Yes, I’m still alive. Whoo-hoo/ Ah crap*
[* – delete as applicable]
I have encountered two things on the web that I thought might interest you.
Firstly, and most importantly, Kapitano, a person who says many interesting things on his blog, and also says many interesting things in the comments here, has uploaded a song he has written, performed and produced. It’s called ‘Cost of Living (Atlas Unplugged)’, and you can find it here, although if you’re as myopic as I am it might take you a certain amount of failing to see things that are right in front of your nose in order to find the little clicky arrow thing. You can also, if are inclined to do such things (and why wouldn’t you be?), go here and vote for it.
The song is, in a word, fantastic. It’s in the synth/electronic genre, which, as you know, I’m a fan of (although not by any means exclusively – I’ll need to start wittering on about my love for bands with loud guitars soon or you’ll end up thinking of me as a one-trick music-listening pony). Stylistically, it put me a little in mind of Kraftwerk in one of their catchier and poppier moments, although with richer instrumentation. (But bear in mind that I don’t actually know all that many synth artists, so there may be better sounds-a-bit-like comparisons.) Anyway, the song is fantastic, and I am profoundly jealous of Kapitano’s ability to create something that sounds so good. Go and listen to it immediately, and prepare to join me in my jealous admiration.
Secondly, this article (actually the text of a speech) by Arianna Huffington (founder of the Huffington Post) is equally fantastic. It’s called ‘Journalism 2009: Desperate Metaphors, Desperate Revenue Models, and the Desperate Need for Better Journalism’, and it’s one of those things you read where you find yourself not just agreeing with every word, but thinking ‘Yes, that’s just what I’ve always thought but haven’t been able to put into words!’ It’s in part a riposte to Rupert Murdoch’s increasingly hysterical attacks on the internet (he’s just woken up, you see, to the fact that his wealth is based on a dying business model, and so he sees the solution as shouting at the internet until it goes away). It says every word that needs to be said on the stupidity inherent in the ‘Whaa! Google is a thief!’ rhetoric, and it’s funny, and clever, and (the thing that Murdoch will really hate) points out the obvious hypocrisy in the News International position.
As a brief taster:
I was recently on a panel in Monaco with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German publisher Axel Springer. He decided to play a confusing metaphor game by comparing news content to beer. “If it’s your business decision to offer beer cans for free, fine,” he said. “But don’t take our beer and offer it for free.”
This struck me as a really bizarre metaphor. Information is hardly the same thing as a product that can only be consumed once by a single person. If you consume a news story, you might be one of millions. If you consume a beer, no one else can consume it.
So it’s a false metaphor. And if you start from a false premise, you will inevitably be led to a false conclusion. Or, to put it another way, if you chug-a-lug too many of old media’s metaphoric beers, you will end up staggering down the street of illogical thinking and banging into the lamp post of wrong revenue models.
In Aethelread’s-a-great-big-loony news, I have written a post about the stuff that is going on with me, and am currently debating whether I want to post it or not. So it might go up quite soon, or in a while, or not at all. Probably best not to hold your breath, though.