Friday, September 28, 2007

whew. read this, laugh, breathe, read again

a stunning shredding of the term 'world music'. oh my. read it and then let me know what you think. i posted a comment thanking this blogger for their commentary, as we inside the world music echo-sphere get too caught up in this argument all the time with very little new commentary added. this is a nice outside perspective, and the bonus is that it is a nice reminder that there is a huge market for the music that we love, whatever we call it, and our job is just to figure out ways to market it, ways to get it out there, ways to promote it, ways to share it. and, as pointed out in this article, putting it all into an ill-defined lumpy box and calling it a shiny cadillac ain't the way to do it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another online Video Editing Solution

Live performance of Zola's 'Umdlwembe' shot at the launch of in Jozi, South Africa in 2006. ControlArms is a project of Oxfam, Amnesty International and other groups designed to create tougher controls on the global arms trade.
Zola is on Ghetto Ruff, and mp3s are available at:

Rough footage here, but great dancing part way in . . .

Breaking News - Zingku acquired by Google!

as mentioned in an email to users, and posted on their site:
"We've entered into an agreement to have Google acquire our Zingku service."

Zingku, and another branded version (Ripple9) have done some work with CalabashMusic, but they have a killer set of mobile tools that the artists I work with are all using . . .

oops! someone forgot to renew their domain!

On one of my little journeys round the web today, came to the Universal Music Groups job page (yes, i am job hunting, and no, i wouldn't mind working for "the man"). Clicked to their US based jobs, cool. Clicked thru to see what international opportunities might exist and . . . BINGO! someone forgot to renew the domain. doh!
see for yourself - go here and click outside the US.
The domain is now reverted to
which is double funny. cause if you haven't heard, is dead (or about to be any second). i've moved my domains from there to another registrar, and i know there has been a mass exodus of others as well. so someone at Universal forgot to renew, or got caught in the renewal hell. and now according to ICANN, took the domain! which is stunning. perhaps they are planning to steal domain names, backorder them, or otherwise acquire a catalog of domain names and then ransom them off to pay their debts. amazing story if people have to compete and bid against their domain registrar for domain names!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sharon Chadha: More good news: Tuareg rebels in Niger and Mali are NOT branches of Al Qaeda

Sharon Chadha: More good news: Tuareg rebels in Niger and Mali are NOT branches of Al Qaeda

Great post by Sharon here. I too have been troubled by both the attempts at outside Islamic groups to try and gain a foothold and radicalize Mali, as well as the attempts by the USA and others to try and put soldiers into Mali to resist this radicalization. Neither a fundamentalist Mali nor a militarized Mali is in the interests of the Malian people. This is the new cold war it seems. Someone puts money in to a country to try and play god ("make the country in their image" so to speak). Meanwhile, the people still suffer. I remember my first trip to Mali in 2001, I was so glad I was American, and not French, as people were more open to me not being a colonizer. However, on subsequent trips, it has not been as advantageous to be American, due to invasion of Afghanistan/Iraq backlash, general Bush (p)Resident idiocy, and the increased presence of US troops throughout Mali and the lower Saharan desert region. I'm not sure when our politicians are going to realize that putting troops in various countries actually lowers local tolerance for political efforts . . .

p.s. - in the general universal energy pick-up amazing-ness, the track 'Ahimana' by Tinariwen came up in my random playlist as I was typing this post . . .

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Calabash Widget from Widgetbox

Just found this on Widgetbox. Thanks Bluemen!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NYTimes "Gets It"

The NYTimes gets it! It is about making content available to people to use, and they will use it! As the google example has shown (for better or worse), advertising is enabling content owners to trade eyeballs for content. I had long been a reader of the Times online, reading all sorts of stuff. But when they launched their TimesSelect section, I no longer could read the key articles, so basically stopped visiting the site (except when Google News took me there). Now, I think I'll be back. Op-eds for free! Great. Old articles for free. Even better.
This isn't much of a big brain idea either really. Consider the Rick Rubin article I talked about in a previous post. This was being passed around in emails as full text of the article and posted all over the web. But if you went to the site, you couldn't read the article unless you paid. So the result of that was the people were reading the article, but not on, and the Times was losing valuable CPM eyeballs.
So good on ya, NYT for realizing what is happening. (Read the news on the news below).

