Archive for March, 2008

Confused?

Posted: March 27, 2008 in Uncategorized
A bald eagle was found today in Federal Way. People started gathering, he didn’t fly away. After about an hour, it became pretty obvious…he thought he was a labrador retriever.

Steve Jobs = Waffle

Posted: March 20, 2008 in Uncategorized
You may recall a blog post I made months ago detailing that Steve Jobs claimed, "The subscription model has failed so far". That came on the heels of the fact that his market-leading iTunes service had a whopping 2% success rate with the iPod. Of course, everyone remembers how he sold DRM-free music before any other service, and with that 2% success rate, it was pretty obvious why he suddenly went that route.
 
Lo and behold, we now see a report that Apple iTunes has supposedly been negotiating with record labels so they can offer their own subscription service…which they themselves claimed was a failed model. The report points out it’s just for the iPhone, but come on…everybody knows the iPhone is simply a glorified multimedia device that also happens to have cell phone capabilities built in. Even their commercials painstakingly point out that angle.
 
Can Apple be the one that actually makes the subscription model work? Well, let’s see…a 2% success rate with the old DRM iTunes = a complete failure. They’ve been curiously silent about whether or not DRM-free music has given them a boost in sales, but the reduction in price six months ago from $1.29 per track to 99 cents per track probably indicates they blew it again.
 
So…I would say they’re ready to move on to their next failure now. Maybe they’re even a little overdue…you go, Steve! Desperation only makes you stronger!

NiN = 1.6 million…

Posted: March 17, 2008 in Uncategorized
It took Nine Inch Nails one week to make $1.6M on their latest album. Of that tidy sum of money, a record label gets a percentage totalling…zero.
 
Gone now are the days when people like Jimmy Page and Madonna created their own labels to get away from the sharks and take control of the money which they generated.
 
The record label execs must be getting more nervous. I’ll bet they REALLY hate the Internet now…
The Pope and the Vatican at large, bless their hearts, have decided to add yet another set of new sins to an ever-growing list that will all but guarantee you an audience with The Morning Star. A wide net has been cast so that there are not only individual sins, but those for which all of us, as a society, contribute to which negatively impacts all the world as a whole. Among these "new sins" are genetic manipulation, drug abuse, and the imbalance between the rich and the poor.

Hmmm…that last one is particularly interesting. The Vatican is rumored to be the richest of any organization in the world. My guess is, don’t be surprised if you see the Pope himself cutting in line and demanding a private 1-on-1 with Lucifer.

Coupled with the list of sins released last year concerning automobile drivers, the Vatican is basically covering just about everybody alive today. Which got me to thinking: why is everybody a sinner now? Then it dawned on me…

Heaven is full.

Think about it. There are over 6 billion souls currently walking the Earth. Billions have died since the 70’s, when we first reached 4 billion. We’re cranking out souls at an alarming rate. Heaven is getting crowded. The Vatican has been notified by God: the No Vacancy sign is now lit.

There is one way to be sure you’ll get thru the Pearly Gates: CONFESS! Yup, just go tell some priest all the bad crap you did, and you’re forgiven. But considering all these new sins that are coming out lately, you might want to prepare first with a spreadsheet…and schedule potty breaks with the parish, too…

About nine years ago, a friend of mine from high school…who was once revered as one of the best rock guitarists in Seattle…came to me about his music. He had been in a lot of bands, wrote and recorded several albums worth of material, and wanted to sell his music over the Interweb so he could finally get something back out of 15 years of unpaid work. But he didn’t know anything about computers. However, he DID know that I ran a somewhat successful website for musicians, so he wanted my advice and help. He knew about MP3, but didn’t exactly understand what it was.

Mind you, iTunes and crap like that didn’t exist back then. Instead, there were a few independent services out there that set up a "shop" for you on their website, where people could listen to a few short snippets of songs and order an album online, and while the service would take a large chunk of the sale, it was still a better deal moneywise per album than a record label would give you…that is, if you could even get a record label’s attention. And the big news at the time was the recent lawsuit the RIAA brought against Napster, so my friend knew that music on the ‘net was getting pretty huge.

The idea I told my friend about was a little unusual for the time. I suggested digitizing and making available for download ALL of his material. And not just snippets or soundbytes like those independent services offered, but entire songs. Free. The catch is that most of the songs would be encoded at 64 bitrate so the audio quality would be crap…if people like the songs, they’ll want quality audio and buy the albums. A few songs would be encoded at 192 or 224 bitrate just to demonstrate recording quality, and hopefully get traded on Napster, Kazaa, etc to drum up interest, but otherwise all songs would be tagged with artist info, website address and purchasing options. Broadband had less than 10% penetration in the U.S. at the time, but another idea I floated was that we could set up a check-out cart system whereas people could get a password to access and download an entire album of high-quality MP3 files: the password would expire automatically after a week or whatever (benefiting those on analog modems) and he wouldn’t have to deal with CD duplication, packaging and shipping costs.

He thought I was crazy. He couldn’t get past the part that all the songs would be available for free download, regardless of quality. Not coincidentally, that was the last time I ever heard from or saw my old high school pal. Or maybe it’s just simply because he’s in jail, I dunno…a Google search on him brings up a couple of bands he was in back in the ’80s, but that’s it.

Well, Radiohead kinda figured this out, and their latest album was available for free download for a while…if you liked it, slip ’em a few quid, or go buy the CD version. After all, the band has never gotten much radio airplay and doesn’t do video, so how else will you hear their music for free before you buy? And now Trent Reznor has also figured it out, but his approach is much closer to my original idea from nine years ago: NiN’s got a couple of albums worth of material, nine songs of which are available for free download in highest-quality 320 bitrate MP3 format. Want to download all 36 tracks? Pony up $5. Prefer the two-CD set? Send him $10. Prefer vinyl with all the great artwork instead? It’s $40. Are you a sick NiN fan who has to have one of the deluxe packages? $75 will get you a book and Blu-ray disc, and $300 will add vinyl discs to the CDs, and a Reznor autograph to your collection. The only difference between what NiN is doing and my original idea is that the rest of the material also be available for download, but in very low-quality audio…just so everyone knows what it is that they’re shelling out the big bucks.

He’s actually leaving

Posted: March 4, 2008 in Uncategorized

I’ve seen a lot of great sports players retire, but it never actually hurt, and I never thought it ever would. Until now.

Office overload

Posted: March 3, 2008 in Uncategorized
Lack of office space is getting pretty bad again at Redwest…