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Sunday, May 18, 2008

NBCU Maybe Producing BATTLESTAR GALACTICA TV-Movies This Summer??

From the fabulous Maureen Ryan at the Chicago Tribune:

As Galactica Sitrep noted Thursday, an internet radio show, The Doctor and Mrs. Who, reported last night that up to three “Battlestar Galactica” TV movies may get made later this year. Several sources at the show confirm that those films are indeed being discussed right now.

Executives are now doing number-crunching for these proposed films, and any deals for these movies are far from done. However, it would make sense to make more “Battlestar” TV movies while the show’s creative team and actors are still all in one place, as it were.

Ryan further notes that series mastermind Ron Moore is currently writing the series finale, that as many as three movies could be made, and if the movies do get made they'll get made this summer.

I’m guessing the plan being bandied about is to air the movies this autumn, before the final 10 episodes of the series finally hit NBC-Universal’s SciFi Channel.

I’m also guessing the TV-movies will, like “Razor” and the soon-to-shoot Cylon-genesis project “Caprica,” serve as prequels to the current season-four storylines. Moore has, in a David Chase-like manner, repeatedly rejected the notion of continuing the “Galactica” story beyond its coming series finale.

Ryan's story also tells us a new set of webisode shorts will link the first and second halves of season four.

Read all of Ryan’s story on the matter here.


$15 For Spidey’s Whole MTV Series??

One Of Hundreds Of Titles In

The SPRING TV 2FER SALE!!



Stay Out Of Trouble!!

Three-For-Two Blu-Ray Sale!!

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Learn to Play an Instrument Online

Chances are at one point or another, you've either purchased an instrument or considered doing so with the intention of learning to play it; most of us, however, never get around the the learning part. The internet is a glorious fount of freely available information, and it's slowly filling up with excellent tutorials for getting good at just about anything—including playing a new instrument. Hit the jump for a handful of great resources for getting started with a new instrument online for the low, low price of free.

Hit Up YouTube for Free Tutorials

1learn-drums.pngAs free hosted video sites proliferate around the web, more and more people have begun using them to share their skills with the world at large. Just spend a few minutes on YouTube searching for a musical topic of interest and you will find tons of videos to suit your interests, from how to play drums to how to play piano. You're likely to find the most videos, though, focusing on playing the guitar.

video-tabs.pngAspiring guitarists should check out web site Video Tabs, which scours YouTube for guitar-specific instructional videos and posts the best to their site.[via]



Improve Your Guitar Chops with iTunes

The second most popular podcast on iTunes is Beginning Guitar 101, a free instructional video from iVideosongs. The site itself is chock full of instructional videos that you can pay $5 to $10 for, but iTunes features six instructional videos for the beginning guitarist to devour for free. Then, of course, if you're hooked, you can head to the site for more. [via]

Learn Guitar on Your iPod

Web site and now software iPlayMusic (original post) offers several free videos for the beginning guitarist through their freeware iPlayMusic player. iPlayMusic requires a registration to get started, and it's put a commercial face on a lot of its videos, but the free beginner tutorials are a great place to get started; even better, they export for watching on your iPod on-the-go.

Learn to Read Tablature

1tab.pngThe best way to get up and started in no time is by learning how to read tab (a simple notation for translating what you're supposed to play that's way less complicated than reading music) and then finding a good tab site or two. Honestly, whenever I'm searching for tabs I just hit up Google and grab the first or second result. That said, I'm a big fan of sites like Ultimate Guitar for their auto-scroll features, which scroll the page for you so you don't have to stop playing. A lot of tab sites are riddled with pop-ups, but sometimes that's the price you pay.

Learn the Drums While Playing Video Games

rock-band-drums.pngOne of the coolest things about the video game Rock Band is that—while the guitar bears no relevance to actual guitar playing—you can actually learn a little something about drumming by playing Rock Band. No, Rock Band isn't exactly "online" (though you can play with friends over Xbox Live), but Wired has rounded up some great tips for Rock Band drummers looking to hone their skills (original post).

As you can tell, the hobbiest's instrument-of-choice is definitely the guitar, and you're likely to find a lot more guitar-centric how-tos than the rest. However, with a little digging—and YouTube really is your friend for this—you can get a basic understanding of and get started with just about any instrument. If you've got your own tried-and-true resources for honing your musical talents online, share it in the comments.

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The Whitburn Project: One-Hit Wonders and Pop Longevity

How has the record industry changed in the last 50 years? Using the Whitburn Project spreadsheet I talked about yesterday, I've been trying to dig into some of the underlying trends. Today, I'll be tackling the longevity and diversity of pop songs, and a look at which decades had one-hit wonders.

Longevity of a Pop Song

One of the trickier questions I've been trying to visualize is how long pop songs are staying on the charts relative to the past. Are they staying on the charts longer than in the past?

