"music" entries

Lessons from Digital Disruption in the Music Business

Last week's On The Media (mp3 download here) devoted the full program to challenges and changes during the past decade or so in the music business — from the unanswered legal questions about sampling (check out Girl Talk for the genre taken to the extreme) to the shifting economics of concert tickets and promotion to the changing role of…

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Four short links: 27 August 2009

Four short links: 27 August 2009

Copycrime, Die Music Industry Die, Open Government Data, Augmented Reality

  1. Second Degree Murder and Six Other Crimes Cheaper Than Pirating MusicI’m outraged that the Obama administration is supporting the RIAA on the case against Jammie Thomas, a single mother of four who has to pay them $1.92 million for downloading songs. That’s more expensive than murder and six other crimes… (via Br3nda)
  2. Bill Drummond Talk (MP3) — cofounder of the KLF gives 130 years of music industry history and explains why music’s future might depend on not recording it. (via Br3nda)
  3. NZ Government Recommends CC-BY — NZ all-of-Government licensing framework recommends CC. So far as copyright works are concerned, NZGOAL proposes that agencies apply the most liberal of the New Zealand Creative Commons law licences to those of their copyright works that are appropriate for release, unless there is a restriction which would prevent this. The most liberal Creative Commons licence is the Attribution (BY) licence. So far as non-copyright information is concerned, NZGOAL recommends the use of clear “no-known rights” statements, to provide certainty for people wishing to re-use that information..
  4. Augmented Reality: 5 Barriers to a Web That’s Everywhere (ReadWriteWeb) — great post with five areas that need to be addressed before we can move from “wow” to commonplace. Interoperability: Right now you cannot see information from the Wikitude AR environment if you’re looking through the Layar AR browser. This could be the coming of a new browser war just like that of the 1990s. It may not be obvious and it may not even be true that users have a right to view any layer of Augmented Reality through any Augmented Reality browser. Interoperability, standards and openness have been what has let the Web scale and flourish beyond the suffocating walled gardens of its early days. The same is true of telephones, railroads and countless other networked technologies. Logically then, a lack of interoperability between AR environments would be a tragedy of the same type as if the web had remained defined by the islands of AOL and Compuserve or Internet Explorer, forever. (A lack of data portability when it comes to Augmented Reality could cause substantial psychological distress!)
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Old Media, New Media and Where the Rubber Meets the Road

My once-beloved San Francisco Chronicle has been "hollowed out," reduced to a thin pamphlet, thereby accelerating their subscriber attrition. Do you even know anyone who actually uses the Yellow Pages? Remember record stores? Whither Blockbuster? When analog media collides with digital media, "creative destruction" occurs with brutal efficiency — unless you can truly differentiate your offering, a tall task, but not an insurmountable one.

Comments: 14

Content is a Service Business

What you're selling as an artist (or an author, or a publisher for that matter) is not content. What you sell is providing something that the customer/reader/fan wants. That may be entertainment, it may be information, it may be a souvenir of an event or of who they were at a particular moment in their life (Kelly describes something similar as his eight "qualities that can't be copied": Immediacy, Personalization, Interpretation, Authenticity, Accessibility, Embodiment, Patronage, and Findability). Note that that list doesn't include "content." The thing that most publishers (and authors) spend most of their time fretting about (making it, selling it, distributing it, "protecting" it) isn't the thing that their customers are actually buying. Whether they realize it or not, media companies are in the service business, not the content business.

Comments: 25
Four short links: 25 June 2009

Four short links: 25 June 2009

Twitter Bucks, Nike Numbers, Map Apps, and Digi Shiz

  1. How an Indie Musician Can Make $19,000 in 10 Hours Using Twitter — as Zoe Keating pointed out: “cash made by @amandapalmer in one month on Twitter = $19,000; cash made by @amandapalmer from 30,000 record sales = $0”.
  2. The Nike Experiment: How the Shoe Giant Unleashed the Power of Personal Metrics (Wired) — And not only can we collect that data, we can analyze it as well, looking for patterns, information that might help us change both the quality and the length of our lives. We can live longer and better by applying, on a personal scale, the same quantitative mindset that powers Google and medical research. Call it Living by Numbers—the ability to gather and analyze data about yourself, setting up a feedback loop that we can use to upgrade our lives, from better health to better habits to better performance. Collective intelligence + sensor networks can = happiness. (Mathematics gets by with just an “equals” operator. The rest of us need a “can equal” operator …)
  3. Old Map App — iPhone app with old maps. Reminds me of David Rumsey’s keynote at OSCON 2004.
  4. Make It Digital — Digital NZ site that helps organisations wanting to produce digital content, by offering them guidance on formats, metadata, and other issues they’ll have to tackle. Includes a voting system to promote the (NZ) content you want to have digitised.
Comments: 2

