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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sexy Marina Orlova, Almost Too Hot for Words, Uses Her Charms to Promote Philology

Who'd have predicted that one of the most popular online video channels on YouTube would focus on something called philology - the study of words and their meaning? But Marina Orlova's and the link to her Sexy Marina Orlova, Almost Too Hot for Words, Uses Her Charms to Promote Philology

YouTube channel has gotten as many as 43 million hits in eight months. One look at her website and it is easy to see why viewers don't mind watching her. Her site is aptly named. Marina is indeed quite attractive or "hot". Her mission, however, is to make people hot for words and not just hot for her. It can be a bit difficult, however, to understand the difference, especially when watching Marina and her teaching methods.

Marina doesn't seem to mind using her physical assets. Her cleavage is often clearly displayed, often in scanty or low-cut clothing, along with her Russian accent, wide smile and her enthusiasm.Her physical and intellectual charms are also displayed at her Hot for Words website Links to her lesson plans and homework. The lessons are real. The homework allows viewers to sign up for report cards and other fun items from Marina.

It can be a bit surprising to hear someone who looks like an attractive model tossing around terms like Pecksniffian and sesquipedalian as easily as other people say, "Huh?" Even better, she actually explains what the words mean. Whether anyone is learning anything is another point. But they are flocking to her website and videos, although whether they are more eager to view the teacher or learn words meanings is unclear. As of this writing, over 74 million people have watched Marina discuss words and their meaning.

Of course, put a scantily clad woman in front of a video camera, one with a site called Hot for Words and you have controversy. But Marina seems bent on proving that she is not just hot... but truly hot for words as well. Being sexy and intelligent is certainly a contrast to the "dumb blonde" image that seems to be a cultural stereotype. Marina doesn't seem dumb. If anything, she has learned how to make both herself and the study of words quite popular and her strategy seems to be paying off.

Very little is actually known about Marina Orlova and her background before Hot for Words became famous

Although she has among the "most viewed" and "most subscribed" when it comes to YouTube, she seems be fairly secretive for someone so popular. She does list her name, age (27) and occupation (philologist) on her website. Still, very little seems to be out there about her. Some of the Sexy Marina Orlova, Almost Too Hot for Words, Uses Her Charms to Promote Philology

information is very cryptic. Her biographical info notes that she is from the Republic of Lexicon and her hometown is Etymologia. She actually seems to have come from Russia if her accent is any indication of her country of origin.What is truly mind-boggling is that someone who basically discusses words, however attractive she may be, gets up to 5 million views a week. People are hot for words - or Marina - or both!

Why Hot for Words may be more than just a gimmick

Marina manages to make words not only hot but fun. By clicking on the entire word list at her site, viewers can discover the meanings for terms like "raining cats and dogs" or single words like "cabriolet". There is even a section where students can request report cards. The Hot for Words teacher also hots a bi-weekly radio show on Maxim Radio. Also, no matter how scantily she may be clad, she does tend to be clothed while on YouTube or her website. Even a mention of her in Cosmopolitan wasn't accompanied by a photo but simply information about her Hot for Words channel.

I saw some of her earliest videos on YouTube and her more recent ones have come a long way. They are more professional and have special effects and other qualities (besides Marina herself) to hold viewer interest. Not being male, I can't speak to the typical viewer reaction but I actually had fun learning the meanings behind some often used terms as well as common words where I didn't know their origin. Like any good entymologist, Marina will often break a word into its parts, noting whether the roots are Greek, Latin, Spanish or whatever. She seems to know her subject matter.

More About the Woman Who is Currently Wired Magazine's Sexiest Geek and Her Popular Website

In addition to her appearances on YouTube, the Hot for Words video star seems to be branching out into new venues. Along with former child star and recent reality show celeb Danny Bonaduce, she has linked up with CoComment, a way of keeping track of her comments as well as those made Sexy Marina Orlova, Almost Too Hot for Words, Uses Her Charms to Promote Philology about her. She also had a book and set of DVDs in the works, both focusing on her life and the study of words. Sexy or not, she does seem to care passionately about entymology or all things word-related. She answers viewers' questions with a smile but with the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) firmly by her side. There is even a link to the OED website on her Hot for Words site and it is noted as being the entymologist's standard reference book.


The Beatles: Remasters of the universe with sizzling sales

With a little help from their fans, The Beatles again rule the marketplace as Fab Four fever greeted Wednesday's release of the band's remastered catalog and The Beatles: Rock Band.

