Tag - streaming

Turn Your Browser Into A “Celestial Jukebox” TODAY

While I was at the Americana Conference last week, I found myself explaining to a lot of people what I mean when I tell them my computer is my jukebox.  Maybe they think I’m talking about iTunes.  Or maybe they think I’m listening to all this music on the speakers in my MacBook.


Not hardly.  I’ve got access to a virtually infinite (as in, more than I can listen to in a lifetime) library of music, and I’m listening to it all in excellent fidelity on my stereo. Aside from the computer (in my case a MacBook or a MacPro) there are three essential components to this system:

Lala.com: I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record on this one (pun intended?).  But this is where it starts for me.  Unlike the

Lala

subscription services like Rhapsody or Napster, Lala sucks me in by letting me listen to whatever I want to one time for free.  After that, I purchase “access” to the tracks I want to hear again for a dime.

With Lala.com, the browser becomes your iPod, with one important difference.  Instead of “owning” a few thousand tracks, you get “access” to… a few million.  Just about anything you want to hear.

Airfoil3-mac96

Airfoil is really the secret sauce in this recipe.  Airfoil is a program that can take the audio output from any program on your computer — most notably in this case your browser — and send it over WiFi to an


Airport Express — an Apple gizmo which is a WiFi receiver with stereo audio output.

That’s all there is to it, and it works on either PCs or Macs.  The signal comes out of your browser, Airfoil sends it to the Airport, and then the sound comes out of your stereo.

And just like that, your stereo is transformed into the “Celestial Jukebox.”

With this configuration, the prophecy is about 3/4s fulfilled.  You can hear whatever you want, whenever you want to hear it — but you still have to be connected to some kind of broadband connection through a lap- or desk-top computer.

The only thing that’s missing is the mobile app that puts the capability in your car.  The apps exist, but so far they’re not available for the public.  But why wait?  Unless you’re one of the road warriors that you’re listening to you’re probably tethered to cable or DSL (forget dialup) most of the  day anyway.

So be the first on your block to set up your own Celestial Jukebox TODAY!

More Spotify: Access -v- Ownership

Spotify

The catch? Spotify’s paying customers are still just renting songs, for about $13-$16 per month, depending on the country in which the listener resides. Most discussion of Spotify has centered around a trend toward streaming music rather than owning it, when in fact the more critical question is whether it can persuade a significant percentage of consumers to rent songs rather than just listen for free. (Otherwise, it’d be just another free music site, doomed to face the same struggles as MySpace Music.) I doubt that many free users will convert to paying customers, for a few reasons:

  • By and large, consumers aren’t all that interested in renting music. When each last revealed its numbers, neither of the two leading music rental services, RealNetworks’ Rhapsody and Napster, had more than a million paying subscribers.

via gigaom.com

I fundamentally disagree.

That’s what paradigm shifts are about: changes in behavior. Yeah, in the existing paradigm, people actually think they “own” music. In fact, all they own is a license to listen to the music, delivered on some kind of disk or wafer (or digital file). Behavior will change when the audience begins to understand that, for the cost of “owning” 10 tracks, they will have access to the entire universe of recorded music. And when the technology becomes both reliable and ubiquitous.

And, as I keep saying, the amazing thing about Spotify is not the model or the depth of the catalog, but all the buzz it generates about being the “iTunes killer” when it is not even generally available in the country that has the most iTunes users.

Nevertheless, the buzz around Spotify serves the useful purpose, of educating the public to the possibilities.

Music 3.0: Now There Is A Book

The paradigm has shifted and everything you knew about the music business has completely changed. Who are the new players in the music business? Why are traditional record labels, television, and radio no longer factors in an artist’s success? How do you market and

M3cover

distribute your music in the new music world – and how do you make money? This book answers these questions and more in its comprehensive look at the new music business – Music 3.0. While Music 2.0 encompassed the era of file sharing and digital distribution, Music 3.0 employs new ways to start and sustain a career, to develop an audience and engage them with interactive marketing. Sales, distribution, and marketing have reconfigured so much that even artists located far away from a big media center can thrive without the help of a record label – if they know how. Music 3.0 explains what has changed, why it will change even more, and how musicians and artists (photographers, writers, animators) can take advantage of the changes.

via www.amazon.com

OK, I didn’t think that “Music 3.0” was entirely original with me, but my interpretation of the points of demarcation is a bit different from what’s being described here.

In my litany, “the era of file sharing and digital distribution” is all part of Music 3.0, not 2.0. 2.0 is the era of physical products; once the content is separated product – cylinder, vinyl, CD — you’re into the new era.

Regardless, the essential premise is the same: “new ways to start and sustain a career….with interactive marketing.” It is all possible because of the technologies that accompany the separation of content from product.

