Archive for the 'arts' Category

Effective privacy disclosure on photo-sharing sites

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On the heels of some discussion about whether disclosure notices can actually work, I encountered this example of what I view as effective “fine print”: while exploring Kodak Gallery’s new slide.com feature (which allows you to export slideshows from your Kodak Gallery albums to other photo and social networking sites on the Web — Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, etc.), I saw this message:

Remember that any pictures you include in a Slide.com slideshow can be viewed and used by visitors to slide.com and other websites where you publish your slideshow, according to those websites’ terms. Please use care when deciding what pictures you include and where you publish your slideshow.

I think one thing that makes it effective is its use of non-legalese — it reads like another person is gently warning you to proceed ahead with some caution. Good job, Slide.com

Live music festivals — beneficiaries of the web difference in the music world?

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“The record business, or at least that of the major labels, is foundering, as CD sales spiral downward. But South by Southwest thrives on the plain fact that people still love music: making it, hearing it, dancing to it, even marketing it.” -Jon Pareles, NYT

The NY Times featured an article this past week on Austin’s South by Southwest music festival, and it made some interesting observations about today’s music industry that I thought were relevant to our discussion of the web difference in the music world. The author reiterates the point made in class that more and more musicians will turn to concert sales to make their living (as opposed to record sales). He ultimately characterizes the festival as “as close as the concert business gets to a level playing field.” He adds, “Big names and small play the same beery clubs, through the same sound systems, without their accustomed arena video setups or undistracted audiences.”

So in the growing popularity of these live music festivals, we see another example of the Web breaking down barriers to entry in the music business, a development which we in turn expect to improve information flow, increase choice, and drive competition.

I don’t know much about the festival, but Wikipedia says it is the largest revenue-producing event for the city of Austin – bigger than things like UT football games and even the more storied Austin City Limits music festival! (For more, see this article.) So it seems clear that the internet – by bringing about phenomena like the decreasing importance of major record labels, the popularization of off-label music on the Web, and increasing fan demand for live concerts – is also having a significant impact on local, non-Web entities like local governments/ economies. I think all this is interesting because music is one area where the Web has enabled a distinct online culture (MySpace, Bradsucks) to develop, but everything we’re seeing now suggests that the benefits from this online community are being transferred to (or at least shared with) the non-Internet world.

Brad of Bradsucks seemed to be focused more on the opportunities to make (and distribute) a new kind of music that have been made possible by the Web. He said he was less into the live performance opportunities, and is happiest when he’s at his computer, mixing and recording songs. But for many other musicians, the internet is changing the landscape of the live music industry and, in so doing, creating all kinds of opportunities to do what they love most – perform in front of a music-loving audience. All in all, it seems like the web difference in the music world has benefited all musicians. I wonder if this is truly a Pareto improvement vis-à-vis the artists themselves – or if there are some musicians out there who were happier before all these changes?

Is the Web killing reading?

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Howard Gardner (the famous Harvard psychology prof) says no in a op-ed in the Washington Post.

In Defense of Classical Music

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David Byrne’s article that we read for class Tuesday had an offhand remark that was rather negative towards classical music that I feel I need to address. He stated, “to build temples where only “our kind of people” can hear music (opera houses and symphony halls).” Nothing could be further from the truth. I worked for the (now defunct) Florida Philharmonic and saw firsthand the amount of time and money they dedicated to community outreach and introducing classical music to new people. For an example of just how much outreach orchestras do, check out the Cleveland Orchestra’s Education and Outreach page. Even if you don’t enjoy classical music, you have to admit that professional orchestras make more concerted efforts to get new people to listen to their genre than some guy with a guitar and a MySpace page.

For those of you who are interested in seeing how the web is changing the avant-garde classical music scene, check out HunterEwen.com. Hunter is a very talented composer who I met in college. His “Interactive Series” involves compositions that were created using user-generated web input in the form of an online marketplace, a flash introduction, and online registration forms.