Category Archives: Music

Commentary on Camera Policies at Concerts

Here’s and interesting article I got from the NIN twitter feed.

nineinchnails RT @rob_sheridan: CNET has a nice article up about open camera policies at concerts, with some comments from me:

I’ve been to NIN and Gwen Stefani concerts with the everything goes camera policies and to a Bjork concert where I was trampled by a large security guard on her way to kick a fan out of the concert for having a camera phone out of his pocket.   When the camera policy is loose, the audience is more engaged and, in general,  having more fun as they make memories and share their experience with the world in real time.  With respect to the Bjork concert, I really didn’t appreciate being trampled and I would have liked to, at least, have taken a picture of myself and my husband at the event to mark the occasion.

To be honest, whenever I see an artist demand a no camera policy, my gut tells me it’s because the artist knows the show isn’t that good and doesn’t want footage leaked that will discourage potential customers.  Any reasonable person knows, regardless of the image and sound quality, NOTHING beats the experience of actually being at the concert.   I applaud those artists that understand their audience and understand cameras are for admiration, adoration, and commemoration and not piracy.  Not only that, with some clever marketing, fan generated media can be made into some nice personalized merchandise for the artist to sell back to the fan.  Example:  HP and Gwen Stefani collaborated with fans to make personalized concert books.  It was a win-win-win solution!


Adobe’s EPUB Standard (and some other comments)

Here is an article about how Barnes and Noble is backing Adobe’s EPUB standard.


I’m happy to see content  providers getting behind this so there is device independent standard for e-books.

As for the jabs at Apple’s iTunes, well, iTunes isn’t completely locked down.  There are plenty of software programs available that remove Apple’s “wrapper” so users can play the music they purchased  on any device as an mp3.  I had to do this when my laptop crashed and the only copy of my music collection was on my iPod (it seems to me Apple can remedy this by making it easy to transfer songs from an iPod back onto a computer, rather than locking iPods with one device).  Depending upon Kindle’s success, I imagine some “Robin Hood” spirited programmer will “crack” that device as well (it may already have been done).  This really is beside the point, but I am a little tired of reporters feigning ignorance about the various ways to circumvent proprietary file formats and touting proprietary file formats as the key to having a successful digital distribution business model.  iTunes doesn’t have a lock on the market because their file format is proprietary.  They have a lock because their device is easy to use, it’s drop dead simple to buy music for iPod and iPhone devices, and the pricing structure for the music available is within reason.   Can you say Apple has had the same success with video entertainment via Apple TV? No … (in my estimation, it looks like Netflix is poised to dominate in this area due to the numerous deals they are making with TV and gaming console manufacturers.  It is very simple to watch Netflix movies on demand via my XBox360 with my existing Netflix account).   So far there is no clear winner on e-books or e-reading right now other than the personal computer and there are many PC manufacturers.   As for e-readers, I think it’s pointless to have a separate device outside of a laptop for e-reading.  Ultimately, I think this is a software play and not a device play.  I think Amazon recognizes this too, which is why they are making the Kindle software available for PCs the same as Apple did for iTunes.  This leaves box makers to struggle for margins as they try to one-up each other by driving device prices down.  My advice to the box makers is to multi-task existing laptops, minis,  and mobiles rather than wasting time and money on developing a separate e-reader device — unless, of course, that e-reader can be submerged underwater for tub-time reading.  Of course, tub-time computing would also be quite revolutionary …

The Death of Michael Jackson — My Experience

I first learned about the death of Michael Jackson via Twitter.  At first I though it was a joke because news broke within a few hours of Farrah Fawcett’s death.  I never expected Michael Jackson to become an old man, but it was still a shock.  So who was Michael Jackson to me?  Well, when I thought about it, I realized his music was a prominent part of the soundtrack of my life.  Considering the length of his career, I was probably listening to Michael Jackson as part of the Jackson 5 while in the womb.  I remember as a tot listening to “Rock with You” in the car with my 2nd cousin, with my aunt, and whle skating around the roller rink.  I remember eagerly anticipating seeing the entire “Thriller” video on Halloween.  I remember watching the debut of the “Moonwalk” on TV.  I remember the excitement in the living room, my Mom loudly clapping her hands, cheerfully yelling, “work it, Michael!” as if he could hear her through the TV.  I have dear, dear-sweet high school memories of seeing “Captain EO” at Disneyland with my best friends.  I remember taking the time to see the debut of the video “Do you Remember the Time?”   I remember the music, the dancing, his charity.  I remember singing along with Michael Jackson with my family and friends.  I grew up with Michael.

I also remember Michael Jackson’s eccentricities.  No, I didn’t like the way he changed his face — I actually had a crush on the pre-surgery Michael and thought he was very cute.  As for the salacious matters, honestly, I never paid them much attention — I figured it to be the cost of celebrity and letting opportunistic people into your home.

