I have no idea if the "world's largest bass guitar" is a Photoshopped work of trickery. I have no idea of the scale on it or the notes. Would it even make an audible tone, or does it just rumble quietly to itself when plucked, the soundwaves passing below our ability to hear? What the hell is up with the flame job anyway? So many imponderables.
What is being heard it Last.fm's response to Techcrunch's allegations that the service turned over its data on what its Scrobble users listen to over to the RIAA, specifically the folks who gave a listen to leaked U2 tracks. Last.fm is claiming they only collect aggregate data to share with labels and artists, and the private stuff never makes it out of their servers. Techcrunch is backtracking somewhat on the claims, but the implications are already out and the debate is underway. If anything, this is as much of a warning to make sure exactly what data is being collected from your system before you use a service (and maybe turn off the service that broadcasts the music you're enjoying to the world, even if it hasn't technically been released yet). Given that your information is already being tracked, though, whether by Amazon's purchases or iTunes' Genius feature or another feature, this kind of becomes a non-issue.
This TechCrunch article is quite right on its initial assessment of slotMusic.
- Physical media is on its way out as a distribution system for music
- The economics of this just don't make sense
- There are better alternatives already on the market
It's just the part at the end where it derails horribly.
The future of music is free streaming and (also free, eventually) downloads, not physical media.
There's also a link to a previous TechCrunch article that has the entire Internet doing the small musician a favor by forcing their material to be free and flinging it about wildly. I responded to that article here, so feel free to peruse that.
There's no doubt that publicity and marketing on a theoretically open and level field gives smaller artists huge advantages they never had before. But all of that publicity and marketing doesn't help the artist if they're unable to sell their products (and no, not all artists can or should rely on merchandising and live performances to make a living - for some it's impractical, for others impossible). At least subscription models or the "music like water" model proposed in The Future of Music compensate musicians for their work, unwieldy as it may be. Simply demanding music for free and saying you'll help them with their merch and shows in the future means a lot of broken promises and artists who can't continue their careers.
TechCrunch seems fond of pointing out that economics demand zero cost for electronic copies of music, but they ignore that artists that can't support themselves equals less music on the market for them to get for free. Suffocating the source of your product isn't a good way to promote production.