Chvrches new album is one of the best I’ve heard this year. Lauren Mayberry is their lead singer and writes in the Guardian about the daily abuse she gets from social networks. So sad.
I’m a bit late to the party but now that I’m here I’m so glad I came. Spotify is a music service that, via a small local client, gives you access to a massive library of music. Legitimately. For free. The music is streamed but the quality is excellent and also very fast. This would be so so if the music library was small but it’s not. Having done deals with Universal Music Group, Sony, BMG, EMI Music, Warner Music Group and others means there is a massive amount of content. There are some noticeable absentees like The Beatles, latest Radiohead etc but that’s not a big surprise nor detracts from Spotify.
So in the short time I’ve used it what do I like about it? Firstly the massive library. I’m looking for obscure tracks and more often than not you find them. The application itself is easy to use with a simple and clean interface. Reminds me of Pandora which you can’t get in the UK anymore unless you work around it’s blocks. The home page let’s you see new additions (how bad is the new U2 track?) and also see top tens from everywhere or by location. The link to the U2 track is a Spotify link – click on it to listen to the track in Spotify – a nice way of sending music to friends but not the only way.
You can create playlist’s in Spotify just like you can in iTunes. Create a playlist, search for tracks and then drag them to the playlist. Nothing too ground breaking. Once created though, right clicking on a list will allow you to select an HTTP link or a Spotify URI. You can then send the link to friends or publish on the internet. Clicking on the link will load up the playlist in Spotify – really simple and a lot better than a mixtape or best off list – here’s my tracks of 2008. Another option available is Collaborative Playlists. Selecting this will turn the playlist into a shared list that any user can contribute to. So at the moment I have a Lickers playlist that our gaming community can share music in and an Ian’s Inbox playlist. Hopefully other people will use that playlist to send me music that they think I will like or should try. That idea looks to have stemmed from here originally.
Searching for an artist will quickly bring you to the artist page which shows their tops hits, discography and a biography. Searching for Chemical Brothers as above shows all the tracks available on Spotify from their albums and EP’s and also compilation albums that have their tracks – great for listening to similar types of music and finding new artists. Also available is Artist radio which plays tracks from the selected artist and also artists similar to them – Last.fm has much the same service. Speaking of Last.fm, Spotify client also scrobbles to your last.fm account which is handy. You can also use the Radio in Spotify which has some nice simple filters. Select a decade ot two, then select a few genre’s and press play. Great variety although with that there are some real stinkers that are selected for playback. Even though it’s a streaming service it’s quick to click on to the next track with little or no pausing between tracks.
I mentioned that Spotify is free but that does mean accepting adverts being displayed in the client and also audio adverts every 10 or so tracks. So far they haven’t been distracting and are far less intrusive than the commercial radio stations in the UK. There are also two pay for access options. The Day Pass costs £0.99 and gives you ad-free access to Spotify for 24 hours. Premium costs £9.99 per month and removes the ad’s and also gives you access to a lot more invites. For now free is working great for me.
While Spotify has really impressed me there’s always room for improvements? Playlist’s need folders as I can see that growing massively over time. I’d also like some more info on the collaborative playlists – highlight new tracks added, show the user who added them and how many people are subscribed to the playlist. I guess that’s the surprising miss so far – no social networking aspect. I’d have thought a friends list within the app or website would be a must – see what friends are listening too, automatically share this playlist with all friends, make a collaborative playlist friends only or public. Would become quite a powerful tool with those additions. Collaborative rating of tracks anyone?
It would be fantastic to stream Spotify music to 360’s, PS3’s or DLNA supporting boxes. I’ve created some playlists on the PS3 for Wipeout. I’ve got 3 or 4 covering the original versions of the game plus a couple for new rock and electronic music. How great would it be if I could create the playlist in Spotify, be able to play that back on the PS3 and also share that list out so others could use it too. Mmmm. I wonder if I could use Connect 360, iTunes and something like Nicecast to stream Spotify to the 360? Nicecast to create the audio stream from Spotify, subscribe to it in iTunes and listen to it via Connect 360 on the Xbox 360. Might try that later today.
