1. Boston: WiFi City

    brian on 2005.04.26
    at 12:35 am

    An excellent story on WiFi and the considerations on going about making Boston a Wireless city, from the Boston Globe.

    Posted in: Technology · Web

    Talk Bubble 1 Comments

  2. DMB's Management Still Disrespecting Fans

    brian on 2005.04.25
    at 03:57 pm

    In a follow up to my last post about the DMB on iTunes, I decided to go the band’s website and find out more about the album, it’s release date, etc. After enjoying the video selection (but not the site design, navigating the videos was arduous at best. Just heinous layout. Why do some designers feel they have to reinvent the wheel for each site? Your scrollbars and scripts suck and destroy the user experience!), I decided to go check out the pre-order for the new album, “Stand Up.”

    I’ve been a Dave Matthews Band fan since prior to their first album. A kid in high school (1992-1993) who used to give me rides to track practice had tapes his friends had sent him from Charlottesville, VA where Dave had just formed the band and was playing in clubs and bars. Within two minutes of hearing the music in this kid’s car I asked “What is this? It’s incredible” he answered “Dave Matthews Band.”

    Fast forward, I’ve been to dozens of concerts (the best way to enjoy their music) downloaded many, many concerts online (thanks to the band’s liberal non-commercial taping policy) and bought every studio album the day it came out. I’ve bought all but two of the live albums. I was a charter member of the band’s fan club The Warehouse but after two years, I decided the $30 a year fee was exorbitant, when other band’s clubs were free or $5 a year. I did get an exclusive CD (which was excellent) and some stickers.

    The main draw to the club is the chance to order tickets prior to the general public. DMB tix are hard to come by and this is a major plus. I remember the first DMB concert I attended in Hartford. The tickets were $17 (ordered prior to the Warehouse) and not hard to get. It was great. Now you can’t get any decent seat below $50 (before “service fees”).

    As a Warehouse member you get priority to purchase, but have zero say in where the tickets are, and certainly no discounts. The very first time I ordered tickets through the system, I got the worst concert tickets I have ever had. I wasn’t way far away, but I was so far to the side I couldn’t see but Dave’s nose sticking out beyond the speaker stacks. Awful. Those were the only tickets I got that year. So $30 membership plus ~$50 each ticket (for two) and still have to pay the extortionate Ticketmaster additional service charges (why isn’t this illegal? Ticketmaster is perhaps more evil than any oil company, maybe even in Enron-company) I spent well over a hundred dollars to attend one concert that I could hardly see and got one CD. Plus the member website was truly uninspired and devoid of content.

    To balance this, the next year I ordered, I had 7th row center for the same venue and price (I’m sure that went up some, but approximately). Despite all this, I left the club, and I am still sad about that. I feel I was an original fan and should be part of the club, but I refuse to be taken advantage of by DMB’s management.

    This is the basis of my love/hate relationship with the DMB. I love the DMB and their music. I jump up and down and yell and sing at the concerts like a high school girl. Carter Beauford is the single greatest influence on me as a drummer. If i could meet anyone in the entire world, honestly, it’d be Carter.

    However, I despise their management. Redlight Management/Music Today is as close to evil as anything I’ve ever seen. As proof, a friend told me that various business schools discuss their management tactics as classroom material. They absolutely extort the DMB’s incredibly devoted fans. They could not be any more the antithesis of the actual band who are phenomenally friendly and charitable.

    Take my experience today as one example. I decide that following tradition, I should order the new studio album. I go to their pre-order page, where they have several package deals in addition to the basic album. I was surprised that the prices were actually reasonable. $13.99 for the album on CD plus a bonus CD that has 5 more songs. I expected this to be at least $18. “Wow.” I thought. “Maybe they’ve changed their tactics!” There is also a special CD/DVD hybrid format called Dual-Disc which is CD on one side and DVD on the other. On the DVD side is not only some video content, but also the full album at 24bit 5.1 surround sound. Awesome. And it’s only a dollar more at $14.99. Without a doubt this is what I’m interested in.

    Scrolling down the page, I see the other combos which are the album plus different shirts, etc. At the bottom there’s a package that really interests me. The dual-disc album plus the three “Live Trax” CDs which are live albums only available direct from the band. Three concerts plus the new album for $59.99. A little steep, but a lot of music. I decide to invest in this.

    So I sign up for the MusicToday website so that I can check out. I’m moving merrily along until I get to the shipping and rates. There’s a note at the top of the page.

    Stand Up will be released nationally on Tuesday, May 10, 2005. All orders received before Friday, May 6, 2005 at 3pm will be shipped on that day. If you selected the 3-4 Business Days shipping option, Musictoday guarantees that your order will be delivered to you on the release date. You must select the 3-4 Business Days shipping option to receive the album on its release date. If you select our Standard shipping option, your order will take between 7 and 10 business days from Friday, May 6, 2005 to arrive.”

    Surprise! if you want to pre-order the album (good for DMB) and actually get the album by the release date (good for you, plus, isn’t that the point of pre-ordering?) you have to pay for special shipping! The rates are below…

    Standard shipping (Arrival after the release date)
    Express shipping (Guaranteed for arrival on release date)

    Even standard shipping is about twice what it should cost to ship a CD (or even four, like I was ordering!) Additionally, most places nowadays ship free on orders over $50 (unless the order is very heavy, CDs clearly are not). Amazon ships orders over $25 for free.

    This put me over the edge. I was about to send them $60 directly (without them having to sell wholesale to a retailer) and then they go and try to play this crap to their core fan base, who are of course, the ones who a) want to pre-order the album and b) get it at the earliest possible date!

    They are up to their old tricks again!

    I promptly ended my order and went to Amazon. I ordered the same dual disc album for $0.50 less, plus picked up a Trey Anastasio album I had wanted anyhow (to tap it over the free $25 shipping threshold) and the DMB got a significantly smaller amount of money from me. If the shipping on the site was even $7 I think I still would have ordered directly. But no. And this isn’t about money. It’s about respect. I may not get the CD on the release date, but I trust Amazon not to gouge me.

    RLM still considers DMB’s fan base it’s personal punching bag. Unscrupulous. Disgusting. Very sour taste in my mouth. I’m sad I won’t get those three concerts. One is even a Hartford show that I’m reasonably sure I was at. But I cannot stand nor will I support these ruthless tactics.

    Message to Dave and the guys: love the music, can the management. I’ve had to put up with them for 15 years, please do your fans a favor and dump RLM. You certainly don’t need them.

    Posted in: Music

    Talk Bubble 12 Comments

  3. DMB finally on iTunes

    brian on 2005.04.25
    at 12:34 pm

    'American Baby' Cover ArtThe Dave Matthews Band has finally made it on to the iTunes Music Store. Their pre-release single, “American Baby” off of their upcoming studio release “Stand Up” is now available for download.


    Posted in: Apple · Music

    Talk Bubble 1 Comments

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