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Michael Cera

Internet DJ week: are you being your true self or Michael Cera?

Attention all social media music playlist mavens: are you posting your own personal favorite tunes, or are you really favoring content based on how you want others to see you? If it’s the latter choice, you are not alone. An Aalto University (Helsinki, Finland) user study concludes that “being authentic is very important for social media users. At the same time, users also admitted faking parts of their online image in order to conform to social norms and expectations.”

This was particularly true for subscribers, the authors of the survey say.

“We found that it was not uncommon for some users to purposely choose to listen to, or indeed not listen to, particular music according to the image that that individual wants to portray to others,” one of the researchers explained in an interview.

This revelation makes me want to break open my old copy of The Presentation of Self in Every Day Life by Erving Goffman, who famously argued that most behavior is performative. “The very obligation and profitability . . . of being a socialized character,” Goffman’s tome concluded, “forces us to be the sort of person who is practiced in the ways of the stage.” I always thought that Goffman’s analysis was a bit extreme. But here it is with a vengeance.

Speaking of questions of authenticity, the Bandcamp blog reports that someone named “Michael Cera” posted an album to the service, and Bandcamp’s proprietors did not believe it was really him at first:

“Confirming this was the Michael Cera, the amiably awkward, witty, and dapper dude from Arrested Development , Youth in Revolt , Superbad , Scott Pilgrim vs. the World , Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Juno , was no easy feat. But thanks to Cera’s persuasive emails, a call from his management, and a  Jonah Hill  tweet, we established that this was not the work of an attention-seeking crackpot.”

Having convinced themselves of Cera’s authenticity, the Bandcampers appear to be quite smitten with his music. I enjoyed the album, too. Some of the doodlesque content strikes me as Paul Simon Lite, but maybe by the second of third album Cera will find a more original voice. In any event, it is great that there is a place like Bandcamp where things like this can happen.

Next, it is once again time for us to visit the Radio Survivor OMG-what’s-going-to-happen-to-Pandora Department. At the beginning of last week suggested that Pandora was becoming excellent buyout bait, and everyone got excited and the company’s stock went up. And then nothing happened and the streamer’s CFO Mike Herring said that Pandora “does not spend any time wondering if we’re going to be a takeover target.” So everyone should calm down already.

“We’re really good at this stuff,” Herring declared on Wednesday. “We’ve got the best economists and lawyers in the world. We feel good about it, but it’s a big unknown.”

This reminds me of a joke. It is 1986 and Ronald Reagan, Francois Mitterand, and Mikhail Gorbachev are having a drink after a big summit.

“I have one hundred security guards, and one of them is a KGB agent,” Reagan admits. “And I don’t know which.”

“That’s nothing,” Mitterand says. “I have 100 lovers and one of them has a sexually transmittable disease, and I don’t know which.”

“Forget your troubles,” Gorbachev chimes in. “I have one hundred advisers, and one of them is an economist, and I don’t know which.”

Meanwhile The Trichordist has been having a silly-dilly party with the revelation that various key players on the Pandora team have given money to Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah and generic homophobic jerk.  “I think with this many high level Pandora insiders donating money to this candidate it’s a reasonable question to ask whether the company has an anti-gay bias,” Trichordist claims. I beg to differ. I think reasonability requires one to consider the simplest possibility first: Pandora is supporting this guy solely because he sponsored a bill that would lower Internet radio performance fees down to what they are for cable and satellite radio. Shouldn’t we acknowledge that before we post a piece titled “Pandora Hates Gay People” . . . ?

Partisan tomfoolery aside, how exactly did Chaffetz get to be a point dude on this issue in the House anyway? I think his bill is dead at this stage in the game, but it was co-sponsored by Jared Polis (D-CO) and uber-liberal Ron Wyden of Oregon in the Senate. Copyright law makes for the weirdest bedfellows.


The RAIN semifinalists for international Internet radio are out, and they include a Ukrainian”underground bunker” streamer, a spoken word Irish station, and “Three music channels here: RED (upbeat), BLUE (downlbeat), and WHITE (somewhere in the middle).” Glad they’re keeping things simple.

The Blue Music Group has left Spotify. It pays too little, a representative for the label told a Swedish radio host. “The entire record label’s catalog, containing music collections, among others Bach , Alice Tegnér and Eddie Jefferson, will now be removed from the [Spotify] music service,” a summary of the interview says.

But on the positive side, Spotify is sending out invitations to Canadians!

We cover social music sharing communities  every Monday in our Internet DJ feature.

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