Articles

  • Business Time! Last.fm and its sale to CBS.

    7 juin 2007, 19h54m

    CBS understands the Last.fm vision, the importance we place on putting the listener in charge, the vibrant and vocal community, the obsession with music stats, and our determination to offer every song ever recorded.

    OK, last.fm is sold. And it happened despite the fact that no one asked us, the listeners, our opinion-even though we are supposed to be in charge. i am more than a little annoyed by the reduction of the listeners into "music stats obsessed" nerds and the occlusion of what is really being sold here.

    Then how should we respond to this sale? My initial response is a loss of desire to scrobble. I just don't want to scrobble anymore the music that I listen to. I don't want to do so, because I don't want my listening habits to be recorded and aggregated and used as an input to a marketing oriented statistical data-base pertaining to the listener preferences of last.fm listeners by the multi-national capitalist corporation. I don't want my listening activity and the social links that I have established over the year and a half that I have been scrobbling on last.fm to be appropriated, captured, and used for generating surpluses for multi-national capitalism. This journal entry is an attempt at establishing some frames of interpretation in understanding the economics and the politics of this sale.

    1. let us begin by establishing what is being sold. sure, the folks at last.fm headquarters have developed a series of nifty softwares and refined the website significantly (in part with the help of the scrobbles themselves) over the period it has functioned. but cbs would have never purchased last.fm if it was not for the music community that has been scrobbling and creating a public sphere within which they can engage in a system of sharing, learning, disseminating, commenting, and experimenting. in other words, the software is one thing, the network and the sociality that have developed and accumulated over the last two years is another thing.

    2. In the "Privacy" document-which can accessed from the link at the bottom of the page-the following ominous paragraph can be found:
    We reserve the right to sell or license pseudonymous listening data for commercial use, however we will never sell your personal data that can be traced back to a specific user. We may, for example, license our weekly charts for commercial use. This would not compromise any personal information.
    Thank you, last.fm. They are, of course, not selling our personal information. But that's never been the point anyways. Because they are interested in selling the charts and the aggregated preference maps of the listening community. This is a very important piece of information for the contemporary marketing technologies that rely more and more on niche-marketing where the commodities are sold by linking them metonymically ("if you liked this, you will also like this") with each other. In this sense, what is being sold is the promise of a continual flow of knowledge pertaining to the listening habits of the listening community.

    3. in other words, the $280 million is essentially a money paid to last.fm software developers because they were successful in harvesting the listening practices of the music community and in constructing an aggregated preference mapping of this public to be sold to interested parties. in other words, the $280 is a GIFT from last.fm community to the last.fm headquarters. yet, it is a gift that the community was not aware of. in a sense, it is a gift that the last.fm stole from the scrobblers. such forms of gifting are usually named differently: exploitation.

    4. of course, other paths could have been taken. last.fm could have used this excellent software to poll the scrobblers and created an awesome participative mechanism. then we could have decided together, democratically, whether this was the best way forward and whether it was worth selling out. consider, for instance, the case of national public radio (npr) in the states. they are not publicly funded (or underfunded) and need money for development, so what do they do? they ask donations from their listeners and get sponsorships. they do not sell the company. you could have initiated a subscription/support campaign to tap into 15 million scrobblers out there. you may have been surprised by the amount that you would generate: if each scrobbler would give $20, you would have raised $300 million and continue to be independent. Note that, not everyone has to give that much. I, for one, would and can easily give $50 per annum sustainer fee if I was sure that last.fm was an independently run system.

    5. this is obviously larger than last.fm and CBS and it is yet another moment in which capitalism captures/territorializes non-capitalism. it is yet another instance in which something that emerged on the internet as an independent enterprise-assuming that this was the case—being captured by a multi-national corporation. of course, i could be wrong in assuming that last.fm was an independently run, self-governed cooperative. maybe it was always already a small capitalist firm run by a few owners who also happened to be developers with a number of salaried developers who don't have much to say or control but are happy with their little capitalist enterprise. if this was the case, then the transition is from small capitalism to big capitalism and not from non-capitalism to capitalism.

    6. so what is to be done? well, again, i've lost my appetite. if i will remain on last.fm, it will be simply because I value the social links that I have already established on last.fm too much to lose them. but i definitely will not renew my subscription. and the moment a new and independently run platform emerges, i will migrate there (hopefully with my friends). of course, these are individual solutions. what we really need to do is to create and build sustainable platforms where the listeners and developers are in charge together!

    Stefan GlänzerBuck 65Blood Of A Young Wolfrichest man in babylonThe Richest Man in BabylonNPRCBS
  • lcd soundsystem. all my friends. video.

    15 mai 2007, 20h14m

  • teoman madra. kaffe matthews. video.

    11 mai 2007, 19h01m

  • new order. turn. video.

