The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek

Random Weekend Summary Notes

  • The Genius function on my iPhone failed to create any playlists off of any songs currently loaded.  I'm chalking it up to the fact that my entire library isn't on the phone (far too much memory), so I only sync unhead podcasts and songs to it.
  • Apple's refusal to stock the Podcaster app in the Apps store is a bit disconcerting, to say the least.  Getting podcast subscriptions on the go would be a helpful tool, and the answer as to why they refused it doesn't seem quite logical.  Given the amount of blogosphere outcry on the situation, I'm not sure how long this app stays off the market.
  • Best Buy purchasing the now-DRM-free Napster and MySpace readying an ad-driven portion of their music service hopefully signals a quicker end to DRM in all services.
  • Steelers start 2-0.  This makes me happy.
  • So does "Evil Dead: The Musical."

Hoffspace? Really?

Not only does David Hasslehoff decide to open his own social networking site, but he commits MySpace suicide at the same time. No word whether he's going to link it to OpenSocial or not, but we can always dream.

Somehow, I don't think there's a book in this one. Sorry, Hoff.


MySpace Music Site Already Better Than Qtrax!

You know, in that it actually has deals and stuff in place.

The new MySpace Music Site is going to add music distribution from three of the majors (and one would imagine the indies as well) along with all the usual social network features in an allegedly DRM-free environment. Since the website mentioned in the press release (provided here by Indy Star music writer and local hero Dave Lindquist) doesn't actually work yet, I'm assuming the details are being closely guarded, as techies of this sort are wont to do.

At this early stage, it's another encouraging move towards a level playing field of equal distribution. The name "Madonna" will still command more attention than your average bar band, of course, but there's something to be said for MySpace offering all of those tracks at the same place DRM-free. I'd like to see the site, though. In some form. It took them long enough with the developers' sandbox, and it's just now in beta.


I was going to name this post “Bragg-ing Rights” . . .

. . . but I just can't bring myself to do it.  Plus, I'm fairly sure some other music journalist has done that before, even before the obligatory Google search.

In any case, I was reading a NY Times editorial from Billy Bragg on the rights of musicians when it comes to social networking sites.  Of particular note to me was this quote:

The claim that sites such as MySpace and Bebo are doing us a favor by promoting our work is disingenuous. Radio stations also promote our work, but they pay us a royalty that recognizes our contribution to their business. Why should that not apply to the Internet, too?

The fact that this statement re-emphasizes the intrinsic value of the music posted on the site is tremendously important. One might argue that there's some value to the free hosting and networking possibilities provided by these social networking sites, but there's something to be said for the drawing power of these tracks in bringing traffic to the site itself. That's not to discount the value of promotional tracks or "name your own price" sales, but those functions are usually more under the control of the artist than other uses.



Is it bad that, during a recent viewing of George Romero's "Diary of the Dead," the plot point that most tested my suspension of disbelief was the fact that a MySpace page took 72,000 hits in 8 minutes without crashing?

The movie slapped the inevitable zombie apocalypse upon a treatise on social media and who controls the source and flow of information, so it was interesting from that standpoint.  Nothing new on the issue per se, but it was an interesting look at the role of user-driven media to bypass the possible pitfalls of mainstream sources (assuming, of course, that computer networks remain up and viable during said inevitable zombie apocalypse).  There was a little too much "How does it feel when the camera is on YOU!?" dialogue for me, as this concept has been addressed in countless other movies.  It's probably better saved as for rental, but the sight of Samuel, the deaf Amish zombie killer with a chalkboard and a killer pick axe, is definitely worth the investment.


Follow-up on Sharehead and MySpace

Here's a quick video from the Sharehead sessions I talked about earlier. Shows some interesting promise.

Also joining the movement towards new and different music distribution (and making it more difficult for me to finish stupid MySpace book revisions) is this news about MySpace negotiating with major labels to create a free-to-consumers music distribution service. As we learned with Qtrax, these things need to have all the correct signatures in place, with whatever fluids involved dried and final, before they can be taken seriously. I'd submit that, until the songs can be taken around in a portable player, such services aren't really that great. If MySpace made the tracks downloadable or at least stream-able to devices like their Helio parters or the iPhone or another device, though, it might be taken more seriously.

If it happens at all, that is.

I should probably get ready to change that chapter, though.


Just when I think I’m done, they pull me back in

So it looks like there's going to be a second edition of MySpace For Dummies - at least my part of the paperwork is already in. This revision could prove to be very interesting (and time-consuming), as a lot has changed in the social networking world since we first looked at it. A year ago, MySpace ruled the roost. Now, other sites are gaining some traction (most notably Facebook), so we have to re-evaluate the site both in terms of what it offers on its own and what's available at other locations. We're still quite early in the game on this project.

I spent most of Sunday playing around with Reason some more (I love the new synth, the new arpeggiator is interesting, and I'm still dealing with the lane controls - they're a little frustrating) - I REALLY want to start using this live. I also entertained "Metalocalypse"-inspired thoughts of joining a metal band. But only briefly.

Finally, the Steelers are 4-1 heading into a bye week. This gives me both hope for the rest of the season and a break from cursing at my computer as it brings me oft-corrected updates on the game. I like this.