Posts by Andrew Dubber

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Dubious achievements,

    Might be worth noting that "minor hit" of theirs secured them the support slot for Dire Straits at Western Springs. At the time, the biggest gig any NZ band had ever played at home. Few have topped it since.

    Also - go through every compilation of kiwi hits that's ever been released, and for some reason, that song is always in there — usually either the last track or the second-to-last track. As earners go, it appears to be a bit of a perennial. :)

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Review: Lana Del Rey, 'Born…,

    What you all appear to have missed - but was revealed at Midem last week - is that Lana del Rey is 100% CGI.

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Floating the idea,

    Having just been in Auckland for a spot of summer, where I enjoyed a lovely swim at Pt Chev as well as a few free swims with my nephews in the pool at Lloyd Elsmore, I returned to Birmingham - one of your cold climate, non-beachy parts of the world.

    Yesterday, I went down to my local council-run Leisure Centre (that's what they're called here), which has in the last year been made free. The Leisure Centre has a very good family pool, which is now entirely free at all times to card-holding council tax payers - and in off-peak hours, the gym facilities are also completely free. Likewise swimming lessons, aerobics classes, pilates, spin classes and so on.

    When they introduced this scheme, we were all pretty astonished. This is neither typical of councils in the UK, nor of Birmingham City Council in particular. In fact, it's fair to say that this is not simply the magnanimous gesture of a well-funded, benevolent and enlightened City Council. They simply did the maths on the cost of ongoing healthcare in the community, and weighed that up against the overall advantages of having a less sedentary populace - and then took the plunge, as it were.

    And while, as you might expect, it turns out that when you do make things free, people use the facilities more, that's not necessarily a burden on resources. In fact, the staff who have to be there during opening hours actually now have something to do - include teach water safety and basic swimming lessons to a bunch of people who live nowhere near the sea, but may one day visit somewhere with a nice coast.

    And the mix of elderly patrons and young families from my local area (along with the odd person like me who has the privilege of managing their own diary) - all splashing about in the water - felt about as close to the idea of a community as you're likely to get around these parts. And that seems like a good and proper thing for councils to be interested in.

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Copyright Must Change,

    The non-commercial use one is quite a thorny one. Case in point - I've been approached by the marketing department of the university I work for. They have announced that they would like to republish the work of their blogging academics on a site specifically designed to recruit students.

    The blogging that I do - like that of my colleagues - is personal, on my own time, and although on a related topic to my area as an academic, not part of my salaried work.

    Grey area, I suppose...

    New Music Strategies is under an Attribution, Non-Commercial licence. As the author I can, of course, grant permission - but the question is whether the use of the work as a marketing tool to bring revenue and students (considered 'clients' these days) to the institution classifies as commercial use under the rules.

    Saw Lessig speak in London once. Really engaging presentation style.

    On a related note, I was on a panel at a music industry conference here in the UK yesterday. The topic was Copyright and IP.

    I mentioned that I was in favour of copyright reform, and explained that the problem stems largely from the fact that the rules we have do not work in the current media environment. Unfortunately, what the delegates heard was "I think that you should not be allowed to make money, and furthermore, I wish to boil your children and dismember your pets."

    Several of the delegates (typically, those from record companies) indicated that they had never even encountered the idea of copyright reform, and certainly had never heard anything quite so preposterous in all their lives.

    Meanwhile, in Belfast, at another music industry event I'd had to decline to attend, Feargal Sharkey (who is now heading a massive UK pan-music-industry über lobbying organisation) announced that he is strongly in favour of copyright extension to 95+ years.

    And he's going to get it - despite the Gower Report.

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Radio Times,

    Credit where credit's due - they're quite good at the internet these days, aren't they?

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Brimful on the 45,

    Happy birthday.

    That email from me in your inbox is work. You can ignore that until after all of your own festivities have subsided.

    A gathering of New Zealand radio academics raised their glasses and said nice things about you in Lincoln last week. Let's pretend that was related to your birthday in some way.

    Have a great week.

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: Poke Me, Bite Me, Add Me,

    I resisted Facebook for three years. Finally it reached the point where people whose opinion I respect were inviting me daily, so I succumbed. It has one major drawback for me, and one distinct advantage.

    The Drawback:
    It turns out that everyone I know is an idiot. Like 8 year-olds hyped up on sugar and food colouring on Halloween night, they're all manically running around dressed up as zombies and vampires, playing a pointless game of bitey tag. I refuse to be 'it' and I want them to be grownups again please.

    The Advantage:
    I can now find my students. Not in class? Oh -- Debbie is recovering from a massive binge drinking session and is accidentally in Nottingham. I see.

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Googlin' on Hobson Street,

    But Limmy rules them all. Start with the worrying 'Requiem' video and then go to the Xylophone plaything.

    Most worryingly of all, he seems to have gone legit.

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • The Androidss: 'Auckland Tonight',

    Umm... that's not Arthur Baysting is it?! :)

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: You've gotta hand it to Steve,

    I have to say, I'm a bit of a confirmed mp3 user. I agree that AAC is a touch better-sounding and OGG is a more free-range organic audio file. Perhaps when my shift to Mac is complete, I'll start using AAC files, but everything I own to date can remain as it is.

    To date, interoperability and consistency have won the day.

    That said, the music I buy online is made of vinyl. eBay has been an absolute godsend. Bit by bit, I'm picking up the CTI/Kudu back catalogue in £2-£5 increments.

    I no longer have a place for CDs in my life. But digital files are about convenience more than they are about quality. Out-and-aboutness. When I've got my headphones in and I'm on the bus, I'm no audiophile.

    I don't necessarily agree with Simon that albums are a thing of the past -- artists still want to release a unified collection of related works -- but it largely comes down to the way they are presented and sold. I am far more likely to pick up a whole album on eMusic than I am in the iTunes Music Store.

    Now that the iTunes playback software prioritises the album ('coverflow') and the iTMS encourages album purchasing ('complete my album') I suspect there'll be something of a swing back around.

    The compilation album, on the other hand...

    Birmingham, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

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