The Twitting Point. Or An Ode to Saturdays.

Saturdays use t’be about reading Shoot and making BMX peddle-shaped clusters of scabs. Buying 20-20 and sitting in parks. We grew and it became about slouching on the sofa, playing Tony Hawks, then snowboarding before having a cheatcode-filled fight, racing a car as a pixelated mushroom or running around with a machine gun in Wolfenstein.  Sometimes it was about making mixtapes and/or watching Mtv2. Consistent throughout it was kicking a lump of leather at garage doors or playing bulldog in muddy fields.

Then it was all about pummeling Napster in search of Nirvana live tracks and Weezer rarities. That closed after a just-say-no campaign made us all go oh-my-what-is-this? Othersuch sites opened but they were too confusing, so it was back to finding ‘friends’ on Friendster. Along came streaming (when it worked) on MySpace and sitting around in damp-floored black-walled back rooms, talkin’ abou’ writing about how that bunch of sweaty scruffians, sipping a round of Hoegaardens, are going to be massive.

We swapped our bike clips for start-up pipe dreams and all we got to show for it was a bin liner of moth bitten band tees and safety pinned jeans.

Now Saturdays involve watching DivX torrents of the West Wing which took days to download. We sit dehydrating in front of the computer screen after hours in the gym trying to reduce years of beer gut cultivation.  The sitting got boring and geeking out became our last bastion of escapism, to have all the knowledge and therefore, all the power. Some thing has happened to me and a whole generation of the tech-related fads: I don’t need nor want the power/knowledge, it seems like i just wanna digest it and get it away from me. Praps it’s less socialism and more like social networkism where I just want to share it, regardless if anyone actually wants it or reads it. When did we become the free-prunes-for-all Generation? The self-anointed kings of self-indulgent crap-aired-in-public… And so it goes.

Today I discovered:

What has become of the modern man when this is what becomes of our Saturdays? I miss the blood on my shins and the death-or-oblivion drinking sessions but instead, now I have my Sunday’s with a clear head, a cake to bake and things to do which sound an awful lot like a Blur lyric. Time for some of this knowledge to sink in or to get ignorant.

By S (Now Playing: M83 ‘Saturday = Youth’)

Advertisements

Hype Machine: Not Sold Yet

Viacom, the media conglomerate and MTV owner run by Sumner Redstone, did not attempt to buy music blog aggregator and portal of mp3 joy for $10m .

So says Anthony Volodkin:

It was reported in April that Viacom offered to buy the Hype Machine for $10 million. Volodkin says this isn’t true. (So does Viacom.) But he says people approach him “all the time ” about investing in his company.

But the Hype Machine creator needs outside money to make this happen. He says plenty of other companies would like to buy or merge with his start-up. But he’s not interested. “We’re happy being independent,” Volodkin says.


Fortune:

Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Monday Links

Trailer: 24: The Movie @ YouTube

Which major label will buy Napster? @ Wired

Profile: Elizabeth Moss on Mad Men + The West Wing @ NY Magazine

Macrumours.com: The Doctor and the blog @ NY Times

The Dark Knight vs Thrash Hits @ Thrash Hits

Charlie Brooker: Search engine optimization is SEX-Y @ Guardian

Blogging about articles about blogging is like screaming at a steam train

In a week when DrownedinSound.com ran a news story revealing that

“Professional opinion is being ignored by eight out of ten consumers who are favouring online reviews from music stores and social networking sites for the latest reviews of albums and gigs.

E-commerce firm Avail Intelligence conducted this latest Trust Index research which showed 40 per cent of respondents preferred information sources such as the iTunes Music Store and the iLike Facebook application.”

It seems perverse but somewhat timely that the Guardian should also run an article on the subject, singing pretty much from the same funeral hymn sheet. The article questions whether the web and the blogosphere in particular, is killing the need and want for the professional opinion of journalists, whilst also embracing some of what traditional media has been replaced by.

