Archive for August, 2007

How long will it be before people attach advertisements to music?

Google just announced that it would allow advertisers to place flash ads on YouTube clips. These ads are semi-transparent overlays that occupy the bottom fifth of the video clip, beginning about 30 seconds into the clip. This seems to be the preferred alternative to all sorts of other advertising strategies: pop-ups, banner ads, the “pre-roll” or “mid-roll” or the video ad that plays next to the content, but requires the user to initate it.

I guess this has the avantage of having a favorable visibily/irritation quotient. I haven’t been able to see it, I think because the new ad technology isn’t compatible with safari or camino. Can’t be sure though. Maybe the New York Times lied.

So when will this happen with music? See, on youtube, no one feels like they “own” a copy of the star wars kid. But it’s permanently available. I think that part of the problem is that music companies and lovers confuse selling a license to a given album with selling the album itself. An album sells “copies”. You can own one.

Its strange – when I buy a song on iTunes, I feel like I own it. If I *were* to illegally obtain songs, I don’t think that i would feel that way. I might say, yeah, I’ve got that on my computer, but I probably wouldn’t say I owned it.

Here’s my vision of a glorious future:

There should be a website which allows instant, high-quality streaming of music on demand with an excellent search protocol.

I imagine it to be a cross between the iTunes music store with YouTube. With a little amazon.com thrown in. yeah, and netflix too.

ITUBAZON!

iTunes component: all recorded music in history would be searchable in a fantastic, internally consistent database. For music whose basic component is the song, you would be able to search for things by song name, album, artist, release year, etc, etc. For music whose basic component is the piece, you would be able to search for things by composer, soloist, conductor, title, etc. (thus getting around the song/movement mismach as well as the piece/album mismatch)

The search mechanism would be the same as in itunes – as you type, the matching entries are displayed. (I’m sure that there is a word for this sort of search, and that some scrappy programmer at apple came up with it, and now its called spotlight. If anyway knows what this is called, please let me know.)

Next to each track (or piece) there would be two buttons: play and add to library.

The play button is self-explanatory

the “add to library” button is like the Netflix “add to queue” button. It would add the track to your personal library of music. (so that if you are listening to one track, but browsing for more music, you can “bookmark” the song so as to be able to listen to it later.)

This personal library does not reside on your computer, rather, its more like a profile on a networking site, or a playlist in your itunes library. Your personal library is just a subset of the site’s main library – music that you like, or are on the lookout to hear. But you don’t own anything, you just have instant access to anything.

The Youtube/flickr component: Each song could be tagged by users as “sappy” or “fuckin’ awesome’ or whatever. These text tags could be searchable too. BUT ALSO! since the site would have ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE of what people listen to, the “affinities” between bands or pieces of music could be determined with a simple equation! In the Venn Diagram of the spice girls and shostakovich, just how big is the middle part? I know that I like them both, but is that just me, or are there more people out there, just like me? Clearly, people could upload their own content, just like youtube or myspace.

So really, this site becomes the only place that people ever go to listen to music on their computers.

SO how do you pay the musicians, if all this music is free?

Well, everytime a particular song is played, there is some advertisement that accompanies it in some way (I’d prefer it to be visual, not audio.) Some of the Ad revenue is given to the artist themselves. This way, there is a direct correlation between the number of plays a band gets and the amount of money that they receive!

This will happen, I just wish that I had the programming skillz and the venture capital to get a site like this going. Anyone out there know a fucking amazing programmer and some rich guy who wants to see the world made a better place?

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Volunteerism and the American Ethic!

I was surprised at how well-written and forceful this is:

“The present way in America to meet other singles is in bars, using dating services or through the personals, all of which can take away a person’s self esteem and waste precious time. While volunteerism has been suggested as an acceptable way to meet other singles, too often the volunteer activities are dominated by women or individuals who are married. Churches have also been suggested as a decent way to meet singles, but in many cases the single person is surrounded by happily married couples and children, doubling the hurt and frustration. Friends still introduce friends but many times, the friends just don’t happen to know anyone single.