In the chart below, I plotted the total number of weeks charted for all 23,924 songs that appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1957 to earlier this year. (In other words, a little dot on the "60" line means there was a song released that week that stayed on the Hot 100 chart for 60 weeks.)

See the heavy dropoff on the 20th week starting in 1991? In an attempt to increase diversity and promote newer artists and songs, Billboard changed their methodology, removing tracks that had been on the Hot 100 for twenty consecutive weeks and slipped below the 50th position. These songs, called "recurrents," were then moved to their own chart in 1991, the Hot 100 Recurrent.

Unfortunately, this shift makes it much harder to compare the last 15 years to the decades before it. In the chart below, I've isolated the effect by only showing songs that reached the top 50.

A couple interesting observations... Looking at the very bottom of the chart, you can see that in the last couple years, it's become very common for a single to appear in the Top 50 and fall out of the Hot 100 within four weeks. Prior to the mid-1990s, this almost never happened.

Also, songs are staying in the Top 50 for far longer than they used to. Unfortunately, I don't have any actual sales numbers to compare to, so it's hard to say if these 30-70 week singles are massive megahits eclipsing the #1 singles of the past, or if it's because the record industry is producing fewer hits than before.

Diversity

Did Billboard's methodology changes in 1991 make the charts more diverse, like they hoped? By looking at the total number of unique songs that have charted yearly, it's clear their changes did nothing to slow the decline.

According to Billboard, the late 1960s were the peak of musical diversity in popular music, with 743 different songs appearing on the 1966 Billboard Top 100. It's fallen consistently since, hitting an all-time low in 2002 with only 295 songs. Since then, it's improved only slightly, with 351 unique songs appearing on last year's Top 100.

One Hit Wonders

I've always thought the 1970s were the decade of the one-hit wonder, but now I have the data to see for sure.

In raw numbers, the 1960s had more one-hit wonders than any other decade, followed closely by the 1950s. But that's not entirely fair since, as we saw earlier, there were simply more unique songs on the 1960s charts. To find out the true numbers, we need to look at the number of one-hit wonders as a percentage of all songs in the Top 100.

This tells a totally different story. The 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s all had about the same ratio of one-hit wonders to hits by more established artists. The big surprise for me is that 1950s, 1990s, and 2000s really seem to be the eras where one-hit wonders dominated the charts.

Joshua Porter was wondering about the longest-charting one-hit wonders of all time. The longest-charting one-hit wonder to hit the #1 spot is Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" from 2006, which stayed on the charts for 32 weeks. The one-hit wonder that stayed at the #1 longest is Anton Karas' "The Third Man Theme" from 1950, which stayed in the #1 position for 11 weeks. Finally, the longest-charting one-hit wonder to appear anywhere in the Top 100 is Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing" from 1997, which peaked at #16 but stayed in the top 100 for 55 weeks.

Have any other questions about the data, or done any analysis yourself? I'd love to hear about it.

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Lucas Has Idea for Indiana Jones 5; Spielberg, LaBeouf, and Ford Don’t Rule it Out


Rumors began in July 2007 that Shia LaBeouf signed a contract to reprise his role of Mutt Williams, in a series of Indiana Jones sequels. MTV quickly got a denial from LucasFilm, although it turns out that IESB.net’s source probably wasn’t far off after all. It has now been revealed that George Lucas has an idea to make more Indy films with Mutt as the lead character.

“I haven’t even told Steven or Harrison this,” Lucas told Fox News. “But I have an idea to make Shia [LeBeouf] the lead character next time and have Harrison [Ford] come back like Sean Connery did in the last movie. I can see it working out.”

And I’m betting that like most Hollywood contracts, LaBeouf probably has stipulations which lock him into a sequel/spin-off if Paramount wanted to make one, despite what LucasFilm claimed last year. And LaBeouf says he would be interested.

“I don’t think a Mutt spinoff would be as big as Indiana Jones,” LaBeouf told MTV. “[But] fingers crossed!”

Harrison Ford told USA Today in April that “he also might consider a fifth installment of Indiana Jones, though he hopes it wouldn’t take 20 years to pull together.”

“And it’s not like Harrison is even old,” admits Lucas. “I mean, he’s 65 and he did everything in this movie. The old chemistry is there, and it’s not like he’s an old man. He’s incredibly agile; he looks even better than he did 20 years ago, if you ask me.”

Even director Steven Spielberg admitted a years back while developing Crystal Skull, that he wouldn’t rule out a fifth film.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Spielberg told the Chicago Sun Times. “Of course, I said the third INDY would be the last one. And obviously it’s not. So I can’t even comment whether the fourth will be the last one or not. I’m not looking to redesign the wheel. I just want to continue the saga.”

If Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull does the business that everyone is expecting, I don’t see how they couldn’t launch a sequel/spin-off. What about a storyline where Shia has to find and rescue Indiana Jones, a callback to The Last Crusade.

Discuss: Would you see a Indiana Jones spin-off starring Shia LaBeouf?

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