‘Is it curtains for critics?’ raises many of the points which have been stumbled upon and mulled over in recent fearmongering times, not least in Andrew Keen’s book Cult of the Amateur. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture for those who expect(ed) to be paid for a lifetime of living and breathing their specialism, because the web offers more opinions, which are often snappier and more divisive. Not only that but the web offers a new super-niche media, as well as a super-niche Google-monopolized marketing options, which, by my numbers, only offers just enough revenue to pay someone with 20,000 readers, for a day a week of their time or about what the jobbing journo might currently expect from a weekly column (and who’s to say despite a publications distribution numbers, that many more than 20k eye balls are reading?). So that’s at least 100,000 readers a week to pay one salary. Who on earth can expect to dedicate the time to launch’n’develop a media brand, especially in such crazily crammed’n’fractured times, to reach those numbers, let alone write well researched articles and employ the team of people (let’s say 5 people, so that takes required audience up to 500k) it would take to compete with the Guardian’s and BBC’s of this world. Don’t believe the hype about web start-ups, least of all blogs-turned-“pro”.

However, something people seem to constantly overlook, especially when talking about the demise of the music magazine, is that the web with all its new fangled technology, has taken away the need to read-before-you-buy and simply to listen and like/hate something. Those who once would have once chosen to read an article, about a band they’ve vaguely heard of, are now getting that thirst for the new fed by recommendations from Last.fm or Amazon and downloading the bands entire discographies, within a few clicks, in a single torrent, and in far less time than it would’ve taken to have popped to the shops (or what record shops we have left…) to pick up a copy. Who wants to spend time reading an article by another person with another opinion, with tastes and experiences likely to be differing from your own? Especially those of a 30-something journalist talking down to an enthusiastic 18 year old. The more worrying state of affairs is that I don’t think kids today, care to or can differentiate from the opinions of established media and that of a blog started yesterday by a school friend. The playing field has been widened beyond any comprehensible horizon, the oceans that were the mainstream have flooded them but there’s less than a centimeter of flood water, with fish left flapping as far as the eye can see…

The thing that most worries me, is that lost in this new equation, is the aristocratic elite’s ability to champion and translate something, from their well of knowledge, which is worth a moment of your time. Perhaps, in the case of Terris and Coldplay, that’s not such a bad thing but strangely, gone are the days when a record is shoehorned onto the map by arbiters of taste, or rather, hello the days when a large cluster of of-the-moment-opinions become buzz, become hype, becomes so-last-week-next-please… The fact that press-faves My Bloody Valentine failed to sell-out all of their shows is an interesting symptomatic of a modern age. So too is the flurry of bands splitting after just two albums, failing to gain the same over-enthusiastic attention which their debut singles, let alone debut albums, garnered. Shouldn’t a more professional media, be less fickle and less led by the noise of a million voices, blogging online, talking all over each other?

Although some good things come out of the new democracy of an ‘informed elite’ (metacritic, hypem.com) and a similar cluster of people (last.fm, amazon, http://music-map.com/), which make it easy for anything popular by some, spread, it makes it increasingly hard to break the glass ceiling of this new elite. How can anything universally praised, translate to all those people who now don’t read the press or follow the crowds. Especially those who don’t even have their own niche and relied on moments like ‘Thriller‘ to discover pop phenomenons. It’s a sad state of affairs and probably more damaging to independent music/culture than mass marketed tosh, where much like film posters, which just say “amazing” [some tiny font], the prestige and impact of the media is long gone. Add to that, the fact the more informed about music are the ones more likely to be informed about how to get hold of anything for nothing, then you’ve got an equation that has been troubling an industry preaching to the press.

All of this could be easily surmised from an on-stage comment made by Emily Haines, lead-lady of blog-faves Metric: “You know that guy at the end of the bar, boring you to death with his drunken opinion. Well that guy, he is now sitting at the end of the bar, using someone else’s free wifi, telling the world his humble opinion…”

Anyway, here’s an overview of what the lengthy Guardian article had to say:

[…] Don’t even mention the need for the democratisation of opinion to Brian Sewell. ‘I do not believe in the democratisation of opinion. I believe in benign authority. And if we undermine the authority of critics then we shall descend into mayhem.’

Our own Philip French, film critic for The Observer for 30 years, is a little more accepting of the challenge from the bloggers. ‘People should have the right to express their opinions. The right to free speech has been extended, but you don’t have to be elitist to say that not all opinion is of equal value. There is good criticism and there is bad criticism. The risk is that bad criticism will drive good criticism out of business by sheer volume.’

