Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its online iTunes store.
(In order to get Ms. Palin's attention, I use an unforgivable number of ice hockey terms in this post.)
Dear Sarah Palin,
During your resignation speech on Sunday, you complained the media is constantly roughing you up. Well, I hate to pile on. Really, I do. Especially since you've been stuck in your own end for months.
But heads up, Ms. Palin, because a website with your name on it is stealing my blog content. It says you recently posted Iranians Worldwide Roll Out Green Scroll Against Ahmadinejad (SLIDESHOW, UPDATES). I wrote that piece, but I don't see any links to my original story. In the blogosphere, that's called stealing content.
And for the record, this isn't the first time you've taken a cheap shot at me. Earlier this month, you posted Iranian women: We Feel cheated, Frustrated, and Betrayed without linking to my original story.
So it's gloves off, Ms. Maverick.
Why? Because it appears the SarahPal.in website is for sale, which means somebody is loading it up with stolen content from me, the New York Times, and others -- in order to make a few bucks. And while we're on the subject of money, may I remind you the SarahPAC (your political action committee) has already raised more than $1 million according to your spokesperson Meghan Stapleton. Do you know what I get paid to write Huffington Post blogs? (Hint: it's not a million dollars.)
For all I know, Ms. Palin, you might not even be aware of the SarahPal.in website. But it has your name on it, so go for a little skate and turn the webmaster's lights out.
* * *
I arrived at the BlogHer conference in Chicago unsure of exactly what I would find. Would it be like a Star Trek convention where everyone else was an insider about Spock's difficult childhood or Captain Kirk's passion for Irish dance music? Would I be the person who didn't speak the language? Didn't get the jokes?
Although I have a website with my own blog, blog frequently for platforms such as this one and have succumbed to Facebook and Twitter as part of the new world order, I still don't feel very up-to-the-minute. My technological know how is always lagging. I worried that I would be an outsider among the 2,500 women assembling this past weekend from around the country to talk about the intricacies, future and nuances of the female social media world. BlogHer functions as the launching pad to bring women who are hoping to connect on issues and learn more together.
My worries were completely unfounded. Much like heading into a book group where you know no one, I felt instantly sucked into the slipstream, connecting with some of the attendees at the display booths, on the conference floor and in conversation after the panel.
There were women of all ages, young and tattooed, middle-aged with sensible shoes and Mom-ish. I met a high school economics teacher from Nebraska who blogs about starting your own business. There was the self-proscribed Thrifty Mom who blogs about saving money and clipping coupons.
Just like what quilting bees and book clubs, socials and teas in small towns have provided throughout time; the world of blogging is now connecting women from remote towns and dense urban areas to like-minded readers outside of their communities. I was surprised to learn that many of the veteran bloggers write as many as six or seven different blogs, making their content so vertical, they can build a base of dedicated readers.
"Generalists have a harder time getting audiences today unless they have an established name," explained Bonin Bough, Global Director of Digital and Social Media at PepsiCo.
In this way someone can connect with people who embroider, or with just marine moms or coin collectors, splintering the blog universe into its own version of Google.
The two-day conference included seminars and breakout sessions on topics such as speed dating, Mommy blogging, Geek Labs to learn more techno-skills, microblogging, queer blogging and more.
"There are so many opportunities for veteran and rookie bloggers to connect in real time with like-minded women and brands," said Beth Feldman, founder of RoleMommy.com. "Think of it as a sorority rush where you don't learn the secret handshake until you've proven yourself a trustworthy candidate."
The BlogHer conference has an Oscars feel, as one participant described it. There are parties and product giveaways. The excitement builds. Companies like PepsiCo, HP, Strawberry Shortcake and Ragu were among those who came to sponsor sessions or seminars and let participants sample what's new. Collectively these women bloggers reach millions of readers and wield a great deal of consumer muscle. What they have to say can really carry some weight.
One of the interesting things to me was the off-line discussion I had with an established blogger about the "new blogger generation versus the old." Most of the original bloggers are writers, journalists, experts in their field and authors.
But the newer groups joining the blogging world are, for the most part, former marketers whose product review blogs are very attractive to brands. The most popular product reviewers get along well with the original group since they earn revenue on their sites traditionally, through banner ad placements. But some newer bloggers haven't always come clean about being compensated, creating resentment in some cases.
