Information SuperJunkie

This site is about me and everything in between

Archive for the category “Music”

My views on SOPA/PIPA

I know no one cares about my personal views on many subjects, but this is one I can’t leave alone without sharing first.

I work with technology constantly. I was born and raised in a time where I remember cassette tapes and saw their evolution into MP3 players and how music is nothing but bit and bytes stored in multiple places today.

I watched the rise and fall of Napster. I watched iTunes become the prominent platform for music purchases. I watched TVs go from tubes to flat to Plasma to LED. I have watched computers become smaller, faster, better. I have seen floppy disks evolve to 3 and 1/2 inch disks then going to CDs, and then flash drives and to DVDs and to Blu-Rays.

I have watched the demise of print as a viable medium of information for my generation. I have watched cellphones that once were bricks now act as small computers.

All of this, and countless other advances in technology sit on the idea of the Internet. The idea that I can send, share, download, upload, find, research, read, listen, watch, post, like, comment on, reply to, update, add and subtract to anything on the Internet.

The Internet was first created so professors could SHARE information. Information that inherently belonged to their respective institutions, however, they knew at that time that sharing information allowed for a larger public discourse about the information.

SOPA/PIPA looks to curb online piracy. This is in a year when record sales have gone up for the first time since 2002. Movies continue to costs millions and make millions on ticket sales, DVD sales and products sold in unison with the movies.

But what SOPA/PIPA could ultimately become is a kill switch to websites.

Currently, if a website such as Youtube is hosting material that infringes on copyright law, the person who posted the video in liable for any fines or charges. The site is not held accountable for material that infringes on copyright.

Under SOPA/PIPA, websites would be held accountable for ACCUSATIONS OF INFRINGEMENT, and would be shut down accordingly.

There is a lot wrong with that, and I am certain I hardly have to go into details to further progress the point I am trying to make.

The one thing I keep coming back to is this, the Entertainment industry thinks it is a massive contributor to the Internet. It can be, when done correctly. Sites like Netflix and Hulu leverage the Entertainment industry in order to provide content for the Web users.

However, the Entertainment industry continues to stifle innovation. They dump millions of dollars into Congress, just so they can get their way, a dying way.

These are the death knells of giants. The Entertainment industry is lazy. They don’t want to innovate. They don’t even want to evolve their products they are selling. Shitty music and shitty movies are the same now as they were in the 60s. Shitty.

People who download torrents of whole albums or movies are still going to do this. China censors its Internet, the outcome of that? Some of the best hackers in the world, and they are concentrated in one country. Why? Because when government builds walls, the people will dig wholes. And when the government pours concrete in the ground, the people will build wings. And when the government builds turrets to take down flyers, the people will use dynamite.

Instead of attempting to box people in, the Entertainment industry should allow for innovation. It should welcome change, and the Internet.

The Internet helps original and creative content. For instance, “The Hurt Locker,” which won Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards, was the lowest grossing movie (at the time it won) to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It was also one of the most illegally downloaded films. Think about why it was downloaded first.

The film was constantly in limited release, so unless you lived in certain locations you may have never seen the movie. This allowed for public hype of the film, and allowed for the those who did not download it, an attempt to listen to their peers. Once this dialogue occurs, people are more likely to buy/go see certain entertainment.

Did it hurt it? Sure, but DVD sales put the movie into the green for revenue, and the movie cost around $11 million to makes, grossing a theater total of $13 million and grossing a DVD total of $35 million.

Thus, drawing a profit (excluding marketing, packaging, and distribution costs) of $37 million. Taking into account the expenses, it would wind up making around $15-20 million (estimate).

So, one of the highest illegally downloaded movies of 2010 made a good bit of cash. Could it have done better with SOPA/PIPA? Could it have done worse with SOPA/PIPA?

There is always a bump in sales for Best Picture winners. That accounts for some of the sales of DVDs for this example. However, the downloading cannot be ignored as a contributor to the spread of word about this or other types of entertainment.

So, what do you do? Do you shut down websites because they allow for this kind or thing to occur? Do you embrace it and watch your company go bankrupt because you give away everything for free?

Or do you innovate? Do you create, as oppose to destroy? Do you build growth, or do you stifle competition, simply because you have more money than the common man? It is funny, those who claim to have busted their ass to get somewhere in life, simply rest on the laurels of days gone by. They shouldn’t have to innovate, or create anything anymore. They can just throw money at the problem. They just become content and lazy.

That is my biggest issue with SOPA/PIPA. It makes an industry that is so vibrant, so amazing, become so God damn lazy.

Rolling in the Deep

This song has struck a chord inside me. Something about it resonates too deep, almost. I can’t shake the harmony, I can’t shake the lyrics and they have set up shop in a corner of my mind. The song so far has approached me in the dead spaces of my day; walking to and fro, sipping coffee, waiting for a meeting to begin.

The power of music is fascinating. It can inspire and induce goose bumps. It can turn a scene in a movie into a glorious moment. It can make a funeral somber.

But what music tends to do for me is haunt. And this song does such a thing. It haunts me, it relegates my mind to times of struggle and of love. To a time when my heart and soul belonged to someone else. To a time where I sat on the precipice of either being a “me” or a “we.”

We all have seen that edge, and stared at the pit with the significant other of our choice. It is dark, deep and horrifying. As if it were some type of galactic wormhole, we never know what is past the depths of that moment.

But, when she jumped in, I stood there. I always just stand there.

Since then, one after another, I encourage them to look at the deep with me. I encourage them to commit to the jump and as I bend my knees to heave myself into the plummeting depths of love and commitment, I straighten up and watch them fall.

