Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ex Er Cise

Been listening to the Ex Er Cise clip, aka Sexercise, on Music2Work2.com. This is a slow, soothing piece - one that is especially good for background music.

Listening to it closely, I can almost see an awakening or a blossoming taking place. The beginning is soft and slow and it builds in melody and complexity with the addition of the piano. The image to me is one of the beginning of growth - almost an evolving or emerging, with gradual stretching and reaching until full potential is achieved.

I suppose this could be a sexual awakening or just an awakening and blossoming of a human being - the human spirit. Beginning, slowly, tentatively at first, but risking and exploring and reaching until one has discovered his or her true being, their true self.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


One of the weirder pieces of news I’ve read about recently, was in Tuesday, Oct. 24 Digital Music News Daily Snapshot. Apparently Axe Deodorant, owned by Unilever, has joined with Vervelife, a “digital media experiences that not only reinforce your brand’s personality, but are accessed through custom-branded, web based environments,” to produce a hangover Recovery Mixer. According to DMN “The Axe Recovery Mixer offers a range of music styles, each tailored to the severity of the hangover in question.”

Designed to appeal to the 18-34 male demographic online, the process involves showering with a “Recovery Shower Gel” then when you are ready to begin your day, “Axe Recovery Room Mixer will pick the tunes for your aching head.” You can even schedule a wake-up call from Axe!

I don't know whether it actually works, but is there no limit to what a company will do to increase sales?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Vincent clip on Music2Work2 is such a pleasant, soothing little piece. The piano is alone in this one but the notes – the major ones you hear as well as those in the background – produce a melody that makes you feel good. It’s hard for me to listen to this piece and not smile.

The simplicity of the one instrument, or "voice" as the composer calls it, and the clear, sweet tones bring to my mind the joy of a child at play – joy at experiencing the world and his own imagination, maybe pretending to fly like an airplane.

This piece was written in celebration of the birth of a child, but to me it could celebrate the joy and simplicity of all children.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

As I watch the brightly colored fall leaves from my window, dancing, swirling, rising and falling in the cold NC wind, The Duel clip from Music2Work2.com is playing. The leaves almost seem to move in time to the music.

A leaf starts to make it’s way to the ground but is lifted by the wind and its drifting toward the earth starts over again. The rhythm of the music of The Duel seems to follow this same pattern – up and down, fast and slow.

I suppose the title of this music piece could also represent the struggle between the leaves and the wind – it is not an ugly struggle, but a gentle struggle of aspects of nature. The soothing melody of The Duel, especially at the end of the clip, says to me that in spite of the struggle, it all ends as it should, peacefully.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I was just listening to the Arrival clip on Music2Work2.com. One of the amazing things about the music sessions of Music2Work2 is that they can be heard is several different ways.

Listening closely to Arrival, the piano, at the beginning, seems to me to be announcing that something is about to take place. It captures your attention - an event is about to take place and it beckons to you to be a part of it!

The light and happy tone indicates that whatever it is, it is going to be something good, something fun. For me, it evokes the imagery of being welcomed to join in a wonderful event.

The event for which the composer wrote this session was indeed a wonderful event - a wedding.

Like most of the music sessions on Music2Work2.com, this piece can also play softly in the background while you are concentrating on a task and rather than calling you to focus on something else, it just makes you feel good, light and happy. It's bound to make your task more pleasant.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Whose problem is it?

Digital Music News reported that Apple has discovered that less than one percent of their video IPods shipped after September 12 were infected with a Windows virus. Who was responsible for the problem - - Apple blamed Microsoft "for not being more hardy against such viruses," and Microsoft said it is a quality control problem with Apple that they "didn't know what they were shipping."

Regardless of where the blame lies, it is the consumer who is inconvenienced by the whole thing. The consumer is the one who will have to go to the trouble to remove the virus, even though it is said to be a low-level security virus. Microsoft has survived such problems before and has high hopes for the release of its Zune player in November. And Apple, having only about 25 reports of the problem so far, will undoubtedly not really be hurt by this with the holidays approaching. So, it will probably end up only being a problem for the people who purchased that one percent of IPods.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Positive Word of Mouth

From life experience in general, and specifically from doing volunteer work with a non-profit organization, I would be inclined to say that most often people who are dissatisfied are the ones who speak loudest. My experience has been that complaints far outnumber compliments.