While most publicists reach out to bloggers without paying for reviews, there are marketing companies that offer payment or gift cards for bloggers to post reviews on their sites. As long as a blogger discloses they're being compensated, that's fair game. And now that the FTC has stepped in to the blogging world, these practices will be closely monitored (check out disclosurepolicy.org for details). The bottom line seems to be that as long as bloggers have an authentic voice, and are honest about product reviews, it's all fair in the blog world.
I was at the conference to moderate the PepsiCo "Live With Purpose" panel with Jill Beraud, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at the organization. As part of PepsiCo's corporate commitment to "performance with purpose" they wanted to create a conversation around how women live with purpose in their own lives. They had invited me to come as a mother, writer and co-founder of www.Remind.org, a foundation that helps wounded veterans and their families, created in the wake of our own families experience with my husband Bob's injures in Iraq. Our www.tweettoremind.org campaign is an example of how social media can be used to generate funds for a good cause, having raised over $150,000 to date for wounded military families.
The panel included Maria Niles, a blogger at Fizz; Paula Gregorowicz, a life coach; Anita Tedaldi Doberman, a military mom with five children (whom she brought to the conference) and whose husband has been deployed five times; Krystyn Heide, a web designer and developer; Erin Kotecki Vest, a producer for BlogHer.com; Jeanne Beacom, a fashionista; Aliza Sherman, a web pioneer and social media strategist; and Beth Feldman founder of RoleMommy.com and BeyondPR.
What followed was a lively discussion about how each of these influential bloggers find purpose in their lives. From around the country, hundreds of others followed the discussion on BlogTalk radio and weighed in on twitter. One woman tweeted about how caring for her 80 year-old amputee father gives her purpose and another tweeted about taking her son to military hospitals to visit the wounded. It was an hour of demonstrating what women do best, handle the many roles in their lives and still dig down to give back.
Beraud asked women if the sluggish economy meant they were cutting back on giving in any way. The consensus was that if they couldn't give financially, women gave more of their time, their family's time and used the blogosphere to connect others to causes that mattered to them personally.
PepsiCo will be quantifying the entire panel discussion and tweets to begin a benchmark about how women live with purpose that will be measured going forward.
As I left the conference, still absorbing all that I had seen and learned, I realized I wasn't in fact, all that behind the times. I was just like every other women in the blogosphere, eager to connect, eager to talk to others about my cause and happy to get back to my kids and my own bed.
One of Ernest Hemingway's grandchildren, Seán Hemingway, who works as an associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has decided to take a hatchet to a work of art. The mutilated product will be placed on public exhibit next month.
Of course A Moveable Feast is a literary work rather than a painting or sculpture, so maybe Seán doesn't know what he is doing. Until recently he has contented himself with ego trips getting his name on cut and paste anthologies of minor Hemingway writings. Now, according to an account in the New York Times
, Seán has decided to take on a wholesale hack job of perhaps Hemingway's best regarded later work to put out his amateur nightmare notion of a "restored edition."
Supposedly, as reported as fact by an all too credulous Times reporter, Motoko Rich, Hemingway's last wife Mary cobbled "it together from shards of the unfinished manuscript he left behind. She created a final chapter that dealt with the dissolution of Hemingway's first marriage and the beginning of his relationship with Pauline, building some of it from parts of the book he had indicated he did not want included."
This occasioned Seán's "removing part of that final chapter from the main body of the book and placing it in an appendix, adding back passages from Hemingway's manuscript that Seán believes paint his grandmother in a more sympathetic light." Additionally the "restored edition" "is made up of the 19 chapters that Hemingway wanted to include, in the order he had placed them. The remaining 10 chapters are moved into a section called 'Additional Paris Sketches.'"
Not so fast. If the credulous Times reporter had actually paid as much attention to Mary Hemingway's careful May 10, 1964 account of "The Making of the Book" in her own newspaper as she did to the blather of this self-promoting grandson she might have written a very different story.