NiN's Rob Sheridan on iPhone Application Rejection

In this interview with Rob Sheridan (@rob_sheridan), Nine Inch Nails' Artistic Director, Rob discusses the experience of getting the rejection letter from Apple, and what effect it has on the band's plans to build community applications on the iPhone platform. You'll hear Sheridan express an uneasiness that Apple can act as judge and jury without providing any transparency into the approval process.

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Four short links: 8 Apr 2009

Four short links: 8 Apr 2009

Bias, RFCs, virus batteries, and a glimpse at life beyond record labels (the last item features profanity, beware):

  1. Bias We Can Believe In (Mind Hacks) — Vaughn asks the tricky question about the current enthusiasm for Behavioural Economics in government: where are the sceptical voices? As he points out, It’s perhaps no accident that almost all the articles cite a 2001 study that found that simply making the US’s 401(k) retirement savings scheme opt-out instead of opt-in vastly increased participation simply because it’s a hassle to change and employees perceive the ‘default’ as investment advice.
    But it’s probably true to say that this example has been so widely repeated but it’s one of the minority of behavioural economics studies that have looked at the relation between the existence of a cognitive bias and real-world economic data from the population.
    And it’s notable that behavioural economists who specialise in making this link, a field they call behavioural macroeconomics, seem absent from the Obama inner circle.
  2. How The Internet Got Its Rules (NYTimes) — about the first RFCs, which became IETF. The early R.F.C.’s ranged from grand visions to mundane details, although the latter quickly became the most common. Less important than the content of those first documents was that they were available free of charge and anyone could write one. Instead of authority-based decision-making, we relied on a process we called “rough consensus and running code.” Everyone was welcome to propose ideas, and if enough people liked it and used it, the design became a standard. (via Glynn Moody)
  3. Viruses Could Power Devices (Science News) — Ions and electrons can move through smaller particles more quickly. But fabricating nano-sized particles of iron phosphate is a difficult and expensive process, the researchers say. So Belcher’s team let the virus do the work. By manipulating a gene of the M13 virus to make the viruses coat themselves in iron phosphate, the researchers created very small iron phosphate particles. (via BoingBoing)
  4. Amanda Palmer’s Label-Dropping Game — interesting email from Amanda Palmer to her fans about trying to get dropped from her label. i had to EXPLAIN to the so-called “head of digital media” of roadrunner australia WHAT TWITTER WAS. and his brush-off that “it hasn’t caught on here yet” was ABSURD because the next day i twittered that i was doing an impromptu gathering in a public park and 12 hours later, 150 underage fans – who couldn’t attend the show – showed up to get their records signed. no manager knew! i didn’t even warn or tell her! no agents! no security! no venue! we were in a fucking public park!
    life is becoming awesome.
    and then the times they are a-changing fucking dramatically, when pong-twittering with trent reznor means way more to your fan-base/business than whether or not the record is in fucking stores (and in my case, it ain’t in fucking stores).
Comments: 2

The Sizzling Sound of Music

Are iPods changing our perception of music? Are the sounds of MP3s the music we like to hear most? Jonathan Berger, professor of music at Stanford, was on a panel with me at a meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Mountain View, CA on Saturday. Berger's presentation had a slide titled: "Live, Memorex or MP3." He…

Comments: 88

History Repeating with Book Publishing's Mobile Efforts

A Computerworld blog post from Mike Elgan looks at recent mobile announcements from book publishers. From the perspective of technology, watching book publishers slowly grapple with the tentative migration of books to mobile platforms is painful. Interestingly, the comments attached to the piece are almost all more conservative. The music industry was holding on to physical CD sales so tightly…

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What Cookbook Publishers Can Learn from the Music Industry

The maturation of music downloads offers a path for cookbook publishers.

Comment: 1