Technology News of Note

June 2013

1.    YouTube Is Said to Plan a Subscription Option

YouTube, the world’s largest video Web site, will announce a plan to let some video makers charge a monthly subscription to their channels. There will be paid channels for children’s programming, entertainment, music and many other topic areas.  Some of the channels — there will be several dozen at the outset — will cost as little as $1.99 a month.   If the subscription option catches on, it could herald a huge change for the online video industry, which has subsisted almost entirely on advertising revenue. It could give producers of Web video series a second source of revenue, analogous in some ways to the flexible pay walls that some newspapers and magazines have adopted. It could also put more pressure on the cable television industry, which is fighting off fresh competition from the Web.   (Source: New York Times)

2.    A Ruling Could Support F.C.C.’s Net Neutrality Defense

The F.C.C.’s attempt to defend its net neutrality rules against a court challenge got major support from the Supreme Court, which ruled in a separate case that regulatory agencies should usually be granted deference in interpreting their own jurisdictions.   That has big implications for a separate case, in which Verizon challenged the F.C.C.’s Open Internet Order that an Internet service provider must treat all traffic on its system roughly equally, not giving priority to any one type of data or application as it moves through the provider’s Internet pipes.   (Source: New York Times)

3.    Aereo Brings New Lawsuit Against CBS Over Expansion Plans

Aereo, the company backed by Barry Diller that allows subscribers to record local TV without a pay-TV subscription and watch online has filed a new complaint in New York federal court.  Aereo is seeking a declaratory judgment against CBS, in anticipation of expanding its service to the Boston metropolitan area, arguing that Aereo's technology does not infringe upon the broadcaster's copyrights.  (Source: Hollywood Reporter)

4.    Are Your Social Media and Other Accounts Secure?

For anyone who has experienced the frustration and annoyance of having a social media account hacked, there are some simple steps you can take to make those accounts more secure.   Twitter, Facebook and other social media services offer two-step verification logins.  When you sign on from an unfamiliar IP address, the service will send a code via SMS to your mobile phone and you enter that code to confirm that the account is yours.  It is a minor initial inconvenience, relative to the hassle of dealing with the consequences of being hacked.  (Source: Beth Kanter’s Blog)

 5.    Six-hour opera wins music and theatre award

Birmingham Opera Company's Mittwoch aus Licht, a six-hour long opera streamed live from four flying helicopters was honored at the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) music awards.  Judges said the performance in a former chemical plant was "bold in imagination and brilliant in accomplishment."  It was one of three London 2012 festival events honored at the ceremony.   (Source: BBC News)

6.    Blue Note to Partner With ArtistShare

Blue Note Records, a storied label in jazz, has plans to partner with ArtistShare, a pioneering crowd-financing platform, for a hybrid called Blue Note/ArtistShare.  Blue Note will help select the artists, and apply its imprimatur and promotional resources to each finished album. But the costs of recording will be shouldered by fans, in the standard mode of ArtistShare projects. Musicians will retain full ownership of their master recordings.   (Source: New York Times)

7.    Broadway? Bigscreen? ‘Blue Highway’ Preps for Both

There are a couple of well-established paths to Broadway for a new play. “Blue Highway” isn’t taking any of them.  The new work by David Marlett is being developed simultaneously as a play and as an indie film, with Off Broadway vet Mitchell Maxwell shepherding a Rialto staging he hopes to get up by the fall, and Hollywood-based Richard Middleton pulling together a movie version he aims to start filming next spring.  Both the legit production and the film will draw from the same funding pool, currently being raised, of around $4 million. Producers hope at least $500,000 of that will come via crowdfunding.   (Source: Variety)

8.    Experiments in venue: Take me out to the … opera?

San Francisco Opera wanted to fling open its doors, and find a new audience. The plan it came up with involved the Giants’ stadium – and you could say they hit it out of the park.  People from all walks of life huddle on the field in sleeping bags, having a picnic under the stars, and watching, for many of them, their first opera, simulcast in HD on a 31-metre-high video screen – all for free. The Opera at the Ballpark events have attracted as many as 32,000 people a night.   (Source: Globe and Mail)

9.    San Francisco Opera to Partner with Euroarts Music International for Television and Home Video Distribution

San Francisco Opera has confirmed plans to forge a business partnership with EuroArts Music International for international television and home video distribution of high-definition San Francisco Opera productions.  Initial plans include the release of six San Francisco Opera productions—recorded live in high definition at the War Memorial Opera House—over two years on DVD and Blu-ray and international television distribution beginning later this year.    (Source: San Francisco Opera)