If nothing else, "Miss Mary" was a first class reporter. How in the same paragraph can the Times reporter quote Mary Hemingway as saying: "Hemingway 'must have considered the book finished'" and then go on and state as fact: "Most notably, Mary inserted that final chapter about the end of Hemingway's first marriage?" Take a look at a paragraph from Mary Hemingway's article.
...I went over the book and gave it the same hard-headed editing I would have done if I had been copying from Ernest's original typing and hand script as I used to do in Cuba. Working toward lucidity I put in or removed commas, checked spelling, sometimes but rarely cut out repetitious words or phrases which I felt sure were accidental rather than intentional or for phonetic or poetic effect. With Harry Brague, Ernest's editor at Scribner's, I made a few further cuts when we went over the manuscript together, and we switched about a couple of the chapters for continuity's sake. No one added any word to the book.[emphasis added]
As Hemingway acolyte A. E. Hotchner pointed out in a passionate Op Ed in the New York Times "Don't Touch A Moveable Feast", "The manuscript was not left in shards but was ready for publication...What I read on the plane coming back from Cuba [from an editing trip in 1957] was essentially what was published. There was no extra chapter created by Mary."
And Mary Hemingway backs that up in her article which carries a detailed account of why from her experience with her husband's writing for many years she thought it was a finished manuscript: "After Ernest died I found the typescript of A Moveable Feast in a blue box in his room in our house in Ketchum, Idaho, together with his dated draft of his preface and a list of titles, a check mark against this title as well as several others. Making a list of titles and choosing one were the final chores Ernest performed for a book. He must have considered the book finished except for the editing which even the most meticulous manuscripts require."
Hotchner has his direct experience and I have my own. I was trying to get a memoir out of a brilliant cantankerous retired general named C. T."Buck" Lanham, while head editor at a publishing house back in the 1970s. Buck had been one of the very few men Hemingway had admired. He had been commanding officer of the infantry regiment Hemingway followed through France after the Normandy Invasion.
They became quite close friends, and Buck's stories about the realities and illusions of the Hemingway myth looked like it had the makings of a best seller to me. There was a lovely story of Hemingway and Lanham arriving at the Ritz on a lightning trip to liberated Paris in 1944 where Hemingway had arranged to have "The Kraut" (aka Marlene Dietrich) in Buck's bed at the Ritz as a birthday present.
One of Hemingway's worst novels -- Across the River and Through the Trees -- had a principal character named "Colonel Cantwell" loosely based on Buck. Talking about the disappointing works of Hemingway's last years one day Buck said: "He thought they were pretty bad himself, which was why he thought The Old Man and the Sea got over-praised, but there was one he told me he loved while he was working on it: the return to his youth in A Moveable Feast. He was just finishing it when he died. And he made sure he finally could publicly acknowledge how badly he had treated his first wife Hadley."
At the same time I met Hadley Hemingway, as we were publishing Alice Sokoloff's Hadley: The First Mrs. Hemingway. For some reason Hadley and I were talking about the awful row at Scribner's years ago caused by their attempts to get Hemingway to pull a nasty reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald from The Snows of Kilimanjaro (ironically, Fitzgerald was another Scribner's author who had introduced Hemingway to Scribner's) and Hadley volunteered: "He certainly was generous to me in A Moveable Feast. He always said one day he would try to recapture those wonderful days for both of us. And I saw in it again, for the first time in years, the sweet young man I had married."
So what is going on here? Mary Hemingway clearly didn't "insert" that final chapter the Times reporter called " ...a wistful paen to Hadley..." that Sean is so eager to drop part of into an "appendix." It is no "appendix"... it is clearly a key part of the artistic culmination of the book itself.
While no work that has not been seen through the printer by the author right until publication can ever be regarded as a definitive "final" work to a scholar, all the literary evidence available shows A Moveable Feast is as close to a final publishable artistic work as it could be under the circumstances. The most likely reason for Sean's "restoration" is shown in his 81 year old Uncle Patrick's statement to the New York Times: "I thought the original edition was just terrible about my mother."
He is right. It is. Particularly in that haunting last chapter. In his final years Hemingway was as tough on himself about his dumping Hadley, a woman eight years his senior whose small trust fund income had been their primary support as he was on Patrick's mother Pauline Pfeiffer, a much richer woman a mere four years older, who had struck up an acquaintance with Hadley in Paris to get to him.
