My thoughts on John Gruber’s thoughts on Neil Young’s thoughts on Joe Rogan’s thoughts (or lack thereof) on Spotify

Some great insights as usual from John Gruber on the Neil Young/Joe Rogan/Spotify situation. I’ve been really bothered about all of this, as a Spotify subscriber (and as someone who does have some of my own music available on Spotify, as insignificant as it is).

Getting Joe Rogan kicked off of Spotify would in no way hinder his freedom of speech. As Gruber notes, his audience shrank when he went exclusive to Spotify. What bothers me right now is that, as a Spotify customer, I am paying Joe Rogan to spout his lies and nonsense. If it’s more important to limit his reach, then keeping him Spotify-exclusive is good. If it’s more important that I not implicitly endorse his garbage with my wallet, then one of us has to go. (And it will surely be me.)

On another level, what really bothers me about this is that Spotify has exclusive “podcasts” at all. That’s not what a podcast is, technically speaking. A podcast is just a blog, an RSS feed, that has an audio (or video) file attached to it. That’s what Gruber means about Apple not “hosting” Steve Bannon’s podcast. Apple doesn’t literally host the files. Their directory just points you to the URL. Spotify owns Joe Rogan’s podcast. It’s not really a podcast at all, because it doesn’t exist outside of Spotify’s ecosystem.

So as I see it, Spotify is doubly wrong here: they’re platforming Joe Rogan, and they’re muddying the average person’s already muddy understanding of how all of this technology works. Boo.

And of course once again I have to end with this.

ST:TNG Treadmill Review #44: Future Imperfect

Future Imperfect
Season 4 Episode 8
Original airdate: November 10, 1990

Netflix Synopsis

Riker has to leave his birthday party early to head an away team after a Romulan secret base is found on a planet which was believed to be uninhabited.

My Brief Review

I thought from the synopsis that this would be the first episode of the season not to be about family in some way, but then, bam! Captain Riker wakes up 16 years in the future, with no memory of his son, Jean-Luc Riker. This is also another Twilight Zone-esque story, where nothing is as it seems.

I hate to spoil it, because I love this kind of episode, and even though it’s not the greatest execution, there are some fun “ah-ha” moments that are best left as surprises.

Memorable Moment

I won’t go into detail, but there’s a great moment where Riker realizes that all is not as it appears to be, which leads him to yell “SHUT UP!” at Admiral Picard.

Crew Rando

16 years is a lot of time to accumulate a new crop of randos, including a few who have lines. I’ll go with Ensign Gates, who’s operating the transporter.

Distance Rating: 3K

IMDb score: 7.9/10

#rpm12 day 0: The plan

We’re on the cusp of yet another RPM Challenge. This will be my fifth year participating in the challenge, and my planned project this year should definitely be my most unique challenge to date.

As I’ve noted previously, this year I will be recording my album entirely using my iPhone. I will record some/most of the tracks into GarageBand on my Mac, and I will do further post-production with the Mac, but I’ll produce every sound with — or through — the iPhone.

As an added challenge for myself, usually I enter into a recording project with an overarching concept. This year, the only concept is that the iPhone is the instrument. Usually I come in with a clear set of song ideas or an overall compositional structure for an album, and quickly arrive at completed songs. (Last year, for instance, I had one song — “Spooncherry” — completely “in the can” by 4 AM on February 1.) This time around I am going to try to just record as much material as I can, in whatever form it may take, for the first half of the month, without working up any of it into a final state. And then I will spend the second half of the month sorting through the debris and trying to make sense of it all.

We’ll see.

I know I am not starting a revolution by making music on the iPhone. Plenty of people are doing a lot more with this than I am. I am just curious to see what I can produce. There is some precedent in my own work: I recorded the theme song to my podcast entirely on the iPhone (using the iPhone version of GarageBand), and earlier in January I recorded a 3-song EP on a Saturday afternoon.

It begins at midnight.

So long, Santana; the dream was already gone

Kirby Puckett rookie cardThere was a time in my life (I happened to be 13) when I was a huge baseball fan. I had the giant baseball card collection to prove it. I even chewed the nasty gum a few times.

My enthusiasm was richly rewarded in 1987 when my hometown Minnesota Twins won their first World Series. Life was good.

But eventually I moved on. My brief, albeit intense, interest in baseball (and pro sports in general) faded in high school, and although I still enjoy going to a game once in a while, it’s just too expensive and too corporate, and I’m too cynical, to sustain that kind of passionate enthusiasm. So when it was announced that Johann Santana was traded to the Mets, I barely even raised an eyebrow.

It wasn’t until I read Nick Coleman’s column on the matter that it really hit me what this means, especially in the context of the Twins’ controversial new stadium:

[W]hen you’re a kid, your town’s team manipulates your immature emotions in order to get you to tug on daddy’s sleeve and beg him to buy a pair of $50 tickets and a souvenir jersey so Dad can go to his grave knowing that his boy will remember him through misty eyes and support the next billion-dollar stadium proposal when the stadium opening in 2010 needs to be replaced a few years later.

He’s right. And he goes on to show just how trivial a slice of the pie, given the ludicrous sums of money floating around in the world of professional sports, Santana’s salary really is. It’s the stars like Santana and Torii Hunter that make a team like the Twins worth going to see. Which is where the money comes from in the first place.