Categories
Home

Dark Side of the Moon on Ukulele – The Tatamimats

This is one of those events that sounds worse than it really is – so San Francisco in it’s “why the hell not” spirit but click through to Laughing Squid’s embedded video of Pink Floyd’s Time and you’ll see it’s not that bad. With a few beers in my belly, I can imagine that I’d even be singing along!

From the upcoming listing:

The Tatamimats present Pink Floyd’s masterpiece re-imagined in its entirety on ukuleles. You’ve never seen or heard anything like it before – ukuleles, sonic noises, lasers and fog… This is the real deal and not a novelty act!

Visual Interface to Musical Genres, Musicovery

musicovery.png

Musicovery dubs themselves an “interactive webRadio.” It’s basically a visual representation of musical genres that you can click around and explore. They provide a palette of moods to get you started, Dark to Positive, Calm to Energetic. Start clicking around and let the music wash over you. No registration required, they make their money from a subscription to their “hi-fi” version as well as affiliate links to purchase tracks on Amazon or iTunes.

Reminds me of a service that John Battelle wrote about three years ago. MusicPlasma shows an Apache error message when you click though. Either it’s dead, ignored, or lonely. Anyone home?

UPDATE : Frederic Vavrille from Musicovery writes in the comments that the site Battelle was pointing to now lives at liveplasma.com. It appears that both Musicovery and Liveplasma are related. While Musicovery lets you click and listen while you explore, Liveplasma does not let you listen to music but adds Movies Titles, Directors, and Actors as vectors to explore.

Fun with Ringtones

Ringtonesoup is making the rounds because a sample of Marissa Mayer’s laugh is one of the most popular ringtones on the site. Intrigued, I was pleased to find a site which makes it dead easy to upload and share your favorite samples. They have a contest going on for the best “Booty Call” ringtone so that became my project for the night.

1. Grabbed a sound file as a source. I chose a one of my favorite sets from Christina Moritz’s mixes.
2. Converted the mp3 file to a wav file that I could edit. I used WavePad which has a free download.
3. Selected a 5-second sample and uploaded it to ringtonesoup and submitted it to the contest.
4. Sent a link to the sample to Christina because I know she loves this song (as do I) by Madrid de los Austrias which shows up fairly regularly in her shows.

Total time? About 15 minutes.

Categories
Current Events

The Value of Editorial

In this world of automated aggregation engines we can really appreciate the value of someone taking the time to pick through a selection of material, dust off what’s forgotten, and otherwise hold up to the light something to be celebrated.

I listen to Salon.com’s Weekly Download podcasts and while I enjoy the selections, the adverb and simile-rich descriptions by Thomas Bartlett are just as entertaining. Here’s his intro to Brittle Britches by Quien es, BOOM!

Austin band Quien es, BOOM! (the name references Billy the Kid’s purported last words before being shot, “Quien es?”) makes music centered around lovely interlocking guitar parts and intricate — sometimes too intricate — drumming. They clearly put so much thought into the instrumental lines, the discreet but delicious bits of electronic ear candy and the way they interact that it’s a surprise when, two minutes into this song, they bother adding a vocalist (although the vocals are, in fact, quite nice, and in a fittingly fastidiously phrased style).

Brittle Britches by Quien es, BOOM!

 

Categories
Office

“We can’t control the puppets”

Success on the internet is not a zero sum game. New activity can come from any corner and audience and attention often expands to meet this demand. Much has to do with the spirit of “giving back” which is one of the principles upon which the internet is founded. Take what you need and when you can, give something back to make the online world a better place for the rest of us.

This same spirit is what drives the Hack Day efforts at Yahoo. “Mash up or Shut Up” was one of the early mottos for Hack Day. It encapsulated the idea that grumbling about a shortcoming or missing feature is a waste of bandwidth. Tackle the problem yourself and lead the way. Be resourceful, lead by example, show us how it works. Sell your idea with a prototype, not a powerpoint.

This past weekend Yahoo opened its doors to outside developers, invited them to pitch tents on the grassy commons. We showed them the knobs and levers they could use to make the world a better place. Many Yahoos cleared out their busy schedules to welcome people from all over and show them around. I was working the tables at registration and it was really great to meet people from as far away as Canada, Chicago, Florida, and New Jersey. No one really knew what to expect when the weekend started but we were all pleasantly suprised.

When Beck was first pitched to play at Yahoo (through a skateboarding connection!) the organizers were thinking it’d be cool to have him play a few tunes on acoustic guitar while sitting on a stool in our cafeteria. Not only did Beck say he’d be happy to play to a crowd of Yahoo hackers, he countered that he wanted to bring his full stage show. Another pleasant suprise.

Wonderful things happen when you let your audience participate. Yahoo understands that we are defined by the people that use our services. If we give them the tools to participate, both with Yahoo and with each other, we will all be pleasantly suprised by what they give back. The world will be a better place and audience attention will expand to support what gets created.