One of the fringe benefits is still sitting in Key West where Pauline's Depression-era $20,000 swimming pool has Hemingway's "last cent" one penny contribution pressed into its cement and shown to tourists. Hanging around "living well" with Gerald and Sara Murphy on the Riviera had had its influence on young Hemingway while he was quarreling about definitions of the rich with Fitzgerald. Hadley did not fit in. Chic Vogue reporter Pauline did.
But Hemingway's travels and Pauline's understandable desire to spend time with their two sons, Patrick and Gregory, slowly pulled them apart until after 10 years of marriage, Hemingway was off to cover the Spanish Civil War with a convenient affair with his next wife, journalist Martha Gellhorn already in place. And Pauline threw her support to the Fascists in Spain and a good divorce lawyer.
She died suddenly in 1951 at a friend's house in Hollywood after a heated telephone argument with Hemingway about their youngest son Gregory's latest run in with the law. Hemingway never forgave Gregory for what he felt was his responsibility for his mother's death and Gregory never forgave his father for his behavior towards him in his later years. He wrote a confused but interesting book about it: Papa: A Personal Memoir.
Gregory had a miserable life, suffering from bi-polar disorder, drug abuse, and acute alcoholism. He also had four wives and eight children. According to the AP report in October 2001 "Gregory Hemingway, the youngest son of macho novelist Ernest Hemingway, died a transsexual by the name of Gloria in a cell at a women's jail, authorities said."
And Gregory is Seán's father.
Since so far there is no literary justification for the hack job Seán has made of a literary masterpiece, it looks like payback time. The returning Stuarts after their Restoration in 1670 dug up Oliver Cromwell's body, the man they saw as the author of their misfortune, and hung it in chains. As a representative of the Pfeiffer-Hemingway clan, Seán has elected to dig up the literary corpus of his grandfather's work and rearrange it to suit his puerile and personal fancies.
Unfortunately publishing has changed in the past forty years into a place where that kind of thing can happen. Forty years ago, Mary Hemingway worked with Charles Scribner, Jr, Harry Brague, Carlos Baker and others in the landmarked Scribner's Building on Fifth Avenue and carefully did her best over the years to put together the last Hemingway manuscripts for publication.
They had a lot of information, often confusing, direct from Hemingway about his intentions, his fears, and his concerns. They had no other agenda than to do what they could to carry out his wishes. In A Moveable Feast, they succeeded admirably in publishing a work that those who knew Hemingway overwhelmingly supported as reflecting his thought and writing at the time.
On the other hand, Seán Hemingway exhibits the inclinations of a cultural commissar who can make people larger and smaller, or appear and disappear on top of his version of the Lenin Kremlin tomb to suit his current agenda with no sense of any obligation to history, art, or scholarship. That such a person should have the ability to access and change an author's copyrighted work in an act of literary vandalism is outrageous and a story in itself.
But to a former publisher like me, it is just as outrageous for the rump of once great publishing house of Scribner's, which has been swallowed up into Simon and Schuster, to conspire with him to do so. Like a once great oil field, Scribner's today is largely a name that covers dozens of stripper wells that bob patiently away extracting the last royalties from the backlist while copyrights last. The "restored" version of A Moveable Feast goes right up there with "New Coke" as a bad conception that may well hurt the base business and the imprint seriously.
Seán's older sister Lorian wrote a Pulitzer-nominated A Walk on Water which courageously dealt with her relationship with her and Seán's father, Gregory. If an original work is too much to hope from Seán, he might at least find a useful exercise for his editorial inclinations. He should really get rid of that cutesy accent over his first name.
The music industry in general has been slow in playing catch up to the tools of new media. While record labels and publishers are still fighting to maintain ownership of their properties, there's a whole new world of new media elite who are working to find tools to empower musicians and to build a bridge between the new media and the old media.
Whether it's putting music online for free, working to build an online community, or simply starting a dialogue, the folks seeking out answers are quickly replacing the stagnant ways of old media.
I decided to check out the New Music Seminar in New York City this week to find out just how musicians are becoming empowered.