With half of the population divorced, offices discouraging interoffice romances, a disenfranchised telecommunicating population, and the legitimately evolutionary need to couple, a way had to be found to overcome these obstacles. With the national reliance on volunteerism to make up for a growing deficit, Single Volunteers could make two birds live with one stone.”

This comes from the Singles Volunteers of America website.   

I might have said intraoffice romance, and skipped the cheezy metaphor, but still! 

 Sometimes I wish I were single and looking, so I could take avantage of all these great dating opportunites (not really, but you know what I mean) Match dot com, speed dating.  It’s like you get to rewrite your facebook profile every 60 seconds.

 Contra Dancing has been hailed as the only place a new beautiful woman is flung into your arms every 30 seconds (every 64 beats, at 120bpm…)

Subhead

What are those fragment-y chapter subheadings they used (I think) in victorian novels called? They describe what’s going to happen in the chapter you’re going to read, section by section. I came across them reading The Great American Novel by Philip Roth. Here’s an example:

A chapter containing as much as has ever been written anywhere on the subject of midgets in baseball. In which all who take pride in the nation’s charity will be heartened by an account of the affection bestowed by the American public upon such unusual creatures. Being the full story of the midget pinch–hitter Bob Yamm, his tiny wife, and the nemesis OK Ockatur. How the Yamms campured the coutry’s heart. What the newspapers did in behalf of the midgets. The radio interview between Judy Yamm and Martita McGaff…In which the Mundys arrive in Kalooka to deafeat the demoralized Reapers.

Epigrams?
Subheads?
Chapter headings?
Table of contents?

I just don’t know.
Please, ye readers, enlighten me.

Knoxville

I found out recently about a radio documentary (scroll down – it’s there…) done by the BBC about Knoxville: Summer of 1915. It’s by Alan Hall, who is british, which is surprising. Knoxville, in so far as it’s about the town, is pretty evocative of some America which we might have, but it would be tough to tell because reflection is tough BUT: Alan Hall, a brit, had a great ear for the piece and I guess for Knoxville the town. (here’s the reaction of one of his interviewees)

My beloved high school music theory teacher Peter Warsaw introduced Knoxville to me at a very impressionable time in my life – I was young and cynical and I was existentially fed up with all the young cynics around me. YES! Something real, beautiful, honest! (and when everyone else liked the piece too, they didn’t like it as much as I did. Phoneys.) It’s by Samuel Barber, set to a text by James Agee.

Fun fact: Barber’s text starts in the middle of a sentence!

Check out Dawn Upshaw’s incredible recording here.

Originally, Knoxville was the prologue to A Death in the Family by James Agee

Originally originally, it was just a fragment, until the editors of A Death in the Family (after Agee’s death, before the publication of the book) included it, and three other fragments, in Agee’s autobiographical novel that he couldn’t ever get quite right because he was a drunk, but it turns out he got it really right because it won a Pulitzer and everyone should read it even if they don’t care about prizes.

I’ve given A Death in the Family as a gift probably around 15 times. If you’ve received a copy, I probably was crushin’, or I thought you were the kind of human being I wanted be REAL friends with. or both.

Faith is like a simile!

Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.

Faith is like electricity.

Faith is like a mustard seed.

Faith is like a storm, tossing us in the waves.

Faith is like kicking a rock and imagining that you are punishing the rock when you are only hurting your own foot.

Some people think that finding faith is like playing scratchers.

Faith is like a muscle. If exercised, it grows strong. If left immobile, it becomes weak.

faith is like cutting the bad fruit off a tree without dealing with the bad root.

Faith is like a cheque. All you have to do is hold on to the cheque, go to the bank to present it and you can confidently expect the money to appear in your account after a certain time. If you throw the cheque away the money will not be put in your account. God is trustworthy and always has resources to back his promises.

faith is like looking at a “magic eye” poster and “getting it”.

Faith is like our stem cells.

Faith is like a hunter out in the bush, who lifts up his rifle, aims, and takes down that big bull moose on the first shot.

Faith is like a local superstar

Faith is like a trampoline ~ it bends & flexes & moves (springs = doctrines)