aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, November 14, 2005
A couple of Stewarts
Broadsheet (or at least one Broadsheet contributor) has a little thing for Martha Stewart’s new live talk show, in which the recently incarcerated domestic goddess and awkward TV personality seems to really be making an effort to let loose. The result—in the couple of episodes that we’ve watched—has been a series of mind-blowing moments… Martha was tasting wines with her friend and crafting “mentee,” “Sopranos” actress Lorraine Bracco. When, during a break, a producer brought out a crock in which the women could spit out the wine, Martha commented on-air, “But I don’t want to spit. I want to swallow. It’s been that kind of weekend.”
And today must have been that kind of day.
Sony’s sneaky slimy consumer sellout protested
USA Today yesterday:
New York University sophomores Inga Chernyak and Diana Rosenthal took part in a demonstration near campus the other day.
It had nothing to do with the Iraq war, a political election or any of the other hot-button issues students normally want to protest. Instead, the pair and about 20 other NYU students were out to rally consumers against what Chernyak calls a dark force that has invaded her tech life: digital rights management.
Ah, my alma mater. Via Alan Wexelblat:
As Jefferson Graham’s story makes clear, consumers aren’t happy. Artists aren’t happy. Electronics companies aren’t happy. But don’t expect the Cartel to back down. They’ll just batten down the hatches, stonewall, and wait for this to blow over. They’re holding on to the fantasy that DRM will save their sinking business models and along the way they’ll twist the courts, Congress, and device manufacturers to their wills. The rest of us should, presumably, shut up and suffer in silence.
They take the media that today lets you do everything copyright permits—timeshifting and quotation, format-shifting and backup—and they take away all those things. Then they painfully dribble each of those rights back as a “feature” that you pay extra for.
Drip, drip, drip—each drop of functionality painfully and expensively squeezed into your living room, every time you want to do something you used to do for free.
That’s not a business-model. That’s a urinary tract infection.
It’s alleged to be the fastest growing new broadcast format in radio today (I think that honor might actually go to latin radio, but it’s certainly one of the most popular), based on the idea of pulling the songs played from a much longer playlist and having no DJs. Thought this might be interesting as an attempt by the notoriously conservative radio industry trying to adopt long tail-influenced techniques.
The radio metrics groups classify the stations as Variety Hits, and they draw from 1000+ songs for the playlist, vs. the flagship Clear Channel stations (like New York’s Z100), which I believe recently had a rotation playlist as short as 80 songs, their site lists fewer than 30!
Chris sees “a nod in the Long Tail direction” but remains skeptical:
The main problem with radio is not the relatively small size of the playlists (although that doesn’t help); it’s that music is polarizing--people may like one song but hate the next, so they’re prone to switch stations or switch off entirely. As MTV found out a decade ago, there simply is no single playlist that can keep enough people listening long enough to please the advertisers. MTV switched to reality shows because they’re sticky. Radio is switching to talk for the same reason.
Compared to personalized playlists (iPods), a choice of hundreds of narrow-targeted playlists (satellite) and just talking to friends on the phone, even the stations with the most diverse playlists are chronically limited. It is the curse of broadcast: with just a few dozen stations in each city, most must aggregate audiences in the tens of thousands. In an era of infinite choice and narrowcasting, such mass-market broadcast distribution--the ultimate one-size-fits-all model--just can’t compete.
I grew up in an era where radio largely determined music culture and was by far the strongest marketing vehicle for new artists, but I suspect that my kids won’t think of radio as a music medium at all. Given the numbing effect of Casey Kasem and America’s Top 40 on my adolescence and early music taste, this may be no bad thing.
I’m torn. The old me, from when I was in local cable television, emphasized live believing that was an element that attracted viewers. With the student the other day I said I’d emphasize local, “the one thing we all have in common is that we all live here.”
I’ve left live behind except for news and sports, though the Live West Wing debate seems to have worked so I’ll add specials and events. I’m inclined to want to hang on to local. As everything else goes global, it’s got to be a niche, no?
Of course, both live and local leave music behind.
As if on cue
When Andrew Sullivan went on hiatus he said he hoped to be back in “say, nine months” with “a new direction or approach to refresh the material.”
Today, nine months and two weeks later, he announces his move to Time.com and characterizes it as a lease not a sale:
Time.com, with all sorts of internet links, technical support and a huge potential audience, will, I hope, make this blog more accessible to more people, bring more advertizing and marketing to the site, and take the blog to a new level of exposure. We have plans to add new features to make the site more interactive and more easily read and searched. As for my new home, I’ve been a contributor to Time for a while and think the world of their editors. As for the deal, I can simply assure you that I have retained exactly the same editorial control as I have had since the beginning. This is a blog. I won’t be running posts before any editors before they appear. I will continue to write simply what I believe or think, however misguided I may be.
While I wish Andrew well, I won’t hold my breath waiting for my move.