NY Times to End TimesSelect, Open Free Archives
Submitted by Mark Hefflinger on September 17, 2007 - 3:14pm.

New York - The New York Times announced on Monday that it will shutter its TimesSelect subscription service, which had kept older articles and its roster of op-ed writers in a pay-to-view area of its website, opting instead to open its archives to potential advertising revenue.

The TimesSelect service cost users $7.95 per month or $49.95 per year, and was free to print subscribers and some students.

As of Wednesday, the Times' entire archives between 1851 and 1922, and from 1987 to the present will be available for free, along with some select content from 1923-1986.

The company said that TimesSelect, which was launched in September 2005, had met expectations, drawing 227,000 paying subscribers out of a total of 787,000 overall, and generated about $10 million a year in revenue.

The first sponsor of the opened areas on will be American Express, the company said.

Monday, September 17, 2007

RIAA, File-Sharing, Lawsuits, and more

Just finished listening to a quick report on NPR Marketplace on filesharing lawsuits being pursued by the RIAA. As someone working in the music industry, and potentially looking at working for a major label, I can't think of a more inane tactic than the lawsuits being pursued by the RIAA. And, more specifically, the tactics and methods used in pursuing these lawsuits.
I mean, really, if you are going to sue people, why go after small timers? Do cops go after small time drug users? Or the big time dealers?
And are lawsuits the right strategy? How much money are these guys spending on lawyers? And how much have the recouped? Why not spend that money on figuring out ways to monetize music? Figure out ways to make money off of existing customer behavior? You can't legislate behavior, nor can you sue behavior out of existence. What you can do is learn what the customer wants, get them that product, and figure out a way to do that where you provide a service that customer is willing to pay for.
Other labels like Nettwerk (and pretty much only them) have spoken out against these suits, with Nettwerk going so far as to get involved on the customer side of RIAA lawsuits. Don't believe me? Read it.
A small slice:
"The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests," said Nettwerk chief executive Terry McBride in a statement.

"Litigation is not 'artist development'. Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love."

The woman featured in the Marketplace story has sued the RIAA (article on suit here), which is great news. From the suit:
"For years, the RIAA and its member companies have been using flawed and illegal private investigation information as part of their coordinated scheme and common enterprise to threaten, intimidate and coerce payment from private citizens across the United States. As such they have clogged and abused the federal courts for many years with factually baseless and fraudulent lawsuits."

Zola Video

I've been meaning to put up this video for a LOOONG time. Anyway, I shot this with my little canon a90 digital camera, so the video ain't great, and the sound is worse. But, Brightcove and their new little consumer tool Aftermix came along and made it really easy. I just grabbed an mp3 of Zola's Umdlwembe (available at if you wanna buy the song, and you can get more of Zola here as well - and the video from my camera, and mixed em up on their little program.
Nifty, eh?
Back to the topic - needless to say, this was an intense show. ControlArms is a project of Oxfam and Amnesty International and their mission is to reduce gun violence and availability around the world. Their launch in South Africa was a show, a party, with some serious message from the artists performing, plus victims of gun violence. For Zola's performance, Hempza and I were sitting on the floor, and Zola was dancing literally 1 foot from my face at points. For as bad as the video is, I think you can still get a sense of the skill of his dancers.

More Links:
ControlArms -
Ghetto Ruff (Zola's label)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

perspectives on the music industry

because i'm in the music industry, and specifically, working on the future of music, about 15 people forwarded me this article in the nytimes about rick rubin. if you don't subscribe to the times, you can probably find it excerpted on the web somewhere.

however, no one forwarded me this blog post by the craziest man in the music blog biz, bob lefsetz.
i say crazy in the sense of that lefsetz really is crazy, but in this new game, that isn't always a bad thing. for a first rate example, read lefsetz's full post. his money line is this:
"The youth come up with Facebook. Columbia comes up with Rick Rubin. Where would YOU put your money?"

basically, his point is this - when the going gets tough, you have to ask tough questions, and actually answer those questions. you can't just do things a different way without examining why. especially when different just means a different way of doing the same old thing.