the sun. And hey, Rock On! 

(Jackson Browne photo credit: GQ.com)