The broadband music jam arrives

Forget collaborating on a Google spreadsheet — why not collaborate on a kick-ass cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train.
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We plugged guitars into computers and adjusted our headphones. I clicked “record” and began laying down a bass track alongside the guitarist’s. As we watched our tracks appear in the audio-mixing software, he recognized something familiar in the chord progression and played a guitar part from the Beatles’ “Let It Be” that fit perfectly over my bass line.

This guitarist and I had successfully traded a musical idea — a common enough occurrence, except that we’d never met, and weren’t in the same room or even the same city. But we were collaborating in near real time using the music-making site eJamming. Although we’d hit a few glitches, it felt like a breakthrough moment.

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Watch, share, embed, distribute

A couple of interesting developments today that bring social aspects to large content sites — specifically, YouTube and eBay. The former, which hasn’t really had all that much of a social-networking bent to it (apart from comments and the ability to embed videos elsewhere) has launched something called Active Share, which lets you see who has been viewing your videos.

Meanwhile, eBay has taken a page from YouTube’s early success and added the ability to embed auction-tracking widgets in a webpage, so that people can follow an item without having to reload a page or get an email alert. Both of these make total sense to me — to the point where I’m almost surprised they didn’t already have these features.

Give it away, make it up on volume

The band Crimea is going to give away downloads of its entire self-financed new album, and hopes to make money on touring, merchandising and licensing deals.
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An acclaimed indie band will next month leap into the unknown by becoming the first established act to give away an entire album for nothing in a move which could spark a music industry revolution.
Convinced that changes in the industry and the spread of digital piracy have made it ever more difficult to make money from selling records, the Crimea plan to turn the economics on their head by giving away downloads of their self-financed second album, Secrets of the Witching Hour.

By giving away the album in its entirety on May 13, the band hope to widen their fanbase and ultimately make more money from touring, merchandising and licensing deals than they would from sales of the album.
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Media bites: fewer words, same great taste

Some items that may grow up to be blog posts someday:

  • The Beeb is going to expand the on-demand TV service it has been testing, saying the video and audio service has been used by “well over” one million people watching a total of 20 million programmes since it launched six months ago. The new iPlayer system will allow viewers to store shows on a PC for 30 days.
  • Chad Hurley writes a new media manifesto for Forbes magazine: “Never before has the opportunity been so great for independent writers and actors, musicians and producers to create compelling content on par with the studios, networks and labels,” he writes. “The playing field has been truly leveled.” Party on, Chad.
  • Sony Pictures Television will launch a new Internet service featuring “minisodes” — short (three to five minute) versions of classic TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and T.J. Hooker. But these aren’t clips — it’s the entire show crammed into five minutes.
  • Rupert Murdoch writes his own version of a new media manifesto for Forbes, saying: “Media companies don’t control the conversation anymore, at least not to the extent that we once did. The big hits of the past were often, if not exactly flukes, then at least the beneficiaries of limited options.” You go, Rupe.
  • Jesse England was experimenting with film and video, and came up with the brilliant idea of printing an eight-millimetre movie strip onto clear laminate using a bog-standard inkjet printer. It may not be high quality, but it sure is cool (hat tip to BoingBoing for the link).

Blogs that make me think

I wanted to take a minute before I forget (again) and pay some respect to several bloggers who have tagged me as a “thinking blog,” which is indeed an honour. As far as I can tell, the Thinking Blog memetag got started with this blog, which is fittingly named The Thinking Blog. I got tagged first a couple of weeks ago by Jack Lail — thanks, Jack. Then just a couple of days ago I got tagged again by Jason at Webomatica and then by Steve at WinExtra.

Thanks a lot, guys. In order to push this thing forward, I’m not going to choose Jason or Steve — although I think that both of their blogs are excellent (I don’t know Jack’s as well yet) — and I’m not going to name some of the usual suspects, such as my friends Rob Hyndman or Mark Evans, or the more obvious suspects such as Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0, or my friend Paul Kedrosky, although it should go without saying that they are all excellent.

Instead, I’m going to name my friend Leigh Himel of Oponia Networks, who always has something interesting to say that makes me think, as well as Cory and Steve at Lost Remote — who cover new media like almost no one else (except maybe Rafat at PaidContent) — and my friend Dr. Tony Hung at Deep Jive Interests, who seems to find time to save lives as well as blog his heart out.