Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts Album is About MUCH More Than Music.

If you have been reading this blog for even a moderate length of time, you are most likely aware of the unusually high amount of Nine Inch Nails articles on this site (seen here and here to name a few). Considering the general theme of this blog, I could see how this could be seen as strange to many. Still, I tend to write a lot about how digital media (which design-technology intersects with) is changing not only mainstream media, but the society which consumes it – which in turn impacts how we do our work. For the past two years, Nine Inch Nails has really been on the frontlines of pushing media away from the consolidated, copyright-heavy, corporate-run model to a distributed, grassroots, artist-run model.

Last night, Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts I-IV, an independently-produced album that is available for download for the price of $5. There are 36 songs in this album, so that $5 looks even more reasonable than ever. For those of you into the tangible, CDs can be purchased as well. Additionally, 9 songs are available completely for free – no questions asked. While this is distribution model is new, it is not new – we have seen it with In Rainbows and Niggy Tardust, each with their own little tweaks on it. However, make no mistake, Ghosts is unlike any other album distribution we have seen.
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Creative Payment Model For Indie Film – Big Media Could Learn a Lesson

Things like this get me really excited…

Very few of us enjoy the close-boxed mentality of big media. The whole mindset essentially flies right in the face of how the web works and continues to ignore how society interacts with media. I just ran across an example of how media 2.0 and the internet’s open model has seemed to influence an independent film titled Revoloution.

The premise is quite simple – moviegoers can watch the movie for free and then decide how much they wish to pay after they have finished watching it. We all have gone to movies and have felt quite robbed from the experience. Many people do not frequent theaters as often because it is not worth the gamble to spend a sizable chunk of change on something they may not like. Big-business media will almost assuredly never sign onto something like this for various reasons – one being that their product is, well, bad. Hollywood is already losing money, this would just speed up the process. Nonetheless, this model could be a much more beneficial model for aspiring filmmakers to garner an audience and begin to create buzz on a particular piece of work.

I could see a more hybridized version of this type of payment where less is paid up front and a ‘tip’ is requested after the movie is over. If I only had to pay $4 to $5 to get into a movie, I might just start going to movies again. Additionally, if the movie is decent, I definitely would provide a tip. Of course this model is more risky than the pay-up-front model, but with declining ticket sales, they may want to consider taking a few risks and getting creative. One thing I do know, hiking up the price of tickets is not going to work.

For more details on this experiment, watch the video below:

Much of the media online is free without even the slightest hint of payment. Even for the lucky (and talented) individuals publishing high-quality work exclusively on the web, compensation still is a challenge. However, people are making it and some are doing quite well for themselves. With the rise in popularity of web media with its low overhead and much less profit, big business is going to need to rethink payment models and the content they are willing to spend millions on to produce. (Many) people know crap when they see it – sadly, the majority of all media (internet or not) falls into that category. However, on the web, I do not have to pay $15 or sit through 20 minutes of commercials to see it.

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Improving Online Advertising (For Everyone)

In my first of three articles discussing online advertising, I wrote about what I consider is wrong with advertising. In this article, I will attempt to lay out my thoughts on how advertising online could be improved. One of the issues that I see as a problem of the current online advertising model is the emphasis on money and/or click-throughs. This current article talks about how the almighty click-through reigns supreme, no matter how much it damages the reputation of the site or the product that is being advertised. In addition, site creators seem to just fall in line and accept the one-sided relationship advertisers have laid out for them. Advertisers and site creators need to think smarter by thinking smaller. My thought is to put less money on the table and create more effective advertising partnerships with a smaller group of sites. In addition, the banner needs to finally be put to rest. A site’s real-estate is no match for its author’s thoughts, content and the trust it has garnered with its audience. Lastly, the site creator’s content, in conjunction with the trust from the audience, are not resources to exploit, but are potential partners in a sustainable revenue model. Continue reading “Improving Online Advertising (For Everyone)”

Daily Delicious – Nine Inch Nails New Album Spawns Abstract Web Sites

Here I was, just about to write about microformats, when this came along…

A new Nine Inch Nails album is coming out in April. Thanks to our good friend Kellie, and her great link comment, I learned about a series of abstract websites pertaining to the theme and (from the rumors) storyline of the new album. To say the new album is political is like saying the sun is warm – just a warning to those of you that do not enjoy politics. Yes, I know, this has been done before. Yes, I know, this is a form of marketing. Still, the tone and the way it comes off just seems different than other viral marketing campaigns.

A lot of people are not big fans of viral marketing. I, however, see a great beauty to it. Most viral marketing I have been exposed to is quite creative and engages the user’s imagination. On top of it, it is much less money-driven than traditional advertising methods. With viral marketing, success is dependent on the individual to appreciate it enough to want to share it. Traffic and buzz can be artificially generated, but I have noticed that method tends to fizzle out very quickly if there is not a genuine interest from the public. I rather like the idea of marketing that is depends on the public’s interest rather than cash. I see how this project can turn people off. Still, for myself, I find it absolutely fascinating.

UPDATENew Nine Inch Nails song found on a usb drive in a bathroom in portugal. This is getting cooler and cooler by the minute. In case the URLs hosting the MP3 die, you can download it from Some Random Dude (sorry, this is absolutely killing my bandwidth).

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The Sorry State of Online Advertising

For many, the internet symbolizes innovation, creativity and unique expression. Why then is internet advertising so unoriginal, uninspired and uninterested in the people it is targeting? Online advertising symbolizes all that is wrong with the current state of the web. The basic model of advertising bombardment and sensory overload can ruin a site’s reputation while rarely giving the financial return expected. Why have site creators and online advertisers settled for such an unbecoming system? For many site creators, the allure of making income from their site outweighs the needs of their audience. This approach can ultimately cause much more bad than good.

Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about online advertising. This article will focus on what is currently wrong with the most common advertising model used online, the second will discuss my opinions on a better alternative and the third will flush out those ideas into pragmatic examples.

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