Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pierce inspired me with Pandora (because we use it at work quite a bit) to look around for other music sharing sources.  What I found was a very cool concept that I have never seen before. is french site for music streaming that goes far beyond "favorites" and personal stations. It actually selects music for you based on mood.  The graphical matrix to choose music is simple but elegant and innovative.
The first learning experience was simply finding that I could get out of the French mode and into English. Though you do not have to register, you can. You have to give up some personal information (email, sex, age). What struck me is that it is very heavy ad based. However, you can pay for the service ($4 USD per month) for no ads, better quality streaming and additional features. I'm sure the music you choose will filter into the ads presented to you. 
It made me think more about how we pay for free media and entertainment by selling a bit of our attention. This brings me back to the passive/active consumer idea ...mainly, because my first pretentious thought was, "Well, the ads are O.K. I can handle it. But, can a kid?" Wait a minute ...why can't a kid handle it? Media literacy is a skill I truly believe I have. I don't hate ads. They tell me about cool "stuff" I might really actually want to buy. And, I actually enjoy looking at ads of all kinds and picking apart what they are really selling, how they are doing it, and will it work. It is interesting stuff to do. Sometimes, I buy.
Media is not just thinking critically about ads and programming. It is also understanding the narratives (example would be cuts: swipe, fade, roll does time pass in each one?). How about reading Of Mice and Men AND watching the movie. What story is being told in each? That Pepsi ad: did the story appeal to my desire to have a Pepsi or was it really a desire to have friends? Skip the soda and call a friend.
So, free mood music for ads ...perhaps. I can also choose to turn it off. Part of having literacies is not a greater social justice but a kind of personal justice. Liberation and my iPod. Heh.

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