So, it was very encouraging to me to read in WOM Research, Word of Mouth Marketing Association's online newletter that positive reviews of online products and services outweigh negative ones 8 to 1. Shoppers are more anxious to spread information about great products than they are to badmouth the worst ones.

"According to research by Keller Fay Group, 63 percent of all word of mouth is positive. A recent JupiterKagan study concludes that 60 percent of online shoppers provide feedback about a shopping experience, and are more likely to give feedback about a positive experience than a negative one."

This is very encouraging news for online ventures such as M2W2 and indicates just how important "word of mouth marketing" is. I am pleased to know that my experience with non-profit customers or members does not hold true in the for-profit world.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

IPods and hearing loss

A study by several leading hearing experts offers guidelines to safe listening of IPods. They reported, according to Digital Music News, that the average person could listen to the IPod for 4.6 hours a day at 70 percent of its maximum volume without increasing the risk of hearing loss.

A separate study took into account types of earphones used and the environment in which the subjects listen to music. In a noisy environment, 80% of students listened to music at risky levels, compared to only 6% who turned the volume to levels increasing the risk of hearing loss in quiet surroundings.

I'm sure it is an indication of my age, but I have thought for quite a while now that we are likely to one day have a whole generation of hearing impaired individuals. I wasn't basing this on the levels at which individuals listen to IPods but rather the volume at which music is played in some teenagers cars. I wonder if a study has been done about that?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Are lawsuits the anwer?

Digital Music News reports that IFPI has pursued thousands of lawsuits against illegal file- swappers. '“They all thought they were unlikely to be caught, but teachers, postal workers, IT managers, scientists and people in a host of other occupations, as well as parents, have ended up having to dig deeply into their pockets,” said IFPI chairman John Kennedy.'

I am certainly not in favor of illegal file-swapping, but I wonder if this is the solution to the problem. For one thing, how can Kennedy be so sure that these people all even knew they were doing something illegal? Maybe they did and if so, it is right for them to pay. But, I'm not sure you can assume that all were doing something they knew was wrong and just thought they wouldn't be caught.

Being involved in a digital music distribution venture, I want the public to purchase our music and to only download and swap the music they are allowed to. Although apparently most of the lawsuits have occurred outside the US, I question whether this is the best use of the legal system regardless of the country in which it takes place. If it is in other countries like it is the US, the courts are overflowing with cases, some very serious - especially in comparison to swapping music files.

I guess I don't really know what the solution to the problem is. But, I wonder if there is not a better way to discourage this activity than through lawsuits?

Monday, October 16, 2006


As a "late-comer" to the digital music world and its technology, it is difficult for me to get used to the capabilities of an IPod or cell phones. I have yet to learn how to do anything but answer and place calls on my cell phone. It will take pictures, videos, download music but it's not likely that I will be using those feature much, if at all.

Today, in Digital Music News Daily Snapshot, I read about Palm's Treo 680, a smart phone that
will have the capability of offering music, video, camcorder, camera, MP3 player, support for Microsoft applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Google Maps and email and messaging.
And, it will come in a choice of four colors!

What more could anyone want or need to work, play, communicate and find their way around?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Digital Music News contained reports today on the release of the Apple IPod nano in Red as part of the humanitarian effort by Bono to assist women and children in Africa affected by AIDS and other diseases, as well as Sony's announcement of an upcoming "video-enabled Walkman," with no specific release date, but 5 new flash music players in a variety of colors and storage sizes available by the end of the year.

With Microsoft's Zune player's scheduled launch on the market on November 14, it would seem that in the near future, even more so than now, chosing which player to purchase could not only be a mind-boggling task but could consume hours and hours of research and comparison. Are consumers actually going to be able to make a knowledgeable choice, based on performance, dependability, capabilities, and the best buy for the money.......or will it just be based on whether it comes in their favorite color or is related to relief efforts by their favorite artist, or just because one company has spent more money on its marketing campaign of the product?

Competition is good, but when does it all become too much? How many versions of the same or similar product can succeed on the market? Or will consumers just keep buying until they have tried them all?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another one bites the dust......

First Apple's Chief Executive, Steve Jobs, resigned due to stock option irregularities and now C|Net's CEO, Shelby Bonnie, has resigned for the same, yet more serious, reason. According to Digital Music News, unlike Jobs, Bonnie appears to have been a recipient of the backdated options. Jobs, although not directly involved in the mess at Apple, was aware that it was going on.

