Fluid Market for Ringtones

In the March 7th New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones writes about the cell phone ringtone industry which, in 2004, generated $4 billion dollars in worldwide sales (only $300 million from the US). In Korea, the ringtone market outsells the CD single market. There is a newer, higher quality version of the ringtone that is just gaining popularity. But there is more than just better quality that makes the mastertone interesting; there is commercial appeal,

Record labels, convinced that they have lost millions of dollars in CD
sales to MP3 file-swapping, have been especially attentive to
ringtones, and they love master tones. Polyphonic ringtones are
essentially cover versions of songs: aggregators must pay royalties to
the publisher, who then pays the songwriter. But master tones are
compressed versions of original recordings, which means that record
labels—the entities that typically own recordings—are entitled to
collect a fee, too.

She goes on to explain the royalty deals signed to get these songs were extremely one-sided pushing up to 25% for some record companies. This boosts the overall cost of the mastertones which keeps people from adopting them. Kind of killing the hen before it can get around to laying it’s golden eggs.

This arrangement is unlikely to last. There are now Web-based
companies, like Xingtone, for example, that will convert songs from
your collection into master tones. Or you can do it yourself: some new
cell-phone models can be connected to a computer by a data cable,
allowing you to create master tones from MP3 files at home. However it
is done, transferring music that you own to your phone is legal under
copyright law.

Like a water balloon, exert too much pressure and the market moves around you.

White Rabbit


Now I know where Jefferson Airplane gets their inspiration for their songs. Chinese candy!

Current Events

Dancin’ In the Streets

Songwriter for The Grateful Dead and, more recently, The String Cheese Incident, cattle rancher and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is organizing spontaneous outbreaks of senseless dancing in and around the Republican National Convention. It’s become a movement

We just had another brilliant expedition into elephant country. We encountered many of our quarry, converted a few, and made the rest so nervous you would have thought their thin smiles might shatter their faces. One of them said that he knew we were mocking George Bush. “How are we doing that?” we asked. “By dancing,” he snarled.

And that, my pesky friends, is paydirt

Dancarchy Reigns!


4th Fridays in Pennington

Starting yesterday evening, the Pennington Borough Business Council has started organizing something their calling, “4th Fridays.” On the fourth Friday of every month, the stores downtown get together with events and free food & drink to entice people to hang out downtown.

Yesterday was the first 4th Friday and two colleagues from work, Greg Merkle and Chris Caine came to play with at the Bread & Breakfast coffee shop. Chris (with the headband) plays with Bob Jones (blond hair, closest to camera) in a band called, “Two Worlds Apart,” and Greg (up on stool) plays on his own. One of Greg’s techniques is an amazing mix of strumming, plucking, and percussion work on the fretboard that creates a multi-layered mix of sounds that are hard to belive they come from one man. For a sample, you can check out the video.


This dude has way too much time on his hands

This dude has way too much time on his hands but hey, I love all that conspiracy stuff, a good late night browse Paul Really Is Dead: Undeniable Proof That Paul McCartney Was Replaced With A Lookalike.. This one’s up there but no where near as good at the Pink Floyd Synchonizations.


“Daddy is not a jungle gym”

“Daddy is not a jungle gym!” I should know better than to play Medeski, Martin & Wood just before bedtime. The kids were all dancing to the funky groove and before I knew it, climbing all over me. It took awhile to calm them down for bed – too much fun!


Live Phish

Saw a pretty hot Phish show at the Philly Spectrum last week. Great to see an East Coast show with a great East Coast band.