You're a Freeloader and a Beggar!

I got called a 'freeloader' this week in a Periscope broadcast. This was in reaction to the broadcaster hosting the scope, mentioned I make private scopes and they are paid for. Yes I charge for private broadcasts as a 'freeloader'. 

Let me back up first, I was called a 'digital beggar' by the same person first. So it's clear I'm talking to a moron as they don't know what a 'freeloader' is. The viewer doesn't follow me, but is aware I ask for donations.

I'm taking the time to write this as I thought it was interesting how somebody took issue with something that doesn't harm them (and it's happened before in the past on Periscope) and this blog post serves as a reminder as to what to do the next time. I can only assume this person was slighted by the idea of someone asking for money for their own endeavours (and their time). Even though people ask for money for their time everyday.

With Periscope or YouTube in particular (because I use it a lot), viewers are in a privileged position, all they have to do is tap a notification and sit in the comfort of their home. turn their brain off in total comfort and allow for passivity, that is until someone asks for money on the app they are using for free. Some kind of flawed maths enters their brain and the answer = complain.

I'm curious why people get their hate on and take issue with a simple call for assistance? 1 hour of watching someone or something (whatever it is) is one hour of not doing something else in life. Okay, not one hour, heck I can throw that away on a TV pilot and not really care.

That's the rub isn't it? I don't care, and if I don't care as a viewer, then why should that creator not get paid? In the case of a TV show, we understand the rules and take for granted something like a pilot involved contracts, meetings, location shooting, actors who need paying and so forth. None of that is disputed and can be disputed, no viewer can ask for their money back on that pilot, there is no serious reaction other than with one simple rule. By choosing not to watch again in the future. Don't like something? Don't watch it!

It's the same thing with watching what I produce. Just don't watch, there's no need for your voice to be heard, because if you're dumb enough to complain about someone else's hustle, then you deserve to be told something you already know, but are fighting against. 

Just don't watch then!

Those raising tantrums might not value their own time or the time of the creator, but the negativity expressed has this need to override the value being enjoyed by others. Again something overlooked by complainers.

I want to end the blog post here, but the second part links in with this idea that everybody needs to have their say. They don't. YOU don't. Let's make it clear. Just because you can comment, doesn't mean that I or any other broadcaster needs to. In this situation where the viewer can have their say and provide direct feedback, they feel they can do more than just stop watching, they've got to tell you why as though its going to change anything. It's a false sense of importance that's able to be derived from something as simple as including a text box.

With great timing, Casey Neistat just released a new YouTube video talking about people shouting from his sidelines. Of course Casey is far ahead down this road of self-ambition, but once somebody gets to a certain size, boom! The perception is of a sell out, not to their ideals, but to those watching.

 I haven't been called a 'sellout' yet, I'm sure its coming further down the line. In fact, I hope so now, it means I got somewhere. It's something else to look forward to as people overlook what it takes to "just running around with a phone, talking". 

"Look Wendy I Can Fly"!

It was the iPhone's 10th birthday this month. It's astonishing it's been ten years since it was originally unveiled! Time has flown by. Ten years seems like a good way to think back to the state of my 'personal computing' from 2007.

I had a Mac laptop, as I do now, the tiny for its time 12" PowerBook connected to some monitor, a Nintendo DS Lite and some Nokia phone I don't care fondly enough for (it had WAP). I also had home wifi.

In 2007 wherever I went, the PowerBook went with me, and I travelled to where there was WiFi. It seems brutal for a workflow and unbelievable that that was how I operated casually in the computing world only ten years.

I want to sing a little praise in this blog post for the iPhone's most useful feature as I put my new website design through its paces. That is the always on connection to an LTE network and the Personal Hotspot function.

We use to 'dial into' the Internet, today it's ever present. Always on Internet is something we generally take for granted now. Anybody born into the world today won't even think about the Internet, just like children in the 80s readily accepted television. I do remember being astonished when my parents mentioned their lives before microwaves and televisions. 

I was astonished with the introduction of the first iPhone (the way Steve Jobs presented the iPhone helped). That January keynote was one to remember if you were able to watch it live, I saw myself being able to use the future that I had seen on 'Star Trek' ten years prior. I could see it, but certainly not feel it like I do today! Wait for the kids who wonder what we did prior to the ubiquity of the Internet and the smartphone.

In 2007 I really couldn't envision a 2017 Jonathan.

