Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Twitter feels like conversation, designed to fade away. Blogging feels like notes, writing as thinking.

May 6, 2010

It was very silent here for months… and maybe this not the first blog in this galaxy that sleeps for a while. The usual causes… too many other projects and of course… Twitter.
The fact that you have sent a Tweet gives you a kind of feeling that a thought, an opinion, whatever… is already shared… it´s done… it´s no longer an issue… and you won´t write a post…

But who cares, nobody gives a damn about a blog like this anyway, right?
So I was thinking … “why the hell did I start this thing”… and came back to the blog of Russell Davies. Actually the first blog I read regularly decades ago and I still do. He is a brilliant guy and he was in fact the cause why I started to blog. Back then I thought blogging was quite “uncool”. I didn´t quite get it, why some regular guys who aren´t superstars or journalists should invest time in this… I couldn´t find the value… but reading Russells posts and seeing his process of doing it… made sense for me (by the way Russell is both, a brand planning superstar and a journalist)… so I gave it a try.

I remembered that Russell himself was thinking about the value of blogging in some posts not long ago… and he nailed it. Here some quotes:

“At one point Mr Rosenberg quotes Cory Doctorow’s My Blog, My Outboard Brain at length and it really reminded me that this thing still has huge value for me, but it’s value that needs to be fed.
It’s such a part of what I do that sometimes I forget that I actually have to write it. (…)
And I notice that other people are discovering/rediscovering/reinventing the value of their blogs. Like Mr Winer and Mr Kane. There’s something powerful about the slow accretion of thinking, writing and conversation on a blog, something that’s different and distinct from ‘social networking’. I’m going to try and do more. Get the habit back.” (post)

“(…) one of the things I’m realising about the power of blogging, it’s not just the immediate hit of communication, it’s the slow accumulation of ideas and expression. The archives, the permanent links, the searchability. That’s why there’s value in ploughing on. Not just for now, but for later.
I know that’s probably obvious. But anyway.” (post)

“Twitter feels like conversation, ephemeral, written on water, designed to fade away. Blogging feels like notes, writing as thinking and rehearsing, to be kept and remembered, written on paper. And actually writing on paper, that’s still the best.” (post)

So, again… cause of Russell… I will start blogging… again.
“I think it’s good for me. It may not be good for you, it may bore you senseless, but hey, it’s not for you, it’s for me.” (post)

Audio Poverty

February 10, 2009

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The Audio Poverty Festival – A weekend of discussions and lectures, concerts and parties, performances and experiments. The third and last of the three “indie” conferences here in Berlin at the beginning of this year, all dealing with music and culture in the digital age (see also Club Transmediale and Dancing With Myself).

Music is currently undergoing a loss of value not only in economic terms, but also in ways that have an impact on the social and aesthetic structure of musical life, affecting forms of publication, the culture of listening, musical discourse, and the music itself. Music has become a commodity, delivered from all parts of the world. Audio Poverty tried to explore the consequences of these changes: what is the relationship of the musician to the disappearing market? What is the significance of the individuation of listening for music’s social importance? What does it mean when the music critic is silent? And does musical poverty have a sound?

I liked the theme and concept of the festival a lot when i heard about it, but it didn´t quite meet my expectations. Most of the festival was very experimental…especially the music performance parts were more for a niche audience…. and also some of the talks were very specific… the “economic” part of the festival was not as important as I hoped. But anyway… I met some interesting people there.

For me the panel discussion “No markets, no goods, no future?” on the first day with Gudrun Gut (Monika, Berlin) Achim Bergmann (Trikont, Munich) Jay Rutledge (Outhere, Munich), Dieter Gorny (Berlin), Mark Chung (Freibank, Hamburg), Moderation: Christian Finkbeiner (Berlin) was the most interesting one.
I saw some video cams there… maybe there is a more detailed video documentation of the festival soon on the Audio Poverty website.

Club Transmediale 09 – Berlin

January 31, 2009

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The 10th anniversary edition of Club Transmediale 09, Berlin’s unique festival for electronic and experimental musical culture, is over.
For more than a week the conference offered a bunch of great talks and workshops in the daytime program and amazing club events at night.

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The Festival theme of this year was STRUCTURES – The aim was to inquire into the current state and future potential of microstructures and networks in independent music and media culture.