{…] Michael Billington, the Guardian’s theatre man for more than 35 years, allows that there is a new accommodation to be made “…we have to accept that the printed word no longer has aristocratic supremacy.’

[…] But, she says [Lynne Hatwell who does book blog Dove Grey Reader], the project was personal. In the first year she spent more than £2,000 on books. But publishers set up Google alerts, which mop up any mentions of their titles online. Soon she was receiving emails offering to supply her with details of new publications. She now gets nearly all the catalogues and free review copies of books from most publishers (except, curiously, Virago, which ignores her – but probably won’t after reading this). ‘I’ve realised that I could be used as a marketing tool, and I have to resist that. A fundamental rule is that reading still has to be a pleasure.’ Also, she doesn’t do bad reviews. If it’s on her site it’s because she likes it. ‘It’s about my emotional responses.’

[…] I wondered if my sometime dining companion Simon Majumdar agreed. When his last employer went bust he decided to explore the world’s eating opportunities. He came up with an idea for a book, Eat My Globe, which is out next year. He is now a paid food writer. Does he think the democratisation of opinion is a good thing? ‘You can get as many opinions as there are arseholes. Everyone’s got one. There are some good writers out on the web. Then there are some who shouldn’t be allowed to write an address on the front of an envelope.’

So the professionals still have a role? ‘I like reading you all but I don’t think any of you necessarily know more about food than I do. I read you for entertainment. If you’re not entertaining, however informative you are, there’s no reason for you existing.’ In short, he says, we can claim authority only by being good.

Read the full article over at Guardian.co.uk

Published in: on July 13, 2008 at 12:39 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,

McLovin’ makes Anti-Piracy statement

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The astounding rise and rise of Muxtape

Muxtape is basically a site where you can make a mixtape, digitally – which means it won’t get chewed up in your dusty old tape player or get cracked in the post. It’s simple and hugely popular with many people known only by their alias’ who write blogs and post on messageboards. They especially got themselves in a froth last week when the site was hacked and three weeks worth of uploads were lost. “PWNED!” etc…

It’s fucking easy to use. Simply pick a name for your tape, select any tracks you like, upload the MP3’s, organise them into a playlist and that’s it, you’re done! Then all you gotta do is send the link around with a smug sense that your tape will totally change someone’s life/day.

This website does skirt very much on the verge of legalities but like all web 2.0 tech it has been created out of a frustrated desire to make mixes for other people in a digital age, when things should be piss easy to share, without the limitations of things like the clunky iTunes store which you obviously have to pay for or learning Garageband in order to make a podcast.

They’re not really covering their asses either. All their legal disclaimer says is:

Muxtape is a service for creating mixtapes. Users may not upload multiple songs from the same album or artist, or songs they do not have permission to let Muxtape use. Individual users may not create multiple muxtapes. Accounts not meeting these restrictions are subject to termination without notice. Muxtape will never reveal your email address to a third party. Muxtape is alive.

Oh and who could miss this bit of grey text which comes up as you’re uploading your track?

By uploading a song you agree that you have permission to let Muxtape use it.

The site was formed by a guy called Justin (his blog is here), who quite impressively, despite the site only going live in April, has already been interviewed by Wired and is racking up over 100,000 users, although some estimates suggest over a million people have used the site. There isn’t much else to say about it except for the semi-interesting fact that the most popular Muxtape, according to Quantcast is one by Travis from Gym Class Heroes, which he linked in his blog.

Have some fun with it before it gets shut down after a year of mind-numbing broadsheet features about oil tanker paced legal action or until someone creates a much better alternative, probably on Nike’s dollar.

Ours is a bit of a guide to the year so far http://boredof.muxtape.com/

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Internet Killed the Internet Star

Stars are dead before we see them and the Internet’s fire had burnt out before the stampede came a-runnin’. These two things are the sorry realizations The Bored has had in the past few weeks. It’s not that the internet has sold out or that the good have not prospered but it’s sad to see Weezer only racking up half a million YouTube views in a day when in the pre-fractured media they would have reached that many people several times on Mtv2.

What’s odd about the Weezer traffic ain’t that it’s not instantly a huge viral success but that it’s the first clear sign that even those who got their flag in first aren’t any better off than they would’ve been without the internet. If anything the eventual rise of Death Cab into being a-bit-of-a-big-deal was the last nail in the coffin. Whereas the-kids-with-mortgages at Broken Social Scene tonight screaming for Feist to take the stage just kinda took the oxymoronic cherry and shoved it atop some Jenga blogs.

