February 04, 2008

Stupidity Online: MySpace and the Atheists

OK, I shouldn't have to say it up front, but I'm not a member of the Atheists and Agnostics group on MySpace. I disagree with them, and they disagree with me, and we just wouldn't work together well on most things. BUT ....

This is stupid. Not only has the group been deleted, MySpace isn't even talking about why! I can understand that the group was hacked, and I can see that MySpace wants to control hacked accounts. But if the people who ran the group, and the members of the group, want the group to be reinstated, it should happen.

There was, apparently, a group of Christians who opposed the site and made MySpace take it down. Dumb move. So when a bunch of atheists and agnostics protest, should all the Christian groups be taken down? It seems there are at least 35,000 atheists and agnostics on MySpace, not an insignificant number. And experience has shown me that they are probably a bit more vocal than the majority of people who claim to be Christians -- but that's another post for another day.

Give the atheists back their group. Let them have as many groups as they want. MySpace isn't the place to start a Crusade, or a jihad, or whatever. The Internet is the ultimate democracy -- everyone gets a voice, no matter what their opinion. When we start silencing people because of their lack of belief, we're a short step away from silencing people because of their beliefs. Let's not do that again.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 04:33 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Sorry ...

Book A Week will be a bit late. I'm hoping to get it done this evening.

The problem? The book is LONG, and I didn't get it finished. I'm within a hundred pages, so it shouldn't be a problem to finish it today. And I have a pretty good idea what the next book is going to be. Both those posts are coming up!

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 02:42 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 03, 2008

WHO Said This???

When I read this one in my RSS reader, I couldn't believe it. "Nicholas Kristof shows evangelicals the love."

"Is there some other guy named Nicholas Kristof?" I wondered. But nope, it was him -- the only individual who has an entire category devoted to him on this blog. Joel Osteen doesn't even have that distinction yet.

So I figured there had to be a catch, and clicked on over. And yes, he does seem to find a bunch of things to praise evangelicals for. Even though I really don't consider Jim Wallis to be an example of a conservative evangelical, it is true that even those of us who were considered religious right just a few years ago are starting to find our voice on topics that have been dominated by liberal secularists. Like Kristof.

When he gets it right, he gets it right. I don't necessarily agree with him on the whole stem cell issue, but I have to say that Kristof seems to be getting religion after all.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 03:36 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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February 01, 2008

Christian Music, Digital Downloads, and Piracy

Yes, a music Monday post on a Friday. Sorry, but I just read this, and didn't want to wait until Monday (when I'd probably have forgotten it anyway).

EMI has a plan to make it's CCM catalog available through digital downloads through an almost grass-roots network of Christian radio stations, retailers, faith-based organizations, etc. I wonder if podcasters and bloggers will make the list?

Anyway, I think this is a great idea, though it's come a bit late in the game. It's something that should have been done a long time ago. But that's not really what drew me to the story.

I read the story in the New York Post, thanks to a link on David Bach's blog. The second paragraph caught me:

Sales of Christian and gospel music fell more than 14 percent last year as fans of religious-themed songs proved once again they were just as apt to give in to the temptation of digital piracy as the average listener of materialistic rap or devil-horn-wagging rock.
Notice that the problem is NOT that the major labels aren't selling something people want to buy. It's NOT that people are buying more indie bands, or are taking advantage of streaming audio, or are downloading the free stuff that's available legally online (and yes, there's a LOT of free, legal stuff available, if you look hard enough). It's not any of that -- it's that Christian music fans are pirates, just like their secular counterparts.

Do Christians illegally download music? Yes, unfortunately, we do. And Christians are good at rationalizing it -- "I'm using the songs to witness to my friends," they say. And when you say that, how is anyone going to get mad at you, or threaten to sue you? But do we really do it? I wonder sometimes.

But I think that the industry is still ignoring the real problem -- people aren't buying because the product they're putting out isn't worth buying. Where ten years ago I'd have to buy a whole CD or tape to get the two songs I liked, now I can just buy those two songs. Where I'd have spent $10 on a tape or $15 on a CD, now I only have to spend $2 for those two songs. And where before I'd have to buy whatever was in the store to satisfy my music cravings, now I can go straight to independent bands who are selling their stuff online and buy it straight from them.

I really think one answer is value-added products. If you want people to buy CDs, give them a reason to. I was in a Christian bookstore yesterday, and I saw CDs for $14 that included a DVD with concert footage, music videos, bonus songs, etc. That's adding value. If I saw a band that I follow offering something like that, I'd buy the CD/DVD package, because there's a perceived value in it -- I get a DVD with extra stuff that's not available elsewhere.

But that's only one solution, and the fact remains that music fans want to get their music online. They want to be able to burn a CD or two, they want to be able to play it on their iPods, and they want to do it without a lot of hassle. Once the labels figure that out, they just might start making bigger profits again.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 10:39 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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