When we talk about “convergence” here at Loper HQ, what we aren’t talking about is getting our internet, cable and phone from the same evil multinational corporation.
Instead, we mean devices that combine several formerly disparate functions into a single, easy-to-use interface. Like, of course, the iPhone, which Tim Gaskill declared this weekend to be the greatest thing ever made.
While the iPhone is most certainly a major step in portable convergence, there hasn’t yet been a device in the home video space that allows me to watch a combination of internet video and recorded TV with a single, easy-to-use interface.
You know, the One Box.
One Box to rule them all
One Box to find them
One Box to bring them all
And in the darkness bind them
You’d think that it would be so easy: as a wink and a nod at the audience for whom he’s performing, Prince does a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” at Coachella, a bunch of cell-phone videos gets put up on YouTube, and everybody marvels — for the eighty zillionth time — at what a versatile mother-fracker Prince is.
And, oh yeah, what a great song “Creep” remains. Sure, it would have been cooler had Prince covered “Karma Police” or “Everything In Its Right Place,” (especially if Prince had changed the opening line to “Yesterday I woke up, you were sucking my lemon”), but, all things considered, “Creep” was good enough, and the whole thing just becomes part of the legend of both artists.
You’d think. But, as it turns out, things are a bit more complicated. Which since it’s Prince and Radiohead, makes a lot of sense, since inherent in the greatness of each artist is more than a touch of madness.
Kassia is fond of saying that around ‘Loper HQ, April Fools isn’t a day, it’s a season. However, this year, real life has gotten in the way, so in honor of that, I’ve decided to point out a few actual real things that are far more absurd than most of the jokes you’ll see today.
Let’s begin, shall we.
- Continuing Record Company Cluelessness About the 21st Century
Last week, there was an article in Entertainment Weekly about the rush-release of the new Gnarls Barkley album. Apparently, the fact that it leaked online a few weeks early caught Atlantic records by surprise.
I don’t have the juice to go in-depth about anything this week, so I thought that I’d take a few swipes at some things:
Download Service Explosion — With Nokia’s recent announcement announcement of their download service on the heels of CD Baby and Wal-Mart’s services, it looks like we are in another round of download service offerings. Add these to the DRM-free service that Universal announced last month, and the long-rumoured Amazon download stores, and consumers will have every type of choice.
Throughout the year, we are going to be subjected to various and sundry “YouTube killers”. One such animal is (was?) Bud.tv. Launched with the full faith and credit of the mighty Budweiser empire behind it, the site promised to be an edgy, Bud-oriented alternative to existing online video services.
Since then, numbers have declined from the reported 250,000+ viewers per month to approximately 150,000 viewers. These are not bad numbers, you might think, especially for a new venture. Today’s audience is fragmented enough that these numbers should not the be reason for the Bud.tv to commit the virtual version of hari kari (see: the short-lived Pirate TV or whatever it was called).