UTunes: Music 1.01

A shameless cross-posting: A new addition to the blogroll on the left is the launch of UTunes: Music 1.01. Thanks to a Digital Humanities Start-Up Initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we’re going to be creating a new multi-media effort to create some podcasts, build a website, and other cool stuff.The goal? Nothing less than re-imagining how we learn about music in the new millennium. What was called “Music Appreciation” Back in The Day.

The “we” that are putting it together are RoeDeo Productions and The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas-Austin. Follow the progress, join the conversation, and share your thoughts on the new site, which we just launched today. So let the games begin!

Facebook 1, Middlebury 0

Meanwhile, back at the alma mater, this news item in today’s inbox:

Facebook petition sinks revamped logo

By: Derek Schlickeisen

The College’s roll-out and subsequent retraction of its new logo this summer brought administrators face-to-face with a growing reality – the speed and power of Facebook as an organizing medium among college students.

Armed only with their computers and disdain for the “Middlebury Leaf,” Sarah Franco ’08 and Alex Benepe ’09 brought more than 700 students together in their group “Just Say No to the Middlebury Logo” within days of the College’s announcement of its new graphic identity to accompany a $500 million capital campaign.

“I first learned about the new logo at the end of May,” said Franco. “A friend of my supervisor came by our office, carrying a box with a sign bearing the new logo, and she informed me that that was our new logo.”

While Franco and Benepe’s efforts became united online, their initial impetuses were different.

“I started a Facebook.com group for the sheer purpose of sharing this logo with my Middlebury friends and poking fun at it,” said Franco, adding, “This was purely selfish and not at all altruistic. It wasn’t even my intention to stop the logo.”

Benepe had bigger plans.

“Almost everyone I know is on Facebook,” said Benepe. “It’s also extremely rapid – you can invite 400 people to a group in five minutes. And while it may not have the same weight as a real, tangible group of people, it still has numbers that make a strong argument.”

The short and mostly good-natured fight over the logo pitted Franco, Benepe and their followers against the product of the prestigious New York branding firm Chermayeff & Geismar, creators of the famous NBC “peacock,” as well as logos for universities like Cornell and NYU.

Still think that social media is a passing fad? Well, maybe it is, but if you’re a decision-maker, you’d better be paying attention. Article goes on to quote the college’s Communications veep Mike McKenna:

McKenna said he was surprised by the swift response to the College’s announcement – and by the power of Facebook.

“I was caught off guard by the strong reaction,” he said. “Facebook was invented by some guys who lived down the hall from my son in college, and as a result I have always viewed it as student turf and not used it. But when I learned of the anti-logo group I did finally register.”

Let’s see: The man in charge of “Communications” is only dimly aware of the No. 1 method of communications among the paying customers at his place of employment? Yeah, that sounds like a plan. I’m with the students on this one. The logo is wrong-headed and misbegotten, and deserves a quick trip to oblivion.


A Great Night Out

The left-hand side of my blogspot tells you what I care about, including “new media, old cars, and game-changers.” So I was pretty much hooked the moment the cherry two-door ’59 Pontiac Catalina appears in this video by Goldstar Events touting their Great Night Out Initiative:

the Great Night Out InitiativeVote For Me!

Okay, Charles, I’m hooked. I even signed up to “judge.” Great concept from a company that’s been getting all kinds of attention for their innovative ways of getting the under-40 crowd into the seats at concerts, theatre, and other arts events. Check out this Wall Street Journal article by Terry Teachout to read more about why Goldstar has arts-management tongues wagging. Sample grab, in case you can’t access the site:

Goldstar’s slogan is “Great Nights Out for About the Price of a Movie.” That’s a neat capsule summary of what it seeks to do. By offering its members an ultraconvenient way to purchase heavily discounted surplus tickets to undersold performances — and by sending them custom-tailored weekly e-mailings touting a wide-ranging variety of events — the company hopes to attract young people who aren’t yet in the habit of attending live performances. Nor are its discounted offerings second-class: Goldstar’s 2,000 venue partners include such well-known groups as Arena Stage in Washington, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Shakespeare, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Opera and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre.

Guess their plan is working – they are nearing one million ticket sales, according to their publicity.

But, getting back to the contest, too bad that none of the entries thus far are anywhere near as clever and on-message as the sample video – (Phoenix’ “Great Night Out” is indeed at the theatre…the theatre parking lot, that is, selling “Astro Weenies” and other “Car-B-Q” selections literally cooked up under the hood of his big Catalina). A lot of picture postcards of the Grand Caymans, sunsets in Maui, artists touting their MySpace videos, and more random agglomorations from YouTubeLand. (Though I was amused by the “Beowulf on Ice” segment – though that too is recycled and not made for the contest per se)

But it’s early yet. Check it out, and while you’re at it, sign up for Goldstar here.