Latest Blog Posts

by Rob Horning

7 Jan 2010

Yesterday I was lamenting about having too much choice in cultural product, and how that has made me take a skeptical attitude toward anything new—I’m too busy keeping up with what I already allegedly like to start liking more and more. (That is, I have a finite amount of desire to invest.) This Economist article from a few months ago brings up a related issue: it looks at how culture industries have become even more dependent on huge-selling hits, which have paradoxically become more prominent as consumer choice has proliferated.

Offer music fans a virtually infinite choice of songs free of charge, and they will still gravitate to hits. That has been the experience of We7, a music-streaming service based in London which has 2.5m users. Only 22% of We7’s 4m songs are streamed in any given week, says Steve Purdham, who founded the company. The top 100 artists account for more than half of all streams. Users of Spotify, another ad-supported music service, are similarly unadventurous. Will Page of PRS for Music, which collects royalties for British songwriters, calculates that the most popular 5% of tracks on Spotify account for 80% of all streams. He is counting only the 3m tracks that were streamed at least once between February and July. Another 1.5m were not touched at all.

by Oliver Ho

7 Jan 2010

Alexander Theroux calls blue “mysterious” in his book-length meditation The Primary Colours: “It is the colour of ambiguous depth, of the heavens and of the abyss at once.” That sense of ambiguity and overall strangeness seems to suffuse every one of Taiyo Matsumoto’s wavy lines in his short story collection Blue Spring.

The color carries more importance than being the title. Five years after the book was published in 1993, Matsumoto added to the mystery when he wrote of the work:

“No matter how passionate you were, no matter how much your blood boiled, I believe youth is a blue time. Blue—that indistinct blue that paints the town moments before the sun rises. Winter is coming.”

by Tyler Gould

7 Jan 2010

End Times
(12 Major Chords)
Releasing: 19 January

That lovely little number a short while ago brings a whole album along with it later this month, for better or for worse. “In My Younger Days” is available to download below in the universally loved .M4A file format.

01 The Beginning
02 Gone Man
03 In My Younger Days
04 Mansions of Los Feliz
05 A Line in the Dirt
06 End Times
07 Apple Trees
08 Paradise Blues
09 Nowadays
10 Unhinged
11 High and Lonesome
12 I Need a Mother
13 Little Bird
14 On My Feet

by Allison Taich

7 Jan 2010

James Mercer of The Shins and Danger Mouse have joined forces to create a new group, Broken Bells. Their self-titled album is due out on Columbia on 9 March 2010. The album’s first single, “The High Road”, is now available on the official site as well as iTunes and Amazon.com.

Broken Bells - The High Road

by Tyler Gould

7 Jan 2010

Everytime I see Julian Casablancas perform this song, it gets hammier and more awesome. His CGI pagoda songwriting hideout, the quill pen, the inclusion of glockenspiel playing in a getting-down-to-business montage—this, netizens, is the height of succulence!

//Mixed media

Emerging from My Hiatus from Big Budget Games

// Moving Pixels

"I'd gotten burned out on scope and maybe on spectacle in video games, but I think it's time to return to bigger worlds to conquer.

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