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ATPM 15.08
August 2009


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by Mark Tennent,

Faster, Cheaper, Better?

Traditional publishing is apparently in decline as the book-buying public shifts away from paper products and moves to electronic versions instead. Dennis Publishing has digital publications such as iMotor, which is arguably better and glossier than a printed magazine because of the rich audiovisual content and free cover price. It probably means the end of the line for grizzled old hacks because journalists will need to be media-friendly for their appearances in the “pages”—i.e. young, attractive, and cheap to employ.

Grizzled old tycoon Rupert Murdoch is recognising the shift from print and debating whether to start charging for the online versions of his newspapers. The problem being that there is a world of free English-language alternatives. Newspapers have already tried to charge for electronic versions of the printed newspaper but run dynamic Web versions alongside, which attract contributions from readers around the world.

E-book readers are reported to be a hit especially among long-distance travellers. Most can hold a veritable library of volumes in the space of one paperback, and even mobile phones can read some types of e-books and PDFs. Currently, e-book readers’ purchase price and availability are limiting their spread, although the number of titles available is huge from sources such as Project Gutenberg and Amazon. Audiobooks for Free has similar titles for download as MP3 files.

Not So Fast, Not So Cheap, Not So Good

Michael Mann’s latest flick, Public Enemies, was shot and recorded entirely digitally, largely hand-held, and not to any great benefit, according to reviews. The Times calls it a “new distinctive digital aesthetic,” which it describes as “grimy and unpolished as possible.” The digital sound recording is supposed to be grungy as well.

The camera operators were surprised when Mann filmed at the actual places that the subject, John Dillinger, occupied. Many locations are now semi-ruins, complete with real bullet holes from his 1930s shootouts with the police. Public Enemies cost a modest $80 million, with presumably much going to Christian Bale and Johnny Depp, the leading men. Nice work if you can get it as often as they do.

Fastest, Cheapest, Best on Test

The 88, a Los Angeles–based indie pop band, recorded their latest single, Love is the Thing directly into an iPhone’s built-in microphone. As the finished result shows from the iTunes Store here, it’s not a bad sound with surprisingly full bass, even though it was also mixed on the iPhone using FourTrack, which costs a measly £5.99 from the App Store.

The 88 have a long history of TV appearances in the U.S. with their tracks appearing in films and commercials. Not the least being Microsoft’s launch of its ubiquitous and world-beating Zune media player (have you ever seen one?), the launch of which used The 88’s track Nobody Cares.

A remarkably prescient choice by Microsoft.

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