I'm reminded at work almost every time I can access anything I want, specifically 'YouTube' when my 4-5 year old students get annoyed with the load times as they don't understand the nuance between the screen of a TV and a smartphone. I'm fine with the load times. SIDE NOTE: I'm beginning to see what a 'generational divide' is.

I'm reminded at home when I realise how easy it is to tether my laptop to my iPhone, along with an iPad, and a second backup iPhone. It's the utility of both the mobile connection and the phone combined. I have all four devices running and operating on my own wifi network generated by a device smaller than a video cassette! For others with the iPhone SE, a cassette tape! The wifi is also faster than the wifi I had ten years ago!*

My favourite reminder is to have fired up something like Periscope, Twitter, download some updates all simultaneously on my various devices. It's a little thing personal to me I know. I am just still able to marvel at this ability. Credit goes to the countless developers and engineers on both the network side and the device to make it happen. Everything complex and computer related is interwoven into the radio frequencies surrounding us. It's easy to forget the progress we've made and along with all the hidden difficulty.

We've all heard that story about the computing power of a smartphone today is more powerful than what we had when we went to the moon. It's true, but it isn't a metric we can personally measure the progress of and compare against. I'm sure you have your own story about how your life has changed in the last ten years since the iPhone was shown off. Share it in the comments if you want.

I think back ten years to scoff at what I could do then compared to today. Now I look forward to see what we will have over the next ten years.

*My apartment in HK is old, cable or some wired internet service with a wireless router is pointless so that is why everything is run off the mobile.



Live Streaming Street Music Today - Part One

I'm not an expert on music itself, my engagement with music consists of buying one album from iTunes a year and avoiding everything else I don't have time for. I mostly listen to podcasts; they take up most of my listening hours. In this piece I'm writing about music's relationship with broadcast apps like Periscope and a potential level of success that can be achieved.

On the inverse as a side note, podcasting isn't suited for broadcasting on something like Periscope, the engagement has to be really well controlled to fit into a live recording that translates into an understandable product. 

Musical performances are however, suited really well and should be taken advantage of. Engagement isn't as necessary and the experience isn't as alien because everybody has music on their phone. I've noticed a behavioural trend, (mostly on Periscope, but it shouldn't be an exclusive experience) where streaming apps are connecting musicians to a more diverse and engaging audience.

As I watch many music related streams, I'm taking note of comments in the chat, the reactions and the willingness of individuals to want to give money, to digitally 'tip' musicians for such live performances.

People can tip via web services such as Patreon, GoFundMe or PayPal. Usually a broadcaster is sharing the musicians payment information in order to help and raise awareness of that's person's talent.

There has been many times in a live stream where someone commentating is telling the broadcaster that he/she is obligated to tip. There is sometimes a brief explanation that the broadcaster already has or will and then the chat dies down until someone else arrives late and makes the same request to tip.

The sentiment with tipping is being repeated without conflict in the chat. Oddly one of the few topics on the internet where people agree. It's being recognised that someone watching should. This is a very different attitude in real life, human behaviour is different in person and nobody is pressuring anyone else to throw some coin. 

I regard it as a new phenomenon that should be monetised and looks to be one of the few ways to monetise without any resistance, the positive recognition is there is very little overhead or disadvantages for musicians. on the 25th of February published an article titled '14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows'. Reading the article, you realise that methods 4, 5, 6, 9, 12 and 13, (if the musician is really adept) can be taken accommodated simply with a smart phone and a URL to a payment site. 

Younger street musicians should adapt and engage with potential new audiences in this manner. The context of a live street performance changes with a live stream being included in a performer's arsenal, capturing commuters and couch viewers with minimal extra effort.

In addition, discovery branches out when another broadcaster finds your live stream on their phone and decides to share the stream or when a musician meets another broadcaster in person and is looking to stream quality content of their own for their viewers. Not only is the output staying at the same amount for musicians, but the reach is multiplied to many more viewers with a willingness to tip. If there is another benefit that can be capitalised on, the second broadcaster standing in the street can also host an impromptu interview further changing the dynamics of a performance or take requests for particular songs.

There is no reason to hold back when approaching street music while keeping live streaming in mind. The resistance of people walking past unwilling to tip is countered by a second world wide audience who are viewing comfortably in their homes or on their own commutes somewhere else. Ironically they can be a larger source of income even though they aren't on the street and can't connect with the musician in person. It's more than likely easier and more profitable to fill the mobile space than the physical space as live streaming moves more into the mainstream.