Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Big Day for Lala

Today was a big day for Lala.

The service is now officially serving Facebook's music needs, and Google will be using Lala's platform to stream music with the upcoming music search platform that is slated to be released next week. This will hopefully guarantee lots of new traffic and revenue for Lala, as well as solidifying the service's place as a major music vendor on the web.

On a side note, I was happy to discover that ShortFormBlog uses Lala's player. With more and more sites starting to use Lala's conveniently embeddable player, you might be signing up for Lala much sooner than you think, assuming you want to hear what everyone else is listening to.

More information on how the event unfolded, as well as what else we might expect, can be found at the following sites:

Lala's Big Day

Google to Partner with Lala and iLike for New Music Service

Google Music Service: The Screenshots

Google, MySpace, Facebook singing the same tune

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wired Magazine upgrades its advertising strategy with Kooaba

The November issue of Wired Magazine came in the mail yesterday. It's always a pleasure to read, incredible layout, typography, graphic design, and excellent features on news, technology and culture. If you've only experienced Wired on the web, it's certainly worth stopping by the newsstand and grabbing a copy.

As print publications continue to struggle to attract advertisers and raise enough revenue to stay alive, it is high time for magazines to rethink their strategy for ads and how to keep users interested. I have always appreciated Wired's candid disclosure of their decline in sales, and of the innovations they're introducing to hopefully keep the print version of the publication financially feasible.

This month, on page 17, "An Announcement from the Publisher" introduces the next evolution in Wired's strategy to keep print advertising relevant:

Each month, the pages of WIRED are jam-packed with what's new and innovative in the world — which is why we jumped at the chance to give our readers a taste of the future of advertising through Kooaba...Their app, which is available for iPhone and Android, lets you unlock digital extras by snapping a picture of select ads in this issue.

That's right; you take a picture of the ads in the magazine. The Kooaba application connects to the server, matches the photo to the images in its online database, and provides you with a list of options specific to that ad. As far as I can tell, every ad in the magazine are Kooaba-enabled. Unfortunately, most reveal nothing more than a link to the company's website, or a link to tweet or digg the item, but I think we can expect more interesting features in future issues.

I had never heard Kooaba before reading this, but they are a Swiss company that specializes in photo-recognition technology. Here is their video:

I'm really excited about this. I have no idea what kind of success it will have in this print advertising application, as Wired is test driving, but the idea couldn't make more sense: give readers an incentive to spend more time with the ads and have access to special deals only available through the ads in the magazine. If Wired works hard to get the word out, this could have huge potential. The biggest problem I can forsee is that if print is eventually replaced by digital readers, these devices will most likely have built in web-browsers to skip the photo step.

For me, I love the potential this technology has for the real-world (as opposed to online) shopping experience. I still buy physical music media, both CD's and vinyl's. Say I'm at a my favorite record store, Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, NJ. I can browse the stacks, and when I come across something interesting, I can snap a photo, get a link to reviews and listen to song samples. I can test drive the music, and if it hits me the right way, I'll buy.

As the video says, Kooaba recognizes books and movie posters as well. In sum, Kooaba makes it easy for consumers the chance to make educated purchase decisions by simply snapping a photo. Sure, you could do this before with mobile search engines, but this is infinitely easier.

Let us know what you think if you've tried it.


NYTimes: For Wired, a Revival Lacks Ads

Chris Anderson, Wired's Editor in Chief, being given a hard time on Colbert:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Chris Anderson
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMichael Moore

Friday, October 16, 2009

A great band changes it's name

I had the pleasure of discovering the band Starfucker this summer, and have really been digging their stuff ever since. It's got some serious groove-ability, but has plently of room for relistening and learning along the way. They've got two albums out, "Starfucker" and "Jupiter," and each offers something slightly different. Don't let the (former) name throw you off, it's pretty misleading if you're expecting offensive lyrics and harsh sounds; it's actually some straight ahead synth-pop, with a hint of disco (especially on the second album).

Well, turns out the band just changed their name from Starfucker to PYRAMID. I really liked the name Starfucker, but let's be honest. You can't sell something that has the work "fuck" in it. Maybe this is a sign of bigger things to come for these guys. Here's the article. And their website. And an interview with the band.