    9 mars 2007, 6h22m

  • Spend, Spend, Spend

    23 jan. 2007, 12h08m

    by The Slits

    I am trapped in a flood, but it isn't raining
    I have a tendency to get bored too quickly
    Recently my dull life seems to have no meaning
    I am stuck with someone we're not communicating

    I want to buy
    (Have you been affected?)
    I need consoling
    (You could be addicted)
    I need something new
    Something trivial would do
    I want to satisfy this empty feeling

    Walking down the street looking in the windows
    The TV, the lights flickering in other peoples windows
    Imagine myself moving in the kitchens
    Somehow I don't know, it just looks so tempting

    I want to buy
    (Have you been affected?)
    I need consoling
    (You could be addicted)
    I need something new
    Something trivial would do
    I want to satisfy this empty feeling

    I've got a new, improved remedy
    Two of my lonely fantasies ?????

    When I supply myself with something new...

    Going home, into bed when I've treated myself
    I've been quite hard, after a hard day's work
    I have found a hundred ways to get rid of all my worries
    He's not pillaging, stopping me, committing the crime ??

    I want to buy
    (Have you been affected?)
    I need consoling
    (You could be addicted)
    I need something new
    Something trivial would do
    I want to satisfy this empty feeling

    I've got a new improved remedy
    Two of my lonely fantasies


    performed by: The Slits
    written by: Viviane Albertine, Tessa Politt, Arianne Forster, Paloma Romero
    appears on: Cut
    source: by ear, with help from Animal Space


    performed by: The Slits
    written by: Viviane Albertine, Tessa Politt, Arianne Forster, Paloma Romero
    appears on: Cut
    source: by ear, with help from Animal Space

    http://sv.dreamomens.com/lyrics/slits/spend.html
    The Slits
  • Saddam’s death by Bejan Matur

    13 jan. 2007, 17h26m

    While being taken to his death, was there a slight hesitation in Saddam’s steps, a small stagger or fear in his eyes? I did not see any. Advancing towards the gallows, he resembled a soldier from a defeated army making inspection.

    With an astounding calm, he wanted the black band prepared for closing his eyes to be wrapped around, and with the same calm he allowed the oily rope to be placed around his neck. Saddam’s way of meeting his own death can be seen as heroic to some. As a matter of fact, his family called the toppled leader’s attitude at the moment of execution “brave and heroic.” There are probably those who share this view among his former and new supporters. He did not appear that way to me. The attitude reflected on the screen resembled that of a man who did not believe in death and who was not familiar with what death meant for man. We cannot know; perhaps the psychology of the attitude that appeared to some as heroism and bravery was what is called the numbing of emotions.

    Even if it was like that, it would not be incorrect to say that Saddam Hussein’s feelings had become numb long before he was caught, tried and led to his death. For the execution scene we saw was the final curtain of the spiritual state that made Saddam a dictator. We all saw in this last act that this spirit, which did not believe in man, life or even death, had other priorities.

    Pride and the desire to dominate in every situation were his priorities. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Saddam Hussein saw himself as a semi-god above everything and that at least he imagined himself to be a Nebuchadnezzar. Signs of man like fear, doubt, regret, and the shadow of pain never crossed Saddam’s face even at the moment of death. Actually, the relation he established with death explains his actions during the period he was in power.

    His calm attitude in the face of death

    If a Saddam portrait is going to be made, I think that before any thing else it should be made from this lack of emotion in the face of death. Poisoning thousands of people at Halabca without blinking an eye is a result of this same numbness and determination. Not limiting settling accounts with his eternal enemy, the Iranians, to the ethnic cleansing he made against Shiite Arabs in his own country, his beginning a war with his neighbor Iran that would last for years and one of his last statements before his death being “Don’t trust an Iranian coalition” show the limits of his ambition and anger. Saddam probably took as his historical mission an Arab-Iranian or Sunni-Shiite conflict. Just as he saw himself as a Salahaddin fighting against the Crusaders when he opposed the West after his relations with his former supporter America broke down. We know that his notorious oppression and mercilessness shown to the Shiites and Kurds was too rough and devastating to be explained by sectarian fidelity. Saddam was not only extremely merciless to Shiites, but to Sunni Kurds as well. Who knows, perhaps this cruelty was nurtured in his mind by pre-Islamic archaic figures and archaic rage, for he lived in Babel, the heaven of the ancient world. Was it without reason that he called one unit of his army “Nebuchadnezzar” and another “Hammurabi”? Various things have been said about Saddam’s religious beliefs. However, we know by his pronouncing the Islamic testament just before he died that he had faith, but we do not know how religious he was. The half-finished second testament made his death even more tragic.

    Of course, while images of the execution scene which caused me to have these thoughts were not yet available, just as everyone else opposed to capital punishment, I thought I would not be able to bear watching the moment of death. The only reason I thought like that was not the moral mistake of ending a life. Even if the one to die is a dictator and oppressor, I still think that no one should have the right to end another’s life, especially with others watching it.

