Privacy Concerns and Social Networks

myspace facebook privacyIt was refreshing to see MySpace break out of its relative silence this week with a note addressing user privacy settings on social networks. Good to see you again MySpace, though we sometimes forget you’re still around we’re no longer threatening to delete our long-nascent profiles en masse or anything like that.

MySpace served itself well by publishing the note MySpace Empowers Users With New, Simpler Privacy Setting in outlining the company’s ethos and it’s mission to enable both discovery and self-expression for users since its inception in 2003.

But MySpace’s memo falls short on definition and lacks any sort of road map (beyond “in the coming weeks…”) to give users the “we’re in this together” feeling that Facebook so often overlooks. And it’s more than 3 weeks after the Facebook open graph-api-privacy hubbub broke out. Facebook privacy concerns made headlines again on May 5 when a glitch that provided access to some users’ private information was uncovered (and allegedly patched within hours).

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The National Go Live on Vevo / YouTube for Red Hot

And you were wondering just what D. A. Pennebaker‘s been up to, eh? I watched much of this live on Vevo’s YouTube channel specific to this show – great quality at 1080p and on-the-fly production. When I think Pennebaker, I think Don’t Look Back, most naturally, however, it turns out he has been somewhat active of late with his partner dating back to The War Room, Chris Hegedus and Pennebaker Hegedus Films.

It’s possible to embed each track (individually) from the 10-song set via Vevo.com, as well as YouTube. Anyway, here are a couple of my favorite The National cuts as performed live last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, benefiting Red Hot. Enjoy.

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Apple to Shut Down Lala.com, Continue Sucking the Fun out of Music Discovery

Why must Apple crap on everything I love. First – the mp3 player gets abolished by big bro iPod. Now, Lala.com – which I’ve participated in since Beta – is on a respirator for one more month before Apple officially pulls the plug.

lala.com original logo apple eats
Apple’s acquisition of Lala.com in late 2009, led to speculation that an online store — independent of the iTunes application platform — would take over the space. An iTunes.com — or iTunes in the cloud — if you will.

Lala’s humble beginning in 2006 was based on a business model involving the actual physical swapping of CDs through the mail. Or as they not-so-humbly declared at launch, “The Largest Record Store on Earth.” The site would be full of album covers and users would check “have” or “want” and then arrange to send and receive via Lala’s Netflix-like shipping envelopes, for $1 each.

As the tide turned decidedly away from CDs and toward digital music purchases, along with pressure and legal action from artists and labels, Lala launched 2.0 by 2008. The new Lala was a music “community” from which you could play, share, and discover music. Essentially taking the ultimate music store and putting it in the cloud with licenses for unlimited listens of songs and album at a fraction of what iTunes and Amazon charged – about 10 cents.

Lala.com’s valuation jumped to over $100 million by the end of 2009, aided by a $20 million investment by Warner Music Group. Warner dumped both Lala and iMeem in May 2009 citing losses of $33 million. Lala was acquired for an alleged $80-85 million by Apple in December 2009 (or as low as $17 million and even $3 million if you ask some).

Today Lala is integral to the music industry and serves up one of Billboard’s few weekly charts based on Web-plays and purchases.

On May 31th the service will be put down and customers who’ve enjoyed the fast rise and faster fall of the service are not too happy about it and now have until June 14th to apply for iTunes credits.

I wonder how many or the services that I listed on my September 2008 Socializing the Music Industry Guide even still exist. Here’s a list of alternatives posted at RWW today. I’m fortunate to be an early user of Spotify.

Personally, I’m still happy to buy CDs directly from the bands at their shows or from the labels. Otherwise I buy mp3’s at Amazon. Apple is evil.

Official note from LaLa.com posted below:

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Facebook Goes Live with Eventbrite Integration

Facebook Eventbrite Partnership Goes Live on Event Pages

I Just noticed this for the first time moments ago — the first fruits of the Facebook / Eventbrite partnership that was sealed last month. I believe this is somewhat of a first for Facebook — actually marrying an exclusive partner into enabling event payments. It sure seems to be part of an ongoing trend — Facebook began taking PayPal payments in mid-February. Why not just incorporate PayPal into Facebook events? It probably wouldn’t be as messy as the Eventbrite link-up is, at least at launch. For months Eventbrite has leveraged Facebook Connect and users’ propensity for cross-posting about events they had RSVP’d for — one of the more effective uses of Connect, to bolster paid registration by maintaining a presence on users’ Facebook News Feeds. If nothing else this proves Eventbrite to be a winner in the who-will-be-the-next eVite.com sweepstakes.

Upcoming Facebook changes will remove this box. Save your music!

Music No More?

But is this just a test? Is it just a partnership or a precursor to acquisition? Will we see gold coins? Remember, Facebook once co-opted iLike and renamed the iLike app THE “Music” app. iLike was later acquired by MySpace (last August) and now the iLike-powered music app is about to vanish from everyone’s Facebook wall.

Music no more?

It is also now impossible to feature photos and videos in an event post — another sign that Facebook is looking to focus on paid event implementation. Any photos I post as an admin show up on the wall but they will not appear by default as new comments take precedence. Let’s walk through the Eventbrite + Facebook process. It’s not at all intuitive from either the event host or user point of view and in fact, it isn’t truly implemented into Facebook — it’s little more than a link to Eventbrite.

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Wilco performs ‘Country Disappeared’ on the Take Away Show

I love what La Blogotheque is up to and obviously I’m not the only one. As I blogged about recently, they’re working with Invisible Children to bring to and document live music Uganda, where we’re hoping to soon see an end to Africa’s longest war. La Blogotheque recently caught up with one of my fave bands, Wilco.

Sometimes we tell ourselves that no, the band is too famous, too important, that their label would never let them do a Take Away Show. We have a fantasy list: Radiohead, Tom Waits, Chuck Berry, Cat Power. Wilco. They announced their date at Olympia in Montreal just after I had touched down in the city. Wilco, the band whose tours never stop in Paris. I bought a ticket right away; a good idea, as the concert sold out in weeks. And then I asked around. What if we tried to film them? The answer was unanimous and enthusiastic. I sent out an email, without really believing it would come to anything. The next morning, their publicist called.

Working with [Derrick->http://www.astorytoldwell.com, we knew that we would have less than an hour, but we didn’t know if all of the members of the group would play; we were told that it would depend on where we filmed. They wouldn’t have the time to wander through the streets; it rained that day anyway. But they were prepared for us, had placed all their instruments and some amps in the back of the hall, set up some red lamps to create some ambiance. And above all, we got the entire six. I can’t help but feel a little silly in moments like that, camera zoom in hand and a smile from ear to ear. But I can’t help myself, when there is magic happening I feel like a kid. Tweedy’s voice without amplification, Cline’s attitude — who has to be one of the most elegant guitarists on the planet —, Kotche, visibly moved… It’s decided, tomorrow I’m calling Thom Yorke – you never know.