Category Archives: industry

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the garden

Turns out our fertiliser may be contaminated with a very dangerous herbicide.

I’m glad to say that this won’t affect my garden this year, but given that part of my desire to get into growing my own was to avoid such food scares (as well as show the kids where food actually came from and give myself something to do that didn’t involve a computer) this feels pretty serious.

Yet another indication that we simply can’t avoid the industrial entering our lives even on the most micro of levels.

Stop! Thief!

This is fascinating. Apparently “average teenager’s iPod has 842 illegal music tracks“. Nice headline. In the detail, however, comes the fact that on average that iPod has 1770 tracks, meaning that only 48% of the tracks are “illegal”. In the under 18 age group this figure grows to 61%.

When I left home (1990) I took roughly 50 prerecorded purchased albums on cassette with me. In those days there were approximately 10 tracks to an album; none of these 16 track monsters you get today. That means I had roughly 500 legal tracks on cassette. At the same time I had about 100 7″ and 12″ singles, many of which were repeats of album tracks, adding roughly another 200 tracks.

Alongside my “legal” music I had 40 TDK D90 cassettes (I know this because I was sad enough to number them). These had on average 20 tracks each. That’s 800 “illegal” tracks.

So, age 18, I had roughly 1,500 tracks, of which 53% where “illegal”.

This is remarkably close to the current figures. What’s more interesting to me is that I was properly obsessive about music at that age. But, I had less than the current average total number, and less than the current average “legal” number.

So let’s get this straight. Today’s average music consumer has more legal tracks than an obsessive music collector of 20 years ago.

“…this totally dwarfs that, and anything we expected”

Fergal – bite me.

BBC opens vaults to EMI

This should open some pretty interesting releases.

The agreement between EMI and BBC Worldwide, the Beeb’s commercial arm, means that each party will have access to release, broadcast and monetise recordings by EMI artists from the BBC archive. These include unheard sessions by the Beach Boys, Kylie Minogue and David Bowie. Other highlights of the BBC treasure trove include a stripped-down version of Coldplay’s Shiver, and live radio sessions by Pink Floyd, recorded around the time of their debut album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, when Syd Barrett was still a member of the band.


Radiohead let fans pick their own price for the latest album.

For all these “end of the music industry” type commentators (like Bob Lefsetz: This is the industry’s worst nightmare. Superstar band, THE superstar band, forging ahead by its own wits. Proving that others can too. And they will.)… I have one question… Who exactly made them THE superstar band? And who promoted the first 6 albums?

Many acts have made the self same switch already – unsigned, self released, promoted entirely on the web. Cliff Richard. Simply Red. Marillion. Those in the know say Robbie is only an album or so away as well. This is simply getting out at the top of the market. Milking a huge and increasingly static fanbase is not really revolutionary behaviour. Just because we (the blogosphere) are part of that huge and static fanbase does not mean that Radiohead are different, it just means we are getting old. Sorry about that.

(Links from this BoingBoing article)

TV networks are dead

I have been saying this to anyone who’ll listen to my drunken ranting at web networking events for 2 years now.  I have believed it so much that every time I hear about another success of Sky By Broadband, 4od, BBC iPlayer or any other DRM crippled attempt to secure a dead position I snort derisively and start muttering under my breath.

TV networks are dead.  The business models they maintain are dead.  And the technology they are peddling now is to TV exactly what the Sony rootkit was to CDs.  Dead.  And likely to cause embarrassment.

Luckily Fake Steve Jobs is much more eloquent than I, and has the time to write something he’s actually thought through.

Jane Austen? No ta

The author and the Austen plot that exposed publishers’ pride and prejudice

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I can understand entirely how this would have happened (if, for example, I was skimming this week’s submissions and saw someone sending me Austen, could I be arsed writing a specific rejection?  Probably not).  But…

It does, however, make me think of a current colleague of ours, who has written 4 novels, none of which have been accepted.  Instead of getting a straight rejection, though, she has been asked to send more work (hence the 4 novels and still working with us, rather than 1 novel and an easy life in the South of France).  Seems to me that as the publishing industry undergoes it’s own crisis akin to music and films getting that publishing deal is just going to get harder and harder.

No longer is the powerful debut novel enough; instead they want to see if you’ve got a series in you that they can milk for the next few years.  The literary equivalent of Die Hard 4.0 or the 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th anniversary edition of Dark Side of the Moon.  Oh joy.