Discs are moving steadily, with the $260 stereo and $299 mono box sets selling out at many outlets. Even the band's website alerted buyers that new box orders would not be shipped until late October "due to the incredible demand."

At Amazon, the stereo and mono sets ranked first and second on the list of music best sellers, even though the site's allotment sold out the week before and new orders won't ship for up to six weeks. The Beatles held 15 spots in the top 20.

Healthy opening-week sales are expected, but industry observers offer caveats. The multi-disc sets, which will register along with new releases on Billboard's album chart, count as one unit each. And because those are selling so briskly, they could siphon from à la carte sales, which are tallied on the catalog chart.

Nonetheless, The Beatles, with 28 million albums sold since 2000, may overtake Eminem's 32 million to become the decade's best-selling artist. That race ends Dec. 31.

"This isn't a one-week project," says Keith Caulfield, Billboard's chart analyst, pointing to the anticipated holiday shopping bonanza. "Is it conceivable they could catch up? Yes. I'm confident they'll put up a good fight."

Midnight launches at Best Buys in 10 cities drew enthusiastic turnouts.

"We definitely saw customers and fans excited," says Best Buy's Erin Bix. "I was in the Mall of America (outside Minneapolis), and people were picking up both" the game and the discs.

"First-day sales surpassed our forecast," says Game Crazy vice president Rob MacNaughton. The Beatles-themed Rock Band "is helping to reinvigorate the music genre. We're seeing more families come in to purchase this game, as it bridges the generation gap and exposes video gaming to a broader audience."

An even bigger spike for the game should kick in during the holidays.

"The launch is really targeted at gamers," says Van Toffler, MTV Networks Music Group president. "The second round will go toward 'gifters' — wives buying for husbands and moms buying for kids."


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band finally goes on sale

Paul DeGooyer was standing backstage when reality finally set in.

It was June, and the 43-year-old executive at MTV Networks Music Group was fretting the details of the presentation going on in front of him at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, when the familiar chords of "All you need is love" suddenly filled the amphitheatre.

At that moment, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr sprang from the wings and bounded across the stage, greeted by a raucous roar from the crowd.

The two legendary Liverpudlians were on hand to show off features for a new video game based on the music of the most famous rock and roll band in history, The Beatles. The project that Mr. DeGooyer had sweated over had finally come to life.

"It was pretty mind blowing," said Mr. DeGooyer, senior vice president of electronic games and music for MTV, based in New York. "It really was the moment that it became real."

Wednesday that reality comes full circle when The Beatles Rock Band finally goes on sale in North America, giving gamers the chance to relive the Fab Four's historic catalogue while rocking out on plastic guitars, bass and drums.

For MTV, the Beatles game represents the beginning of the latest chapter in the ongoing battle for music game supremacy between its own Rock Band familiy of games and Activision Blizzard Inc.'s Guitar Hero franchise -- the latest edition of which, Guitar Hero 5, hit stores last week (Sept. 1). Both games will be available on all three major consoles, Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3, Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Wii.

Beatles Rock band is also just the latest example of the expansion of the new video game after-market economy.

Users will also be able to purchase a special edition bundle of the game, which includes plastic replicas of Mr. McCartney's iconic Hofner bass and Mr. Starr's Ludwig drum kit -- plastic versions of John Lennon's Rickenbacker 325 guitar and George Harrison's Gretsch Duo Jet guitar will be sold separately.

For Beatles fans, the Rock Band game marks the first time the band's catalogue has ever been available digitally -- the group's music is still not available on Apple Inc.'s iTunes store, nor any other digital distribution outlet -- and arrives on the same day Apple Corps. and EMI Music will release re-mastered editions of each Beatles album. The game comes with 45 songs and the complete albums Rubber Soul, Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band will be available for download, for a price.

Together, the hardware and software add-ons represent one of the most high profile examples of how game publishers can continue making money on a game once it's been bought by a consumer, by selling peripherals and downloadable content (DLC).

Together, the two franchises (Rock Band and Guitar Hero) have generated more than US$3-billion in global sales since the first copy of Guitar Hero hit store shelves in 2005. Although gamers will have to fork over about $60 to purchase the Beatles game itself, the special edition instrument bundle will cost $250. Each additional guitar runs about $100 while songs in the Rock Band store generally cost about $2 each.

Game developers are increasingly turning to peripherals and downloadable content (DLC) as a means of generating new revenue streams once a consumer has left the store after purchasing a game.

