Archive for February 2008

DOES blog, social network buzz correlate to better album sales?

February 20, 2008

A week or so ago Ars technica published a story about some research looking into how chatter on blogs, number of myspace friends or mainstream reviews correlated with sales.

The story was then picked up by other reporting services/aggregators, like Musically, who reported the story as Blog buzz could drive album sales, research suggests. The Musically take on the story suggests causality between blog posts and album sales and goes on to say that the number of MySpace friends a band has also correlates to sales (which the original research does not say).

In the research paper itself the key phrase buried deep is: “…it is natural to ask whether it is reasonable to conclude that increased blog chatter really causes an increase in sales since it does, after all, precede sales. It is not possible to make such a conclusion based on this study.” In fact later on they explicitly caution against assumptions of causality. They go on to talk about various correlated variables. This study only looks at physical sales anyway, and then only Amazon, and then not actual sales but a guess based on Amazon.com sales ranks. Start to see the holes?Among their ideas for future studies includes taking into account the sentiment of blog posts which I think is when it gets interesting.

Sadly, what I think this story really illustrates is how the pressure to find news makes some editors post half baked stories and before you know it everyone in the industry has only read a wrong, short edit concluding things that are half true at best.

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P2P not legalised in Italy

February 5, 2008

Seems that tech site Ars Technica slipped up in reporting that Italy had inadvertently legalised peer to peer. Whilst the news has predictably spread like wildfire all over the blogosphere and tech press it is not entirely true. More to come…

more Kevin Kelly

February 4, 2008

“The odd thing about free technology is that the “free as in beer” part is actually a distraction. As I have argued elsewhere (see my 2002 New York Times Magazine article on the future of music for example) the great attraction of “free” music is only partially that it does not cost anything. The chief importance of free music (and other free things) is held in the second English meaning of the word: free as in “freedom.” Free music is more than piracy because the freedom in the free digital downloads suddenly allowed music lovers to do all kinds of things with this music that they had longed to do but were unable to do before things were “free.” The “free” in digital music meant the audience could unbundled it from albums, sample it, create their own playlists, embed it, share it with love, bend it, graph it in colors, twist it, mash it, carry it, squeeze it, and enliven it with new ideas. The free-ization made it liquid and ‘free” to interact with other media. In the context of this freedom, the questionable legality of its free-ness was secondary. It didn’t really matter because music had been liberated by the free, almost made into a new media. Technology wants to be free, as in free beer, because as it become free it also increases freedom. The inherent talents, capabilities and benefits of a technology cannot be released until it is almost free. The drive toward the free unleashes the constraints on each species in the technium, allowing it to interact with as many other species of technology as is possible, engendering new hybrids and deeper ecologies of tools, and permitting human users more choices and freedoms of use. As a technology grows in abundance and cheapness, it is more likely to find its appropriate niche which it can sustain itself and support other technologies in commodity mode. As technology heads toward the free it unleashes the only lasting thing it can: options and possibilities.”

‘Better than free’

February 4, 2008

Read this from Kevin Kelly.

It’s a great dynamic – just as your main product goes digital and ubiquitous what you need to add value is more physical world product (concerts, merchandise) and exclusivity/personalisation (getting things first or more inside track).

Now let’s see the future please…