Entertainment behind the scenes
In New York, the annual launch of iPhone upgrades has morphed from being a odd meeting of tech-geek-love into an giant marketing opportunity for scrappy business-minded folks looking to promote a small business.
Hey, why not? Where else can you find hundreds of potential customers, stuck in line for hours with wallets deep enough to buy a pricey piece of hardware, a swarm of TV news cameras as well as myriad other member of the media (including yours truly), and minimal security?
As far as the business of the day -- Apple selling a new phone; customers buying them -- the iPhone 4 launch was business as usual. The real show in New York was on the periphery, watching entrepreneurs at work hawking websites, phone-swapping services, a radio station, vampires and more. Is there an economy growing here?
Here's a sample of the show on Manhattan's midtown this morning:
AOL Lifestream, a system that aggregates networks like Facebook and Flickr, brought muffins.
But Nicole Richie and husband Joel Madden have come up with something new to greet the arrival of their new son, born “In the middle of night, the very early hours of September 9, 2009.”
Britain's Sky News caused a bit of a stir on the blogosphere on Tuesday after it cited John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, as saying the Beatles back catalog was finally going for sale on iTunes: seemingly confirming a longstanding rumor that had gained momentum ahead of a widely watched Sept 9 Apple music-entertainment event.
But the report by the 24-hour news service, spotted by 9to5Mac and TechCrunch, among others, was stricken off the Sky News Web site hours later and discredited by a numner of other media outlets including Cnet. In response to Reuters' queries, EMI, which owns the master recordings, sent us this from Ernesto Schmitt, EMI's global catalog president:
Bob Dylan may have starred in a television commercial for iTunes, but don’t look for him to become an iPod pitchman anytime soon.
In a Rolling Stone magazine cover story, the 67-year-old troubadour rails against modern technology like cell phones, iPods and video games. The man who wrote “The Times They Are A-Changin’” almost 46 years ago evidently thinks the times have changed a little too much.
“It’s peculiar and unnerving in a way to see so many young people walking around with cell phones and iPods in their ears and so wrapped up in media and video games,” Dylan told interviewer Douglas Brinkley, a professor of U.S. history at Rice University in Houston.
“It robs them of their self-identity. It’s a shame to see them so tuned out to real life. Of course they are free to do that, as if that’s got anything to do with freedom. The cost of liberty is high, and young people should understand that before they start spending their life with all those gadgets.”
Dylan teamed up with Apple’s iTunes music store in 2006 to promote his new album “Modern Times.” A commercial showed him singing and playing guitar while an iPod-sporting woman danced to the music. He released his latest album “Together Through Life” this week.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Dylan also expressed some backhanded nostalgia for the early recordings of his old friend and duet partner Johnny Cash, in the process describing the country legend’s acclaimed 1990s comeback albums as ”notorious low-grade stuff.”
Cash died in 2003, riding high on a decadelong comeback masterminded by producer Rick Rubin. Over that time, they recorded a series of Grammy-winning albums that showcased Cash’s acoustic side. But Dylan said he started missing Cash ”10 years before he actually kicked the bucket.”