And their first album. First track is killer:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another playlist with another service

This time with Lots of similar songs here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Current jamz

I threw together a playlist of everything's that's been frequenting my ear of late. Enjoy.

Lala iPhone app: beta version released

It's here. Everyone on the list to test drive the beta version of Lala's new iPhone app got the email this morning announcing that it was available for download. Let's just say this: if Apple ever allows this thing to be available for download on iTunes, the online music world is in for a change. Big time.

Expect lots of buzz, hype, speculation, joy, outrage, disappointment, appreciation and genuine  happiness as everyone enjoys streaming their entire music collection from their iPhone/iPod Touch, adding new songs for only $0.10 a pop.

And for those of you just jumping on the bandwagon: Best thing to happen to music since the invention of the ear. Ok, slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.

- Lala iPhone app even closer to official release?

- Top 5 Reasons why Lala beats Spotify and iTunes

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Top 5 Favorite Quotes from "High Fidelity"

Riverhead Books edition, © 1995 Nick Hornsy

1) Page 36, second paragraph.

2) Page 75.

3) Page 96, first paragraph.

4) Page 163, last paragraph.

5) Page 264, first line.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A brief thought on tweeting and retweeting those points of interest

Twitter skeptics would argue that most people have no "real audience" for their tweets. Users who don't have thousands, hundreds, or even tens of followers must just be shouting into an echo chamber when they're tweeting and retweeting links they find interesting, right?

Not necessarily. Over the past few months, Twitter has become a way to gauge mass popularity and interest in certain topics, highlighted especially by the big search box on Twitter's redesigned homepage.

If you feel as if your single little tweet about some funny thing you saw in the news will go unheard in the short-term, think of yourself part of a bigger picture. Real-time news aggregators like OneRiot and Delicious keep track of mentions, and if enough people feel compelled to tweet something, it shoots to the top of these lists, getting even more people to see it. Sure, maybe only a handful of your followers will get to read your tweet, but you sharing it demonstrates that yet another person found it worthy of sharing.

That's a driving force behind the idea of the "social web," because it's the users and readers, not the editors and executives—who are constantly deciding which content "really matters" and is "worth reading." Most news sites, like the New York Times, for example, show their "most popular" and "most emailed" stories, so readers can see what's hot at a glance.

This kind of model, where popular links get the most attention, means that we're trusting the taste of lots and lots and lots of other people. Often times, that really funny link isn't so funny, or just really annoying. But you can't deny that a lot of the time, you can StumbleUpon (get it?) some very cool stuff.

So do not tweet and retweet in vain. But for the sake of finding what's relevant and popular and worthy of my click, try talking about yourself less, and what's happening around you more.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A healthy musical mantra for our world today

Since graduation, the future seems scary. No longer does fall mean the beginning of a new school semester, and no longer does summer mean a short internship that you can brag about later on. This is the real deal.

And while it's scary, it's exciting. Maybe that's why this song has held a special place in my ear for the past few months. It's the first track called "The Rain" off Calvin Harris' new album "Ready for the Weekend." Undoubtedly, it's got one of the healthiest musical mantras you could ever hear, especially for someone like myself who's in the process of making "big decisions."

You just get this line:
These are the good times in your life
So put on a smile, it'll be alright

over and over. And if that doesn't make you happy, then there's nothing else I can do for you. Listen and get all jazzed up.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

January's going to be a good month: New RJD2 and Vampire Weekend albums

If you're wondering why RJD2's standout track "Ghostwriter" lots of RJD2 tracks are resurfacing on Hype Machine, it's because news recently broke that he's got a new album coming out in January.

If you're familiar with RJD2's work, you know that his third album, called "The Third Hand," was a tangential departure for the sample-heavy work that made "Deadringer" and "Since We Last Spoke" so incredible. Looks as if "The Collosus" is a return to that scratching vinyl vibe, something we were all hoping for when we heard "The Third Hand." For the latest interweb blogosphere news, check this.

And don't forget that Vampire Weekend's second album, entitled "Contra," is slated for release in January as well. Check out this interview with Pitchfork to hear Ezra's take on it.

Lots to look forward to.