The Richter Scales: Men Who Blog

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Farewell, John Davi!

We're sad to announce that John Davi has decided to leave the Scales.

Since joining the group a little under two years ago, and even before that, John has made some fantastic contributions to the Richter Scales. He is responsible for some of the best lines and funniest moments in our videos and performances for the TechCrunch Crunchies. He's also been a wonderful soloist and a great performer.

But mostly we just really liked hanging out with him.

John is retiring from the Scales to pursue his real passion, work.

Good luck, John!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Free Show: Redshift/Richter Scales This Friday

One night only! Again!
Science and Music Will Collide!

Richter Scales
A FREE Joint Concert

Come see the Scales Friday in their first peninsula performance...since their last peninsula performance!

Added bonus! Watch us tame a live tiger using nothing but four part harmony. It must be seen to be believed!

This Friday, June 12th
, 7:30pm
Location: The Annex, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
1105 Valparaiso Ave, Menlo Park
(Once you've turned off of Valparaiso at the Church, drive to the back parking lot behind the church--the Annex is at the far right side.)

See you there!

* subject to tiger availability

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hello, GREAT times!

Hello, GREAT times! The Richter Scales are delighted to present our latest work lampooning the economic crisis with Heart. An original piece commissioned for the Crunchies, we make fun of tech start-ups, VCs, pointy-haired bosses, engineers, and pretty much everything else we can think of. Enjoy!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Video: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

"Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Let you heart be light.
From now on,
Our troubles will be out of sight."

Isn't that just exactly how we all feel here at the end of 2008?

Heck no, it isn't. The US stock market is suffering its biggest one year decline since the Great Depression, and that's been one of the better stock market performances in 2008. The developed economies are struggling with crushing debt burdens, and the emerging economies aren't so emerging any more, partly because the rich countries are cutting back on their exports, and partly because they're dealing with rising levels of social instability.

As if all that weren't bad enough, terrorism is making a re-appearance in India, bird flu is making a re-appearance in Asia, and "Knight Rider" is making a re-appearance on prime time TV.

Desperate times call for desperate Christmas carols. Here's our contribution. Enjoy the video, and then go enjoy another egg nog. And another. And another.

Video credits

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"Here Comes Another Bubble" Wins a Webby Award

"Here Comes Another Bubble," won a Webby Award today for the Viral video category. The popular vote went to, "Chocolate Rain," but "Bubble," was selected by the judges.
CNN covers the news here.

Thanks to everyone who supported us and the video!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hello South Bay!

Thank you all you die-hard South Bay fans that for years have trekked north to the urban jungles of SF and Oakland to hear us sing. This next concert is a tribute to you -- and it comes to you live from Palo Alto! (Being equal opportunity performers, we welcome audiences of all localities and encourage all North Bay, East Bay, Mid Bay, and SF'ers to come party with us.)

We're joining forces with Redshift, to give all Richter Scales fans (South Bay or elsewhere!) a stand-out Thursday night. While the TV networks battle it out with shows you're going to TiVo anyway, we'll give you a show worth regaling to all your co-workers the next day. It'll almost feel like you're starting your weekend early!

So if you couldn't make it to the San Francisco International Film Festival VIP party and didn't catch us at TechCrunch's Crunchies awards, break up the week next Thursday with something different -- the Richter Scales and Redshift, a little something we like to call... RS ^2.


Date: Thursday, May 8th
Time: 8:00 PM
Place: Auditorium, Palo Alto Arts Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, 94301
Cost: FREE

Look forward to seeing you and your friends there!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

a goodbye and a concert

It didn't really occur to me until I last visited the site that, except for announcing our video's award nominations, our blog has been kind of dormant for the past four months. I blame Curtis, or rather, the lack of Curtis. After seven and a half years in the group, our founding bass has departed for points north. We miss you already, big C!

And since Curtis usually did things like this:

The Richter Scales + RedShift
Thursday, May 8, 8pm
Palo Alto Art Center
1313 Newell Rd
Palo Alto, CA

Admission is free; mingle with both groups at a reception to follow the show!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Webby Award Nomination for "Here Comes Another Bubble"

"Here Comes Another Bubble," our 2007 video about Web 2.0 and Silicon Valley, has received a Webby Award Nomination in the viral video category.
Nominees in the category include major viral hits including, "I Got a Crush on Obama," "Tony vs. Paul," and the (literally) unforgettable, "Chocolate Rain."

Currently, versions of "Bubble" around the web have been viewed roughly 1.4 million times. Other honors include being named the Economist magazine's, "Best YouTube Musical Number of 2007," and a Yahoo! Video nomination for its awards.

Webby Award nominations press release


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Yahoo! Video Nominates "Here Comes Another Bubble"

Yahoo! Video has nominated "Here Comes Another Bubble" for the 2007 Golden Play Awards, Best Comedy Video.

Winners are chosen by viewers, so please vote!

Lots of funny are the nominees:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Overhead Before a Gig

In the lobby of the Westin St. Francis, before we sang a live set at the SaaS Summit 2008, conversation turned to the Oscars:

Scale 1: I didn't like Ratatouille that much. It's my least favorite Pixar movie.
Scale 2: Really? Did you see Cars?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Announcing "Bubble" Version 1.1

The Richter Scales are pleased to announce "Here Comes Another Bubble" Version 1.1.

