Music + Technology + Random Nonsense from the Music Industry by Ethan Kaplan, VP Product, Live Nation


I’m off to SXSW on Wednesday and staying until the very last day. God help me.

I am on one panel on the 15th of March, Website Demolition Derby. For six years I worked on artist websites at Warners, so my critique will be based on having been involved in hundreds of site launches.

We’re also launching a beta of an app at SXSW that is pretty exciting.


About iPad Magazines

I enjoyed this read as it outlines a lot of frustrations I have with magazines on the ipad. They are carrying over everything I hate about magazines into a device I love, which is akin to pissing in my pool. The downloads take too long, the organizations never seem to have heard of a good CDN, the layout is very “print” centric and expresses, near literally the hubris that glossy print puts forth.

The iPad was never a panacea for print. It’s a new medium, a new way of representing content, but it is not the magical device that will save print media from itself. Lateral translation of media is not what we want. We don’t want the hubris of print carried over into light, fast machines.

Rethink what it means to be a “magazine” and look at what the device at hand gives you. Stop wasting my time.

My So Called Digital Life, V2.0 Part 1

An overview of the “life” part of the “digital life”…

Hi there. My name is Ethan Kaplan, 30 years old, Vice President of Technology for Warner Bros Records. I have had this job for four years now, and early on when I moved and settled down in Los Angeles I wrote a post or two about how I manage my life through technology.

Things have changed a bit since then.

The scope of my job has increased, I bought and remodeled a house and eight weeks ago we had a baby. As one could imagine, all of these serve to disrupt the life part of living, and the role of technology with each addition of responsibility – from direct reports to a baby – likewise has had to evolve.

The goal of this series of posts is to share how I’ve interwoven technology tools into the fabric of my daily living, and how those tools serve to help and define my relationship to others and the world. The fact is that if you are reading this you are a geek, and I am a bigger geek than you. Seriously. Technology tools are essential to me from the moment I get up in the morning to the moment I go to sleep.

In order to understand just how important. lets establish a few things about me in terms of “life” before we get to the digital aspects:

  • I work and live within a mile of each other.
  • I run at least fifteen miles a week
  • As part of my job running the technology department, I maintain a rule that no one in my department should ever secretly pine for a faster computer. Me included.
  • I like automation.
  • My wife is a geek but more in the “transparent technology” way
  • Music is a huge part of my life and every aspect of it
  • I am biased toward Apple products
  • I travel a lot, usually to New York and San Francisco
  • I enjoy hacking and programming but do not often get the change to do so anymore
  • My background is in conceptual art theory

I think the most fundamental aspect of understanding how I have constructed my digital life however is that I believe and live by the thinking that computers in all forms should augment and enable better living. I think that computers let us be more human than human, and the ultimate goal of any piece of technology should be to become as part of me as my feet.

I like computers because they make the infinite finite, the complex contextualized and reduce chaos down to constituent bits. In terms of how I integrate them into my life, these are the things I look at computers to provide.

Life is infinitely complex and chaotic enough.

To be continued: what I am looking at technology to provide…

Don’t come out with an app store if your device can’t support apps!

I’m looking at you DirectTV

I have two DirectTV HR21 DVR’s. DirecTV, reacting to the new trend of “app stores” decided to add this to the OS on this device. The feature is in beta, and has been since an update in June. The problem is, the HR21 is not suited to running “apps.” The screen resolution of its on-screen display is too low, the device is way way too slow and this “feature” is unusable and I suspect slowing the box down for other things.

It is a sad state of affairs that the device that is driving a 1080P HD display can display moving video in full 1080P, but can’t render on-screen displays that look any better than they did 5 years ago.

I love DirectTV, but every day the HR21 and their ilk (the high end of their equipment I may add) gets more and more long in the tooth. I wish DirectTV would focus on new set-top boxes rather than adding an app-store to a device that is not capable of driving any apps that are worth anything.

Thoughts on the Android G1

I just got my Android phone, the T-Mobile G1. Yes, I know its a first-generation device, but here are my thoughts about it. Keep in mind I’m a loyal smartphone user back to the original Treo.

So here are my thoughts:

  • Does no one do Quality Assurance anymore? The build quality on the device is kind of terrible. It’s hard to type on the keyboard because the bottom portion of the device gets in the way.
  • The OS is OK, but rather slow and buggy. The responsiveness isn’t as tactile as the iPhone OS, and the speed is also subpar. As well, elements of the UI did not pass the wife test. She could not figure out the notification bar.
  • Battery life is appalling
  • The ability to run apps in the background is a mixed blessing (see above)

Overall I think that Android is a good thing to have on the market, and the T-Mobile G1 is a terrible device. Until a device manufacturer approaches a device with deliberation, purpose and ingenuity, the iPhone remains singular. The iPhone OS is in much the same way. It passes my Grand Mother test, and wife test with equal aplomb. The G1 didn’t get past my wife (who is very technical actually).

Competition is good, but the competition needs to take the same method and approach as those they are competing with to even be in the game.