Last.FM + RIAA = Bad News

Is Last.FM's parent company CBS handing over users' scrobbler data to the RIAA? TechCrunch seems to think so, and they offer some pretty decent evidence to back up this claim. Of course, Last.FM is denying everything, but TechCrunch is not convinced.

I hate to perpetuate a rumor like this, but A) TechCrunch does seem to have some good evidence and reliable sources, and B) I'm a blogger, it's my job to perpetuate unsubstantiated rumors.

Apparently this all started back in February around the leak of the new U2 album. Hat tip to Dave for bringing me up to speed on this while I was away on vacation. Speaking of which, I technically still am away on vacation, so I'm outta here. But tell me: are you planning on uninstalling the Last.FM audio scrobbler utility?


Friday Playlist: Monday Edition

Behind the 8 Ball by flickr user jorr81I've been a bit behind the proverbial 8 ball lately, but I didn't want to let yet another Friday go by without a Friday playlist, even if it doesn't auto-publish until Monday. I don't have enough gas in the tank [Editor's note: how many metaphors for tired/busy can I fit into this post? TBD.] to do big writeups about each song, but there's a few tidbits below.

I'm going on vacation tomorrow, but I'll be back before you know it with another Friday playlist, I promise. Enjoy!

  1. Great mashup of Dead Prez and a track off the new Grizzly Bear album. Catchy and fun, just like me.

  2. I think their album Lunglight contains half of a really great album (specifically, the 2nd half). The first half is forgettable, but this Velvet Underground-esque number clocks in at track 12 and is indicative of the greatness of that half.

  3. Another indie darling band that everyone else heard of first. They write pretty indie pop songs.

  4. I was very excited to hear that Viva Voce had released a new album, and the fact that it's meandering and has taken me several listens to really get into doesn't mean it's bad. I'm excited that they're trying new things.

  5. I love this band and their new album is awesome. This song reminds me of The Jesus & Mary Chain.

  6. This song by Crocodiles also reminds me of The Jesus & Mary Chain, which probably means I'm thinking of a different band.

  7. This is some band my brother told me about - this song is weird and pretty and reminds me of mid-90's fuzz bands like Hum.

  8. These guys remind me a lot of Los Campesinos, with the same love of wordplay and yelling. Good stuff.

  9. Another sad Scottish band. But a good one.

  10. Since I started with a mashup, it seems only right to end with one too. David Bowie + MGMT = good times.
Have a great week, everybody.


Pandora One: $36 Never Sounded So Good

Mashable has a nice little writeup of Pandora's new subscription-based offering, Pandora One.

Key features include:

  • Higher-quality audio stream (192 Kbit/second)
  • Unlimited skips
  • Adobe AIR desktop app
  • No ads
All this and more for $36/year. Is it worth it? Remains to be seen. I think I might subscribe just for the desktop app, which sounds pretty sweet.

In other news, I recently realized that the headphone jack on my Blackberry + Pandora for the Blackberry + my trusty Radio Shack tape adapter + my car's tape deck = Pandora in my car. I like the mix of old-school and new-fangled technology here to bring me one step closer to my dream: streaming my personal music library to a mobile device, wherever I am. Come on, Logitech! Give me a Squeezecenter client for the Blackberry! Please?


San Francisco Music Tech Summit

I'm not cool enough to go to this, but if you're in the San Fran area, you should go to the SanFran MusicTech Summit [Editor's note: wow, they sure do love their CamelCase] and write me a guest post!

From their site:

The SanFran MusicTech Summit will bring together the best and brightest developers in the Music/Technology Space, along with the musicians, entrepreneurial business people, press, investors, service providers, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce. We will meet to discuss the evolving music/business/technology ecosystem in a proactive, conducive to dealmaking environment.
My hero Paul Lamere will be there - don't miss his panel, he's a smart dude.


Music 2.0 Roundup

Photo courtesy flickr user 'penmachine'Here's a quick roundup of some cool new (or just new to me) stuff happening in the exciting world of Music 2.0 (or whatever it's called nowadays):

  • OWL Music Search
    This service has been around for a while, but I never really thought about it until last weekend when I needed to find some music for a 48 Hour Film I was making. I was looking through Jamendo but wasn't finding any Creative Commons-licensed songs that sounded like a song I had in mind - that's where OWL comes in. You upload an MP3 via their Java applet, select a 5-second snippet, and tell it to find songs that match. We didn't end up using anything from it because we changed our mind about the style of music we wanted, but it's still a very cool-looking service.

  • CAL Playlist Comparison
    A project out of UC San Diego that plays you a song, uses some existing tools to create playlists with that song as the seed, and then asks you to rate how well each playlist meets your expectations. I'm hoping this information will then be used to improve different recommendation engines across the board.

  • Free Music Archive
    Created by WFMU with a grant from the state of New York, this is a massive archive of "high-quality, legal audio downloads" that are pre-cleared for nearly every kind of non-commercial use. A feature I like is that you can browse the archive by "curator" and see what an actual human being (ostensibly with some credentials in this area) thinks of the different musical options available.

  • Bandcamp
    When Del The Funky Homosapien made his latest album available for free, he didn't do it on his own web site or through iTunes or by sending out CDs with newspapers. He did it through Bandcamp, a very innovative web site which makes it extremely simple for bands to sell their songs over the web. What makes them awesome is that the band can set the price per track/album (including no price) and that they offer about 10 different levels of audio quality for us audiophiles/music nerds. The introductory video is actually pretty watchable.

  • The Music Explaura
    Another recommendation engine, this time using a tag-based approach. I'll let them explain why they think their system is smarter than the average bear.

  • Blip.fm Recommender Bot
    I confess, I don't really see the point of Blip.fm. There are a lot of different ways to tell the Twitterverse what you're listening to, and I don't see why they need their own twitter clone on their own site - don't we have enough things to click on in our day? Regardless, this is still a very cool idea: you "blip" a song (basically post a link to the song to Twitter via Blip.fm [which is actually streaming the music via Seeqpod]) and add a #recsplease hashtag to your tweet. The Recommender Bot picks up on your request, queries the Echo Nest API for similar artists, and tweets them back at you. I love this idea, and not only because it ties together something like 20 underlying tools.

  • Last.fm Visual Radio
    Last.fm just released the latest version of their streaming music player. New features include pictures, combo stations, and station history. What will they think of next? Hopefully better-looking pictures without that weird screen-door effect over them.
Have you used any of the above? What did you think? Do you plan to? Why? Tell me in the comments.