5 January 02005

More Martini Media

Nine months ago I borrowed the term 'martini media' from Ashley Highfield of the BBC, and said I wanted to promote its use. I thought he might be constrained from promoting it too much, since plugging a brand name doesn't fit with the BBC's advertising-free ethos. But in the weeks either side of Christmas this site was hit by masses of users searching for 'martini media' or 'definition of martini media', which I attribute to Mr Highfield's gnomic use of it at the end of this Guardian interview (requires free registration).

There isn't a definition of martini media beyond the 'anytime, anyplace, anywhere' catch-phrase (one third of which, as pedants will note, is tautologous), but it can be illustrated by example, and I've been collecting what I call harbingers of the martini media era. Here are a few more.

Earlier this week the well-known TiVo range announced TiVoToGo™,which allows users who have their TV equipment connected to a network to transfer recorded TV programmes onto their computers, so they can view them on a laptop at their convenience. This feature, combined with TiVo's pre-set recordings, is almost equivalent to podcasting for TV. Though, as pointed out at the end of this article, the inbuilt Digital Rights Management significantly reduces the flexibility available to users (see my posting on DRM and usability).

In the radio field, Wired News ran a feature yesterday on Time Trax Technologies' products for recording digital tracks from satellite radio. According to the article, "Users will be able to type in 'Bruce Springsteen', see the channels that would most likely play him, and then monitor the stations to record him". Possibly more significant than the impact on Broooce's royalties, will be the 'long tail' effect for people who want to hear more rare and hard-to-find artists or songs: this will be a real boon for them (us!).

Although there exist technologies for recording Internet radio and analogue broadcasts, these do not have the same search-empowered features, so do not provide such a user-driven, on-demand service.

The Wired article also reports that the infamous Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is not protesting against the use of this technology for satellite radio, though it has previously lobbied against such features being available for digital terrestrial radio. (Note for European readers: the rollout of DAB digital radio has been much slower in the US than in the UK, and satellite radio has, against earlier expectations, moved in to occupy the space.) Even for the RIAA, this seems like a bizarre distinction to make, and surely it cannot be sustainable.

Posted by David Jennings in section(s) Music and Multimedia on 5 January 02005 | TrackBack
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