From the Editors
The comedian Louis CK often shares too much with his audience - do we need so many details of his private man-habits? But he was concerned his fans would share too much when he put video of his new comedy special on his website for $5, with no copy protection. "No DRM, no regional restrictions, no crap," he wrote at louisck.net. "You can download this file, play it as much as you like, burn it to a DVD, whatever." GigaOM says Louie asked fans not to upload the video to BitTorrent or other file-sharing sites, but "within a matter of hours, there were dozens of copies of 'Live at the Beacon Theater' available for free. Share fail? No way - "the interesting thing is that this didn't stop plenty of fans from paying for the video." In more raw honesty, CK posted the financial results a few days into the experiment: more than 100,000 copies sold at $5 for a tidy profit of (subtracting production costs) at least $200,000. Fans of only moderate Internet piracy are cheering! "A win for the Web," proclaims ReadWriteWeb."His experiment shows that with an established enough brand, artists can produce and distribute their work by themselves, without the need for middlemen and extraneous costs." "It's both fascinating and heartening that C.K.'s oh-so-BitTorrentable gambit may serve as a bellwether for undermining Internet piracy and keeping creative types creating," says Vulture of Louie's "unorthodox, showbiz-subverting method."That's right, he's a wealthy rebel. Says GigaOM: "The comedian now joins the alternative rock group Radiohead and DJ mashup artist Girl Talk (both of whom have released "pay what you want" downloads") as an example of how successful a direct-to-fans approach can be." Winsupersite reminds that Steven King published a novella called Riding the Bullet, "the world's first mass-market electronic book," to great success, with over 400,000 downloads in the first 24 hours. Remember, Wired editor at his blog KK.org concluded that an artist "needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living." Louie and Steven King clearly have a bit more support than that.True Fans to make a living." Louie and Steven King clearly have a bit more support than that.
Over at Kotte.org, they're using a different Louis CK video - a scene from his TV show - to illustrate the latest, hippest linguistic fad among young women. No, really. "College-age women end sentences in the lowest vocal register, a creaky vibration called vocal fry, possibly to broadcast themselves as part of a social group." According to whom? BoingBoing explains: "A small sample-set study of young American women to be published in Journal of Voice found a high incidence of 'vocal fry,' a form of low-register speech once classed as a speech disorder." Basically it's sliding your voice so low you end up almost croaking like a frog. An audio example is here. A guy on YouTube demonstrates here. "It could be the hottest trend among young women since the duckface," says Popcruch,which notes that UK's Daily Mail traced the phenomenon to Britney Spears' voice sounding like a machine crank being turned in ...Baby One More Time, and in "the first notes of Ke$ha's hit Blah Blah Blah." Kieran Chapman tries to give the credit where it's due: "Of course, if you listen to NPR you've been hearing this for years, which drives me nuts for the worst offenders (I'm looking your way, every female This American Life reporter). And of course, Liz Phair was doing it before Britney even released an album."
The best soundtrack for the rest of this blog recap, though, with a war just ended (kind of) and holidays on the way, is probably that classic John Lennon song, which you can cue up here. "And so this is Christmas, for weak and for strong, the rich and the poor ones, the road is so long." War is over, blah blah, yeah. American troops arte home from Iraq. "The 'war' is 'over'," shouts The Awl. "A decade of a wildly, wildly, crushingly expensive invasion, that involved more than a million Americans in combat, and the occupation of a country under false pretenses? Let's just agree to not talk about it anymore." RedState still wants to talk: "The question today is what will happen once our troops are removed from Iraq? Who will stop Iran from taking over Iraq?" Robert Creamer at HuffPo has another take: "There is a lot of cynicism in America - a sense that ordinary people can't really have an impact on the big decisions and big institutions of our society. The end of the War in Iraq shows that the cynics are wrong. What began in 2002 as an effort to avert the war in Iraq, grew to a chorus of millions. That movement elected a president who promised to end the war - a president who this week has kept that promise."
Maybe it's fitting (or, just a cheap publicity ploy) that Time magazine has named The Protester its Person of the Year, because "in 2011, protesters didn't just voice their complaints; they changed the world." Hot Air deflates the prize, with ongoing mockery of the Occupy movement in the US: "The most influential and newsworthy person of the year currently occupies space in urban downtown areas, unless you're on the West Coast, where you can find them hanging out at the docks, blocking traffic and making your cost of goods needlessly increase. " But Mediaite thinks, all things considered, the choice is pretty apt: "After being heavily derided for naming Mark Zuckerberg as its 2010 Person of the Year, Time Magazine has bounced back and gotten it right this year."