New DNA Update, in which I argue with myself about the worthwhile-ness of our webcasts.

We saw The Scorpion King today: that movie is a lot of fun. Oh man, it is so much better than Episode II. (Though I will concede that Ep2 will spawn the better toys.) rzr_grl would groan every time there was a chain-mail-bikini moment, but I think it helped when I reminded her that she was supposed to be communing with her inner 13-year-old boy to properly enjoy a film like this. It was not as good as Conan the Barbarian, but hey, you can't touch the classics.

I'm enjoying the new friends-of-friends hack way more than I can explain.

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10 Responses:

  1. king_mob says:

    I've already stated my primary reason for pulling for the webcasts: I *can't go* to the fucking club. The commute would be a bit of a bitch. And bands like Halou and Pigface play out here in flyover country somewhat less regularly than full eclipses, these days.

    That said, that $20k/year/20 listeners number just seems insane. I've even seen you work the math and I still can't grasp it. Does cutting the top bitrate of the streams down help out at all here?

    • jwz says:

      Does cutting the top bitrate of the streams down help out at all here?

      Sure, I think it does the obvious multiplier: if I make all the streams be 64k (which sounds like hell) then I get 40 simultanious listeners instead of 20. That's not exactly the order of magnitude I was hoping for...

  2. evan says:

    To summarize:

    You're paying $1000 per year per viewer (who doesn't give you any money in return), with the end result of aggravating your bands and even losing a few.

    And the benefit? It's cool. I guess only you can decide whether "cool" is worth the cost.

    Maybe ask each artist if they want it, summarizing the benfits as you summarized there, and letting them decide? That way, you're still doing a good faith effort to support the arts and expose their music, but you're making the bands the most important.

    Or maybe webcasting is even more important than they are? (I would've watched a webcast of Download...)

    (While you're talking about hacks, you might like this, especially since it's about 20 lines of my code wrapped around a project of yours.)

    • jwz says:

      Maybe ask each artist if they want it, summarizing the benfits as you summarized there, and letting them decide?

      Well, two things. First, I fear that if I make it optional, it will just always get turned off, because that's easier. Like I said in my last update, the difference between "never" and "sometimes" is that "sometimes" means "always."

      Second, I think that it wouldn't significantly affect our costs, because we're already saturated: we have way more people trying to listen than we allow, so if none of the live shows were webcast, we'd still be full up from the dj archives. So in that scenario, I'd be paying the same amount of money, but also not webcasting some things, which is a step in the wrong direction on both counts.

  3. otterley says:

    How about a six degrees hack? The proof is out there.

    (I suspect implementing such a thing would ultimately become the vehicle for a DoS attack on LiveJournal.)

    • confuseme says:

      <lj user="aerojad"> has a six degrees hack, here. (Warning: Very Annoying Web Page. That link avoids most of the surrounding crap, but click carefully! Most links lead to pain.)

      It's not as much fun as I expected, because it seems like usually if I know about someone's lj at all, I also know what chain of friends I followed to get there. But for a while I was finding stuff to read by entering interesting words in the search box, and running six degrees on people I found by doing that is kind of interesting.

      • confuseme says:

        Hm. Actually, it looks like you can't click over to the crap pages from the one I linked to. So please disregard that warning.

    • evan says:

      <lj user=sachmet>'s project (linked below via <lj user=aerojad>) was actually made with our help; AFAIK, he caches the friends data locally so it isn't too hard on LJ.

      FWIW, <lj comm=lj_nifty> is for tracking this sort of thing.

  4. The artists don't generally seem to see it that way, so every time we book someone, we have to have extensive debates with them about it. This takes a lot of time, which costs money. It is also very frustrating and discouraging. They generally react to our philanthropy as if we're trying to rip them off!

    Except for Download, they've always come around and agreed to it so far. But we've never had any artist actually be excited by the webcast. The best reaction we ever get from any artist about it is ``complete indifference.'' It goes downhill from there.

    for reference: i'm an artist who's played at the DNA, and i was damned excited about it. my only regret is that the video streams aren't archived.

    i can tell you for a fact that the webcast has been great for us. people have emailed me complimenting the two acoustic songs we played that night (neither of which have we been able to record in studio yet), and asking where they can get more. that's why we play these shows to begin with. well, that and my own personal amusement.

    we're also taking one of the tracks that came out particularly well (and sounded nothing like the recorded version; "hardcore!") and using it as a promotional thingee. we're going to do some minor mastering-type fixups and "officially" release it to promote the album when we press it in a few months. for the 20-simultaneous-listeners problem: keep in mind that it's not always the same 20. and the 20 people who wanted to hear pigface are probably not the same 20 who wanted to hear VNV, and furthermore people listen to the streams after the fact, meaning that there may be a shitload of other people downloading/listening to old stuff at any given moment.

    finally: as ronan said at the last vnv show, their show at the dna might have been the most bootlegged show they ever had, but it was also the most worthy. all in all, he seemed pleased about the situation. i suspect that his point was that if a band is that afraid of having people hear their performances without paying, they're probably either 1. embarassed of the performance or 2. in the case of electronic acts, not changing enough in their live show musically to make it worth the listener's while to pick up the album.

    ...that said, i can understand cevin key's desire to not let totally new material out to the masses before it's ready. especially keeping in mind download's fanbase. they'll already have to deal with rmi and the like screaming about how great/horrible the shows were and unnecessarily coloring the opinions of casual listeners. if he was to, say, gear his live show towards the hardcore fan, the new tracks he plays might not be too representative of the new album, and its overexposure might discourage other potential buyers, etc., etc.

    anyhow it's not what i'd do, but he does -kinda- have a point.

    blah blah blah. done ranting now.

    • jwz says:

      So, about VNV -- I haven't actually heard a non-hearsay version of the story, but who was it exactly who was pissed about what? One version of the story I heard had it the band (or the manager?) freaked out when they realized that the webcast actually sounded pretty good (apparently they had never actually clicked on the "Listen" links on the DNA site before signing the agreement.) Do you know what actually happened, if anything?

      Regardless, it's impossible for me to imagine a parallel universe in which someone is going to get a hold of an MP3 of a VNV show and have it cause them to not buy a CD. Anyone interested in hearing a band like VNV live is a rabid fan who owns all the CDs already.