Fake Traffic Explained

I’ve written before about “Fake Traffic” and a developed theory called “The Wave Theory of Traffic” and I’m happy once again to write that scientists have used math and science to prove that ‘Phantom’ Traffic Jams exist and they’re working to mitigate them.

The MIT team found speed, traffic density and other factors can determine conditions that will lead to a jamiton and how quickly it will spread. Once the jam forms, the researchers say, drivers have no choice but to wait for it to clear. The new model could lead to roads designed with sufficient capacity to keep traffic density below the point at which a jamiton can form.

Via Boing Boing.

Fake Traffic Explained

New Business Models for Musicians

In the latest “The Future of the Music Business” article that I can’t seem to avoid linking to and writing about, James Reed in The Boston Globe writes about artists relying on fans to fund the recording of new albums. The article mentions Ellis Paul and Jill Sobule who have both gone to the fans in the last year to raise $90K and $80K respectively for albums.

I don’t know why you need $80K to record an album in this age of Garage Band, but Sobule says is it’s for publicists and what not. Because, really, why shouldn’t the fans pay to tell other people about the music they paid for?

Not mentioned in the article is Josh Freese who paid to record his album himself, but is looking to recoup some of the costs by selling album packages to fans for between $7 and $75K. (The $10K package that includes Disney Land and Freese’s Volvo is unsold, as is the $75K package that includes shrooming with Freese, though the $20K miniature golf game with singers from Tool and Devo did sell.) I’m thinking Freese was inspired by the Nine Inch Nails packages from last year. Kottke commenter Jeff Stern says of this model “instead of 1,000 true fans, 1 wealthy fan”, a reference to Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans model for artists. (A model that is criticized here, by the way.)

When I was touring with Addison Groove Project, we were selling all of our merch in one package for $75. This deal included 1 t shirt, 1 sweatshirt, 5 CDs, stickers, a beer coozie, a bottle opener, a foam finger, and a trucker hat and represented a savings of about $40. We sold a bunch of them, too.

I’ve been saying for a while that the future of record labels is not to distribute and promote records, but to manage communities of fans. Artists are proving that they can rely on fans for funding, they can rely on iTunes and other online sellers for distribution, and they can rely on bloggers for coverage. All the real money is in ticket sales and merch, anyway.

Plus 2 bonus articles from Portfolio. Record Labels Get Real (except not really) and a discussion of The Celestial Jukebox.

New Business Models for Musicians

The Wave Theory of Traffic

While driving in the US is down a little bit, traffic and congestion is down a lot.

[T]raffic congestion is subject to a tipping point–what economists call non-linearities. Add an additional car to a crowded road at rush hour, and traffic slows down a bit, and then the “carrying capacity” of the road declines. Traffic engineers estimate that most roads carry their maximum throughput — number of vehicles per hour at about 40 miles per hour — so as traffic slows below that speed, the road actually loses capacity and goes slower and slower, producing a traffic jam.

When we were touring we were incessantly sitting in traffic, usually at 6 PM when we were late for load in or at 3 AM when we were driving at night to avoid traffic. The guys up front staring blankly out the windshield at the cars and trucks snaking in the distance, the crushing reality of the digital clock cutting short soundcheck and possibly dinner. The guys in the back were only mildly aware that we weren’t moving, knowing that while we should be somewhere by now, we weren’t, and it only really mattered if we missed dinner, anyway.

Once in a while, there would be a pileup or emergency vehicles or construction. But more frequently, we’d be sitting in brutal, mind numbing traffic, and all of a sudden, it would clear up and we’d be moving again. We called this phenomenon “Fake Traffic” and eventually worked out a complicated and detailed Wave Theory of Traffic. And now, via Matthew Yglesias, CEOs for Cities have gotten to the bottom of this theory for us. Thank you CEOs for Cities!

The Wave Theory of Traffic

Buddy Rich Yelling At His Band

I had completely forgotten about this recording of Buddy Rich yelling at his band, but when we were touring, each of us could recite chunks of it from memory. And did. Often. You haven’t heard an excoriation until you’ve heard this one.

Think Christian Bale was bad? You don’t know anything. “How dare you call yourself professional.”

(Thanks to Wired.com for reminding me about this and 9 other great rants, specifically Russell vs Tomlin.)

Buddy Rich Yelling At His Band

Does Anyone Speak Portuguese?

Here’s a link to a Brazilian blog that posted a link to download the last album of the band that I was tour manager for. Go check it out, it’s a good album. Anyway, if you speak Portuguese, I’d love to know what this says. For what it’s worth, the link was happened upon by my friend organically. That is totally found without Google, which I thought was a funny coincidence.

Does Anyone Speak Portuguese?