Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Most recently in the Podcasts Category

Performing Gion Kouta

Just got back from visiting Kyoto with Reid, Michelle and Mizuka.

Posted some photos to a Flickr set. Also posted a short chat with Reid about venture business in China and Japan in mp3 (8.9 MB) and ogg (15.3 MB) formats.


Wired magazine writes about the so-called phenomenon of podfading: When someone stops doing a podcast.

Reasons cited for stopping podcasts:
- Boredom
- No success
- Overwhelming success
- No money

Meanwhile, the US-based National Public Radio this week reached the milestone of 13 million podcasts downloaded just six months after it started podcasting.

At the pace mainstream media is entering the new media space, will today's star bloggers and podcasters be tomorrow's roadkill?

Note: I may cross-post comments on the IHT blog and they may be reproduced in the paper for publication.


Has MP3 killed the radio star?

A number of youth-oriented radio stations around the world have reported falling listenership.

Ironically, the rising popularity of music through MP3 may be the cause. (Someone told me today that some radio stations have a playlist as short as 25 song that they play in different order, so not surprising if they are losing listeners to an iPod with more songs.)

Will podcasting kill the radio station? How have people seen their radio listening habits change?


I was down at the sumptuous French National Assembly (A building that looks like a Greek temple from the outside and a livingroom overdosed with red velvet on the inside) yesterday because a group of latenight legislators this week amended a bill to include a global tax for people wishing to share files over the Internet.

Once a user (an "internaut" in French) has paid the fee, that internaut is free to share music or movies on the basis that they are for personal use only.

Result: Hey presto! Kazaa would suddenly be legal in France. What is considered piracy in other parts of the world would be available here in France.

Also: Artists would recieve payouts from the tax money raised (Systems for copyright taxation are not unusual in Europe. Germany, for example, imposes a 12 euro copyright levy on the sale of each personal computer purchased.)

Needless to say, the music and movie industry people were not terribly pleased.

Those AGAINST include the French Rambo!

"This law throws us back to before the French Revolution," said Alain Dorval, an actor who dubbed Sylvester Stallone for the Rambo series of films. "France invented property rights for artists in 1791 and now this Parliament wants to vote them away."

"Since the pay TV channel Canal Plus finances a huge portion of the cinema production, an attack on pay TV undermines the structure for the creation of cinema," Seydoux said. "To be in cinema you must be optimistic and I am optimistic these amendments will fail."
Not only are the amendments bad, but their implication is dangerous, said Michel Gomez, an official with the Association of Directors and Producers. "The message sent by this law is that creative works can be bought for free," he said. "This may be very seductive to Internet users, but it will bring down the structure of entire creative industries."

The arguments FOR:

Patrick Bloche, a pipe-smoking Socialist deputy representing Paris, who was a co-author of the amendments: "We are trying to bring the law up to date with reality." "It is wrong to describe the eight million French people who have downloaded music from the Internet as delinquents."

"We are only leading in a direction that is inevitable for the law everywhere," said Christian Paul, a Socialist deputy who was also a co-author of the amendments. "You will see other European nations adopting such laws in the future because they just make sense."
"Artists currently get no money from peer-to-peer sharing, and with this fee at least they would get some," said Aziz Ridouan, a 17-year old high school student who has fought for Internet rights as president of the Association of Audiosurfers. "If the government and industry attack downloaders aggressively, we will just go underground with encryption and all chance of revenue will be lost."
Ridouan added that the amendments would finally legalize behavior that has become commonplace among young Internet users. "We need protection. It is not nice to feel like you are acting illegally," he said. "They cannot use the law to stop people sharing music just because the music industry missed out on the digital revolution."

If this blog-ization of the article is not clear, check out the full IHT version here.

Which arguments have the most merit and can creative industries survive in the face of peer-to-peer?


Been asking around the newsroom of the International Herald Tribune as to why we don't have a podcast of our best story of the day.

Problem: We don't have the in-house expertise right now to do podcast editing, but we came up with the concept of dial-in podcasting.

Business idea: Our far-flung reporters - and others eager for high quality podcasts - would call in their stories from the field (like we used to do to the recording room) to a high quality editing service that would splice together the best version and put a standard intro on the start and finish of each podcast. The podcast would then be automatically posted on our website. (Sounds ripe for an enterprising outsourcer!)

Any ideas?


In France bloggers have been investigated by police for inciting the riots.

Also, my audiocast on the riots for the New York Times website. (My first podcast-style effort)

Blogs and sms messages were apparently used to coordinate violent action on a large scale.

What should authorities do?

Is there an alternative to censorship?

I just completed my first successful Skypecast from an airplane. I used Audio Hijack Pro, Skype and the Boeing Connexion service on Lufthansa flight 711. Special thanks to Jeremy Wagstaff for being the guinea pig for this experiment.

Joi-JeremyLH711.mp3 (1.7MB)

Frode and his team at Liquid Information have launched a demo of Hyperwords. Hyperwords is a very big idea about tools that make the web a lot more linky and contextual. For now, the demo allows you to load a web page through Hyperwords and mouse over and select various functions from a menu including looking up the definition, searching for on search engines including Technorati and highlighting. The cool thing about the highlighting is that the info is added to the URL so you can copy paste the URL to someone to give them your highlighting. Anyway, I know Frode is looking for feedback so give it a try and let him know what you think.

This blog piped through Hyperwords

Demo page for Hyperwords

UPDATE: Interview with Frode

UPDATE 2: Frode has released a new version:

demo page

This site viewed through version 4

To the page where you can make any page live

Dan Gillmor has started posting 1 minute sound clips. It's an interesting form. One "Minute with Dan" is less than 1MB and short enough to listen to while browsing through your daily feeds. It's not "save it for my train ride" size. Also, probably for people who don't know Dan's voice, it will create a voice behind the words he writes.