I look forward to watching Michael Jackson’s memorial on TV or over the Internet tomorrow with my family.  I also hope some entity is able to piece together the footage of Michael’s comeback concert dress rehearsals so we fans can all experience what Michael had planned (It would be nice to see it at a movie theater).   I will continue to remember and honor Michael Jackson by listening to his music.   And to the haters:  poo-poo on you.  Let the man rest in peace and acknowledge the joy and good he brought to the world.

Celebrities on Twitter

I’ve done something completely contrary to my personality and decided to follow a celebrity on Twitter.  I never thought I’d do this because I find what most celebrities have to say is meaningless.  I’m also skeptical that celebrities actually use Twitter to address their fans.  Rather, I had come to believe, based on no information, that either random people pose as celebrities or celebrities hire some poor smuck to handle their online identity.    Based on this conjecture, celebrities online are pointless.  That said, on a whim, I decided to follow “trent_reznor.”  I have no idea whether it’s the real celebrity, but the mix of optimistic idealism and random crankiness fits my perception.  My feeling about this so far is 90% of his Tweets are pointless.  What attracted me to follow him were his fund raising efforts and rest of it is passing amusement — but then again, I consider Twitter in general to be “passing amusement.”  (I, also, have to admit I had it in mind to blog about the experience as I am now).

Today “trent_reznor” left an interesting Tweet:  “The price of attempting to engage an online community is high and probably ultimately not worth weeding through the sewage.”  With 600,000+ followers on Twitter alone, plus fan forums and whatever other online assets “trent_reznor” owns, I can’t exactly call any of this a means of intimate fan engagement.  Imagine if only .2% of his followers per day were brave enough to send replies and personal messages through Twitter, that would mean he gets 1200 little messages a day.   That is beyond any human’s capacity to sift through, even if a person had nothing else to do all day but Twitter.  This leads me wonder whether there’s any meaning in this.  Well, meaning is up to the individual.  Replying to a celebrity and hoping the celeb reads your message and gives a crap is pointless.  However, you can imagine if a celebrity gets a ton of overwhelmingly positive messages then that can be a source of positive affirmation and inspiration.  I see my replies to anyone on Twitter as more of a commentary on the Tweet, rather than trying to actually reach the person.  On the other side, for the celebrity, Twitter is what they make of it.  It’s merely a tool to send messages out to broad audience that has interest in what the celebrity is up to.  I think “trent_reznor” used Twitter well for his charity effort and to give updates about his current tour.

To sum it up, fans and celebrities should not expect Twitter and forums to lead to an intimate relationship between celebrity and fan.  Fans need to understand to a celebrity their replies are most likely taken in aggregate to gauge the general feeling towards the celebrity.  I hate to put in these terms, but basically fans are willingly giving marketing machines data when they reply to Tweets and participate in forums — and yes, believe it or not, “trent_reznor” has a marketing machine, though he may be loathed to admit it.  For the celebrity, Twitter is an excellent way to broadcast to those that genuinely take an interest in the celebrity.  In this sense, depending on the saaviness of the celebrity, a lot of good can be done, particularly if Twitter is used to rally support for a cause or to disseminate event information.  Beyond, that, celebrities should understand prattling on about their personal life will become fodder for the tabloids, though, I imagine there are plenty of fans who hang on every word that is Tweeted, mainly because they live in some twisted fantasy world … well whatever … I imagine dealing with crackpots is one of the prices of fame ;p.

Food for thought for the marketing end of celebrity-dom:  it may not hurt to buy a week from a web programming geek to get a filter and analysis package set up to collect data from fan’s reply Tweets.  I think if you get a general sense of the Tweets coming at you, you can send a “personal” reply to big blocks of followers who have Tweeted very similar messages.  You can, also, gauge the feelings towards your products — be they music, movies, prose, or whatever … Consolidation of messages into general themes can take out most of the noise and, then perhaps, some gems can be extracted from the “sewage.”
Now Tweet that!


I saw the NINJA tour (Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction) when it came to SD on May 16th.  As ususal, NIN, was excellent.  Jane’s Addiction was good too, but I truly couldn’t appreciate it because I don’t particularly care for their songs with exception, of course, to “Got Caught Stealing.”  Anyhow, I took some EXTREMELY horrible pictures with my iPhone and posted them to FuzzyShot.  Here’s a link if you dare.  If you like NIN, go to this tour and sing your lungs out (I did, along with a little dancing).  Rumor is that this may be the last time Trent Reznor goes on tour as NIN (I hope this isn’t true).  Whether you stay for JA is up to you (I stayed for about 1-hour of JA).  Also, check for some fund raising activities in conjunction with the NINJA tour.