Although some video games -- such as Electonic Arts' John Madden Football -- can sell millions of copies of new versions on a yearly basis, the video game industry has often suffered from a lack of recurring revenue, a problem downloadable content helps solve, said Carl Howe, an analyst with the market research firm The Yankee Group.

"One of the great contrasts between entertainment software and other kinds of software is that unlike Microsoft Office, for example, video games aren't the sort of thing that you buy over and over again," he said.

It's not just music games that are making the most of DLC. Games such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 allows users to purchase new golf courses or equipment to spruce up their gaming experience, while other games such as Call of Duty 4 offer gamers new maps to use while playing online.

"Certainly from a top level there's been a shift from the buying of the plastic to the buying of the software," said Mike Hickey, a financial analyst who tracks the video game industry for Janco Partners.

["Downloadable content] is a significant priority. Even though it's hardly material right now, digital is certainly where the future is."

***For console makers such as Sony and Microsoft, the DLC for games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero are important for getting consumers more comfortable with using their proprietary Web-based networks to purchase other content such as full games, movies and music.

To date, more than one billion pieces of content -- movies, music, games, etc. -- have been downloaded through Microsoft's Xbox Live network, while Sony's download total tops 450 million.

Of course, extra content keeps games fresh for players, which keeps them coming back and playing online. As long as enough gamers keep playing the game online to sustain a competitive community -- as is the case in games such as Halo and Call of Duty 4 -- publishers can continue to charge top dollar for the game at retailers.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band have also been credited with helping bring the market for gaming peripherals -- a niche market once reserved for fans of racing games willing to buy expensive steering wheels -- into the mainstream. The success of Nintendo's Wii Fit game last year, which featured a balance board that allowed users to perform various exercises, and other accessories has allowed manufacturers to enhance the gaming experience while shipping more products.


Beatles' remastered box set, video game out

The Fab Four looks to start making big 21st century bucks with new Rock Band game and digitally remastered CDs.

John, Paul, George and Ringo are getting the band back together, in a manner of speaking, with a new Beatles-themed video game and digital upgrade of the group's entire catalog both released Wednesday.

"The Beatles: Rock Band," which was produced by MTV Games and Harmonix, allows players to sing and play along with 45 of band's songs using simulated guitars, drums and a microphone.

Also out Wednesday are digitally re-mastered versions of all 15 Beatles albums. The entire catalog will be available as a 16-disk set with special features including album art, liner notes, rare photographs and short documentary films. Re-mastered versions of each album will also be sold individually.

Not that The Beatles, nearly four decades removed from their last performance together, need the exposure. According to Apple Corps Ltd., which markets the Beatles worldwide, the Fab Four has sold more than 600 million records, tapes and CDs since they exploded on the scene in the early 1960s.

But the new products will help "bring the band into the 21st century," said Bruce Birch, director of the University of Georgia's music business program.

"Great music is great music, but the ways of introducing it to a younger audience are different now, and this will help expose the Beatles to a whole new generation," Birch said.

The buzz generated by Wednesday's releases has raised speculation about a possible deal with Apple Inc. to make the band's music available on iTunes. Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) is holding an invitation-only special event Wednesday and some are fervently hoping the timing is more than just coincidence.

The Beatles are one of the few bands whose music has never been approved for sale as downloads on the popular music site. Both EMI Music, which holds the master recording rights for the music, and Apple declined to comment.

While CD sales have been slipping for years, analysts expect the new box set, which has a suggested retail price of $260, to be a hit with die-hard Beatles fans who are willing to pay extra for the added features. It was sold out on (AMZN, Fortune 500) even before the official release.

"The set is really targeted at heavy Beatles fans who have the money to spend on a collectors item," said Sonal Gandhi, a media industry analyst at Forrester Research. "The video game is more for people who aren't that familiar with the Beatles."

"The Beatles: Rock Band" builds on the already popular Rock Band format, which has sold 13 million units since coming out in 2007.

In the new game, players choose from a variety of Beatles songs ranging from the early hit "A Hard Day's Night" to the later "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Players can also select one of several famous venues from the band's career, including its two most famous American venues -- the Ed Sullivan Theater and Shea Stadium in New York.

The game software retails for $59.99, but a "limited edition premium bundle," which includes a full set of instruments designed to resemble those played by the Beatles, is available for $249.99.

"There's no doubt this game will be successful," said Jesse Divinich, an analyst for the video game research firm Electronic Entertainment Design & Research. He said the game would have to sell 1.2 million units to break even, which he expects to happen within one month.

All rights reserved

That could help boost overall sales for the Beatles' music. In the third quarter of last year, more than a third of music buyers under the age of 35 reported playing a music-based video game, according to

For the game to come to fruition, MTV Games/Harmonix had to tap a complex consortium of entities that own rights to the various songs, as well as the images of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Paul DeGooyer, MTV's vice president of home entertainment, said the deal required the cooperation of EMI Music for all of the songs. Rights to the intellectual property -- the words and music of the composers --required the participation of a variety of owners, he added.

The bulk of the songbook of Lennon and McCartney, who are responsible for most of the band's hits, is owned by Sony/ATV Music. That's a consortium which includes Sony Corp. and the estate of Michael Jackson, who died on June 25.

Most of the Beatles' songs composed by Harrison, including "Something" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," are controlled by Harrisongs Ltd. Ringo Starr, one of two surviving Beatles along with McCartney, controls his own work.

Lastly, the Beatles' likeness is owned by Apple Corps, which was formed by the band in 1968 to market its recordings and other related material.


The Beatles: All they've got to give

The Beatles: Who's buying the new box sets?

Currently, there is not a day put aside to celebrate the musical legacy of The Beatles. So why not today? September 9 -- or the marketing-friendly 09/09/09 -- sees the release of a bonanza of new collectibles for fans of the Fab Four, from the highly anticipated video game, Rock Band: The Beatles, to the release of two new career-spanning box sets: The Stereo Albums and The Beatles in Mono.

The Stereo release is the first complete set of The Beatles' studio recordings -- 13 albums (four of which are being released in stereo for the first time), as well as a remastered version of Past Masters. The Beatles in Mono includes all of the original mono recordings, and Help! and Rubber Soul include the original 1965 stereo recordings. Packaged with replica original vinyl art, it makes a unique, almost museum-like collection.

Complete and stunning as they are, the cost of the box sets must be considered. The Stereo Albums retails for $290, while the The Beatles in Mono goes for $350 (if you can find it -- its initial print run of 10,000 has been upped by EMI after overwhelming pre-sales). At those sums, the question might be: who exactly will benefit from this wealth of material?


If you own a set of John, Paul, George and Ringo bobblehead dolls or have made a pilgrimage to The Cavern Club, these sets are, foremost, for you. There is material here you won't find elsewhere, including the first-ever stereo release of The Beatles' first four albums, Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night and Beatles For Sale. In addition, the remastered stereo versions bring new surprises to old songs, such as an emboldened piano line on I Want To Tell You and a more vibrant horn section on Got To Get You Into My Life.

Also embedded on each of the studio albums are new mini-documentaries containing archival video, rarely heard studio chatter and photographs from individual studio sessions.


Perhaps as a youngster you were more of a Stones fan. Maybe you found The Beatles too poppy, didn't like their haircuts or were turned off by all the screaming and fainting. Then, over time, you couldn't help but feel like you'd missed a signifant part of the cultural dialogue. Time to catch up, friend. Start with the Mono set, which replicates the look and feel of the original British vinyl run, right down to the record protectors charmingly touting the use of "Emirex cleaning cloths to preserve your microgroove records," and reminders to "check your gramophone stylus regularly." By the end of it, you'll feel like you didn't miss a thing.


The Stereo Albums serves as an aural history of the band, from fresh-faced Motowninfluenced head-boppers to long-haired, raga-influenced head-trippers, and would make for a great Beatles 101. Starting at Please Please Me, take your class to a time before Autotune was king right through the birth -- for better or worse--of world fusion.


Some of The Beatles' early recording sessions sound less like glossy studio arrangements and more like today's hip, lo-fibedroom recordings, and a good lesson in how to properly use a four-track can be found in the Stereo set's liner notes. Plus, in any Beatles recording, there are lessons to be learned in weaving harmonies with your band-mates, and the Beatles' vocal intricacies are only highlighted by remastering. Take No Reply, the first track on Beatles For Sale. On the stereo version of the track, unlike previous versions, you can really hear the way Lennon's vocals mesh with McCartney and Harrison's on the chorus.

Legendary Beatles producer George Martin was no slouch in the studio, and he had some great mixers and recording engineers. People like Geoff Emerick, who at 20 years old was brought in to work on Revolver. According to the recording notes, Emerick "embraced the spirit of experimentation that characterized the sessions," which "took an unprecedented 300 hours to record and mix." If you're a fledgling record producer looking to up your game, the tales told in these notes are in themselves worth the price of the Stereo box set. More valuable than upgrading to the latest version of Garage Band, at any rate.


Brad Frenette