Posts Tagged ‘Spotify’

Music is the soundtrack to my life

Music is hugely important in my life. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved music. I can remember being a kid and my dad buying records and listening with his headphones. Music gives me history. Certain bands or song evoke emotions and memories that, without the music to remind me, they would be long forgotten.

I remember living in Puerto Rico as a kid and being at a BBQ at one of my dad’s coworkers. I remember hearing and loving Planet Rock by Afrika Bambatta, that was around 1982 and I would have been nine years old. I remember fighting and trying to steal my sisters copy of Rock the Casbah.  Trying to memorize the lyrics to Jam on It in the 5th grade. How old were you when you first heard and read the lyrics to Darling Nikki?

These memories are forever cemented into my psyche because of the music I associate with them. I hope my kids have the same experience. They may not get to hold and admire the cover art of a 12″ vinyl record or even read the liner notes of a CD, but if you grow up in my house, you’ll grow up listening to music.  Grace is only three and a half and she can already sing the chorus to Pumped up Kicks. “Faster than my Bully….” Well, kinda.

I’m writing about music on my photography blog because this year the way I discovered and listened to music changed drastically. The iPod was one thing but this year Pandora and Spotify changed music for me. I’ve known about Pandora for a long time, but it wasn’t until I started streaming it through my phone that I found and fell in love with it’s power. Couple that with the keys to the record store that Spotify provides and I’m exposed to new artists and genres that I would have never found otherwise. Over the past six weeks I have been trying to find the perfect song to use in my son’s one-year birthday slideshow. I’m also thinking ahead towards my end of the year slideshow and I’m trying to find the song that I found 2011 that complements my photography. I’m still up in the air about the end of the year song, but in the mean time here are some artists I’ve found and come to love this year.

Ryan Adams. Back from retirement with an amazing new album. I was so motivated enough that I bought a physical CD.
Amos Lee – I found him probably through the Ryan Adams station on Pandora.
James Vincent McMorrow – thank’s Jason Bentley and Morning Becomes Eclectic
The Civil Wars – Another KCRW find
Lydia Loveless - an XM radio find – straight rocker-girl country
Citizen Cope – another Pandora find and then further explored with the help of Spotify.


The changing distribution of media

This has very little to do with photography but it’s a topic I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks. The way we view and consume media is changing at a break-neck pace.  So much is changing that we can see the progress every few months.

What got me thinking about this was the HBO app. It seems that every time I call U-verse with an issue they mention a special that involves giving me premium channels for free. A few months ago it was HBO. Somehow I stumbled upon the HBO app. The HBO app gives you access to (almost) all of HBOs programming – every season. At first glance it seemed just like the Netflix app, cute but on my iPhone it’s fairly useless. But then I started watching The Wire via the HBO app on my iPad. I was hooked, besides being an amazing TV show, the ability to watch each episode on-demand was amazing.  Never caught True Blood? Now you can watch every episode without having to rent or buy the DVDs. Each time we tried using Netflix to start a TV show it was a pain. You get hooked, watch a couple episodes and then have to mail back and wait for DVDs, throwing a wrench in the momentum.

This is the future. On-demand access to content I want to watch. Granted not everyone has or wants to watch TV on their iPad, but I think the business model will change how we view television content. Suddenly paying $15/month for HBO has value.

Then came spotify. If you haven’t heard, Spotify is a swedish company that allows streaming access to CDs from major and independent record labels. The US version recently launched and I was blown away. I now have access to tens of thousands of full CDs – for free. Like Pandora, the free service has commercials. The pay version ($5/month) has no commercial and allows streaming and even saving these files to my iPhone. At first I was overwhelmed. It’s like being set loose in a record store – where do I start? Then I started using the bookmarks I made in Pandora and listening to entire CDs from those artists. Remember the day when you’d hear a great song, buy the CD and get home to find out you didn’t like the rest of the CD? Is the 30 second preview on itunes enough to give you a feel for the song?  Now I can listen to the entire CD, on-demand, for free.

Some record execs lament that iTunes killed album sales. It strikes me that Spotify is about to change the record industry again. The one caveat is that Spotify doesn’t have contracts with all record labels. Like Netflix the success, or failure, of Spotify is based on the content they have access to.

For those of you who don’t know I once worked as a sell-side analyst at an investment bank. We wrote research on the networking sector and one of our investment themes was based on a study that stated that the consumption of bandwidth doubled every six months (the study turned out to be BS – but that never stopped an analyst from beating a drum). I doubt anyone can quantify the growth of bandwidth but the basic premise is still true – bandwidth is king. All of the above mentioned ideas and delivery methods rely on bandwidth. Couple bandwidth and the power of choice and see the future. (I Hope)