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Why the Music Industry Is Really Doomed December 30, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Can this really be true? A bit of Christmas pablum is the top-selling album of 2007? (Yes, the Card family owns a copy.)

    While (Josh) Groban’s “Noel” has crossed 3.5 million in sales to become the top-selling disc of the year, overall music sales during the Christmas shopping season were down an astounding 21% from last year. From the week of Thanksgiving up through the day before Christmas Eve, 83.9 million albums were sold, a decrease of 21.38 million from 2006’s 105.28 million.

Maybe our grim forecast is too positive, after all.

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Save Netscape! December 30, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Excellent idea from Henry Blodget — can you believe I’m typing that? — on what to do with the Netscape brand. Sell it to Mozilla. Even if Mozilla’s marketing VP disagrees. But then, he works for a non-profit, what does he know?

Happy Shopping! December 24, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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That’s the new, non-denominational, all-purpose, holiday greeting of choice around here.

Not Quite Ready for 2008 Predictions December 24, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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So, as usual, even though we’re not supposed to do this, I say, What the hell, I’m a music analyst. In case you need any last-minute stocking-stuffers:

Top Ten Albums of 2007 (no particular order)

West – Lucinda Williams
Icky Thump – The White Stripes
Because of the Times – Kings of Leon
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank – Modest Mouse
What’s the Time Mr. Wolf? – Noisettes
Alright, Still – Lily Allen
Life in Cartoon Motion – Mika
Kala – M.I.A.
White Chalk – PJ Harvey
Black and White Album – The Hives

What, am I turning into an indie kid in my old age?

Would You Believe, Journalism Is King? December 21, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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ESPN remains the very definition of a modern multi-media company. Good, if perhaps slightly too trusting, profile in the Journal on how ESPN is bulking up on exclusive journalism content by poaching good writers and by tightly integrating Big Story coverage across channels, rather than reality shows and original drama. Imagine that.

UPDATED: Slate’s Jack Shafer points out that ESPN has been poaching writers for years.

Not Just for Eclectic Geezers December 17, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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eMusic, the first to do a legit digital music service with unprotected MP3s, is advertising in this week’s New Yorker. The iPod in the perforated offer insert lists:

Bjork
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Dane Cook
Miles Davis
Paul McCartney
Ray Charles
Spoon
Talib Kweli
Underworld

Rockin’.

See? You too can have indie cred and off-label recordings by the big guys, and not sound like you’re only for geezers.

Who Says Middle America Hasn’t Joined the 21st Century? December 16, 2007

Posted by David Card in Digital Home & Personal Tech.
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You can buy e-book readers from kiosks in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. And iPods, too, even with all that Sony branding.

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Online Campaign Dollars Mis-Spent? December 14, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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If this is true, it is stoopid misguided. From a Wall Street Journal interview with Evan Tracey, founder and chief operating officer of Campaign Media Analysis, part of TNS Media Intelligence:

WSJ: What role is new media playing ad-wise this election cycle?

    Mr. Tracey: You will see record spending on Internet advertising in this cycle, but it will still amount to little more than a rounding error when put next to the money spent on television. Right now, the campaigns are using the free part of the Internet — things like email, blogs, and YouTube and MySpace — to fund-raise and take advantage of grass-roots organizing, but not doing much from a paid standpoint.

WSJ: Why aren’t politicians devoting more funds to the Web?

    Mr. Tracey: There was the case with Mitt Romney going through one of these ad wholesalers like Advertising.com, and spots ended up on Gay.com and sites like that. There have been other cases where the campaigns have had similar problems. So there is a trust factor, No. 1. But No. 2, an Internet ad is not a TV ad. It is not going to be something that you can put an unfiltered 30-second message, or an attack ad when you need to do those because with an Internet ad at this point, somebody has to want to see it.

If I were doing a political campaign I wouldn’t use online ads to deliver the message — the way TV is used — but to attract the listener to my site or blog or community where the real communicating happens. You can make people “want to see it” that way. And how much can you trust a message that doesn’t want to be seen to take hold anyway? Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t spend more online than off, but if this is an accurate picture of how online is spent, it sounds like it is mis-spent.

I’d love to hear stories from people who are closer to the front line than TNS mgmt.

It’s 10AM, Do You Know Where Your Children Are? December 13, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I’m practically wiping tears from my eyes at this one. The Times says advocacy group The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is complaining that Webkinz now has ads on its site. Webkinz, a hugely popular kids site, has as its primary business model selling the plush toys that go along with the virtual pets online. The whole experience is an ad. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Who Reads the Wall Street Journal Online? December 13, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The most-viewed story right now is the Led Zeppelin reunion concert rave review by the Journal’s pop music critic.