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New Media Happenings Online

From Sundance to Bill Maher to Larry Lessig, digital life is transforming entertainment. However, it’s still not going to help you make it big. But at least you won’t get cancer.
January 20, 2006

Sundance is upon us, and the traditional media will once again descend upon Park City, Utah, looking for this year’s breakout hits. However, the Hollywood Reporter has an interesting piece about how the blogosphere has helped transform the independent movie circuit.

Also, Amazon.com announced it would have a weekly entertainment show online, hosted by Bill Maher. The idea: spotlight authors and musicians – who, one can only assume, will be prominently sold on Amazon. Maybe QVC is on to something.

Yet the digital world doesn’t seem to be doing much for those trying to break into the entertainment business. Reuters has a story about “one of the first” bands to break out online. (Actually, the first band to do that was Fisher, which hit it big through MP3.com.)

The heavyweights, though, are still the heavyweights, as Larry Lessig stole my writing partner’s idea to host a virtual book tour. Yesterday, Lessig made an appearance in Second Life.

And my friends over at Apple are having a time. First, the company had to back-track on its iTunes store, which was potentially collecting data on user’s activities (or, as the BBC puts it: An investigation by bloggers found that the recommendation system used unique identifiers for each user in a way that could compromise privacy); and, second, a company that sells video iPods may find itself running afoul of the law, by pre-loading DVDs onto the devices before shipping them to customs.

We don’t want to end on a downer, though, so here’s some good news. With all of this entertainment moving to PCs and mobile devices, you’ll be happy to know that using handhelds will not cause cancer.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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