Merzbow Inspires Podcast Reflections
A new underground music podcast has set itself a mighty challenge: to listen to and discuss one-by-one the albums of Japanese noise godfather Merzbow. Each episode of Merzcast sees Greh Holger of Chondritic Sound and another musician or noise fan sit down together to absorb a particular album by Masami Akita and reflect on it afterwards. […]
The podcast episodes are lengthy and detailed, with the contributors breaking down the album track by track, dropping thoughts on equipment, effects, track titles and more. Pictures posted online show sheets of paper with notes on each track written during the listening sessions …
I love the idea of this podcast. Merzbow is a tough swallow for most and it might be a challenge to keep the podcast fresh over hundreds of brutal noise releases. I’ll check out at least a couple of episodes and am curious how it’ll shake out.
I’m intrigued by the idea of a podcast diving into a singular sonic oeuvre. I’m sure something like this has been done before but I think there are unexplored ways to combine the album-listening experience with the podcast format. Of course, there are music clearance issues to consider. But the podcast doesn’t have to actually contain the music. How about a podcast host telling the listener when to start an album at home, and then the discussion is edited to coincide with songs as they play in real time?
Spotify’s Podcast Ambitions Are Clear
Not only has Spotify acquired Gimlet Media, a podcast producer and network, for around $230 million but it has also bought Anchor, a startup that makes it easier for people to record and distribute their own podcasts.
The company says it isn’t done — it says it has other podcast acquisitions in mind, and that it expects to spend up to $500 million on deals this year.
Spotify is taking the Netflix model, in short. As the company grows, it’s inevitable that established record labels will start charging higher licensing fees. Podcasts, however, is something that Spotify can buy and own as exclusive content. If it green-lights the right shows, it could pull users away from third-party podcast apps and then slowly persuade them to take out a premium subscription. Anchor, too, gives Spotify the potential to rapidly build a YouTube-style distribution network.
The Gimlet Media deal is a glimpse of where Spotify is headed, but, coupled with the Anchor acquisition, we’re seeing the platform’s transformation into a different kind of company. As Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek
We Would Call That a Demon
On a fascinating episode of Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human podcast, “technologist, futurist, inventor, and mage” Mark Pesce has a fascinating observation about social media’s knack for social engineering:
What is Facebook doing? It’s watching your responses to build a simulation – simulacra, really – of you and then it can check against that simulacra what your emotional state is. Okay, so, it’s built an A.I. that can essentially read and tamper with your emotional state. If this were the 14th century and I talked about evoking something that could then tamper with you emotionally and that you would feed energy that it would feed back to you in a different form – we would call that a demon.
There’s also a meatier-than-usual post on Kottke.org by Tim Carmody about where the web went wrong and how the spirit of blogging might point to the desired way forward:
A lot of the efforts to reshape social media, or to walk away from it in favor of RSS feeds or something else, are really attempts to recapture those utopian elements that were active in the zeitgeist ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago. They still exercise a powerful hold over our collective imagination about what the internet is, and could be, even when they take the form of dashed hopes and stifled dreams.
These days I’m thinking about this stuff all of the time. I know I’m hardly the only one.