Posts filed under “Digital Media”

Dirty Economic Indicator of the Month

Porn_070608_ms
Of all the indicators I track, this is the one that I find most concerning amusing:

"Economists are citing some dire
portents of a recession these days, but they’ve missed one indicator I find
especially disturbing: The porn business has suddenly gone flaccid.

The drop in porn rentals and sales is worrisome on several fronts: Till now,
porn has been a recession-proof business. Further, with the country already in a
dispirited mood, the fact that porn has gone limp may indicate a true plunge in
consumer confidence.

DVD porn is down between 10% and 30%, depending on which nook and cranny of
the business you scrutinize. Joy King, executive vice president of Wicked
Pictures, and a smart analyst of the business, says the smallest dropoff is in
"couples-friendly porn" — films that embrace something of a storyline. Women
account for roughly half of this audience, making their purchases in lingerie
boutiques and toy stores (no, not kiddie toys)."

I suspect that the various free porn sites (You Porn, Tiava, etc.) are competing with for pay triple X DVD entertainment sales.

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Thanks, Gene!

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Source:
Hard times ahead as porn goes soft?
Apatow, Segel look below the belt for laughs
Peter Bart
Variety, Fri., Apr. 18, 2008, 3:15pm PT
http://www.variety.com/VR1117984246.html

Category: Digital Media, Economy, Web/Tech

The Last Remaining NYC Record Stores

Category: Digital Media, Music

New Gadget: iPod to iPod

Category: Digital Media, Music, Technology

Friday Evening Jazz: Kind of Blue

KINDA blueA few months ago, Hale took an eclectic look at some of the lesser known works of Miles Davis. Tonite, I want to go in the opposite direction, and simply focus on one disc: Kind of Blue.

Why? Not only is Kind of Blue Davis’ best-selling album, it may very well be the best-selling jazz record of any artist, of all time. Even though it was released almost 50 years ago, it still sells over 5,000 copies per week today. In addition to its commercial success, it has come to be described by many Jazz critics as the greatest jazz album of all time.

Writing in AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted: “Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of “So What.” From that moment on, the record never really changes pace — each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality.”

The one jazz record to own even if you don’t listen to jazz — the band is extraordinary: John Coltrane,  Julian “Cannonball” Adderley on saxophones, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums. I recently received a remastered CD of kind the album, thus retiring my scratchy hiss and pop laden vinyl version.  (And another intelligent CD pricing: $7.47 at Amazon)

For those of you looking for some , check out NPR:  Kind of Blue (54 minutes)

videos after the jump . . .

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Newsflashr.com

Category: Digital Media, Weblogs

Friday Night Jazz Alt-Rock: R.E.M.

R.E.M. is the original alternative rock band. Their first album, 1983′s Murmur, transformed the post-punk, underground college-rock era into brand new genre: What you take for granted as alternative rock was essentially created out of whole cloth by R.E.M.

I was a huge R.E.M. fan in grad school, and their first few albums were enormously powerful and influential.

They came up in conversation with an old friend recently, who noted that the band just released its 14th album, “Accelerate.”

Most of you young’uns probably are familiar with the band’s later bigger commercial hits — “Losing My Religion, Shiny Happy People, Everybody Hurts, Stand, etc.”  That stuff is all good for what it is — better than most of the pop on the radio at the same time, anyway.

But if you really want to delve into this seminal and influential band’s best work, you need to go back to 4 of their first 5 albums.

Genius lay that way.

A little context: In 1983, the US Stock market had just awoken from a 16 year slumber. Reagan was President, polyester had not yet gone away. The movie Saturday Night Fever was still relatively fresh in people’s minds, and there was plenty of Disco on the air, along with Journey, Boston, and Foreigner. It was an ugly, if simpler, time.

Along comes R.E.M., from of all places Athens, GA. Murmur broke boundaries, and literally created a new genre. The music lay somewhere between the jangling guitar work of the 1960s bands (Beatles, Byrds), with a drive that was not unlike later bands (Clash, Patti Smith).

I was surprised to see that the CDs of both Murmur and Reckoning are $7.97 at Amazon. It is long overdue for the music industry to use dynamic pricing on the back catalogues of artists. I suspect, however, they are a decade too late, and have already lost a generation of CD buyers.

R.E.M. was overtly political. Their songs were barbed attacks on
the status quo, hidden beneath hauntingly beautiful melodies, arcane lyrical language, driving drumbeats, jangly guitars, and
mumbled vocals. It was a completely idiosyncratic approach, but  it worked well.

What stood out most of all were their collections of
songs, alternatively beautiful and compelling. Dramatic structures, majestic melodies, lush vocal harmonies and somewhat archaic language combined for a unique sound.

Document The band became a critical darling, and sold increasingly well. Each subsequent album sharpened the band’s focus, and saw their writing become increasingly layered and complex, culminating in the tight, driving rock of Document. This was the album that catapulted R.E.M. from college radio favorites to mainstream stardom — and with good cause, too. It also marked their critical (but not their commercial) peak.

A recent WSJ piece noted the commercial decline:

“It has been a long, slow fade for a band that came to be known both as one of the founders of alternative rock and one of the genre’s most bankable names. Its 1996 contract turned out to be the high-water mark of a five-year frenzy of wildly expensive superstar contracts across the music industry, whipped up by interlabel bidding wars and CD sales’ seemingly boundless potential for growth. Most of these deals, such as Sony Music’s $60 million contract with Michael Jackson in 1991, and Virgin’s $70 million 1996 pact with his sister Janet, proved overly optimistic about the commercial prospects of artists who were past their prime.”

That sound about right. None of these artists have since achieved any level of their former commercial — or critical — success.

I hope REM breaks the streak. I have yet to hear the entire new album, Accelerate, but the first single, “Supernatural Superserious”  is encouraging. Reviews have generally been positive, calling the album R.E.M.’s “most relevant in years.”

Must Own Albums:

Murmur (1983)

Reckoning (1984)

Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)

Document (1987)

New Album

Accelerate (2008)

Videos after the jump . . .

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Category: Digital Media, Music

Friday Night Jazz: What New Music Are You listening to?

Category: Digital Media, Music

I Succumbed to the Charms of 7.2MP !

I’m a gadget junkie. I mentioned last month I didn’t need a new camera. As much as I would like image stabilization and video recording capability,  as much as the price for this 7.2MP Digital Camera is ridiculous, I simply didn’t need it. Then my mom asked for a simple to use digital camera. I…Read More

Category: Digital Media, Technology

Top 20 Biggest Music Industry Screw Ups

Category: Digital Media, Music, Web/Tech

Apple iTunes to Sell Beatles Songs?

Category: Digital Media, Music