I also noticed that VoIP in various forms on my Mac have caused me to be in an environment where I can listen to audio as my default. One year ago, I had sound turned off 90% of the time. Now I have it on 90% of the time...

A Minute with Dan: Bad Behavior

A Minute with Dan: Graduation Day

I just bought Live 4.1 from Ableton. I love it. It's the perfect music production software for DJ types like me. You can import sounds, midi files, effects and fine tune the loops and samples. The neat thing is that you then bind loops, tracks, effects and other things to keys or midi events and jam away live to your heart's delight laying down a recording that you can then go back and edit before you render it. It's a bit hard to explain. Take a look at the demo on their site.

Here's my first track using samples from Lessig, Jimmy Wales, Kenji Eno, Howard and others. ;-) (mixup1.mp3 1.9 MB mp3). It's a bit rough, but you get the idea.

On my Japanese blog, I've been podcasting conversations with Kenji Eno, former game developer and now CEO of fyto. The last post was a silly remix of our conversations put to music. I didn't post it here because it was in Japanese, but he's fired back with podcasting.mp3, his revenge.

(Chat 1, Chat 2, Remix - On, podcasting - Kenji's revenge 6.7MB mp3)

Howard Rheingold, Lisa Kimball and I had a telephone conversation to kickoff our keynote for OSN 2005. (17 min mp3 11.2 MB). It will soon be available in other formats on

Did a Garage Band mix of one of Howard's talks at Stanford. (1.44MB mp3 / 1.66MB ogg)

Eric and I were chatting about how cool Garage Band was and we decided to try collaboration over the Internet. I grabbed some samples off of a talk Lawrence Lessig gave in Helsinki, laid down some beats and "started the car". The I passed it over to Eric. Eric laid down some more tracks, added effects, mixed it and sent it back to me. I added some metadata and posted it to (being processed now) and "Permission Granted" was born.

We just figured this out a few minutes ago, but I think Permission Granted will be a collaboration between Eric and me. We're "co-pilots". We'll mess around putting samples from talks and discussions to music. We're still sort of not-stupid-enough-to-be-funny, but not-good-enough-to-be-cool, but hopefully we'll the the hang of it soon.

Starting the car (2.25 MB mp3 / 2.70 MB ogg)

Update: Where we got the title of the track...

“why don’t you start the car, and i’ll jump in”, something i heard bob dylan say to tom petty on a tape of them drunkenly playing the lounge of a holiday inn one night when they were on tour together.

What happens when you 1) were thinking about stupid songs that you can't get out of your head, 2) are listening to the audio of Jimmy Wales talking about Wikipedia in Boston (audio and text transcripts here), 3) are chatting to wikipedians on IRC and 4) happen to have Garage Band open? This (800K mp3 / 870K ogg).

PS I would like to add that many wikipedians contributed links, sounds and feedback in the creation of this piece. It's amazing what you can do as a community. ;-P Just kidding, I can not take credit for the entire work, but I have no one to blame but myself.

UPDATE: Eric Haller just cleaned it up for me and now it sounds much better. 963K mp3

Silicon Valley 100 is a project by Auren Hoffman. I was lucky enough to make it on the list. The idea is to make a list of "connectors" and send them new gadgets and products to test. Newsweek just did a story about this. I think it is almost like an opt-in focus group. The obvious criticism would be these companies are trying to buy "buzz". The difference between this and some buzz creation companies is 1) it's not stealth 2) they don't tell you what to say. I checked with Auren and he says that we can write whatever we want about the products. When I get a product from Silicon Valley 100, I will state this clearly in any blog post that refers to it and will say what I think. I realize that the fact that we probably get to keep most of the products makes it a bit like bribery, but if it's crap, I'm sure most people will throw it away. I would be most interested in products that are still not on the market where our feedback could be incorporated in the product design. Then our feedback could be more constructive...

Anyway, I'd be curious on people's thoughts.

The first product is a brondell high-tech toilet seat. I told Auren, that this is one product that Japan is a world leader in. I blogged this before, but we have over 50% household penetration. The one in my house and in my office even has anti-stinky gas-gate like air filtration.

UPDATE: Just uploaded a 5 min 4.3 MB conversation with Auren Hoffman, the founder of the Silicon Valley 100.

UPDATE 2: Uploaded it to too. Maybe I should put my media files there instead since archive org does the file conversions for me too...

A few weeks ago, there was an article in Scientific American "debunking" the myth of self-esteem. I've never been to therapy in the US so I don't have first hand experience, but my good friend John Vasconcellos is one of the founders of the movement and my impressions about the movement from him were that it was important and useful. John told me that he thought the definition that they used in the article was different from the one he was using. He said he would get back to me on his thoughts on the article. I found a thread on MetaFilter about this article so I participated in a discussion there. I was still having trouble thinking through the issue, so I turned to one of my favorite moral guides, Reverend AKMA. I decided to record the call and post it here in case anyone is interested in our chat. (37 min 33 MB mp3)

I think the net-net is that overvaluing or undervaluing yourself is bad. Ways to help people swung too far in either direction are good. The US probably suffers differently, than say Japan, because I think more people in Japan get self-esteem from craft or professionalism compared to the US where I believe self-esteem is more highly linked to money. Creating enclaves of people or communities to help people feel happy about their success measured by different parameters is a good thing and something the Net might be good for.

UPDATE 2: Audio available in a variety of formats on

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