Lessig and Tweedy

June 1st, 2005

A couple of months ago Lawrence Lessig (author of Free Culture) and Jeff Tweedy (from Wilco) had a discussion about P2P, file sharing and copyright at the New York Public Library. The audio and video has been posted, and if you’re at all interested in this topic it’s really worth checking out. Lessig gives his famous powerpoint presentation (which is the best I’ve ever seen about any topic – I love that man) and Tweedy talks about his feelings on the whole file sharing thing from an artist’s perspective.

My favorite piece of this discussion is Tweedy’s description of how they used the internet for the whole Yankee Hotel Foxtrot situation. Reprise dropped Wilco because they didn’t like the new record. Tweedy figured that they’ve only ever made money by touring, and without a new record, there’s no tour. Since they didn’t have a record company telling them what to do, they released it FOR FREE on the internet and toured. Tens of thousands of downloads later, they were picked up by Nonesuch records who released YHT as an actual CD. It then became their biggest selling album ever, despite the fact that there had already been plenty of people who downloaded it for nothing. An interesting counter-example for the argument that file sharing can only hurt artists.

This is an important topic whether you are an artist or a pirate. Listen, watch, read the book (which is available free under a Creative Commons license).

More Fun with MP3Tunes

May 31st, 2005

Let me know when this gets boring, but Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow is now #5 in the list of top albums and Jonathan Coulton is now #1 (!) in the list of top artists. No special quirky filtering necessary. Dear Brobdingnagian Bards: eat it, sincerely, me.

I thank all of you who have been kind enough to buy my music from one of the only sites that lets you do whatever you want with the music you buy. As they say, w00t.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

May 26th, 2005

Airplay people! Airplay! Ikea has been getting a workout on a few specialty/mix shows at various radio stations around this great nation of ours, and is actually showing up on the fmqb submodern chart, tied for #10 with Dropkick Murphys and The Aquabats. What does this mean? Who knows!

Stormtroopers, Booth Babes

May 19th, 2005

Here are some photos of us looking cool at E3.

I interview a storm trooper, he threatens me with a blaster
Hodgman poses with booth babes who hate him and everyone else

Podcasts are up

May 18th, 2005

The PopSci kids tell me they had a little trouble with the posting of our first show, but it eventually made it up there on Wednesday. Just finished the second one, and if all goes well it should be up tomorrow. Podcasting is time consuming, especially when you try to make it sound like radio. I think we’re doing good stuff though, and I got my picture taken with a storm trooper today, so I can’t complain. Do you know how loud it is on the floor at E3? It’s very loud. For an old man like me, it’s a little troubling. I think that the people who run this conference may want to consider making a rule that if you have a booth, you can’t turn your TV up too loud. I bet the Scrabble convention is nice and quiet.