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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Toast To Bob Dylan - And Digital Music

By Media Post's Cory Treffiletti

Remember last year when the video iPod was announced? I do. It was Oct. 5, 2005. That day was extremely important in my mind because it signaled the fruition of so many things we all expected and were waiting for. The world of on-demand entertainment had been hinted at for years, and video on-demand was starting to come into its own, but the video iPod signaled the first true time shift device as well as a location shift device for mass media entertainment (beyond pure music) that would be accessible by the masses. I personally found it to be quite exciting.

Well, now it's Sept. 13 and the world has come full circle because if you've seen the new iPod commercials you've seen that the one and only Bob Dylan is singing in an iPod commercial. This is a relatively momentous occasion, if you really sit and think about it. I mean, the only time Bob has ever shown up in on the commercial airwaves was in a lingerie ad. In 2004 Bobby lent his image and name to a commercial for Victoria's Secret, so it would appear that the closest thing to the love of a good woman to Bob is... an iPod!

But seriously--Bob's new album is actually REALLY good and the fact that he is using Apple to sling it is very telling for the future of music. U2 started the trend of partnering with iPod, but they are more contemporary than Bob Dylan. Bob is a symbol of so many things in the past. He is a symbol of pure poetry in music, which is something we just don't see too much of anymore. U2 speaks to a much larger audience than Bob Dylan does these days, but Bob is respected by so many luminaries and people outside of the core target audience for Apple that I wonder if they're using him as much as he's using them. It's obvious that his label wanted to do the deal to expose his music as "hip" to a younger audience, but is it also possible that his implied approval of the iPod will help it break into new audiences who might not have joined the ranks of the initiated? Is it possible that Bobby will help Apple sell more iPods?

The name of Bob's new album is "Modern Times." I find it ironic that these modern times of digital music are tapping into the past and one of the most amazing artists of our lifetime. I find it exciting and I find it extremely logical.

In a recent article in Rolling Stone, Bob was quoted as saying (and I paraphrase) that he felt Napster was OK, because it was giving away music and he didn't feel there was much good music out there at the time and that it SHOULD have been given away.

Well, with digital media picking up more speed every day and the accessibility of new music expanding all the time from community to community, I can only hope that Bob feels things are getting just a little bit better. I know that without digital music I would never have found half the artists and songs I listen to now!

Here's to Bob and digital media!

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