Filed under Things to know

20 Chinese Things

20 Things in Chinese

My free e-book, The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online is finally available in Chinese.

It was translated months ago. I was the bottleneck. I was quite nervous about formatting and laying it out, and so I put it off for ages. For which I apologise.

It’s a bit of an epic. 120 pages. The English version comes in at 96 pages. I had professional layout assistance with the original. I’ve had a go at the new version myself in true DIY style. My guess is that I’ve introduced some errors along the way, not reading Chinese and all…

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100 Things

This conversation is responsible for my next book

Sometimes speculative public funding works. Friends of mine went to South By Southwest Interactive. They’re smart people, they’re from Birmingham, and the idea was that they would bring back new perspectives and new technologies that would help the creative and economic wellbeing of the city as a whole. As far as I’m concerned, this was a resounding success.

Yesterday, they met up to chat about what they’d learned from it – and they put it online, live, as they chatted. I saw it after the fact, as you can here. Sadly, three of the six participants spend most of the time off-camera – but even so, I actually found this inspiring.

And here’s the important bit: I’m actually going to do try and do something interesting because this happened.

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What is this internet thing?

I’ve made the observation in the past that the internet can be thought of as being like electricity, and all of the different things that can plug into it are like appliances. Web browsers, email software, instant messengers, media players and so on.

I’ve also made the observation that quite a lot of the time, when we use the one of these things – say, the web – to do online music, the effect is a bit like trying to dry your hair with a toaster. It’ll do the job, but it feels like there’s probably a better way to approach this.

So now that we’ve got that idea lodged in your head, let’s talk about the actual characteristics of the internet. Which means that we also need to talk about the characteristics of digital media generally. And to do that, let me tell you about the next generation of my own family.

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First principles part 3: Music + Online

So that’s what they mean separately. What do they mean when you say them together?

You’ll remember that when I say ‘music’, I am not only talking about recordings of music. I’m talking about the whole medium of popular music and all of the stages of its production, distribution, promotion and consumption. Likewise, you’ll recall that when I say Online, I’m not just talking about web pages. I’m talking about the whole ecology of the online environment. The electricity into which we can plug so many internet appliances.

So having come up with something of a working definition of what I mean when I say ‘online’ and what I mean when I say ‘music’ it will hopefully be instructive to look at the two of them as a single idea: Music Online – or, to put a slightly different flavour to it, Online Music. Because the order in which you say those words gives a subtle shift to what it can mean, what you can do with that meaning conceptually, and therefore what you do as a result.

‘Music Online’ is music that has been put into an online environment. It’s music, first and foremost, and now it happens to be online. ‘Online Music’ is music that is characterised by its online-ness. What sort of music is it? It’s Online Music.

I’m interested in both.

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