Monday, August 01, 2005

What have you been listening to, watching and reading?

Against the grain
If only more content owners had this kind of marketing sense. Instead of fighting online consumers to make it as difficult and expensive to obtain their product as they can, there's a better way. A couple of stories this weekend point to the success of strategies that get music and books to consumers and let the desire for more take over. First, Naxos, a classical recording label, is making every one of its recordings available for streaming online for a fee, even to libraries that can pass on the service to its users. Belmont subscribes to this service.
Has the service affected CD sales?

"Our CD sales are certainly holding their own," says Bisha. "In fact, this is a wonderful way of reaching people with our catalogue.

"People may listen to things they really like, then go out and buy a copy to play at home or in the car."
Second, the NYTimes reports on a new study investigating the effect of used-book sales on new book sales:
When used books are substituted for new ones, the seller faces competition from the secondhand market, reducing the price it can set for new books. But there's another effect: the presence of a market for used books makes consumers more willing to buy new books, because they can easily dispose of them later.

Used books, the economists found, are not strong substitutes for new books. . . . Moreover, the presence of lower-priced books on the Amazon Web site, Mr. Bezos has noted, may lead customers to "visit our site more frequently, which in turn leads to higher sales of new books." The data appear to support Mr. Bezos on this point.
It's simple really. The bigger the role your product plays in my life, the more likely I am to spend some of my resources getting more. And as I develop favorites, and follow more closely, the more likely I am willing to spend more to have new current products. That economic reality is one the simple-minded, anti-Napster forces have never really gotten their heads around.

Al Gore TV
Current launches today. Not that I get to see it.

New on Video
Downfall, which Doug recommended at an earlier Media Monday, is out on video this week.

The Aristocrats[UPDATED]
Wow, does this look great or what? Being released unrated, it will probably be a while before it comes to the 'ville here. From the NYTimes review:
"The Aristocrats" is a work of painstaking and penetrating scholarship, and, as such, one of the most original and rigorous pieces of criticism in any medium I have encountered in quite some time. It is also possibly the filthiest, vilest, most extravagantly obscene documentary ever made.
[UPDATE] From Slate:
OK: It's not much of a joke. And yet to hear a real master tell it—and 75 different comedians tell the joke, or portions of it, in The Aristocrats—is like contemplating a Picasso painting of an apple. The inventiveness of the performance obliterates the banality of the material. What's more, the variations are endless, and endlessly anatomized: the difference between the way men and women tell the joke, how it plays into the racial politics of comedy, and so on. . . . Hegel says that when the human spirit achieves perfect self-knowledge, it becomes transparent to itself and transcends the trappings of mere consciousness, and at that point history ends. The Aristocrats is the stand-up version thereof—an absurdist aufhebung. Which is just a fancy way of saying that it shows comedy disappearing, almost literally, up its own ass.
Being sick for several days now has confirmed my worst fears: tv sucks. There isn't even a decent news channel to set it on anymore. And the weekend is worst of all. Saturday afternoon, MSNBC and CNN both had "people in the news" hour-long specials. Who were they profiling? John Roberts? No. How about Eminimem on one channel and Whitney Houston on the other. I've been slightly saved by HBO, which showed Bill Maher's new standup special "I'm Swiss" -- it is hilarious and highly recommended, and the new Six Feet Under episode last night. What a great show. There are only 3 episodes left in the entire series--if you saw last night please no commenting on the story (some won't have seen it yet). It's starting to become clear how things are going to wrap up. I've got a post mulling around in my head about why it's such a great show that I'll get out one of these days.

Weekend Box Office
1. Wedding Crashers
2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
3. Sky High
4. Stealth
5. Must Love Dogs

Anyone seen that penguin movie? Is it for kids? or just g-rated? Also, looks like The Island is going to be a bust.

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