A celebration of the riches of the web.
Today in Web Monitor: a dying music genre, how to sell a movie and confessions of a book pirate.
• It's fun for cultural commentators to pronounce musical genres dead. But for Rachel Maddux at Paste magazine, when she proclaimed indie music dead, she had another problem: defining what it is. She gives it a go:
"Indie is, at once, a genre (of music first, and then of film, books, video games and anything else with a perceived arty sensibility, regardless of its relationship to a corporation), an ethos, a business model, a demographic and a marketing tool. It can signify everything, and it can signify nothing. It stands among the most important, potentially sustainable and meaningful movements in American popular culture - not just music, but for the whole cultural landscape. But because it was originally sculpted more in terms of what it opposed than what it stood for, the only universally held truth about 'indie' is that nobody agrees on what it means."
• The blog Letters of Note collects correspondence they say deserves a wider audience. They've published a letter from the Hollywood studio head Harvey Weinstein to documentary maker Errol Morris after a promotional interview for the film, which later went on to win many awards. The producer finished with the greatest put down Web Monitor has seen:
"If you continue to be boring, I will hire an actor in New York to pretend that he's Errol Morris. If you have any casting suggestions, I'd appreciate that."
• In anticipation of e-readers increasing book piracy, much like film and music piracy. C Max Magee at the Millions found someone who pirates books now. Calling themselves "The Real Caterpillar" they told the Millions the whole process can take over 40 hours for one book, which begs the question why bother:
"The dearth of material I was interested in is what prompted me to scan in the past, in order to share some of my favorite, less popular authors with as many people as possible... I assume they [pirated books] are primarily produced by individuals like me - bibliophiles who want to share their favorite books with others. They likely own hundreds of books, and when asked what their favorite book is look at you like you are crazy before rattling of 10-15 authors, and then emailing you later with several more. The next time you see them, they have a bag of 5-10 books for you to borrow."
Links in full