The mastermind behind the conference, Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Entertainment, started the New Music Seminar in 1980, to discuss the future of the business then.
He founded the conference to reach out to a industry that was historically resistant to change. It served as a forum for young entrepreneurs to launch their businesses and make connections, and it became a model for new conferences like South by Southwest.
Since 2000, music revenues have been steadily decreasing. By next year, for the first time ever, digital revenues are expected to exceed physical sales. By 2013, the breakdown will be 80% digital and 20% physical.
"Change will not come if we wait for a record company," said Silverman. "We are the ones we've been waiting for." The conference aims to teach artists how to make more money and less mistakes. Whether you want to be an artist, promoter, manager, or entrepreneur, here are the new rules to make it in the business:
The future is DIY. Learn how to use affordable tools, but remember it's not all about the tools. It's about your craft. Software won't solve all of your problems.
The best marketing is informed by art, not art that you try and inform. You can't create a viral video; that all depends on the audience. But you can create awareness.
If you're an artist, don't borrow money. You can only maintain creative control by maintaining financial control. The opposite applies if you're on the entrepreneurial side. Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, maxed out a dozen credit cards and owed money to everyone he knew before getting his project off the ground. The best advice he ever received was from his wife: "Don't be self-conscious about being an entrepreneur."
There are a ton of places online to sell your music: Amazon, MySpace, iTunes, and TuneCore for starters. But don't underestimate the power of giving away your music for free. Lil Wayne gave his music away for over a year before releasing his album. He worked first to build a connection with his fanbase before asking for any money.
Fans are the new record label. The business now all depends on the relationship between an artist and their fans, most importantly the uber fans, the ones who buy all the merchandise, go to all the shows, and spread the word about their favorite bands.
The key to staying in touch with your fans is through e-mail, the most important data you'll ever collect. Have a sign-up sheet at every show. Have your audience text their e-mails to a road manager's cell at the end of every show and promise to personally stay in touch. Then you'll have both e-mails and area codes. Build an online community by blasting out webcasts, photoshoots, interviews, and even live streaming concerts.
Engage with fans in a meaningful way, nothing forced or fake. We the Kings launched a weekly webisode series, The Kings Carriage, that has collected over 300 million views. They sold 100,000 albums even before the music was on iTunes.
It's dangerous for an artist to spend time on things that aren't artistic. Build a management team to take care of the tools, marketing, and technology. If you're just starting out, enlist a college music lover to build your brand.
Sign any deal as long as it's short-term if it's going to get you noticed. Otherwise you're not going to be on the radar.
Start local, start tribal. The best band success stories come out of a music scene. The Internet has allowed for tribes to become bigger and bigger. Connect with similar bands doing similar music and go on tour with them. Build your own scene and work to break through together.
The White House was hoping that the president's impromptu address of the Skip Gates saga on Friday would effectively sweep the issue under the rug. They didn't get their wish.
The first eight questions for White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during his sit-down with Fox News Sunday centered on Gates' arrests and the comments Barack Obama had made earlier in the week, when he said the Cambridge Police Department had acted stupidly.
Had Gibbs prepared Obama "for a question about Henry Gates' arrest" before that Wednesday night presser, fill-in host Bret Baier wanted to know?
"Did he read the police report beforehand?" he asked as a follow-up.
"Did he determine that he was going to take sides to back his friend to the extent that he did Wednesday night?"
Has he scheduled a time to get a beer with Gates and the arresting officer (which Obama had suggested might happen)?
Does the president still think this was a case of racial profiling?
Did he - Robert Gibbs - suggest during Friday's daily briefing that the Fraternal Order of Police was acting politically when he noted that the group had endorsed John McCain in the 2008 election?
Why bring up the endorsement at all, Baier asked, when Gibbs noted he was just responding to a question of who the Fraternal Order of Police had backed in the election.
And, finally, had the president been compelled to address the Gates issue on Friday because of the news conference held earlier in the day by the Cambridge police officers, in which those officers demanded a presidential apology?