Version 1.0 was viewed nearly a million times before Lane Hartwell, a San Francisco area photographer, filed a DMCA take-down notice which caused YouTube to remove the video from its site. The take-down has caused a lot of debate in the blogosphere about issues like fair use, permission, and credit.

As background, when we created Version 1.0 we didn't see similar YouTube videos crediting every image used, nor did what we read about fair use point us towards the need to do so. Also, when Lane emailed us shortly after the video was released, we immediately gave her a credit, with a link, in the "About This Video" section on YouTube, but weren't able to assess whether that was sufficient because Lane wouldn't talk to us via phone and didn't respond to our emails with any requests or proposals before she issued the DMCA take-down request.

That said, the debate about Version 1.0 has made us more sensitive to the credit issue, and we're eager to credit all the content used in the video.

So, Version 1.1 includes, in the video itself, as complete a list of credits as we have been able to generate. We have also posted the credit list on our web site, where it's easier to read, easier to edit, and more likely to drive traffic to others. We hope folks will consider this a reasonable and fair approach that balances the letter of fair use with the spirit of providing credit where due.

The other change in Version 1.1 is that the photograph of Owen Thomas has been replaced by a photograph of Kara Swisher. Kara was the first blogger to link to Version 1.0, and we appreciate that she has described our use of her video interview with Peter Thiel as fair use.

To put our motives into perspective for people who don't know us personally, the Richter Scales is a not for profit organization from which members make no money. This past Friday, for example, we sang to a standing room only crowd in Noe Valley, yet lost money on the gig just as we have on every show we've put on since we started up in 2000. Another statistic putting our economics into perspective is that in the week Version 1.0 was up, we sold only eight CDs of previously recorded music. That's one CD sold per 125,000 viewers of the video. If this rate holds, the "profits" from CD sales will equal the $355 we spent making the video when Version 1.1 gets its 3.5 millionth view. (Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be a cappella singers.)

Throughout this process, we have been encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback Version 1.0 received, as well as by the many supportive emails, blog posts, blog comments, and phone calls full of advice so many of you shared with us in the past week. Thank you very much for reaching out to us.

-- The Richter Scales

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DMCA Takedown of "Here Comes Another Bubble"

This morning, our "Here Comes Another Bubble" video was removed from YouTube under a DMCA takedown order.

Some folks have left comments saying we should acknowledge all the people who created the images we used in the video. Good point. We will go through the video and cite every source, and wherever possible, we will credit the original photographer. Once the list is up, if you see a mistake in it, please let us know, and we'll do our best to rectify it.

We don't know who filed the takedown or why they did so without first talking to us, but we would like to talk about what it would take for you to cancel your request.

It probably was impolite not to offer full credit in the video in the first place. But those who called us thieves and jokingly threatened us with physical violence were also being impolite. Let's keep this civil, folks.

Thanks again to everyone who has left comments on this issue or on the video. We appreciate your feedback and are learning from it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Credit and "Here Comes Another Bubble"

We've been overwhelmed with the positive response to "Here Comes Another Bubble." A few people have asked whether we should have credited the artists who's work we used to created, a fair question that we'd like to address.

When we made it, we never expected the response or attention the video has gotten. Like anything our group does, we did it for fun and laughs. But credit is credit--no matter your motive, credit should be given to those who contributed to your work. We did make an effort to credit those people we actively worked with on the video, as well as Billy Joel, which we listed in the comments on YouTube and on our blog. But, given the large number of sources we used, the task of assigning credit for each source seemed impractical.

Giving credit is the right thing to do, and while they're too numerous to mention, and we'd like to offer thanks and credit to all the folks who's pictures and videos allowed us to create the video, and we'd like to apologize to anyone who feels slighted by our failure to do so in advance.

We were contacted by Lane Hartwell, the San Francisco photographer responsible for the photograph of Valleywag's Owen Thomas. She questioned us as to why there was no credit to her for that photo. Since we can't change the video once it's launched, we've given her credit in the YouTube video description.

In the end, the video is a parody. There is a lot of good information online about how fair use applies to online digital video. Specifically, we recommend reading material provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the subject:

Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video Content
A "Test Suite" of Fair Use Examples for Service Providers and Content Owners

Again, we're so appreciative of all the feedback we've gotten! Please contact with any questions or thoughts.

UPDATE 12/11/2007: Our video has been taken down from YouTube over the issue of copyright. The group is working through the issue and we'll let you know what happens. Thanks for the comments so far.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Top rated YouTube video for the week!

"Here Comes Another Bubble" is YouTube's top rated video for the week of December 2-8!

Other highlights include:

- the 2nd most viewed video on YouTube this Wednesday

- featured on the Yahoo! home page

- written up in the San Jose Mercury news today (Saturday)

- over 600,000 views on YouTube and Yahoo! videos combined--not including the Yahoo! home page views.

Thanks to everyone who has watched the video, downloaded the MP3, forwarded it to a friend, or blogged about it.

Blog it all!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Bubble is Back!

(EDIT 2007-12-18: Replaced old video with version 1.1)

The Richter Scales, always with our finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley, have released "Here Comes Another Bubble," a new YouTube music video about the Web 2.0 "bubble."

A little background: I've been working on the lyrics, arrangement and video for a couple months now, with lots of help from the group. Special thanks also to Bill Hare and Charlie Forkish for a stellar mix. Bill is a world-class sound engineer I've worked with in the past.

So far we've been linked to by Tech Crunch, Fake Steve Jobs, John Battelle, Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal, and Robert Scoble.

Big day for the Scales!