Believe me, the intent is never malicious, although it is always perceived that way. I understand this. But more so, I wish I could have taken the jump. And now, to now become to melodramatic, my heart is bruised and scarred from encouraging those, especially one, to stand on the edge with me.

And I will never get that moment back.

 

My SXSW: Part 1

South by Southwest is a surreal event. If you are a fan of music, there is nothing like it out there. While indie and punk dominate the scene at SXSW, countless other genres of music float around the hot air in Austin, all you have to do is find it.

It is difficult to describe SXSW. It is like a hipsters wet dream. Countless bands playing that you never heard of, countless people riding bikes countless people with halves sleeves or full sleeves of tattoos.

But before I came to this realization, my older brother and I had to make the journey down to Austin from Dallas.

We hop into my brother’s car and start driving. About 30 minutes into the trip, we head back to his house due to an acute onset of OCD on his behalf.

After our distraction, we headed back out on to the road.

Just outside of Austin, we hit up the Salt Lick, which was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food.”

This place was delicious. Not the actually building, their food was.

I could tell we were in a different place of Texas. Dallas green and refreshingly warm. Austin air was hot, and their was a certain electricity that could be felt in the air.

Maybe it was the throngs of people meandering around in cars, on bikes and on foot all around the city. If you were dropped blindfolded into SXSW, you would know something amazing was occurring.

We got to our hotel, and went to our room.

“What’s our room,” I asked my brother.

“212,” he said.

So, we made our way to the second floor and approached 212. Josh put his card is, and it didn’t work. I tried mine and mine had the same response. We each tried one more time, until I asked for the brochure that had our room number on it.

“313,” I said as I pointed to the 3 that looked kind of like a 2.

But as we began to leave, we heard a couple in 210, having quit the good time. So, our curiosity ever so high, we listened for probably a second too long until we heard the “fun time” stop.

Then we made our to 313 and began asking one another what is wrong with each one of us.

Paint it Black at the "T Shirt for a Cure" show at the Red 7.

We get to 313, dropped our things off and then head out to downtown Austin.

The first stop was the Red 7. A small rock venue that had one set of shows inside, and then a small outside stage that another set going on. It was pretty intense to say the least. It was hot, sticky and it felt like living in a stinky cloud due to the humidity or human perspiration. It was awesome.

We saw a couple of good bands, but Paint It Black stood out by far as the best we saw at this show.

After this we walked around for a bit, just soaking in the atmosphere.

Once we were done meandering, it was time for us to go see the Fat Wreck Chords showcase.

We had seen the exact show the night before in Dallas, but it was fun and decided to see it again. In Dallas, my older brother had told me that he got our name on the guest list, so we would get in free.

We get there, and our name isn’t on the list. At least, that is what my brother tells me as I am flirting with a female security guard.

I quickly look at the list, and confirm we aren’t on it. Then begins our attempt at finding a way for free. Unfortunately the, place is surrounded b a wooden fence with no possible entry except the main entrance.

Then, a plan hits me.

“Follow me,” I tell my brother.

I remember seeing a “Johnny” on the list, and it had no number of guests associated with it, and ti was hand written on the list. They could have mistaken, “Josh” for “John” and then forgot to just put “John” and put “Johnny.”

So, I approach the guard table.

“Hi, we were over here earlier and my friend over there said we were on the list. See, we were at the show last night, and he put our names on the list, but he put it under my name. I’m Johnny.”

“Yeah,” the big guard said with skepticism.

“Yeah, he wasn’t thinking for some reason,” I replied.

“Let me some ID.”

“Ok,” and I willingly hand my ID over to the man. My ID is what saved me here, and I knew that going into this whole thing.

“See my name is Kyle. But I go by Jonathan, that’s the J. I am Johnny.”

The female guard and the guy guard look at one another, and he gives me back ID.

“OK,” he said.

“Thanks!”

And that is how we got into a show for free.

There is more to this story, but I need a break. That, and I can’t quite clearly remember some of it.

Till next time.

My SXSW: The Music

Ok, so I was off the entire week last week. I journeyed to Dallas to visit my older brother and let me tell you there is not a whole lot between Chicago and Dallas.

St. Louis is there, but that is really about it. And I came to the conclusion that no shit people in Missouri do Meth. There is nothing else to do there.

Dallas was awesome, and it was truly fun to just hang out with my older brother as if we lived about 10 miles apart as opposed to 1,000.

I have some great stories from SXSW, but let me just point out the reasons why I was there.

One, was to see new music. And not only did I see new music, I saw great music.

All but one of these videos (The Dead to Me one) are from this year’s SXSW. I will try to keep an eye on any new videos posted, but these should give you a good idea of the music I remember.

This was not the actual show I saw. This is Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps and they played at the Beauty Bar. The band hails from Minneapolis, and are extremely approachable. That, and they were relaxing, soothing and Caroline’s voice was stuck in my head the next day.

They have a unique sound and I recommend checking them out.

And here is the Packway Handle Band. These guys were slick, mostly because they were wearing wetsuits. No joke. Blue Grass players wearing wetsuits.

Another refreshing performance in a venue dominated by uptempo punk and indie music.

JT Coldfire. From Austin, played mostly blues, but entirely badass.

Here is Dead to Me. Punk band out of San Francisco. This video is actually from SXSW. They played great at both shows that I attended.

There was also Paint it Black, Banner Pilot, The Flatliners, VersaEmerge (totally random, but have to show some hardcore love).

I saw more, but I didn’t catch every band’s name that I saw.

Overall thoughts? I know what I will be doing next spring.

If this were a book, I’d call this song “The Final Chapter”

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