Posts Tagged ‘last.fm’

Spotify

January 9, 2009

I’ve recently received an invite to Spotify, a music service which allows you to stream tracks and albums in full, as often as you like, and for free (bar some advertising, which I haven’t actually been subject to yet).

I’m a big fan of last.fm, and Spotify allows you to scrobble tracks to your account. The great thing about Spotify is that, by contrast to last.fm, using its iTunes-like search interface allows you to immediately pull up any track or album that you want to hear, unlike last.fm’s addmitedly interesting radio feature. So, for example, I am currently listening to New Order’s masterpiece Technique in full, thanks to the power of Spotify and the interwebs.

Spotify is exactly the thing that the big music companies should be seeing as the future, and to their credit they seem to have gotten on board, with the so-called major labels all signing up to provide music.

The service is currently in beta and requires you to queue for an invite, but mine took just a week, and I think the service is fantastic so go and sign up!

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Round-up

July 27, 2008

Hello readers! Its been ages since I’ve posted here, so I thought I would do a round-up post, detailing some stuff I’ve been up to recently. In no particular order:

  • Reading Dan‘s new blog, Stephen King Reviewed, in which Dan is reading and reviewing in order every book written by (you guessed it) Stephen King. I’m not a massive fan of King, but Dan makes them sound more interesting than I remember from the few I’ve read.
  • Watching Iron Maiden at their recent Twickenham show, which was great fun, and not least to people watch. They played stuff from their classic run of 80s albums, meaning the dread words “this is a number from our new album” weren’t uttered once.
  • Visiting Dublin for the BIALL Conference. Dublin is an interesting place, and it reminded me a lot of northern industrial cities like Manchester or Glasgow. We did all the touristy stuff like visiting the Guinness brewery and the zoo, as well as eating very well, and drinking a fair amount of Guinness.
  • Going to Devizes to visit Kate and Will. Devizes is a nice little town, and is home to Wadworth brewery, meaning that there is seemingly a pub on every corner, all of which serve very good beer.
  • Listening to a bunch of different music, including: Prins Thomas’ Cosmo Galactic Prism mix, an excellent Steinski compilation, Neu!, the new Girl Talk record, (available on a pay-what-you-want basis here), and Studio’s Yearbook 2, which is a compilation of remixes. Currently on my shopping list are the new Hold Steady record, and Harvey Milk’s new one, which sounds like it will be pretty interesting stoner/doom metal.
  • Getting to grips with the new version of last.fm. Pros: seems to load a lot faster than the old version. Cons: not so sure about the layout, and it seems that they’re moving away from using the software as a player, a feature I liked. There’s been a great deal of discussion (read: moaning) about it here.
  • Getting excited about the upcoming Green Man Festival. There are a record number of people I know going this year (probably about 25!), including my brother, Tom P and Tom A, meaning that it should be great fun. Also, the line-up is looking particularly strong this year, with late announcement of the Junior Boys as the icing on the cake.
  • Reading some good books, including the excellent Warlock by Oakley Hall (thanks again Tom!) and a collection of J.G. Ballard short stories which I picked up for 50p at a local fete.
  • Reading the always-interesting Potlatch‘s thoughts on Wetherspoon’s pubs and Stoke Newington. He characterises the campaigns to keep the likes of Nando’s and Tesco out of Stokey as employing “leftwing radical rhetoric, but with rightwing exclusionary goals.” This is a really interesting idea, but not one I’m sure I agree with. Anyone else?

Okay that’s all I can think of for the mo. It may be an empty promise, but more updates to follow!

Last.fm serendipity

May 30, 2008

I had a last.fm user called Radgardener leave a comment in my last.fm shoutbox. It turned out that  not only was our music compatibility “super”, but that I appeared as one of this user’s musical neighbours.

Not so strange, you might think. Until you find out that… we share a name! Or at least, his name is Neal Stewart. Apparently he’s my Canadian musical doppelganger.

Spooky or what? It’s like we both had entered The Scary Door (warning: those of a fragile disposition should not watch this clip).

Last.fm on a roll!

June 29, 2007

Since it’s a Friday, I’m listening to last.fm, specifically the station “artists similar to The Fall”, and whatever algorithm powering its choices has thrown up a run of 3 brilliant tracks: The Fall’s beligerent punk classic “Rowche Rumble”, Television’s epochal crystalline prog work-out “Marquee Moon”, with The Smiths’ joyous all-time-indie-disco-top-10 “This Charming Man rounding things off. All this, and since writing this post tracks from Echo & the Bunnymen, Wire, Gang of Four, the Jesus & Mary Chain and the Wedding Present. I Heart last.fm!

Big media enjoy having their cake and eating it

May 30, 2007

On the one hand, we hear news of the cartel-enforcing music industry schillls the BPI claiming £41 million in damages from online music retailer CD-Wow. CD-Wow’s crime was to buy CDs in Hong Kong, then to sell them online in the UK at prices beneath those of the massively inflated prices found on the UK’s high streets.

On the other, news today that the excellent Last.fm has been bought by US media behemoth CBS for £140 million. Last.fm is a collaborative internet broadcasting system that plays copyrighted music to its listeners, much like a radio station (I blogged about it before here). A similar system, Pandora, was recently forced to prevent listeners outside the US from accessing its service due to uncertainties over its copyright status.

While the connection between these three occurrences might seem tenuous, I believe it is a fine example of media corporations’ self-righteousness over copyright, pricing, and the like being entirely dependent on circumstance. If companies such as CBS spot advertising revenue in last.fm that, like Pandora, is potentially circumscribing copyright law, they will buy first and ask questions later.

If, however, the representative body of the UK music industry sees an enterprising website making money selling legitimate product that is simply from another territory, said body will drag the website through the courts in an attempt to bankrupt it, highlighting its breathtaking contempt for the consumer in so doing.

I guess it’s no surprise that media big business should only be interested in the bottom line. But when big media have already rigged the game in its favour so heavily to begin with, surely it’s not too much to ask for consistent application of rules largely of its own making?

Anyway, not sure if the parallel I’m trying to make holds very well, but it struck me as an interesting one. Thoughts, anyone?