Singing the Sad Song of Internet Radio

I've been listening to a Live365 online dixieland radio station for two and a half hours and have heard the same three ads -- plus house ads for Live365's premium service -- for the whole time. (Needless to say, I minimized the player and so haven't seen the banner ads.) I should probably say "Gawd bless you, Premier Inc., NAPA, and Colgate/Irish Spring," but it's a pretty sad state of online audio affairs. Goodness knows, I'm rooting for ya.

The promise of Internet radio:

- National, but target-able audience
- Potential for genres that couldn't survive in terrestrial radio
- At-work audience who aren't in their cars

The reality:

- Fragmented audiences
- Lack of interest from local advertisers (other than local simulcasts)
- Continuing knock-down, dragged-out fight between Webcasters (DiMA) and copyright board royalty mavens (and, of course, the record labels and music publishers)

Bug Report

Was it just me, or did anyone else do a Silverlight "upgrade" for Macs that resulted in constant browser crashes and forced me to re-install Adobe-Macromedia's Flash player?

Twittering

I've always thought Twitter might be a bit pointless -- it certainly looks that way from the outside -- but everyone tells me that once you start doing it, you can't stop. So I'm about to find out. You can find me at twitter.com/nate_elliott.

AOL Taking Another Shot at Building Out IM Platform

AOL is opening up more of its core IM technology in an effort to establish it as a mash-upable platform. The Open AIM developer forum has the details, and TechCrunch offers its very positive early take. Here's a couple of additional points, derived from my conversation with AOL.

- This is not the strategy to integrate the other big two IM players, Yahoo and Microsoft. There's still some talking about working together to integrate those products into a "multi-headed" network, but that's deep talking, not SDKs and APIs.

- On the other hand, AOL feels this strategy could accomodate just about anybody else, including Google, any social networks who might be trying to do their own IM, and all of the other multi-headed products (think Trillian). And contrary to what some are saying, while this is a lot better than suing and shutting people down, it's a pretty heavy embrace if you join the party.

Read more

What killer app will drive brand advertisers online?

You Just Can't Trust Those Rich WASP Gang-Banger Authors

Honestly, it doesn't really bother me when "memoirs" are faked, as long as they're good literature reading. But this is too funny. Yeah, it's probably a good idea to cancel the author's book tour.

    In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods....Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood.

Umm. Oops?

    Ms. Seltzer’s story started unraveling last Thursday after she was profiled in the House & Home section of The New York Times. The article appeared alongside a photograph of Ms. Seltzer and her 8-year-old daughter, Rya. Ms. Seltzer’s older sister, Cyndi Hoffman, saw the article and called Riverhead to tell editors that Ms. Seltzer’s story was untrue.

Her editor, who has some distant connection with the Times, appears equally foolish.

The Social Networking World

[Via Greg Verdino] Le Monde printed a cool map a few weeks back covering the social networking world.

The map isn't quite perfect. While there's some data to support the idea that Bebo are the largest network in the UK, there's almost no chance they're bigger than MySpace across all of Europe; our 2007 data has MySpace a clear #1 in Western Europe with Facebook and Bebo fighting it out for #2. Also, Skyblog (listed as #1 in France and #3 in Europe) and LiveJournal (listed as #1 in Russia) aren't social networks, they're blogging sites. (Yes, it's getting harder to tell the difference between those two categories. But even with Skyblog's addition of some networking features last year, these two sites are still, clearly, first and foremost about blogging.) Finally, I'd have thought some of the countries that aren't labeled would've been pretty easy to fill in with a current leader -- among others, it seems clear that StudiVZ is #1 in Germany, and that Facebook is #1 in Sweden.

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Aren't, Like, "Brian's Song" and "Hoosiers" the Best Sports Movies Ever?

I've said several times in this forum, that ESPN is the very model of a modern media company (since the Times is using that headline elsewhere today, I'll steal it back). However, I dunno about this one. Aren't sports movies by definition corny? How does that fit with the ESPN brand and audience demo -- i.e., tongue-in-cheek insider commentary for 14-24 year-old boys of all ages? Maybe these should be branded Disney after all...

    ESPN said it would collaborate with Creative Artists Agency and Walt Disney Studios to produce and distribute theatrical films with sports themes. As part of the network’s expansion in filmed entertainment, ESPN is also hiring 30 filmmakers to produce one-hour mini-movies to appear on the channel starting in September 2009.

Digital Music Futures Webinar

Come hear colleague Michael Gartenberg and me debate the future of digital music. We're hosting a Plug.IN webinar next week.

    JupiterResearch's Plug.IN Webinar
      Digital Music Trends & Outlook
      March 11th, 2008
      1pm ET/10am PT

Digital music was a $1.3 billion business in 2007, but it still only comprised 10 percent of consumer music spending. Meanwhile, Apple continues to dominate both devices and downloads and Yahoo! became the third big player to drop out of on-demand subscription services.

Will digital music ever save the industry? Are downloaded singles replacing CD sales? Who are today's customers, and how is that likely to change over time? What is the role of ad-supported services, and of P2P networks? Will there be a showdown between iPods and music phones? iPods and anybody? How do you compete with, or thrive alongside Apple?

No Sign of Game-Changing Yet

It's never too late to gloat. Told ya. Macworld says Apple had, at the end of February, 351 movies for rent at the iTunes store, rather short of the 1,000 it promised at launch.