Tag Archives: cnet

If You Hear a Song We’ll Tax Your Ears

The internet has been all aflutter since first Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and then Jim Griffin of Warner Music discussed the idea of an internet tax.

According to CNet:

“The proposal outlined in the interview Griffin gave Portfolio.com suggested that ISP fees could create a $20 billion pool that would go to artists and copyright holders. Consumers would have the option of paying the fee or submitting themselves to advertising. ”

First of all, the term “submitting themselves to advertising” is a great phrase.  Probably more truth in it than intended.  As I see it, the big problem with a fee attached to you ISP bill is that it doesn’t account for all time people are accessing the web from something other than their own ISP connect (like I’m doing now as I write this post in a cafe in NYC).  This only gets more complicated as municipal wifi rolls out.

In terms of ad-supported music, that works fine when streaming music since ads can simple be placed in the mix, just like radio, but it doesn’t really help when people are downloading songs to listen to on their iPod.  I don’t imagine I would put up with pre-roll ads on my songs.

Obviously, the music industry is going through some seismic shifts and ideas like a music tax sound to me like the big guys scrambling for some way to maintain centralized control.  Instead, I think more musicians are going to be leaving the big label system and taking part in smaller organizations that are more artist-centric.  This will lead to fewer platinum-selling artists, but a huge growth in artists making money playing music.

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JibJab Shows Us the Money (kinda)

CEO Gregg Spiridellis and his brother Evan brought JibJab to internet fame during the last presidential campaign season with a flash-animated music video set to the tune of This Land Is Our Land.

Since then they’ve explored a number of ways to capitalize on the site’s popularity as a supplier of funny animation.  More importantly, they were seeking ways to actually turn views into cash.

Via CNet:

“Spiridellis suggested he’s banking on a theory, inspired in part by American Greetings’ $85 million e-card business, that there’s a market for online forms of “expression” that carry a price tag. Consumers just aren’t as eager to buy a “linear consumption experience,” such as a song or TV show or movie, as they are in interacting with and shaping the media, he said.

Translation: JibJab offers users the chance, for 50 cents to $3, to send electronic greeting cards in which they can, say, plaster a loved one’s face to the flabby body of a man doing a hilariously unsexy striptease. (OK, a little humor doesn’t hurt, either.)”

The tech reminds me a lot of Office Depot’s successful “Elf Yourself” and I wonder how long they’ll be able to stave off competitors willing to offer similar services for free.

Gregg doesn’t quite go so far as to say how much they are making but seems to infer it is keeping the doors open at least.

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Are You “Internet Famous”

CNet has coverage of the SXSWi’s “Internet Fame” panel:

“Pretty much any group, or any community, no matter how big or small, has a kind of hierarchy,” Marwick explained. It’s not evil, she said. “That’s just a normal way that people organize themselves.” The Web is no exception. ”

The notion of “internet fame” is definitely a big one in terms of how that corresponds with monetizing one’s presence.

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Pro-Gaming a “Next Big Thing?”

CNet has coverage of the SXSWi panel on professional gaming.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the panelists (a mix of pro-gamers, developers and investors) were pretty bullish on the potential of the sport”

“…all seemed to agree that professional video gaming could be a lucrative vocation for almost anyone willing to put in the time and energy to become a top player. And that, they said, separates and democratizes the sport and separates it from baseball or basketball, which are available professionally to only world-class athletes.”

Personally, I think that last point is one of the “sports” big problems.  If a “sport” is too inclusive is ceases to be a compelling draw for the spectator.  It’s the visible level of difficulty that makes most sports so watchable.  Sure, there is skill involved in gaming, but it isn’t something that can be felt viscerally by the viewer.  Which leads to pro-gaming’s second issue:

“A big piece of that puzzle, however, is for the leagues and publishers to figure out how to make the matches palatable to TV, or at least Web, viewers. To date, most professional video gaming is hard to watch as a spectator.”

That’s pretty huge.  I’m not saying there isn’t a future in gaming as a spectator sport, but I don’t think it will grow up around people watching Quake or Madden08 on ESPN.

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Newsweek Ruffles Feathers

Newsweek finally got a little attention from the bloggers out there by publishing an article with a link-bait ready title “Is User Generated Content Out?”

Turns out most of the article is more about the sort of “wisdom of crowds” approach of Wikipedia or YouTube versus the curated approach of newer sites like Knol and BigThink.

“In January, BigThink.com, a self-styled “YouTube for ideas” backed by former Harvard president Larry Summers and others, debuted its cache of polished video interviews with public intellectuals. “We think there’s demand for a nook of cyberspace where depth of knowledge and expertise reign,” says cofounder Victoria Brown.”

Gotta say, reading the article I am a bit surprised by how upset some people seem to be.

LostRemote:  No. Hell no. This story is wrong. Flat wrong. If you work in the media biz, please don’t let anyone in your company start passing this story around.

PoMo: I’ve had a few days to calm down after reading Newsweek’s “Web Exclusive” this week — Revenge of the Experts — so I think it’s safe to comment now. Newsweek has done what many of us feared, they’ve picked up Andrew Keen’s meme about the “cult of the amateur” and manufactured a new lede without taking into consideration the fallacy of the meme in the first place.

Much of this stems from long-bubbling upset over Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture as CNet points out in their coverage of his appearance on a panel at Stanford:

“Truth be told, this remains a debate primarily between the elites and for the elites. These folks are ready to talk this topic to death, though the forums often degrade into personal slugfests.”

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ARG Designer Interview – Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal has been involved in just about all of the major net-based ARGs of the past few years, including I Love Bees, Last Call Poker and Cruel 2 B Kind.  She also turns out to be one of the main forces behind the latest ARG, The Lost Ring.

This is a little bit dated but since my fascination with ARGs is new this interview from CNet was to me.  Whole bunch of good insights.  Here’s a tidbit:

“I create games to change people’s everyday lives; games that let people use everyday technologies and spaces differently–more playfully, more socially, more superheroically. The other part of what I do is study games to see what impact they have on people’s identity, habits and quality of life.”

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Joost About Out of Time

I’m hard-pressed to imagine the circumstances under which the (over)hyped video player Joost could become successful but, according to CNet, the backers are CBS are confident:

“Speaking to a small gathering of tech and media reporters at CBS’ New York headquarters Thursday, (CBS Interactive president Quincy) Smith gave a firm “no” when asked if Joost–which requires a software download and has slipped from the Web video radar since its buzzworthy debut–was dead in the water. “(Mike) Volpe knows what he’s doing,” Smith said of the Cisco Systems veteran who serves as the start-up’s CEO. “It’s got a good team.”

I guess you have to give the guy credit for keeping a positive outlook but he doesn’t seem to have much more to back up his optimism.  The problem is that Joost isn’t especially unique or difficult to replicate so there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it to become a go-to kind of app.

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