Coldplay vs. Judas Priest -or- The Benefits of Widgets

Last week, Coldplay made their new single “Violet Hill” available free for one week (one week? lame) for download from their official website. tracked its listens and what a lot of them there were:

10,000 times in the 5 hours since the track was released. That’s 1 play every 2 seconds. Apparently the last time a track was listened to this intensively on Last.fFM was ‘15 Step’ from Radiohead’s free In Rainbows album, which clocked up close to 22,000 listens in 12 hours.

Not to be outdone, the somewhat-less-popular these days Judas Priest took another route to the release of their new single, “Nostradamus”, via ReverbNation widget (for more about what I think is the coolest widget out there for bands, read this).

According to ReverbNation COO Jed Carlson, they initially placed the widget that streams their song on 4 sites, but since the widget can be grabbed by fans and embedded wherever they want, it spread rapidly to more than 500 websites.

Everytime a song is streamed through a ReverbNation widget, they get tracking information back. The result? According to ReverbNation:

The track was streamed once every two seconds during the first 24-hour period. Fans who listened or received the download were directed to the Judas Priest website where they could pre-order the album, scheduled for release on June 17th.

Color me naive, but when a Judas Priest single can get as much play as a Coldplay single without the media going nuts over a Hot Big Mega Band Being Creative And Wow with the internet buzz, I’m impressed. What I love, to no one’s surprise, is that most of the places where people were able to stream the song were places it had been placed BY FANS WHO WANTED TO SPREAD IT. Henry Jenkins talks about “spreadable media” (a topic I’ll be hearing more about at the Convergence Culture Consortium retreat over the next few days). This is a great example of how it works.

Now I want to see Rob Halford face off against Chris Martin. Oh, Rob’s not in the band anymore? Nevermind then.

Frank Sinatra Got It

USA Weekend, that vapid Sunday newspaper insert, had a tribute to Frank Sinatra on the tenth anniversary of his death that included reminiscences from many who knew him. Among them was his daughter, the wonderfully named Nancy, who revealed:

My dad may have been old school in certain ways, but he was on top of all the new technology. He stayed on the Internet until the end. He and I started his official website together (now He loved it. He’d read comments from fans all over the world and dictate his thanks to them through me. (I did the typing.) It made him happy to see people who were as young as 14 or 15, who had discovered his music, writing to him.”Please keep this site going,” he said to me. “It’s really a great way to stay in touch.” I’m so glad he was able to see that before he died.

How great is the image of Frank Sinatra dictating letters to 14 year old fans that Nancy typed and sent? Wow.

Appropriating Henry Jenkins

Henry Jenkins has been blogging of late about discovering he’s become a comic strip character. Today he shares this one. Made me laugh so I’m passing it on to the other fandom geek readers who may not have seen it:

My own life as a comic strip character is way less intellectually amusing, but I still love it. For those who haven’t seen them, Joel Orff does wonderful wonderful wonderful “rock and roll comics” and I’ve been lucky enough to be featured in three! You can see here how I used the internet to fall in love with a pop band and score a really good friend in the process, here how and why REM became my favorite band (for a long long time anyway), and here for how the Wrens resonated with my midlife crisis and made me very happy.

Uh, yeah, I do twitter

I initially expressed lots of doubts and, truth be told, I still have a lot of them, but I have relented. If, for reasons I cannot fathom, you find yourself wondering “gee, what is Nancy doing today?” or just feel an overwhelming urge to have me in your sphere of persistent contacts, you can find me in 140 characters or less here.

Warning: It’s not very interesting.

Why is my Facebook profile locked down and my Twitter profile public? Guess, that’ll be something to discuss at Mesh. If I can figure it out by then…

The Lost Librarians of National Defense?

Information Week has an interesting article up about Lost fandom. It talks about Second Life recreations of Lost spaces, ABC’s official sites, and Lostpedia, the wikipedia for Lost fans:

The Lostpedia statistics page shows that the site has grown to nearly 33,000 pages. The site has received 141 million page views. It has 26,000 registered users, of whom 10 have sysop rights, for increased authority to edit and manage the site.

I talk a bit about fan-authored wikipedia entries and archives in my work about Swedish indie music fandom, but generally this is a neglected area of fandom research. Although, as some apparently realize, it’s a phenomenon with implications that stretch far beyond entertainment:

[Lostpedia founder] Croy said the site has brought him professional benefit in that it’s connected him with many interesting people. The Palo Alto Research Center (formerly Xerox (NYSE: XRX) PARC) contacted him about two years ago to study Lostpedia. “Basically, they wanted to study the way that a group of users collects intelligence, brings it back to a central place, and processes that intelligence, categorizes it and analyzes it and decides what’s good and bad.” PARC looks at each new episode as a big new batch of intelligence dumped on the Lostpedia community. “They want to see how they can apply that to the national defense projects they’re working on,” Croy said.

Fans have at least as much history as anyone — and probably more history than most — at using the internet in innovative ways to collect, label, store and make accessible enormous repositories of information. I’ve spoken recently with music librarians interested in using fan-generated genre tags (like on to assist them in categorizing their library’s music catalogs. Fandoms offer fantastic case studies in the practice of information science. I’d love to see more about this.