Now, where have we heard that before? What has happened to integrity in today's world? At times it is almost too depressing and discouraging to even read or hear the news. If politicians and heads of companies aren't the culprits themselves, they know the practice is taking place and yet do nothing.

I suppose it stems from greed and the desire for more and more money, which leads to more and more power, but people like this have to be intelligent individuals. Doesn't it occur to them that they are unlikely to get by with their dishonesty and deception?

What a sad state the world appears to be in. If it wasn't for efforts like "Rock for Darfur" to remind us that greed is not the only force driving human beings, it would almost be too much to take!

"Rock for Darfur"

MySpace has not only had a change in user population, but apparently is also working on changing its reputation. Most often cited as the online community through which adult predators seek their teenage victims, in discussions I have heard, MySpace is rarely talked about in any positive sense; they are usually condemned as the vehicle for adult predators to find their prey.

According to Oct. 11 Digital Music News Daily Snapshot, MySpace is initiating a humanitarian outreach program for Sudan, in conjunction with relief organization Oxfam. The program, "Rock for Darfur," will feature concerts by well-known artists with part of the proceeds going to the relief efforts, and endorsements and pleas for assistance from stars such as Samuel L. Jackson and George Clooney.

This should help the reputation of MySpace in the eyes of some people and can certainly bring massive awareness to the horrors occuring in Sudan. This may also be a reflection of the change in the age of the user population now seen in MySpace.

This is said to be the largest philanthropic effort by MySpace to date. Whatever the motivating factor for this effort, I believe it is a good move on the part of MySpace and certainly a much needed project for the people of Sudan. Way to go, MySpace!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Only a week after it began airing on Sirius Satellite Radio, the ad for Sinus Buster - the "first ever radio commercial with profanity," according to SiCap Industries, developer of the product - has been pulled; actually the offensive word has just been removed from the ad. Digital Music News reports that SiCap Industries president, Wayne Perry, commented that they did not want to "put Sirius in a sticky situation," and "give their enemies a venue for complaints."

I don't understand this decision. Not that I am an advocate of profanity in the media, but it seems to me that they are "wimping out." Since Sirius is subscription-based radio and free from FCC restrictions covering terrestrial radio stations, wouldn't listeners of relatively unregulated radio expect that they might hear language they would not on most other radio stations? If Howard Stern gets by with some of his crudeness on Sirius, why is an ad with the s-word any different?

Individuals chose to pay for it and chose to listen to it. I may be wrong, but if Satellite radio audiences decrease, I think it will be due to reasons other than profanity - in a commercial or used by Howard Stern.

Monday, October 09, 2006

MySpace population aging

As a member of an "older generation," it was interesting to me to read in today's Digital Music News that "over half of MySpacers are now over the age of 35." I'm glad to hear that, for a couple of reasons.

Social networking sites seem to be geared to the young, at least it appeared that way to me in looking into some of them over the past few months. Most of the time, I didn't even know what they were talking about.

As for MySpace, the 12-17 year olds were the ones most talked about who used it. According to the analysis done by comScore, teens 12-17, who accounted for about one-quarter of MySpace users in August 2005, have now decreased by about one-half that many. And, the number of users 35 years and older has increased as have the users who are 55+ (see chart).

If that trend continues, maybe I will be able to participate in online music communities without feeling like I'm from another planet. Also, since our M2W2 music typically appeals to adults, maybe more so than teens, having more adults on social networking communties can help with the marketing of M2W2.

I have really felt out of place when I have visited online music communities. It will be good to have others around who are as out of the " hip music loop" as I am.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Paul Resnikoff's article, "Are Paid Downloads Dead," in the Oct. 6, Digital Music News Daily Snapshot is indeed worrisome to me, a new participant in a digital music venture. Since the business model for M2W2 is based on digital distribution and sales, paid downloads are a major part of the life-blood of the business.

With the price of downloads so low now, I don't know how they can be much lower and prohibiting all P2P sharing would seem to me to be futile, as well as detrimental to viral marketing or advertising.

I realize there are other ways for M2W2 to survive, and hopefully building a fan base will mean that people who really appreciate the music and concept of M2W2 would always be willing to pay for the product. But, if you are in the beginning stage of a business venture of which customers paying to download your music is the basic premise, Resnikoff's title is a pretty scary thought.
The controversy surrounding Microsofts' Zune player continues. It still seems to be a major topic of discussion at every digital music summit and forum across the country. According to October 5 Digital Music News, Daily Snapshot, the discord has spread to Microsoft's longtime partners, such as Napster.

