Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot



Meditations, comments, gossip and other tidbits about technology.

August 19, 2003

This article describes how it's increasingly difficult for studios to 'buy their gross'--that is, to throw big advertising dollars at a film to ensure a big opening weekend. Opening weekend numbers, incidentally, are critically important to perceptions of a film's success. What's changed? Technology. E-mail, the cell phone, IM--they all make it easier for consumers to virally distribute a good or (more often) bad review of a film that has just opened. This was the most interesting fact in the article:

Widely released movies this summer dropped off an average of 51% between their first weekend and their second, according to Nielsen EDI Inc., a box office tracking firm. Five years ago, the drop-off averaged 40.1%.

Of course, that may reflect the increasing crappiness of summer blockbusters, but that's neither here nor there. Here's an interesting chart of the biggest second weekend drops in modern cinema history. I was surprised to see Mallrats, Star Trek: Nemesis and Hulk on that list.

10:27:31 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Movies Technology

This is bizarre, but strangely compelling:

All those stations, playing all that music, all the time! There's at least 40 different songs being played every week on most radio stations! Who has enough time in the day to listen to them all? That's why we've set up banks of computers to do the listening for us. They know what you really want to hear. They're trading variety for variance.

Eigenradio plays only the most important frequencies, only the beats with the highest entropy. If you took a bunch of music and asked it, "Music, what are you, really?" you'd hear Eigenradio singing back at you. When you're tuned in to Eigenradio, you always know that you're hearing the latest, rawest, most statistically separable thing you can possibly put in your ear.

Those kooky guys at MIT! What's next: optimized television? Actually, the soundscape that this project creates reminded me of the sound design in the opening moments of Contact, as we zoom in on earth from a galactic (universal?) scale.

10:19:20 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Technology The Arts