    In order not to be unfair to Saddam…

    However, I was hopeful on behalf of Iraq that if, on the one hand, the execution should take place, Saddam’s death would have just an opposite effect. In a period when the whole world was full of hatred for things in Iraq, the smallest human reflex Saddam could give at the moment of death might create an effect of mercy and conscience on everyone who liked him and did not like him. And these reactions might make a positive contribution to the determination of the future of Iraq, which is on the border of inexplicable madness. But that did not happen. Just like the execution decision, execution scenes hurriedly appeared on our TV screens. While looking out of the corner of my eye wondering whether or not to turn off the television, I discovered in a strange way that it could be watched. So that it can be understood correctly, I am saying these without ever forgetting that Saddam was a soldier. In which of their faces does death not appear as a shadow that upsets and jolts those who are watching? That human shadow is felt even in photographs documenting the moment of death. Hesitation -- that is the essential hesitation. Forget about politicians and social leaders, a common murderer cannot even bear the moment of death. But there was something different in Saddam’s death. What made Saddam’s death viewable was his disbelief in death.

    Maybe he did not have the meaning of death that we have. The secret of the many murders he committed is hidden in the relation he established with death. If he had believed a little in death, perhaps the number of his murders would have been smaller. While the photograph of his greatest massacre at Halabca is still fresh in our minds, the last picture Saddam gave becomes even more meaningful. Strangely enough, there is a similarity between the two photographs. I am talking about the picture of Saddam after he was taken down from the gallows and, with bruised blood spots on his neck and cheek, he was wrapped up in a white cloth and laid face-down. In this last photograph there was a human being, not an emotionally frozen dictator. Maybe it was because the consciousness and pride that had made him an oppressor had dispersed and the innocence of sleep overcame his existence. I do not know, but maybe what made me think of all this is the resemblance between the face-down sleeping state of Saddam wrapped in a white cloth and the state of the dying man trying to protect his baby at Halabca. Unfortunately, Saddam had to die in order to reflect a human appearance. That photograph where he seems to be sleeping, wrapped in a white cloth with a spot of blood on his mouth is going to remain in my mind. I hope he is met like that where he goes, too.



    01.06.2007
  • van helsing boombox

    12 jan. 2007, 4h31m

    by Man Man

    only time will tell if I'll allow
    the scenery around to eat me alive

    I want to sleep for weeks like a dog at her feet
    even though I know it won't work out in the long run
    so I burn down the wall, breathe my good shadow
    those arms I once knew, hold me like gold
    I learn how to speak a forgotten language
    I fall in the sea but forget how to swim

    When anything that's anything becomes nothing that's everything
    and nothing is the only thing you ever seem to have

    but only time will tell if I'll allow
    the scenery around to eat me alive

    I want to sleep for weeks like a dog at her feet
    even though I know it won't work out in the long run
    so I burn down the bone, breathe my good shadow
    those arms I once knew, hold me like gold
    I learn how to speak a defeated language
    I fall in the street as I howl at the moon

    When anything that's anything becomes nothing that's everything
    and nothing is the only thing you ever seem to have
  • dj plummer | love me with my wrongs

    17 déc. 2006, 4h42m

  • ...this is not a love song...

    10 déc. 2006, 3h36m

    This Is Not A Love Song (1983)

    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song

    I'm crossing over

    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song (repeat)

    This is not a love song
    Happy to have
    Not to have not
    Big business is very wise
    I'm crossing over into enterprise

    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    Oh no

    I'm adaptable
    Now I like my new role
    I'm getting better and better
    I have a new goal
    I'm changing my ways
    Where money applies
    This is not a love song

    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song

    I'm going over to the other side
    I'm happy to have
    Not to have not
    Big business is very wise
    I'm inside free enterprise

    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song

    Not television
    Behind the curtain
    Out of the cupboard
    You take the first train
    Into the big world
    Are you ready
    To grab the candle
    That tunnel vision
    Not television
    Behind the curtain
    Out of the cupboard

    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song
    This is not a love song (repeat)

    Happiness and sunshine
    This is not a love song
    No no
    No no
    No no

    Public Image Ltd.
  • In Every Dream Home a Heartache

    18 nov. 2006, 7h04m

    (Bryan Ferry)

    In every dream home a heartache
    And every step I take
    Takes me further from heaven
    Is there a heaven?
    I`d like to think so
    Standards of living
    They are rising daily
    But home oh sweet home
    It only a saying
    From bell push to faucet
    In smart town apartment
    The cottage is pretty
    The main house a palace
    Penthouse perfection
    But what goes on
    What to do there
    Better pray there

    Open plan living
    Bungalow ranch style
    All of its comforts
    Seem so essential
    I bought you mail order
    My plain wrapper baby
    Your skin is like vinyl
    The perfect companion
    You float in my new pool
    Deluxe and delightful
    Inflatable doll
    My role is to serve you
    Disposable darling
    Can't throw you away now
    Immortal and life size
    My breath is inside you
    I'll dress you up daily
    And keep you till death sighs
    Inflatable doll
    Lover ungrateful
    I blew up your body
    But you blew my mind

    Oh Those Heartaches
    Dream home Heartaches

    Roxy Music