But I digress. From talking with Anthony Volodkin of Hype Machine at this fascinating evening-cum-symposium and reading his blog it’s pretty clear that we here at Bored of… are not alone – despite the Richie Rich antics over at the Googleplex – in failing to believe in our bat-caved new world. Essentially, the message we keep hearing is the echo of Chuck D going “don’t, don’t.. don’t believe the hype! Ooo-weer…” It seems our theories are true: hype is as much a burden to new bands (especially those who aren’t much kop and even worse for those that are the real deal) but that of websites and hype of the Internet in general is just another mass hysteria like witch hunts, the goldrush and alchemy. The gold isn’t here and there’s no need to drown the evangelists, because even the renaissance men aren’t, thankfully and fortunately, as deranged as the buzz flood and hollow promises which surrounds them.

I find it odd and slightly contradictory that Music 2.0 has led us to an age where the art of commerce has risen to the fore and lost a lot behind the parking lot facade. Of course there is the warm and everso slightly smug glow of freeconomics coming from Nettwerk’s t-shirt wearing, blackberry endorsing CEO Terry McBride and Wired editor Chris Anderson. There’s a tonne of talk, from artists themselves, in conference lobbies riddled with the words “Unique… Selling… Points…” and it breaks my hippy heart that these creatives are more like borgs, there in body because of various government grants to help complete the business module of their music degrees.

What is interesting is all most that people are interested in is how to manipulated the systems and the only question is how quickly you can hype some shit retro-future tribute act like Vampire Weekend up the new charts like this one by Songkick and interestingly this Sound Index by the BBC.

A word of warning: Sorry buck-o, you had to get in there early and pay your dues like Modest Mouse, it doesn’t just happen! Get good or die trying, this new world is just the old world, pixelated and you don’t need to be the same as the Postal Service, just as good as them, just like Dylan, Kate Bush, and Sigur Ros before them, to succeed. These is not a computer game, there are no cheats, if you wanna be My Chemical Romance or Deftones, be as good as Bowie or Zeppelin. Stop trying to reinvent business models and invert some peoples worlds, that’s all you need to know and easy to take away from these SXSW-esque conferences full of hopeless bands and tired talks, which bury the odd gem or glint of inspiration.

I’ve had enough of questions, when are these smartarses going to show us the new way (convince governments about an internet tax or at least start selling premium quality tracks, release movies at the same time online as the cinema, etc, etc…) because, yes, we may now all be able to discover anything (for many this fun of finding has fatigued over the past decade) but no-one who’s being discovered is getting paid what was promised and right now, somewhere not far from here, the puritans are poor and the RIAA is chasing witches with thick specs and RSI. It’s the same for the next Strokes as it is the next Myspace and something has to give…

by S

More tech buck: Viacom eyes Hype Machine??

Hype Machine, the fantastic blog crawler of the new taste making set, is rumoured to be on Sumner Redstone’s shopping list.

The site, which was started and is owned by Anthony Volodkin, aggregates the hottest mp3 blogs, essentially cutting out the arduous task of having to read the associated words.

Gawker-owned gossip site Valleywag reports that Redstone’s Viacom, which owns MTV, has tabled a $10m bid. Viacom boss Philippe Dauman must be careful because the last time one of Redstone’s lieutenants (popular MTV boss Tom Freston) didn’t buy hot web stock (Myspace) he got AXED.

Published in: on April 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Sched for sale: Bleeding the tech $$$

White collar websites and towering tech-heads aren’t usually the best things to come out of the south-by-south-west annual booze up. But sched.org was certainly one of the highlights – a simple web application, set up by two Florida yoofs – Taylor McKnight and Chirag Mehta – that correlated all of the free bars and left-leaning-pitchfork-endorsed-anglophiles and arranged for me to know which bands I was missing while I was slurping the free rack of cow.

Apparently Twitter was last year’s Sched.

But it appears that McKnight and Mehta might soon be chowing down on some big fat VC dime. Venturebeat reports that the previously self-funding site may soon be SOLD.

sched.org

Published in: on April 22, 2008 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,