Sunday, March 7, 2010

SXSW and the Quest for Coherence

Next week is South by Southwest, a massive and many-tentacled beast of rock performance, networking, new media shop talk and music industry schmoozing.

In many ways, it's become an incarnation of the new media communiation ushered in by instatnt messaging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social netweorking sites that now promote and recycle it.

A world of meandering topic streams; multi-tasking habits and attention spans; abbreviated speech modes; quick information; pleasing colors, sounds and surfaces.

SXSW embodies many of these traits with its zillions of bands playing a multitude of abbreivited shows at random intervals in a variety of locations. There is never a pause. Rarely coherence. Frequently gratification.

It is energy and exaustion in equal parts.

Gratefully, the conference's likeness to new media has also made it possible for us to make better sense of it. For we now have new media to freeze those fleeting moments, slow the pace of their delivery and share with fans and friends.

Tradiditional and new media play a big role in that sense-making, filtering process. Music magazines aggregate and blog about the bands and shows as they witness them. The New York Times offered a South by Southwest Journal in 2009 frequently visited by The Oort Cloud.

The Oort Cloud regretably will not be in town this year. If the Oort Cloud were, the Oort Cloud would go to the Spider House. The music is free and indie, the atmosphere arty and outdoors.

The Spider House experience cannot be simulated. But the music and mayhem and can be made sense of through the long tail of digital media.

The Oort Cloud will be following some of the play by play in the blogosphere, investigating recommendations, listening for signals.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Who is Louie Sulcer?

Who is Louie Sulcer?

It's a question everyone should be asking.

According to Apple, he's the customer responsible for the 10 billionth download from iTunes, and the winner of a gift card worth $10,000 in iTunes downloads.

The alleged song was Johnny Cash's "Guess Things happen That Way," a tragic-comic ode to good love gone bad.

The Oort Cloud is a big fan of the song, a catchy and kitchy 1950s country-pop shuffle. Here's a sample of the song's endearing understatement:

You ask me if I'll love another
I don't know, can't say
I don't like it, but I guess things happen that way

The Oort Cloud couldn't be happier for the song, which always struck the Oort Cloud as an unherladed classic.

This is great news for Louie, too, and for Apple. Not only is this an inochuous, lovable song, but so it seems is Louie, a 71-year-old grandfather of nine.

Apparently, he had never heard the song until sampling it on iTunes. According to Rolling Stone, Louie downloaded the winning song because "it had some really good pickin’ in it."

That's a good enough reason.

But imagine what Louie, or one of his nine grandchildren, or anyone else, could have downloaded for equally good reasons at that very same moment.

"I Kissed a Girl"

"Tip Drill"

"Cop Killer"

"Too Drunk to F***"

It sure worked out well for Apple.