Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The video iPod: Apple restrains the consumer choice of content

The new video iPod is not only a lauded status symbol, but also the ultimate symbol for how there in recent years has been a reformation in the multinational media conglomerations’ strategy for getting consumers to exclusively download conventional content. With the new iPod, hardware controls the selection of media content in subtle ways; we see a form of control through persuasion rather than force. ...
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[Also published 5/11 2005 in Swedish newspaper Ny Teknik.]

Online BBC archive up and coming...

"The BBC plans to open up its archive to make a treasure trove of material available to everyone." [ BBC Press Release, August 2003]
This is now underway, with beta launch coming up probably around the new year. Programmer Matt Biddulph triumphatorily explains:
Ever wondered what's in that archive? Who looks after it? It turns out there's a huge database that's been carefully tended by a gang of crack BBC librarians for decades. Nearly a million programmes are catalogued, with descriptions, contributor details and annotations drawn from a wonderfully detailed controlled vocabulary.
I'm the lucky developer who gets to turn this hidden treasure into a public website. No programme downloads yet, but a massive searchable programme catalogue.
Here's a screenshot: searching for John Peel.
"Think IMDB for the BBC, only bigger," writes Ben Hammersley, also involved in the project, and promises a launch into public beta "in the next few weeks". Hammersley, a vocal defender of the concept of a public broadcaster utilising new digital technology to serve the public rather than the vested interests of some dusty copyright holders, wrote in the Guardian earlier this summer on the subject of the BBC Creative Archive:
Unlike other broadcasters, the BBC should be judged by the public good it does. The Creative Archive would be a public good that puts Lord Reith's original remit in the shade.
It isn't a fancy toy for iMovie users: it is a vault of the most important public culture of the past three generations. It is a gift for the future that is so far-sighted, and so much a good thing, that it is the duty of the BBC and, especially, the government to follow through.
So the question is, why are the creative industries in the UK allowed to take public money, without fulfilling the obligation to deliver publicly accessible value? Why is this even an option? We have paid for it, now let us use it.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Putting mp3s free online help UK band get number one

Putting their music up for free download online has helped new Yorkshire band the Arctic Monkeys sell out concerts across Britain and have their first single go straight to number one. All of this despite the absence of a traditional marketing campaign and only getting a record deal with Domino in July.
The Daily Telegraph writes:
While established record companies struggled with internet piracy, the band used the net by allowing young music lovers to swap their songs free, creating a huge underground fan base. ...
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