There’s some interesting happenings going on around the Music/Tech world. Keep an eye out for the goings on from The Great Escape, which is happening as we speak, and if anyone has any interesting hacks or news that you think might be good for MDN, then send me an email or tweet. I’ll be heading out to MIDIHACK at the end of next week, so next week’s issue might be a tad early. Hope to see some of you out there!
The Street’s analysts make the point that Pandora is “acting a lot like traditional radio acted when Pandora was busy disrupting it,” which is why they’ve tipped the company as either being left behind this year or being snapped up by one of its competitors, most probably Apple. To be honest, I’m still surprised that Pandora stuck around for this long, especially with services like Spotify and Rdio offering both on-demand and radio services. Apple getting involved in the game rang the death knell for Pandora.
Shazam seem to be making some pretty smart business decision of late, first their partnership with Apple to be built in to iOS (or so it’s rumoured), and now they’ve struck a deal with Deezer for deep integration in their app in four countries. Personally, I’m sad that Deezer has knocked Spotify out with integration, but it makes perfect sense, considering Deezer has such strong connections with mobile operators in the countries they’ve partnered on.
The news came out today that Apple may be looking at buying Beats. Mashable did a great look at why Apple would be looking at Beats, and that it’s not about the headphones. They’re right that a partnership between Apple and Jimmy Iovine would put Apple in a ridiculously good place in the music industry, and could set them up as a major rival to record labels, as digital and streaming-only distribution is looking like it may happen sooner than we think. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the deal.
Music Radar republished a great article from Computer Music this week on the current obsession with vintage synths, calling it ‘retro-fetishism’, which is pretty apt. It’s the same with most industries that have become dominated by digital (photography and vinyl are obvious parallels), and I think our obsession with vintage is just a phase of searching for authenticity and validation. Form a cultural perspective, it’s an interesting read.
Good news today as news came out of the deal struck between the government and entertainment industry bodies over the action that will be taken to combat piracy. It looks as though the entertainment industry has been talked down from the draconian style enforcement they would’ve liked, and instead ISPs will be sending out ‘educational’ letters about piracy to suspected infringers. The deal doesn’t include the ISPs handing over lists to the entertainment industry, in case further legal action was required, which in my books is a major win.
24% of all Spotify users hit skip within the first 5 seconds, with an alarming 48% hitting skip before the song ends, according to a report released by Spotify and the Echonest this week. Apparently, the younger you are, the more you’ll skip as well. A lot of people will start crying ‘what is wrong with kids today’ and ‘back in my day, we listened to a whole record’, but I think it’s just a product of the way we consume music evolving. I, for one, wouldn’t exchange the awesome, on-demand nature that music has today with anything from the past.
The Latest Awesome
Matt Daniels, a designer and data scientist, has done a rather awesome site that looks at the word count within hip-hop’s back catalogues to determine who has the largest vocabulary within rap, and how that compares to the literary world. Interestingly, the core of hip hop seems to sit not far of Shakespeare, with artists like Wu-tang Clan, Kool Keith and Aesop Rock absolutely blowing the bard out of the water.
If you’re a vinyl junkie, you’re probably going to want to get the latest release to come out of Jack White’s Third Man Records. Jack White’s new album is making them ‘produce a piece of wax worthy of the music it would contain,’ which is possibly the most hilariously arrogant thing I’ve heard this week. Nonetheless, the vinyl includes two hidden tracks under the centre label, the secret tracks playing at 78 and 45 RPM, making this a three speed record, dual-groove tracks, with either an electric or acoustic intro for ‘Just One Drink’, the dead wax area on Side A featuring a hand-etched hologram, and a host of other ridiculous features. It’s awesome to see people pushing the vinyl format, even if this is all a bit mental, and it can be yours for only $20.