10.  Facebook: 30% of Our Revenue Now Comes from Mobile Ads

Facebook is accumulating evidence to make the case that it's become a mobile company. Thirty percent of its first-quarter ad revenue came from mobile ads, up from 23% last quarter. Leading into its fraught IPO last year, the question of how Facebook would make money off users who access the platform primarily from their mobile devices was a serious existential threat to the social network. The company only announced its first mobile ad offering in February 2012. Since then mobile news-feed ads have become ubiquitous, and gaming companies have seized on mobile app install ads.   (Source: Ad Age)

11.  Google Play marks subscription music service for internet giant

The technology giant Google has announced the debut of Google All Access, a subscription music service that provides access to millions of songs for a monthly fee, taking on the likes of Spotify and Pandora and going after the next big wave in digital music: streaming on mobile devices.   Google All Access was a preemptive launch ahead of Apple, which is expected to announce its own service soon.  All Access builds upon Google's other music offerings, which include a download store and a cloud-based "locker" for keeping personal music collections.  The new feature lets users search for songs, albums or artists or different genres and subgenres. It will offer recommendations based on the user's listening habits and personal library of songs.  Subscribers also can listen to music in a "radio" format like Pandora, picking and choosing the playing order, or sample playlists created by music curators.  (Source: Los Angeles Times)

12.  How Do You Get People To Pay For Music?

Don't make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate TedTalk that begins in her days as a street performer, she examines the new relationship between artist and fan. Palmer believes we shouldn't fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable — and suggests that artists who give away their music for free can and should be directly supported by fans.   (Source: NPR)

13.  RSC to broadcast productions live, including Tennant's Richard II

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is collaborating with Picturehouse Entertainment on 'Live from Stratford-Upon-Avon', a new program to screen its productions live across the country. The first live broadcast will be the RSC's upcoming production of Richard II and will be screened into over 100 cinemas around the country, and will also be available in North America, Australia, Japan and Northern Europe.  The Company will also work with Ravensbourne College to stream the production into up to 1,000 UK schools, reaching an estimated 60,000 students.  (Source: What’s On Stage)

14.  Russian Swan Lake to be broadcast live in 3D

A production of the ballet Swan Lake, conducted by Valery Gergiev from the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, is to be broadcast live using 3D technology perfected by director James Cameron in Hollywood blockbusters Avatar and Hugo in what is being described as “the first ever global 3D live theatre event.”   (Source: The Stage)

15.  Just about everything you'll want to know about Beethoven's 9th on your iPad

Beethoven's 9th Symphony (free plus in-app purchases) is an iPad app that lets you explore one of the greatest symphonies ever written in a unique, compelling way.   Beethoven's 9th Symphony uses every trick in the multimedia tool box. For starters, you can listen to four different performances of the work, taken from the well-known DGG catalog. As you listen, follow along with the score in real time. The original manuscript displays each page as the music plays, but with modern notation.  An interesting feature called the "BeatMap" offers an overhead view of the orchestra, complete with symbols of the various instruments that glow as they are played.  The app also features several interviews, both contemporary and historic, with notable people like Leonard Bernstein and Gustavo Dudamel.   (Source: Capacity Interactive)

16.  The magic two words that will get people to retweet you

Dan Zarrella recently analyzed 2.7 million tweets and concluded that people retweet when they are asked nicely as part of the original tweet.  Conclusion?  If you have something you want people to spread, ask them - with a pretty please. (Source:

17.  Organizations: Learn to Connect the Dots

A new study of 244 nonprofit participants by Avectra and NTEN show that nonprofit organizations are either tracking a lot of engagement metrics ranging from email open rates to activity on Facebook or don’t do it all. Unfortunately, many of the organizations tracking engagement metrics are not applying the data to make informed decisions about their programming, online strategy, fundraising, and outreach.  1 in 10 survey participants said the reason that their organization did not measure correlation was because they did not how to determine it related to fundraising, event participation, donor retention, etc. Another reason why organizations may not be focused on measuring the correlation is due to limited staff capacity. 80% said they had less than 1 FT staffer focusing on this work. This is one of the reasons why a social CRM system like Small Act can be helpful to nonprofits. About 25% of the organizations said they would invest in a social CRM or related product to help collect and analyze this data.   (Source: Frogloop)

18.    Opera plays across European cinema

The market for event cinema is developing rapidly in Europe, with opera the dominant genre on screens, averaging more than one-third of all events in eight European markets last year, according to Screen Digest research. (Source: