Fork in the road

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When President Obama delivers his Saturday radio address, it’s also shot on video and delivered over YouTube. When the news broadcasts excerpt from it, they use the Internet version, the one with pictures. It’s no longer a radio address; it’s a Webcast.

This week I tried to record the second season premiere of Damages, a twisty series with Glenn Close and Ted Danson among others on the FX network. No luck on the first try on Dish Network; the recording lasted 40 of the 70 minutes. A second try on Comcast bombed out after 5 minutes, but it may have been a 5 minute recap of the first season that tripped up the “New” show algorithm. Then on a hunch I checked Comcast’s On Demand repository and sure enough, there was not only the first show of the new season but the whole first season.

Today I get an email from a friend with a pointer to a new Neil Young song, embedded below. It’s the harbinger of spring, the groundhog not seeing his shadow or whatever, the fork in the road where we say what we want and who we want it to over the realtime network. It’s got that Crazy Horse feel mixed with a gnarly hip state of the union vibe. As Neil spits out the lyrics amid chunks of an Apple he’s eating (a visual pun?) the bank is busy repossessing a flat screen TV in the background.

Once the Cartel understands the musicians have repossessed the direct connection to the marketplace, they will quickly come to terms with the New Silent Majority. Apple’s nifty sidestep of DRM and the carrier’s download lock on music attacks both Amazon and MySpace Music where they live. Neil Young has been producing music out of his own studio for years, and this video looks like it was shot out in front of the building it’s housed in. It’s an unbroken circle where the artist controls both the means of production and distribution.

Obama and his team did much the same thing during the campaign, harnessing the realtime network via Blackberry and social networks to coordinate fund raising and campaign infrastructure. The party apparatus was sidestepped, crippling the Clinton machinery and undermining the aura of inevitability and its attendant threat of being shut out in the next administration. It’s like what happened with Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone, which obliterated the 3 minute song length of the Top 40 AM radio single and with it the differentiation with the better sounding wide open FM format.

Fork in the road indeed. Laced with obscenities, political commentary, and humor, the 2009 Neil Young has once again found himself back in the center of what’s about to happen. Not bad for someone who falls outside the 18-49 demo and right in the heart of the richest, most desperate to have a good time, and ready to take no bullshit about what we’re leaving to the next generation.

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