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With the Cloud, Celebrities Push Past the Paparazzi

With the Cloud, Celebrities Push Past the Paparazzi

As the year that was 2011 begins to dwindle down, junkets everywhere begin to mount their best-of lists, countdowns, and other types of sentimental compilations. CloudTweaks is not immune to these articles that summarize a year sweetly; in how they reassure us that a meaningful year has passed, these lists entertain us. But my annual recap begins with a deeper look at our other rich source of yearly entertainment: celebrities, particularly those who took to, or tangled with, the cloud this year. Here are three that immediately come to mind.

Richard Branson

The Virgin mogul has had a rougher year than usual, what with his family home on Necker Island burning to the ground. But every successful businessperson has a phoenix that lurks within him or her. And Branson’s fiery bird has yet to touch ground; if anything, it’s angled upward at the cloud.

Virgin Airlines, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Balloon Flights — what will this man NOT touch? All evidence points to Branson smudging his hands on the video game community as well with — you guessed it — Virgin Gaming. This latest enterprise wields cloud computing to create a subscription-based virtual arcade, where players can access several popular titles and win cash for their efforts.

Virgin Gaming has yet to trend on the same level as Branson’s bigger hits. But let’s give it time. Not even an inferno can stop this juggernaut from daydreaming in the clouds.

Justin Timberlake

The former lead boy-band heartthrob has only one melodic word on his mind as of late: diversification. Since bringing sexy back, Timberlake has won an Emmy for putting his “dipstick” in a box and generated faint Oscar buzz for a dramatic turn in “The Social Network.” Fans everywhere lament that he has not picked up a mike, or headed to a studio, since bringing Sexyback to us nearly SIX years ago.

But his latest cloud-inclusive endeavor into the music scene should help us all breathe a bit easier.

Timberlake wants to take over MySpace, the original social media giant that Twitter and Facebook later trampled. The crooner seeks to return it to its roots: MySpace was intended to galvanize members of Los Angeles’ music scene before it aimed at world domination. Essentially, Timberlake wants to re-brand the social network as the Twitter-Book of the music industry.

A naïf in business and technology, Timberlake will need to seriously study MySpace’s formidable roots in cloud computing, should he ever get his dream off the ground. Memo to you, Justin: we’d appreciate a new album to groove to, while you’re realizing your “Space’s” potential.

Lady Gaga

The cloud computing scandal of the year is resoundingly awarded to Mother Monster.

Early in 2011, Gaga’s new album “Born This Way” opened to massive sales of more than one million strong. But when sold for less than one dollar, selling a disc by a popular artist is a cinch. Amazon, via its Cloud Drive Service, allowed units of “Way” to be sold at 99 cents for one day.

Such a hit was this move that Amazon’s Cloud Drive crashed. Those who purchased Gaga’s disc couldn’t download it. Disgruntled, many fans wished they had coughed up the $12 that iTunes demanded for the same CD — if only to actually hear the music they paid for.

The idea that the cloud can let you hear your music, anywhere and anytime, is a smart and attractive one. But the idea also mandates a major overhaul, if Amazon aspires to develop customer loyalty.

Billboard instated a new pricing policy to curb the inflated sales Amazon encouraged with this faulty move. Gaga herself has remained mum on it all, but we think she’s a smart cookie. Let’s hope that she’ll avoid a Bad Romance, such as this one with Amazon and a poorly managed cloud, in the future.

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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