Here's Your Depressing Quote of the Day Re: the Future of Music Consumption

Categories: Tech

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#Dead
Twitter is scuttling its #Music app, which is barely news because no one used it or cared about it anyway. Wired has a good rundown on why the effort failed, noting that while Twitter and music go well together (seven of the top 10 Tweeters are musicians), music fans don't really need another app to discover songs and have conversations. They can do that on real Twitter.

Also a factor here is the dominance of the larger (yet unprofitable) music streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, and iTunes, which look way more useful than Twitter's music app ever did. Surveying this landscape, Wired's Angela Watercutter says:


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Neil Young Is About to Launch His Pono Audio Player -- But Will Anyone Care?

Categories: Tech

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After years of scolding the digital music world for tolerating the miserable sound of MP3s and promising to introduce a high-fidelity alternative, Neil Young is about to launch his Pono music player. He'll unveil the thing at South By Southwest tomorrow, March 12, but a press release already gives the essential details: Pono will cost $399, will hold 100-500 "high-resolution digital albums" in 128GB of memory, and will come with software to manage all the hi-res music on your computer. Presumably, it will also sound amazing.

But all that of course leaves the most important question unanswered: Will anyone care?


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People on YouTube are Using Floppy Drives to Cover Famous Songs (Yes, Floppy Drives)

Categories: Tech, WTF

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Your new floppy drive orchestra.
We've heard about paper instruments, wearable drum kits, brain music, and lots of other strange, tech-enabled musical concoctions. But here is one we had not imagined: making music with floppy drives. Yes, with the drives' stepper motors as the instruments.

But oh, dear reader, is this a thing. Digital Music News brought it to our attention with an eerily robotic floppy-drive version of Pachelbel's "Canon." As one floppy artist explained, the drives run on custom software that converts MIDI files into data packets and sends them to a processor called an Arduino, which then sends the drives the information they need to make music ... or something at least approaching music:

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Here Is the Google Bus Song You Always Knew Was Coming

Categories: Tech, Video

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Watch out, Oakland
Google bus doing donuts? BART dis? Bitcoin reference? Twerking nerd lyrics? Yes, everything you hoped and dreamed of -- well, except for an S.F. setting -- is here in "The Google Bus Song" by three non-Googlers called CACHEBOX. Watch and laugh, or maybe wince:


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Spotify Is Wrong To Not See Pandora as a Competitor

Categories: Tech

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Lots of interesting stuff in Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's new interview with the Hollywood Reporter: He disses Beats Music, fights back against Thom Yorke's slam of Spotify (and of streaming royalties in general), and again defends the fact that Spotify isn't turning a profit. But maybe the most interesting -- and to my mind, wrongheaded -- part of the interview is where Ek talks about Oakland's own Pandora, the Internet radio service:

I don't really view them as a competitor. The rest of the world seems to, for some reason. We want Spotify to be your music player. We don't want to be the radio service; we don't want to be the place where you watch a music video and then a cat the next moment. We want to be the place where you store and collect, where you build your playlist for your dinner party or your workout. That is very different from Pandora.

Here's the problem with this: I don't think the average consumer cares or even necessarily wants to have to distinguish between a "radio" service like Pandora or "store and collect" service like Spotify.


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Beats Music Joins the Crowded Field of Streaming Music Startups

Categories: Tech

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The music-streaming market just got a little more crowded. Today, Beats Music joins the likes of Spotify, Rdio, Rhapdsody, and many others -- and that's not even counting more radio-style services such as the ones offered by Pandora, Apple, and Google.

So what's special about Beats, besides the fact that Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, and Jimmy Iovine are behind it? It's not the music -- with 20 million songs, it reportedly has about the same catalog as most of the other services. It's not the price, either: unlike Spotify or Rdio, there's no free option to use Beats Music. If you want it beyond a seven-day trial, you'll need to pay $9.99 a month.


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Behold: DrumPants Exist (And They're Exactly What They Sound Like)

Categories: Only in SF, Tech

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The ol' rooftop solo jam just got DISRUPTED
You've been slapping out rhythms on your thighs since you were a wee tot, but what did you really get out of it? Just a few dull thwaps and some painfully inflamed skin, right?

Well, that's all about to change. DrumPants are a wearable, customizable device that turns our pants -- or other garments -- into decent-sounding electronic drums (and other instruments). And you can buy them right now, for $139.99. Seriously. (You'll get them in May.)


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Top 7 Things To Spend the New Kanye West Digital Currency On

Categories: Tech, WTF

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Kanye West is getting a digital currency, his own Bitcoin rival. Well, sort of.

In further proof of human kind's inability to resist even a plainly stupid pun, some people are creating a digital currency they're calling Coinye West, which will have Yeezus' likeness on it. You can get some starting January 11.

Get it, Coinye West? Ha, ha.

Kanye himself is not involved, although the creators of Coinye West are Tweeting wildly in the hope of changing that. As an indicator of the likelihood of this, consider that those creators also currently "want to stay sorta anonymous in case Kanye gets pissed off," as one of them told Vice UK. (At least they aren't trying to take his picture at the airport.)


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Which Wireless Speaker System Should You Buy?

Categories: Tech

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The Beats Pill may be your most obvious choice for a wireless speaker, but it probably isn't the best.
If you've had even a cursory glance at the year's big pop music videos -- Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" or Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," for instance -- you may have noticed the unabashed placement of one specific product: Beats Pill from Beats by Dr. Dre. It's tough to miss this rechargeable speaker, a device that allows you to stream music from any computer or smartphone with Bluetooth baked in (which is almost all of them at this point). But it's a bitter pill to swallow for fans of audio more than celebrity endorsements.

Featuring four tweeters and an audio algorithm that don't play all that well with the G-funk made famous by Dr. Dre, Beats Pill is far too tinny for a $200 purchase, especially one promising to make your party pop off. With that in mind, here's a range of better speaker options to wirelessly share your 2013 guilty (or unguilty) pleasures.


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How Much Does Spotify Pay Musicians? Now We Really Know

Categories: Tech

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Spotify's graph of album earnings in July 2013 versus earnings when the service reaches 40 million paying subscribers.
In a move aimed at quelling criticism from the likes of Thom Yorke, David Byrne, David Lowery, and many other musicians, Spotify today launched a new website that gives specific figures on what the streaming service pays artists.

They are... not high.


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