The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”

Post image for The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”

Excerpt from this article:

A few nights ago I saw Jack White in concert. It was a wonderful night, and a big part of that was due to a new rule he has imposed on all his tour dates: no phones.

The no-phones policy illuminated something about smartphone use that’s hard to see when it’s so ubiquitous: our phones drain the life out of a room. They give everyone a push-button way to completely disengage their mind from their surroundings, while their body remains in the room, only minimally aware of itself. Essentially, we all have a risk-free ripcord we can pull at the first pang of boredom or desire for novelty, and of course those pangs occur constantly.

Every time someone in a group of people deploys a screen, the whole group is affected. Each disengaged person in a crowd is like a little black hole, a dead zone for social energy, radiating a noticeable field of apathy towards the rest of the room and what’s happening there.

 

The Strange Story of Cisco’s (Sort of) Beloved Hold Music

Excerpt from this article (which I sought out after re-listening to The American Life’s podcast episode about this music – – it’s really good!):

You probably hate it. I mostly do. At three minutes, there is this horrifying funky Michael Bolton breakdown played on a xylophone synth… But some people love it!

And if you leave it on in the background while you’re working, just sitting in a tab, and then you turn it off, you may notice a curious absence. Perhaps this tune is better than silence. If you can hear this song, you are still alive.

People record this music, post it to YouTube, and people like Corbett’s father-in-law discover it and put it on in the background while they sweep the kitchen.

The Retweet is the new autograph

Excerpt from this article:

Retweets from artists or bands are now as highly prized by music fans as autographs. New research underlines the role Twitter plays for fans, who can not only connect with their favorite artists and bands, but discover new music and join the buzz around concerts and festivals.

The study, conducted for Twitter by Crowd DNA , found that 74% of music fans on Twitter say a Retweet by their favourite artist is as desirable as a traditional autograph. Findings point to the value fans place in getting recognition from their favourite artists and in seeing their Tweet shared with other fans.

A Music-Sharing Network for the Unconnected

Photo: Digital-music merchants in Mali’s capital provide a vibrant human-driven alternative to iTunes. by Michaël Zumstein/Agence Vu, for The New York Times

Excerpt from this article, and be sure to check out the slideshow, excellent and interesting perspectives on downloading digital content in this part of the world:

…As of 2012 there were enough cellphones in service in Mali for every man, woman and child. The spread of cellphones in this way has driven innovation across the continent. M-Pesa, a text-message-based money-transfer system, has made financial services available for the first time to millions. Another enterprise tells rural farmers by text what their crops might sell for in distant markets; mass-texting campaigns have helped promote major public health initiatives.

Yet for many Africans, the phone is not merely, or even principally, a communications device. You can see this on the sun-blasted streets of Bamako, Mali’s capital, where a new kind of merchant has sprung up along Fankélé Diarra Street. Seated practically thigh to thigh, these vendors crouch over laptops, scrolling through screen after screen of downloaded music. They are known as téléchargeurs, or downloaders, and they operate as an offline version of iTunes, Spotify and Pandora all rolled into one. They know what their regulars might like, from the latest Jay Z album to the obscurest songs of Malian music pioneers like Ali Farka Touré. Savvy musicians take their new material to Fankélé Diarra Street and press the téléchargeurs to give it a listen and recommend it to their customers. For a small fee — less than a dime a song — the téléchargeurs transfer playlists to memory cards or U.S.B. sticks, or directly onto cellphones. Customers share songs with their friends via short-range Bluetooth signals.

Spotify data hints at a ‘musical midlife crisis’ for 42-year-old music fans

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (32) and investor Sean Parker (35) are a few years off musical midlife crises – in theory

Excerpt from this article:

Streaming music service Spotify has identified 42 as the age when many of its users rediscover the joys of current pop music, as part of research into how their tastes mature over time.

“We’re starting to listen to ‘our’ music, not ‘the’ music. Music taste reaches maturity at age 35. Around age 42, music taste briefly curves back to the popular charts — a musical midlife crisis and attempt to harken back to our youth, perhaps?”

The findings come from a study conducted by Ajay Kalia, who oversees Spotify’s “taste profiles” product, which tries to understand people’s tastes based on their listening habits.