Posts from March 24, 2004

From free to cheap… to free?

From free to cheap… to free?
: Music can’t catch a break. So music was expensive. Then it was free on Napster. Then Napster was killed and it was cheap on Apple. And now it’s cheaper at Walmart, which just undercut Apple et al with 88-cent songs. Walmart insists that it’s not a loss-leader at that price and that it will make a profit on music (and thus that it’s not dumping music on the market, in essence) — but even if that’s true, it’s probably true only for Walmart. So, once again, the profitability of music is sliced and the price of music slides back toward zero.

: Of course, good often comes out of disruption and the CBC speculates about the kind of music we’ll be listening to in five years, thanks to the age of the download. MIT Technology Review summarizes the questions:

Will lowering the barriers of entry to the music market encourage more grassroots participation? Will the ability to issue one song at a time enable musicians to become even more topical, serving, as Chuck D described it, as the black man

NPR: Age discrimination?

NPR: Age discrimination?
: NPR is ousting Bob Edwards as the host of its morning show. Time for a change and all that. New role. He’s 56 and has been there from the start and has done a good job from the start (no matter what you think of NPR’s politics, he’s a pro). In the Times story, he’s as politic as he can be and his colleagues don’t dar call this what it is: Killing the graybeard. I’d expect that from commercial networks (except, in fact, they do leave Andy Rooney Dan Rather in the job long past the time they became bores). But NPR? Tsk-tsk.

9/11 commissions and books and politicking

9/11 commissions and books and politicking
: I haven’t said much about the current blame game going on over September 11th in books, hearings, and political speeches.

The terrorists came within a matter of yards of killing me.

But I don’t blame the Bush or Clinton administrations for that. I blame the terrorists.

Could we have stopped them? Only with some damned lucky breaks. We can’t make believe that any system would have guaranteed catching them before the act.

For we have to remember that these are pathologically insane and evil beasts and it’s impossible to guess how low they will stoop.

If we were lucky enough to have intelligence inside their devil’s cult, then, yes, we might have foiled their plot. But that’s obviously hard to do.

If we were lucky enough to have stopped one of them for speeding and locked them up, then we might have foiled their plot. But that’s like counting on a lottery ticket.

What matters now is learning the lessons we can learn — and to that extent, the hearings are valuable — to protect us as best we can.

But I find the blame game going on now unseemly and divisive and unproductive and distracting and just a little bit tasteless.

I saw people die that day not because of anything we didn’t do but because of what a bunch of soulless murderers did do. Let’s never forget that.

It’s us against them, not us against us.

The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: PROFANE: Ernie Miller digs into the FCC’s f-word decision again and, dig as he might, he still can’t find good law, good definitions, good guidance, or good sense:

The FCC’s new “profane” language doctrine is a mess just waiting to be challenged. The opportunity to embarrass the FCC is there. Which broadcast personality will accept the challenge?

: OFF WITH HIS FINGER: Drudge makes a big deal of American Idol judge Simon Cowell scratching his face with his no-no finger and Fox producers going through talmudic torture over whether this was a gesture or a scratch and whether this should have aired or not in this, the day of boobaphobia.

Is the F-finger the same as the F-word to the FCC?

How much more ludicrious can this get?