I guess adding features would start to clutter up the client which I like due to its simplicity. No equalizer and minimal control set. Currently Spotify is only available on Mac and PC’s. No web streaming available and no mobile client either. I think this would be great on the iPhone and offer unique features that the other music streaming app’s don’t currently offer. No official word although the support forums hint at something may be coming soon to the iPhone. Here’s hoping.
There’s also a number of web sites springing up to help with the sharing of playlists. Spotifylists.com, Listiply, Spotylist and Spotyshare all offer much the same playlist sharing functionality. Topsify shares the current UK Top 40 as well as Swedish and US charts. I also have it on good authority from Windows users that Replay Music is a great way of saving mp3’s from Spotify. Not tried it myself so ymmv. Another app worth trying is Mixifier which let’s you easily share Spotify playlists with Facebook friends.
Highly recommended app and service. I have a few invites left at the moment so drop a comment with an e-mail address and I’ll send out invites to whom I can. If you do join, or are already using Spotify, drop off some recommendations in my inbox.
Radiohead – Glasgow Green
This was my first time seeing Radiohead live and I wasn’t disappointed – they were superb. Headed to the gig with Shakeel with two main worries. How muddy would it get and would Shakeel get in with his camera gear? Well it didn’t get muddy but it was quite wet and it was rather cool for the end of June but it didn’t detract one bit from the music. Shakeel also got his camera in even though he had it strapped to his back under a jacket. Terrorist alert surely but picking the right security guy helped.
Anyway, to the music. First up was Bat for Lashes. She sounded much better live than on her album. The new material sounded good and that was despite being one band member down. Kept us entertained but not entirely foot tapping. Still, a good start and if you’ve not heard of her before her last album, Fur and Gold is worth picking up. Just after 8:30 Radiohead came on to rain, gloom but not darkness. They ripped straight into 15 Steps which was a great start. With that track dispatched time for some Radiohead banter – Thom said it was a lovely day and that we should move down south. A few kid on boo’s later and it was on with the show.
The setlist was superb.
01 15 Step
03 There There
04 All I Need
06 Arpeggi/Weird Fishes
07 The Gloaming
08 The National Anthem with Hunting Bears outro
09 Faust Arp
10 No Surprises
11 Jigsaw Falling Into Place
14 Bangers and Mash
15 Everything In Its Right Place
16 Fake Plastic Trees
19 Paranoid Android
22 Karma Police
23 Like Spinning Plates
24 2 + 2 = 5
Majority of tracks were from In Rainbows but there was a couple from The Bends and OK Computer too. My highlights – Reckoner, Fake Plastic Trees, Paranoid Android and Optimistic. The two encores also delivered – as I’ve said the whole set list was great and it was 2 hours of amazing music. Maybe I’m just easily pleased.
the audience at the glasgow show last night were something to remember. they were AMAZing.
in the pissing rain with steam coming of them.
we had a wicked time – Thom Yorke
I didn’t expect much interaction from the band and apart from telling us to move down south, that a man was showing his nipples during No Surprises and shouting thanks and fucking hell at the end, that was about it for interaction. Still, the music delivered and then some.
Any -ve’s? Weather could have been better and opening doors at 4pm for a gig starting after 7pm is a nice way to make money and get people merry. A bit too merry – throwing pints of beer ain’t big or clever and just causes trouble and pisses people off. Also, cheers T-Mobile. I didn’t get any text’s or calls throughout the gig and just as we hit the Saltmarket after leaving gig, the phone vibrated – 8 texts and a lot of missed calls. Sorry to those that I hoped to meet up with. Still pretty pissed off about it to be honest. I have my pac code – just need an iPhone now.
Loved the guy in front of us though that went through 3 half bottles in an hour with his mate. His shouting and accidental punching of others was pretty funny. Also loved the guy who thought Thom was being ‘a cunt’ for not playing Idioteque and just before the last track was shouting at him for not playing it….and then they started playing Idioteque. He went wild…in a good way.
A great and very memorable night. Full flickr set here with a couple more video’s. Really should have taken more video’s. Next time!
Radiohead’s Scotch Mist
Current TV ran a hour long broadcast of Radiohead plying all their new tracks.