And yes, the same principals apply to any form of art that can be distributed digitally. Why, I might just have to by myself a copy of this to see what I can apply to my photography.

M3.0 and The Return of the Album

Here's a thought: Maybe "albums" AREN'T dead.

There's been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth since the arrival of iTunes over the death of the album, now that buyers can "cherry pick" the two or three actually "good" tracks on an album and ignore the rest. Lots has been said about the return of the single in the digital era.

Here's another angle: 

Since I've been listening to a LOT of new music via Lala.com, I am listening to entire albums.  That's very much part of the appeal:  I come out of Starbucks with a card offering me "one free download" from iTunes, but I go home and listen to the entire album on Lala.com. 

Why is that important?  Because several times, it has not been until I've gotten deep into the album that something has sunk in.  Now, maybe that's an argument for the singles – maybe that's the only track worth listening to.  But what's really happening is I'm getting comfortable with the whole experience, getting softened up for the musical harpoon to come…

Mauracover A couple of cases in point:  Over the weekend when I was listening to Maura O'Connell's album "Don't I Know," it wasn't until I got to the 10th track (Phoenix Falling) that I was really knocked out.  Then I went back and started listening to the whole thing again.  That would not have happened if I hadn't had access to the whole album.

600x600_joe-crookston_profile-280x280 A similar experience took place a few weeks ago when I was listening to a singer/songwriter Joe Crookston at a site called 100000fans.com . I picked Joe from their roster because he looked like my kinda guy — acoustic singer/songwriter, and that he was.  Nice voice, good guitar, interesting lyrics.  And then I got to a song called "Able Baker Charlie and Dog" about… well, don't let me spoil it for you.  Just and listen for yourself.  

But do yourself a favor, and listen to everything.  I mean, it's all there for the listening. 

And, Joe, if you've got a Google alert on yourself… when will you be in Nashville??

(And, just in passing: I don't know about that 100000fans site.  I signed up for Joe's e-newsletter from that site, and haven't heard a thing since…)

The celestial jukebox has arrived (?)

The Spotify iPhone app has been approved. With this app, I will now be able to carry 5 million songs in my pocket, and every week thousands more songs will be added to my collection automatically.  This is the proverbial celestial jukebox – the great jukebox in the cloud that lets me listen to any song I want to hear.    This is  going to change how we listen to music.  When we can listen to any song,  anywhere, any time and on any device our current ways of interacting with music will be woefully inadequate.

via musicmachinery.com

Has it really? I keep hearing that the Spotify app has been approved, but I still can’t use Spotify, as previously reported, the Lala.com app for the iPhone has been in limbo for more than six months now. But if and when it does arrive, it’s not really going to change “how we listen to music.” We’ll still use our ears for that, and some sort of delivery device like speakers or earbuds. But it will change how we collect and music. Mostly because… we won’t actually have to collect and store it ourselves any more, nor are we confined to the limitations of shelf (or hard-drive) space and budget.

The question then becomes, if we in fact have access-on-demand to everything, what will we listen to? And how will the people who make that music sustain their efforts?

The linked article continues:

The new challenge that these next generation music services face is
helping their listeners find new and interesting music.  Tools for
music discovery will be key to keeping listener’s coming back.

Which begins to ask the pertinent question: with changes in the media, patterns of behavior change.  What new behavioral patterns will emerge in the era of infinite music — and what business opportunities do those new behavior patterns offer.

And how much do we have to think about such things before we can get a clue what the answer is…??

Today’s Discovery via Lala.com

Of course, I’ve known about Maura O’Connell almost as long as I’ve lived in Nashville, but when “Phoenix Falling” from this 2006 album rolled around on a playlist (which I started by selecting Cheryl Wheeler), I knew in a heartbeat what I want to be listening to this afternoon. No disrespect, Cheryl, but this stuff is knocking me out:

And after I listened to this album, I listened to her newest, Naked With Friends, which I’d first heard about listening to an interview with Maura on the podcast edition David Hooper’s Music Business Radio.

Spotify – The Devil You DON’T Know

The European online music service Spotify offers six million tracks—a practically limitless catalog spanning Aaron Copland to ZZ Top—in an interface as polished and intuitive as Apple’s iTunes. And unlike the pay-per-song iTunes, Spotify’s entire library is free for the taking, assuming users can tolerate an occasional advertisement.

via www.thedailybeast.com

…because you have to be somebody to get it.

The question is, what sort of licenses has Spotify been able to negotiate that iTunes cannot? Is Apple beholden to the labels for the 99c/track model? If not, is iTunes the Spotify killer?

Oh, and, “an occasional adverstisement” is NOT free… and… who gets THAT money? Remember, the reason the labels wanted to kill Napster was not because Napster was ripping off the artists, but to preserve the labels’ ability to rip off the artists. If Spotify is in league with the labels, how is it any different on that score?