Posts tagged “download”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Skirting the Glut of iPhone Apps [] – The average iPhone or iPod Touch owner uses 5 to 10 apps regularly. This despite the surfeit of available apps: some 140,000 and counting. [The iPad] doesn’t mean that people will change their habits. Actually, it may just make them feel a tad more overwhelmed. The next generation of gadget users might prove different, but for now it is clear that people prefer fewer choices, and that they gravitate consistently toward the same small number of things that they like. For every zealous owner whose iPhone is loaded with little-known programs that predict asteroid fly-bys, there are many more who seldom venture outside the predictable. Most say they’re too busy, too lazy or just plain flummoxed by the choices. “I think I’m supposed to want more of them than I have,” said Julie Graham, a psychotherapist in San Francisco. “There’s this sense that I’m missing out on something I didn’t know I needed.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Confessions of a Book Pirate [The Millions] – I own around 1,600 physical books, maybe a third of which were bought new, the rest used. I buy many hardcovers in a given year and generally purchase more books than I end up reading, so I have not chosen to collect electronic books as opposed to paper books but in addition to them. My electronic library has about a 50% crossover with my physical library, so that I can read the book on my electronic reader, “loan” the book without endangering my physical copy, or eventually rid myself of the paper copy if it is a book I do not have strong feelings about.
  • Google’s "Search Stories" advertising – Very powerful quick ads made of screenshots only, show how using Google for search (and other) is an element – perhaps integral – of the stories that our lives are made of.

Wild and Free

Me on bass, Firefly Club, Osaka, Japan, 2001

I had the TV on in the background the other night while I was doing some work around the house–I’ll admit it to you–I was watching E Hollywood True Stories, “Joe Francis Gone Wild.” (Francis is the guy who created Girls Gone Wild (NSFW))

Anyway…about halfway through the show, I heard a really familiar sound fading up in the background. I turned up the volume on the show, and, sure enough, it was a piece of a song from a CD I recorded a few years ago.

ghost7, New Directions in Static, 2004

As the wow feeling of hearing something I had made broadcast this widely subsided, I started thinking about other aspects of the situation: shouldn’t someone have contacted me, shouldn’t I be getting paid for this?

And here’s where the irony, or at least the thought-provoking conundrum, begins.

I know how hard it is to earn a living playing music (or even just to cover your expenses). Yet I have, ahem, “friends,” who download all kinds of “free” musical content. And when I lived in Japan, I had other, ahem, “friends,” who rented lots of CDs from Tsutaya (the Japanese Blockbuster Video) and copied them onto MiniDisc to build their music collections, thus depriving the artists of their cut of a CD sale. (For a great breakdown of the traditional music industry business model, and a startling look at the reality of making a living as a musician, check out Moses Avalon’s website and book, Confessions of a Record Producer).

My initial self-righteousness about getting paid for the use of my music highlighted a clear differentiation I’ve been making between creative “product” that comes out of the “entertainment industry” and what’s made by people like me, whose primary livelihood is something other than their music, art, etc.

Now that any content placed in the public arena is almost instantaneously redistributable, whither goes the business model/s for creative production? Are songs-as-products becoming obsolete, to be replaced by songs-as-loss-leaders, a la the Starbucks/iTunes “song-of-the-week” card?

How, in this freewheeling new world, will it continue to be possible to shift enough units to pay for the production of something like a U2 album or a feature-length film?

CD Cover, George Lynch (ex-Dokken), 2000

New analysis covered over at O’Reilly on Radiohead’s 2007 “pay-what-you-like” experiment for selling their album, In Rainbows, would seem to support the loss leader model, with the attention generated by the online trading of the album seemingly as valuable as any actual money earned through paid downloading.

I’d add as well that firing up the tour bus remains an essential part of the prospect. Aside from tribute bands, no one’s found a way yet to pirate the live performance. (Although perhaps the scenario in Kiss’ 1978 movie, where the band is attacked by a lookalike robot band, suggests one possible model.)

VHS box, Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park, 1978

But back to more grounded futuristic pondering. Is Karl Marx’ dream of making means of production accessible to ordinary people coming to fruition via peer-to-peer content sharing and the free flow of certain types of “raw materials?”

As the “redistributability” of content facilitated by the internet crossbreeds with technology and approaches like just-in-time production, 3D printing, and mass customization, will other types of product production also be wrested from commercial producers?

And will someone from E True Hollywood Stories please contact me about that royalty check?

A firehose in your ear

You can (with a single download) get 739 mp3s by 739 artists from the SXSW festival. That’s a lot of music. As someone points out
on MetaFilter that’s over 37 hours of music. Someone else bemoans the organizational task that will create (I’m about to do that task myself).

I downloaded about half as many songs last year, and I really enjoyed them, but it’s an intimidating-if-wonderful gift.

Our digital technologies and the massive capabilities they afford us still continue to exceed or at least push the edges of our capacity as consumers. Indeed, the word consume may hold a clue. Do we consume music? Eat it up, digest it, and excrete/delete when we are done, or are we collectors, accumulating more and more? I imagine many of us are in straddle positions, not being ready to delete an MP3, or many MP3s, because we already possess them.

Update: am slowly working through listening to the songs…some real quality control issues with their distribution. One track with a skip in it, and about two dozen that are seriously truncated.

Out of the box? There is no box. Really.


Software advertised on the web is often showed in some version of what it might look like on the shelf. Even if there is no box; the software is ordered online and downloaded. There’s no physical tangible artifact. No box, no printed manual, no shrink-wrap, no CD. But the box denotes “I’m for sale” and persists as a representation of the purchase.

Note that some of the above may be actually available in boxes, but I suspect most of them are not. Indeed, some of the box images are incredibly simplistic, iconic rather than representative of what you might see in a store. Maybe someone read these Photoshop tips for creating an image of a product box.


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