18 September 02006

Wikipedia to bifurcate?

Just last week I was writing (for my book), "No one is going to set up a new free wiki-based online encyclopaedia any time soon: there can be only one." Now I'm considering whether I can edit that to say "No one is going to initiate from scratch a…" or should I just delete it altogether. This in the light of the news that Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger is setting up the Citizendium project, which he describes as a "progressive or gradual fork" based on Wikipedia. The difference between this fork and the mothership? Experts have the final say over edits.

There has been some scepticism about Citizendium, but I think it's an interesting and healthy challenge to any dogma of hardline bottom-up evangelists. In the end, the opinions we experience are a mix of expert and amateur, qualified and ad-hoc. Why not try and build that mix into the ecosystem of an encyclopaedia system?

Continue reading "Wikipedia to bifurcate?"

10 September 02006

UK survey of digital music and discovery

I'm posting here a duplicate of something that first appeared on my Net, Blogs and Rock'n'Roll book blog, just as a reminder to regular readers that, if postings here appear to be thin on the ground, it's worth checking there as well. What I'd like to do is provide an RSS feed for the two blogs together, but I haven't yet found an easy way to do that — suggestions from more RSS-savvy people very welcome. (In the meantime though, I do have a Feedburner RSS feed that combines posts here with my Furl bookmarks.)

Chart of music discovery from Entertainment Media ResearchThe Digital Music Survey by Entertainment Media Research (and, apparently, Olswang) covers many interesting areas, from MP3 players to DRM to illegal downloading. There's a 106-page PDF with a rich set of figures available for free download from Entertainment Media Research's site. I'm going to focus here on a couple of the findings concerning discovery and sharing of music.

The chart on the right shows the different ways in which people find out about new music. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: don't write off radio (outside the US, at least).

The proportion of people discovering music via community sites like MySpace and Bebo is only 1 in 25.

Continue reading "UK survey of digital music and discovery"

3 September 02006

Review of Mark Abis: Changing Inside

Mark Abis: Changing InsideSeveral months ago, on the back of my review of Joe Boyd's book, I was contacted by singer-songwriter Mark Abis, of whom (Mark explained) Boyd had said, "[He] got my attention. His melodies are original, his voice warm and distinctive, a real musical sensibility is obvious, with literate lyrics to boot. My vote for one of the best of the new generation." Mark asked if I'd like a copy of his CD, Changing Inside, to review. On the understanding that any review would get no further than this blog (not an especially promising outlet for breaking new music), I agreed.

Joe Boyd is not an easy person to impress. He describes how he used to receive many demos from people citing Nick Drake as an influence (Boyd was Drake's producer), most of which he chucked into a box marked "WPSEs" — white people singing in English — for missing the point about what made Drake special. But part of the reason it's taken me so long to get round to writing this review is that Changing Inside isn't an album that reaches out and grabs you. You have to go and meet it on its own terms.

Continue reading "Review of Mark Abis: Changing Inside"