Posts filed under ‘Entertainment Technology’
As Roger Clemens showed everyone on 60 Minutes, steroids are a major issue in sports, and people will probably be fighting over acquisitions and testing for at least the next decade. In a brilliant move, Southwest Airlines decided to capitalize on the hot news topic, putting out a series of great commercials about “productivity enhancers”. Maybe this poor business man can have a sit-down interview with Mike Wallace next to declare his innocence.
Whether good or bad, YouTube allows virtually anyone to become a star overnight. Point and case: Tay Zonday’s ever so popular “Chocolate Rain” has garnered 10.5 million views to date and references on Carson Daly’s Last Call and The Daily Show not to mention a live performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
With the ease of communication and technological advances however, comes a whole new set of legal issues including the ever so controversial IP infringement. And at the moment it is a blurry line that publishers, the music industry and law makers are navigating to find appropriate ways to enforce current IP laws. I attended a recent conference hosted by Boston University’s School of Law and College of Communication where one of the principle speakers, Gigi Sohn, co-founder of Public Knowledge and an internationally known communications attorney, posed several changes to the current copyright law. She noted, “copyright law has become out of touch with our technological reality to the detriment of creators and the public.”
One of the examples of this disconnect that Gigi provided was the current debate of Google’s Book Search program, which allows anybody to search for passages in books that are part of Google’s system. Book publishers argue that by making a digital copy of the book Google is violating their copyrights. On the flip side, if a library is paying for the book in the first place and users aren’t able to see the entire book, then it shouldn’t be a violation. If the court sides with the authors, I agree that this would hinder future technological advancements, as Gigi rightly projects; “imagine if Google, Yahoo, Ask and MSN had to get prior permission from every single webpage owner whose works they link to!”
Lawmakers aren’t faced with an easy task. Laws need to be written that better suit today’s current digital world while still protecting the content creator. From NBC Universal alone, YouTube receives about 1,000 takedown notices a month! Recently, several of the larger media companies including Viacom, Walt Disney and Microsoft agreed to use technology to eliminate copyright-infringing content—however I question the effectiveness of the technology. One court outcome that inevitably will affect the industry is Viacom’s $1 billion suite against YouTube. If content creators aren’t rightfully compensated for their work, the quality and amount of creativity is likely to decrease. In the end, it is the consumer’s dollars that are going to have the largest impact. iTunes massive digital sales have already shown the consumer’s distaste for a $17 CD.
Last week the British rock band, Radiohead announced that they would let fans determine the price of their seventh studio album, “In Rainbows,” which was released yesterday. What’s even more interesting is that the band went completely against the grain and chose not to sell the album to iTunes, in order to sell the album in its entirety rather than song by song.
This unusual yet bold move seems to challenge the typical music industry business model and it’s already catching on. Oasis and Jamiraquai are said to be considering whether to offer their music online for free, according to The Telegraph. Monday, Trent Reznor front man for Nine Inch Nails announced the band’s emancipation from Interscope Records – this after last month’s Sydney concert where Reznor advised fans on how to “steal” music to protest the high CD prices.
So what does this mean for the music industry? It has yet to be seen, however, this trend is not going away any time soon. Some say that the days of big record labels are numbered, others say that without big label’s help musicians will go back to singing for their supper. We’ll see.
Is this a music revolution? “It’s up to you.
Virgin America recently launched with limited routes and it’s the first airline to “get” the digital lifestyle. I flew on Virgin America for the first time last week and was blown away by Red, its in-flight entertainment system. It makes every other airline’s entertainment offerings look downright archaic.
Computers are embedded in the back of each seat and networked to servers in the cargo hold of the plane. Each passenger gets a 9-inch touchscreen LCD and miniature keyboard/remote combo, both of which can be used to watch TV and movies, listen to music, chat with other passengers, play video games and even order a snack from the flight attendants. Each seat is equipped with a USB port to charge mobile devices and a 110V adapter to charge laptops. An Ethernet port is also available, but it’s not of much use until Virgin flips the switch on its in-air Internet service.
There are more features in Red than any single passenger will probably use on a single flight, but there’s something for everyone. I enjoyed browsing through Virgin’s music, creating a custom playlist and dozing off to some relaxing tunes. When I woke up I used Red to order a snack and some hot tea. I drained my laptop’s battery before boarding my return flight from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, but was able to plug in and finish up a document before I landed.
The system isn’t perfect by any means. Several of the television channels weren’t working and it’s disappointing that in-air Internet access was down. There are 3,000 songs in the library, but this is actually quite limited compared to what many of us are used to on iTunes and other music services.
Other airlines are going to have to play some serious catch up. It’s going to be really tough to fly cross country on another airline that offers up ‘Wild Hogs’ as its only entertainment option.
Now, about adding that in-flight manicure?