Posts from February 1, 2005

Parody is the sincerest form

Parody is the sincerest form

: It’s quite cool that last months’ Harvard conference on blogs, journalism and all that inspired a parody. It certainly deserved parody. Too bad this isn’t exactly funny.

Eeyores v. Poohs

Eeyores v. Poohs

: Fred Wilson has a good post today responding to the notion that the silence from much of the left on the Iraqi election is the response of Eeyores. Fred’s not an Eeyore. Neither is Hoder, who wrote a similar post the day before. And here’s why…

The problem I have with the Eeyores is that for all intents and purposes, they refused to see the positive in the election and the start of a new democracy; they refused to think first of the human rights of the Iraqi people and instead thought of their own political agenda and political anti’s. That’s Eeyoreism. The worst of them — the rabid Eeyores, the Coles and Altermans — exhibited utter disdain to the point of hate toward anyone there who dared to say positive things about their freedom and America. That is decidely illiberal to me.

But that is not what Fred and Hoder and others have said. They said that they are, indeed, happy to see the Iraqi people exercising this new freedom but they are concerned about what is next and how America will approach the another dictatorship, another confrontation. That is a most reasonable position. And I agree with them.

Reasonable people can agree. Reasonable people should agree that the exercise of freedom and democracy in Iraq is good for the Iraqi people. Reasonable people should agree that we must be cautious about intervening in nations but should also take steps to defend the human rights of our fellow man when we can. Reasonable people can disagree about this war and its aftermath and its duration.

Reasonable people.

They’re not Eeyores. I prefer to think of them as Poohs.

Missing the beat

Missing the beat

: The music industry still doesn’t get it.

Universal Music just announced that it is doing the exact opposite of what it should be doing with music videos.

What they are doing: Pulling the videos from any online service airing them unless the service starts paying Universal a fee or revenue share.

What they should be doing: Opening up music videos for all to have and distribute freely.

Do we have to beat you over the head with this? Was the 2×4 of Napster not enough? Look at your own experience trying to prevent consumers from getting your product. You failed (but when Apple made it easy, they succeeded, remember?) Look again at the fact that Jon Stewart’s Crossfireicide got at least 10 times more viewers via free distribution on the web — via iFilm and BitTorrent — than it got on big, old CNN. Remember, music men: The network no one owns is far more powerful than the network the big guys own.

What you should do is put your music videos out there as free, downloadable videos and as BitTorrents and something magical will happen: The people will distribute them for you. The people will promote them for you. The people will tell you what’s hot and not by virtue of their links (something you can’t learn via MTV). The people will enhance your talents’ brands. The people will sell your music for you. You will gain tremendous value from our own customers — all for free! You can even slap product placement inside the videos and make a fortune on that; hell, it’s free, we can’t complain. The issue isn’t you giving the people stuff for free; your goal should be finding ways for the people to give you value for free, you fools.

Oh, I know, you’re still fuming that MTV made a business out of showing your videos. But that’s an awfully short-sighted, narrow-minded, greedy way to look at it. MTV kept the music business alive and full of life longer than it probably deserved. MTV sold your music and brands.

But ask yourself something: Why is MTV no longer showing hardly any videos anymore? Could it be that the audience doesn’t care? And now you think that the audience is going to pay services to see your videos or that online services will be able to make — and share with you — a fortune in advertising for showing video people don’t necessarily want to watch?

You’re doing the exact wrong thing: You sat around your conference tables and tried to answer the questions, “How can we stop this or, failing that, how can we make money from this?” What you should have asked instead is, “How can we embrace this? How can this drive our core business, our music?

This is an object lesson for any industry facing the internet and citizens’ media and exploding TV: The right question is, “How can we embrace this?”

Say it ain’t so

Say it ain’t so

: Andrew Sullivan is quitting blogging, at least for now, to finish a book and travel. Was it something we said?

: It’s interesting from a distance that Andrew built up traffic and links — the most valuable commodity of the age: a brand — and now fritters it away. On the one hand, one might think that he’d hand over the blog to guest writers (as he has done on a shorter term). But that’s the odd thing about this new world: The brand is him and would you want people taking over your brand when it’s you (or would you want to toil under another person’s brand?). It’s our blog equivalent of the Martha Stewart person-as-brand question (but at least he’s not going to jail).