Being new to the digital music and media scene, I wonder if all this controversy is actually based on interoperability concerns or just competition. Does this happen every time a new product comes on the scene or is the dislike of Microsoft by many and the opinion of their being out of touch with the market a big part of the problem.

Knowing as little as I do about all this, I do understand that if major technical problems will be associated with Zune, the inability of the software design to operate with existing PlayForSure stores and players, that is indeed a concern.

I think it will be interesting to see if the public will purchase the player when it hits the market, just because of the novelty of it or if they will forsee the limitations and prefer to spend their money on more conventional players.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I really don't have anything to say tonight. No excitement today - - just an ordinary dull day, part of which was spent in a doctor's office, waiting.

I am very excited for my partner in M2W2. He is part of a band that is recording new music they have written and getting ready to go on tour. The music is totally different from what he composes for our venture, but it is really great music.

This is something he has wanted to do his entire life. And, I am so pleased that he has gotten the opportunity to do it. Just hearing about their rehearsals and listening to the music, it is very plain that everyone involved is having a blast. I can't wait to attend one of their live shows - don't know how long it will be before they get to the east coast, though.

It really makes me feel good knowing that he is having so much fun and also fulfilling a dream. He really deserves this opportunity and this joy. I don't suppose I have known many people who have been able to achieve that. So, it gives me hope that maybe sometimes dreams do come true.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Time flies ... sometimes

If I could chose which days would seem to pass so quickly, of course it would be the ones that are the most painful, the loneliest, the most frustrating, the ones that are just in general "bad." Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

I suppose as you get older time seems to pass more quickly, when you have things you wanted to do in your lifetime and you see more of your life behind you than ahead of you. Time is a strange thing - you can't control it, it moves at the same rate always, but its speed seems to fluctuate often depending on what you are doing or the frame of mind you're in.

In just a couple of weeks, it will be ten years since I started a group for people in my community who have the same disorder I have. I remember that first meeting like it was only yesterday. I had never met or seen anyone else who has the disorder I have, so I had no idea what to expect. I wondered - would they look like me? would they have the same physical and medical problems I had? would I be much worse because of the disorder than any of them? I had only learned that there was a foundation for the disorder, and that there were even other people around who also had it, just a few months prior to setting up this first meeting. I still didn't know many facts about the disorder, but I knew that if other people had it and had gone through what I had, it would be helpful to have a group of people who understood what it was like.

I had never organized a group before, for any reason, and I was very nervous. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do or what I was supposed to say. As the individuals arrived I saw that they all looked as different as any 10 people randomly chosen from the population would. But, when we started to talk about ourselves and our lives with the disorder, so many experiences were the same - - not necessarily the medical problems we had experienced, but the frustration with physicians, the lack of knowledge about the disorder by medical professionals in general, the frustration at not being able to do some of the things your friends and classmates growing up could do and not knowing how to make them or the teachers understand why.

Can it really be 10 years since that first meeting? We have had members come and go. We have lost two members from death due to the disorder. But, there is a core group of people who have stuck it out from the beginning; we have become like family. We have gone through really difficult times and through times of fun. We have laughed a lot and cried a lot. But we have had a common goal - trying to make the lives of other people with the disorder a little better, a little easier than ours have been.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A lesson

I have always had a problem with expecting too much from myself. I'm much harder on myself than I am on anyone else. And, while I recognize that in myself, it's funny how seeing other people do the same thing to themselves seems so much harsher.

When a friend is aggravated with himself because he has been unable to do something he intended to do, or unable to do it on the time scale he had planned, it bothers me that he is so hard on himself, that he is expecting to be perfect and not allowing himself to make a mistake or misjudgement of time. He sees it as failure, starts feeling badly about himself and questioning his abilities.

Because I care about my friend and know how very hard he works to fulfill commitments and act in an honest, noble manner, it hurts me to see him doing this to himself. It is kind of ironic that when I am beating myself up for not meeting my own expectations, it seems legitimate and appropriate, but when I see someone I care about doing the same thing, it is too harsh and uncalled for. There is a lesson in all this I guess, but very difficult to recognize or remember it when I need to. I suppose I should care more about myself and have a bit of the compassion and understanding for myself that I do for others I care about.

The next time I am down on myself and feeling badly about something I have done wrong or not been able to do, I suppose I should try reminding myself that I wouldn't be so rough on a friend. I would have enough concern and love for a friend to allow them to make mistakes or to not be perfect.