Given the situation triggered by the crisis of the music industry, club transmediale decided to provide a platform for interdisciplinary exchange and bring together protagonists from various scenes. The conference tried to encourage a debate from several different perspectives about how the most broadly accessible, artistically self-determined and at the same time economically viable musical cultures might be organised today; to actively promote democratic structures, diversity, critical discourse and creativity.

By far I am not able to cover the whole event here…. see a documentation here and here.

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I just want to mention some of the talks concerning the media industry.

In his great Keynote “The Crisis of the Music Industry – Chance or Calamity?Prof. Peter Wicke (Humboldt University, Berlin) critizes the big discussion initiated by the record industry about the risks and threats for music culture and artists cause of the digitalization. Wicke shows in his talk that not the music culture and musicians are in a crisis, but the investors in the record industry. We have to separate the commercial value and the cultural value, we have to separate artists and investors. Listen to the talk here – German only.

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One of my favourite speakers of this years program was Umar Haique (director of the Havas Media Lab in New York). Unfortunately he was not able to appear in person and had to cancel his talk, but he sent a video.

In his video he considers the current crisis of the music industry in the light of microeconomic information and contract theory. He thereby reaches the conclusion that file-sharing is not to blame for the drop in profits but rather, the music industry’s loss of credibility – for which the industry itself is to blame – which subsequently led consumers to look for alternatives or perhaps, even to rebel. From there, Haque goes on to expound strategic solutions that seek to balance the interests of producers, consumers and those spinning the deals. Here the video:

See many more interesting talks and panels documented as audio files here.

More on Club Transmediale Blog.
Great Festival!

Access is better than ownership!

January 22, 2009

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Again a remarkable blog post by Kevin Kelly. In his text titled “Better than owning” Kevin calls the Internet the “magic rental store” and asks: “If you lived inside of the world’s largest rental store, why would you own anything?”
We are on a way to the “Age of Access” i fully agree.

Here are some quotes of his best arguments:

“The request to enjoy a work is thus separated from the more complicated choice of whether I want to “own” it. I can consume a movie, music or book without having to decide or follow up on ownership.”

(…)

“For many people this type of instant universal access is better than owning. No responsibility of care, backing up, sorting, cataloging, cleaning, or storage.  As they gain in public accessibility, books, music and movies are headed to become social goods even though they might not be paid by taxes.”

(…)

“Our sense of ownership is a funny thing. If you purchase an ebook and download the book’s PDF file to your computer, you’d say you owned it, and expect the rights of ownership. However if you went to a link where a PDF of a book was opened on your screen for free and automatically, you might not feel you owned this book, even if it was copied to your disk. Possession of a copy turns out to be less important in the feeling of ownership than does the price. Free things don’t generate strong feelings of ownership. Gifts do, which we think of as “free,” but our sense of ownership is related to their “replacement costs” – how much they would cost us to buy elsewhere, their market value. If an item has a marketplace cost of zero, we tend not to feel we own it. So as more economic activity gravitates toward the free, less will feel owned. As more is shared, less will act like property.”

(…)

“The downside to the traditional rental business is the “rival” nature of physical goods. Rival means that there is a zero-sum game; only one rival prevails. If I am renting your boat, no one else can. (…) But of course, intangible goods and services don’t work this way. They are “non-rival” which means you can rent the same movie to as many people who want to rent it this hour. Sharing intangibles scales magnificently. This ability to share on a large scale without diminishing the satisfaction of the individual renter is transformative. The total cost of use drops precipitously (shared by millions instead of one). Suddenly, ownership is not so important.  Why own, when you get the same utility from renting, leasing, licensing, sharing?”

Conference: Dancing With Myself – Music, Money, and Community After Digitalization

January 19, 2009

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The next several weeks three small “indie” conferences are taking place here in Berlin. In the broadest sense they are all about the future of music culture and industry in the digital age: Club Transmediale, Audio Poverty and Dancing With Myself.  All of them have  an amazing live music/dj programme as well. If you are in Berlin, check them out.

The first one was Dancing With Myself at HAU Berlin. The theme weekend with the subtitel “Music, Money, and Community After Digitalization” provided a forum for discussion about a future that has already begun. Far from lamenting falling sales figures, and far from the usual themes dealt with at ordinary industry conferences, the conference tried to to examine the cultural and theoretical implications of the digitalization of music, through a plethora of lectures, discussion panels, concerts, performances and parties, as well as selected films.