Hack Day was started to let Yahoo engineers in the search group scratch an itch and show off their coding chops to their colleagues. With each successive Hack Day, the group of participants grew so now anyone, regardless of location or business unit can be part of it. It only made sense to continue this inclusive trend and open it up to outsiders. Expand the pool and raise the bar. Isn’t that how evolution works? I am so proud that Chad, Bradley, and the executives at Yahoo followed through on their intuition and made this event happen. It was a risk that they didn’t have to take. The standard developer’s conference is usually more structured and shys away from marshmallow guns.

We do things a little differently at Yahoo and I think our approach will pay us back in many unexpected ways for years to come. The barriers to participation are lower than they’ve ever been, the only thing holding you back is your creativity. Come on by and help define the world you live in.

Selected Coverage:

Categories
Current Events

Hello Kitty Guitar

Julia has said that she wants to learn to play violin ( which is especially funny when you see the photo of her playing a ukulele like a fiddle). We’re looking for a place that will teach a four year-old but she may change her mind after seeing this:

Hello Kitty Guitar

Categories
Office

Yahoo acquires WebJay

Yahoo announced today that it has acquired the shared playlist service, WebJay. A one man operation that is the brainchild of Lucas Gonze who will be joining Yahoo and spreading the joy. In his own words:

From the audio and video perspective, the meaning of playlists is that they’re the container format for the internet. CDs are over; mixtapes are only an analogy;

– sourced from tnl.net 

Satellite Radio as a Wireless iPod

Thursday’s Wall Street Journal had a piece on their front page (timed for the Howard Stern’s move to Sirius satellite radio) which talked about how record companies which had cut the satellite broadcasters sweet deals on royalties because of their limited reach are now beginning to regret it.

While existing models (such as the Sirius S50 pictured) have only 1 GB of storage, the newer units due out next year are said to be able to store much more. With certain "artist only" channels for Elvis and Bruce Springsteen, these devices will become a portable "best of" device that will allow subscribers to sift through the stream and edit out and save the best of what they hear.

Other features include:

  • “My SIRIUS” channels automatically generate custom content based on your listening patterns.
  • Sports Ticker shows scores from any play-by-play broadcast on SIRIUS while listening to your favorite content
  • Game Alert prompts you when your favorite teams play and score
  • One-touch access to traffic and weather reports for your city or use to tune to your favorite SIRIUS channel

Sounds pretty compelling to me but I’m sure a satellite recorder was not what the record executives has in mind when they cut these deals. I’m sure we’re going to see a round of talks where the record companies are going to try and hobble the devices so consumers can’t do what they want to which is to have the digital equivalent of a radio/cassette player.

If the industry was really smart, they’d realize that to go against the consumer’s wishes is just an exercise in frustration for both parties and it’s much better to leverage the momentum and use digtially recorded broadcasts as a sales channel. Add meta-data to each song, detailed liner notes with information on where the song came from, which album, which musicians, a graphic of the album cover, anything that might entice the listener to dig in more. Embed information on where you can purchase the album as a "call to action."

Then let the music travel. Not only allow it to be downloaded off a satellite broadcast stream to the subscriber’s receiver, allow it to be recorded and shared. You could lower the bit rate upon export but leave it otherwise unblemished so that it can be shared with the subscribers’ friends and sent around easily with the meta-data intact. If the file name is intact, you can also track where the file gets posted and use search engines to discover where your fans are and reach new audiences. Each posting of your low bit rate song will be a beacon for one-click purchase of a high bit rate version which you sell online or as part of a pressed CD package.

The future is bright, so long as you look at it right. The power of free markets and consumer utility will ultimately prevail. It remains to be seen how long the record companies will struggle will be to keep this genie in the bottle.

Yesterday

For the past week, Julia’s been breaking out in spontaneous song. Short clips here and there, her favorite is Yesterday. I’m not even sure where she picked this up but it clearly stuck with her. Today, I finally caught it on tape.

Listen to yesterday.mp3

Categories
Current Events

Remix as a Business Model

My friend Alex has the coolest job. His company, Rock River Music (throw on the ‘phones, cool streaming music on their site), puts together compilations of music for retail stores. You know that CD you saw by the register at The Gap? That’s a collection of tracks selected, licensed, and packaged by Rock River.

The LA Times has a piece on them which gave you a peek
at their business. Rock River charges the store about $4 per CD and the store sell the CD for about $15. They can also use the CDs as a promotional giveaway to their best customers. Talk about cheap advertising, this stuff not only pays for itself, it turns a profit.

I loved making mix tapes when I was in college, everything from the song selection & sequence to the tape covers. In the digital age when it only takes a few minutes to rip a disk, it’s a lost art. Alex has found a way to do this for a living. Nice work if you can get it.