Now, to be certain, Fox News is not the friendliest forum for this administration. And like countless other news outlets, they have been drawn to the racial and political dynamics of the president's involvement in and commentary on the Gates issue. But the White House likely envisioned the Gibbs interview to center on the health care debate. And having that topic come up only as the tenth question of a 15-minute interview (a stimulus question was number nine) can't be what the administration was hoping for. Fortunately for the president, it seems unlikely that the Gates story remains Topic A for discussion past this round of Sunday news programs.
I have followed the Henry Louis Gates story pretty closely this week. It has unquestionably intensified over recent days yet, strikingly, without much new information coming out.
This story is bizarre, if not only because it's lasted on the front pages, and on our lips, as long as it has. It's rare to see a story, its discussion and fallout remain constant for a full week after the event took place. As reactions have poured in, from Boston down to Washington D.C., reporters have followed with acute interest ,and columnists with judgments of what it all means for America.
You could read the police report about the incident and Prof. Gates' version of the events as early as Tuesday of this week. But only once President Obama made his comments on Wednesday night did it seem that everyone's opinions had finally cemented. That's also around the time when the story became more complicated and headed into new directions.
Even with Prof. Gates' allegations of racism in America at the time of the incident, this all began as a local story. The first interviews Prof. Gates granted this week were to a Web site he helped found and to, of all people, his daughter. You can argue that this reflects Prof' Gates mistrust for the media or his careful discretion in illustrating his perspective. Moreover, it demonstrates his savviness in maximizing his disciples' potential for exposure and attention. At the very least, Prof. Gates used the vehicles he had access to at that time.
When those interviews took place, though, there was no thought in anyone's mind that by the next evening President Obama would speak publicly about the incident at his national news conference. Nor could Prof. Gates have anticipated that that decision would propel President Obama to the forefront as the first chair in the fight against racial profiling of Cambridge police officers.
But Thursday, the day after President Obama entered the fray, is the day when the reporting went a bit awry. As the Associated Press began to run these sort of stories, Sgt. Crowley tried his hardest to keep the story in perspective, and largely a local one that national eyes were fixated to. Sgt. Crowley didn't speak to the AP, instead talking openly to WBZTV in Boston, his local affiliate. Sgt. Crowley said:
"I think he's way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts, as he himself stated before he made that comment. I don't know what to say about that. I guess a friend of mine would support my position, too."On that same morning, the Boston Globe ran a positive piece about Sgt. Crowley's contributions to his local community and how those who knew him well believed that the accusations were unwarranted and unjust.
No matter how you view this incident or which side you support, it's clear that some sort of misunderstanding took place between Prof. Gates and the officer. This week, many have framed their arguments and positions around hypothetical situations that could have reversed the course of events: had Sgt. Crowley been black, had Prof. Gates been white, had the witness been more alert. These issues of race are essential components to the story, no doubt. But we've mostly moved on from discussing the facts of the incident and transformed this into an issue of how things could be different. The story in recent days focused on how President Obama faces his first test of race relations. The President's ascent into this already supercharged arena wound up sidetracking the American people from the real divide that had come to light on Ware Street in Cambridge last week.
That is the class divide between the local law enforcement in Cambridge and the Harvard elite who inhabit the area. Buried at the end of an AP story on Thursday was this important tidbit:
Black students and professors at Harvard have complained for years about racial profiling by Cambridge and campus police.Had this story remained a local one, this bit of information would have been much more valuable in framing our opinions and reactions. It's difficult now to re-imagine where we sat just a few days ago and how we would have digested that news.
By granting interviews to his Web site and to his daughter, Prof. Gates appeared to initially approach this as a smaller, local story, but one that reflected something that represented more to him. Sgt. Crowley, once he spoke up, did pretty much the same thing when he addressed local reporters later on in the week. It was President Obama's intervention, though, that turned all of the frustration and outrage into a national dilemma that would inevitably leave one group of people feeling betrayed, disheartened and unsatisfied. What could have probably been resolved over a beer at a Cambridge pub is now going to be tackled at the White House.
This all reminds me of a time in high school when I got into some trouble and was summoned to the principal's office. I hadn't committed the most heinous of acts, but I'd left another student in tears and looking for justice. While the principal considered my punishment, he said that "This should never have reached me."
Sometimes intervention at the highest level only makes things more heated and divisive. As we look ahead, let's hope that President Obama also takes home his "teaching moment."