I liked the conference concept a lot and was especially interested in the keynote by Jacques Attali a French economist who wrote 1977 the book ” Noise – The Political Economy of Music” (French titel: Bruits). A great book I never heard before with a lot of thoughts that are more prevailling than ever before… written 30 years ago.

Today I was visiting a few panels at the conference and without going in details, I was a little bit dissapointed about the “overall vibe” of most of the discussions. There was a lot of talking about “the state”, “culture policy” and what should happen that maybe everything is good again… how the state can fix all the problems.

I was wondering, why aren´t we thinking more like entrepreneurs…. seeing the chances….not looking back, talking about good old times and thinking about “fixing problems”…. why not  instead behaving like someone who is the first day in the music business, accepting the status quo, seeing the chances of the democratization of music…
Call me naive, but where is the spirit of something like a revolution? The digitalization is not a dearth… the digitalization has so many positive aspects… let´s start using them.
Just a thought.

Lawrence Lessig on The Colbert Report

January 14, 2009

Very funny Video!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

RIAA Declared Peace!

December 21, 2008

Finally the RIAA got it. It will stop suing against individual filesharerers (see the Wall Street Journal). As Lawrence Lessig said: This is important progress.

But is the copyright war over? Not yet, there are still a lot of problems to fix.

For all of you who haven`t read the latest book of Lawrence “REMIX” yet, here his latest great talk about his ideas on copyright issues in the digital age.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Freesouls by Joi Ito

December 15, 2008

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Great present for Christmas?
A wonderful book by Joi Ito – Freesouls. A celebration of all the people who are willing to share. The book is beautifully designed and contains 296 Portraits by Joi Ito and essays by Howard Rheingold, Lawrence Liang, Cory Doctorow, Yochai Benkler, Isaac Mao and Marko Ahtisaari and a foreword by Lawrence Lessig.

Striking the Balance between Giving It Away and Making Money

December 6, 2008

By accident I found these two posts from Michel Bauwens and Steve Bosserman on the challenge of striking the critical balance between giving something away (for free) and making money in a digital age. They deliver the thesis that the “Internet Economy” is redefining operational assumptions and models for all organizations within the public and privat sectors and that the transformation does not stop in the realm of bits and bytes; it is spilling into the traditional mainstays of agriculture and all types of industry and threatens to alter the most basic tenets of how to market, value, and receive compensation for our creativity, collaboration, and contribution. Steve Bosserman shows this descriptive on an example from the agriculture industry.

“When information is free, it is a great equalizer. This equalizing feature is changing the business models of corporations that made their fortunes from a portfolio of proprietary offerings.”

So the authors are trying to answer the basic question: where is money made in such an environment?

Both posts are argumenting along a very basic diagram that shows the general options for a business model:

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I don´t want to repost the articles here, just want to highlight the most important insight for me:

The classic business model of the analog age (paid & closed, in the diagram up,right.)  that we are all familiar with and which relies on state-protected intellectual rights monopolies, is obviously the model that is being most undermined by free information. But the point is that, as the other three business model options become more established in the society,  it is not just hackers and consumers that threaten such a business model, but your own competitors. In any sector, there will always be a pioneering company that decides to give the primary commodity for free, or gives away the source code, deriving income from secondary modalities, leaving the traditional closed rights holders in the cold, and making this model unsustainable in the long run.
So let´s start thinking about the other three options.

Tim Westergren – The Future of Radio and Digital Music

November 22, 2008

Tim Westergren the founder of the free Internet music provider Pandora.com speaks at the Harvard Berkman Centre about his experiences in the tumultuous world of digital radio.

He has an entrepreneur story to tell: Several months working without salary… 11 debt out credit cards – 3 years later: 18.5 million users, 35.000 new users per day. All without advertising. Now dreaming of one billion users sometime.

He delivered some insights in the analysing process of music at Pandora. Trained musicians are analysing the “Music Genome” of hundreds of tracks everyday. He spoke about the difficult right issues situations… about the monetization concept of the site… delivered some interesting insights into the user behavior (eg. users come back to the site during listening 7 to 10 times per hour)… a lot of interesting stuff in this video: