Bob Dylan blew up the Internet today with a new interactive video of his 1965 "Like a Rolling Stone," which lets watchers flip between 16 different quasi-TV channels featuring actors lip-synching the famous song. Music-lovers, designers, and video directors across the Internet are raving, and rightly so. The video, made by digital agency Interlude, is a startling new way of interacting with media, giving the watcher power over what and who is on screen.
But despite all that attention, the 72-year-old Dylan probably doesn't even know he's in the spotlight. Or if he does, it's certainly not from a source online. Even with his man-of-the-people status, Dylan has long been on the crotchety side when it comes to new technologies.
Yes, he famously appeared in an Apple iPod ad in 2006. However, from his comments to Rolling Stone just a few years after that, he didn't sound too enthused about the latest technology and it's impact on young people. "It’s peculiar and unnerving in a way to see so many young people walking around with cell phones and iPods in their ears and so wrapped up in media and video games,” Dylan said. "It’s a shame to see them so tuned out to real life. The cost of liberty is high, and young people should understand that before they start spending their life with all those gadgets.” People sitting around at their desks, clicking up and down to change the channel would seem to fall into this similarly life-wasting category, one imagines.
It's not just phones, though, as Dylan doesn't seem to use any of the new social technologies. There's the Bob Dylan "Official" Twitter account, which follows just eight people and is clearly run by a PR staffer of some kind. The same goes for his sanitized Facebook. None of this is entirely surprising for a man of Dylan's age and temperament. It just makes him an odd fit for the social media flavor-of-the-moment status he's attained.
Dylan isn't a fan of the new technological upgrades in sound, either, as he told Rolling Stone in 2006. "You do the best you can, you fight that technology in all kinds of ways, but I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past twenty years, really. You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them," he said. Whether in music, mobile, or social, Dylan isn't a fan of technology.
That aversion explains why the interactive video conspicuously leaves out what everyone would have loved to see: a channel of a modern day Dylan lip-synching along. He appears not to have played any role in the video's creation, either, given his absence from the about 100 people listed on the "Credits" page of the video.
Of course, none of this keeps the interactive video from being the best thing on the internet today. But that likely has more to do with his business partners and Interlude, rather than Dylan himself.