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Gigs & Bytes: Checking The Pulse

11:56 PM Friday 8/5/05 | |

The juggernaut known as podcasting continues to snowball into the biggest thing since Tim Berners-Lee came up with a little concept now known as the World Wide Web. Lately it seems that everyone is doing the podcasting thing. Major corporations as well as small businesses are beginning to churn out audio programs that can be downloaded and then transferred to personal players for later listening.

And why not? Podcasting is probably the cheapest way to reach a mass audience since the invention of smoke signals. While the first podcasts were created by amateurs equipped with only a computer and a microphone, many of today's podcasts found on the Net sport production values as professional as anything you might hear on the radio. Move over bloggers; podcasting is "it" in 2005.

The latest entry into the podcast sweepstakes is entertainment company Pulse Recording, which recently launched a series called "On The Pulse."

"On The Pulse," which is available via iTunes, is an entertainment-oriented podcast featuring musical artists, celebs and show biz players. Right out of the box, "On The Pulse" featured Motley Crue, Korn, Taproot, 30 Seconds to Mars and Ray Manzarek covering all sorts of topics, such as the Crüe talking about their current tour, and Korn giving fans a look behind the scenes of the recording of their new record.

"Podcasting was an easy, very cool way to get up to date info out to our fans," Korn frontman Jonathan Davis said. "Atticus and I were really comfortable with the whole process and look forward to doing it again."

Pulse also plans on including an unsigned band series, as well as podcasts featuring Weezer, Rooney and Nylon magazine.

"It is amazing to watch podcasting develop this past year – and it's only just the beginning," Pulse's Jason Bernard said. "In a very short amount of time, iTunes has been able to prove there is a huge audience for podcasting and we will continue to work with them as the technology and the demand compelling shows continue to grow. ... Given all of the support from the artists we are involved with and management companies like The Firm, Velvet Hammer and 10th St., we are confident that the ‘On The Pulse' network will consistently produce exclusive behind the scenes insight into their favorite artists' lives."

Apparently, not all the Netizens that inhabit MySpace.com are happy about the new landlord, media titan Rupert Murdoch.

Ever since last month when Murdoch's News Corp. acquired MySpace from Intermix Media for $580 million, the site's inhabitants have been expressing concerns regarding what Murdoch might do with the popular networking site. Some members fear that Murdoch might institute user fees or censor content, while others are worried about privacy, or some kind of attempt to monitor the site's users.

And that would be a lot of users to monitor. MySpace has about 22 million users, and most of them have posted profiles describing themselves, including favorite books, movies, bands and TV programs. It isn't too difficult to understand Murdoch's interest in MySpace, for the site represents a vast collection of data and buying habits that would attract any media company.

So far, it's been business as usual at MySpace, and there haven't been any indications of any real changes since News Corp. acquired the site. In fact, Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of MySpace, recently said that the acquisition will not change anything for the site, other than to extend its international reach.

But that hasn't stopped MySpace users from posting messages accusing Murdoch of having ulterior motives.

"I'm opposed to what Rupert Murdoch has done to the media, and I don't want him involved in MySpace," one user wrote, which pretty much sums up most of the anti-Murdoch postings that have appeared since the acquisition was announced.

But perhaps a sign that nothing has changed at MySpace is the amount of negative posts about Murdoch and News Corp. that are still available for viewing. After all, if Murdoch was intent on controlling the content at MySpace he would hardly put up with all the negative chatter, nor would he probably allow profiles describing himself as bent on world domination to remain on the site for which he just plunked down half a billion dollars.

What's more, it looks as if those messages and faux profiles are there to stay. Recently, a News Corp. spokesman said that the company has no plans of deleting any anti-Murdoch postings.

Apple is hoping that its iTunes Music Store will be big in Japan.

And it has a lot going for it as Apple chief Steve Jobs continues to work his plan for world domination. For one thing, iTunes' debut means lower prices for music downloads in the land of the rising sun.

Up until now, the Japanese have been paying about 200 yen, or US$1.80 for a limited selection of songs available for downloading either via computer or cell phone. While iTunes isn't charging 99 cents per song as it does in the U.S., it's still offering Japanese music fans a slightly cheaper price of 150 yen, or US$1.35.

Apple is not commenting on how that price was selected.

However, like just about everywhere else, Apple's iPod is the Japanese consumer's music player of choice, which means that Apple already has an inroad to Japan's music download market.

"We think this is going to change the experience of discovering and buying and enjoying music in Japan," Jobs said. "Together with the iPod, we think we are ushering in a whole new age of digital music."

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