It’s available until the end of January 08. Try this torrent for a better quality video.
A run down of some of my favourite music from 2007. Albums first, then best tracks. No ‘best of the year’ as it’s to hard to pick just one.
Other albums that are well worth purchasing are…
Digitalism – Idealism
Kate Nash – Made of Bricks
Justice – Cross
Simian Mobile Disco – Attack Decay Sustain Release
Crash My Model Car – Ghosts & Heights
Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin
Arcade Fire – Neon Rainbows
Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Favourite tracks are…
Jigsaw Falling Into Place – Radiohead – In Rainbows
Is There A Ghost – Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin
Roc Boys – Jay-Z – American Gangster
Shooting Star – Air Traffic – Fractured Life
Do Me A Favour – Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Machines – Biffy Clyro – Puzzle
Pogo – Digitalism – Idealism
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors – Editors – An End Has A Start
You’re Not Alone – The Enemy – We’ll Live And Die In These Towns
Standing In The Way Of Control – Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control
Song 4 Mutya – Groove Armada – Soundboy Rock
Pioneer To The Falls – Interpol – Our Love To Admire
Stronger – Kanye West – Graduation
Genesis – Justice – Cross
Foundations – Kate Nash – Made Of Bricks
Beauty Of Uncertainty – KT Tunstall – Drastic Fantastic
Oh My God – Mark Ronson – Version
Sandblasted And Set Free – Maximo Park – Our Earthly Pleasures
Hustler – Simian Mobile Disco – Attack Decay Sustain Release
Wide Awake – The Twang – Love It When I Feel Like This
Next up will be a viewing and playing review but it might be next year before they are posted.
After Shakeel re-ripped his music library I’ve started to do the same, brought about by a lack of quality TV at the moment and anticipating some games playing over the next few days. On Windows good quality ripping tools are abundant with EAC almost universally recommended. On the Mac though there seems to be a bit of a dearth when it comes to ripping. Max is often mentioned but I found it a bit buggy so I’ve ended up using iTunes-LAME from Blacktree.
The latest version makes use of Lame 3.97 although the latest latest version available on the Blacktree site was a bit flaky with tags. I have used iTunes-LAME-2.0.9-34.zip without issue so far and I’ve ripped around 30 cd’s today. As for quality settings I’ve went for something a bit beefier than 192kpbs which was my old default. For iTunes-Lame I’m using the following setting:
-V 0 –vbr-new
Visit the Lame Wiki for more info on the numerous command line settings for Lame. What’s nice is that once the ripping is done the tracks are automatically added to iTunes. What’s not so nice is that I’m re-ripping some cd’s so I will lose ratings, play counts, last played details etc…or so I thought. A quick trip to Doug’s AppleScripts and I found a script that would copy my precious meta data to the new rips. Bliss.
Pity I can’t find a script that will rip the other 150 cd’s.
It’s out and I’m enjoying it more than i thought I would although the bare bones Videotape from iTunes was better IMHO. The 160kbps was disappointing as was the lack of cover art. Tut tut. Step in Jon Hicks and friends with alternatives to the naked cover art. Some of them are fantastic.
The 160kbps will be sorted when the discbox is shipped although delivery will be dependant on the workshy communists getting their act together.
Piracy. It’s feared by major record labels who failed to see the potential of the digital market and instead tried to block it. Official downloading is taking off but so many now see music as a free commodity.
Radiohead announced last night that their new album would be available from October 10th as a download only. You have two ways of buying the new album, In Rainbows. You can visit the website, pay Â£40 and receive the discbox on or before the 3rd December which includes the new album, a bonus CD, 2 12 inch vinyl records, artwork and lyric booklets plus a code that allows you to download the new album on the 10th of October.
The second option is to visit the website, choose download only and pay…whatever you like to receive the download code for the October 10th release date. Yes, that’s right. Choose your own price. You can enter Â£0.00 if you like and get the album for free. Amazing. Now I’ve no idea whether the album is any good but with an offer like that can you really go wrong? Even if your not a fan it must be worth at least trying?
All this while Radiohead are free from any studio ties as they aren’t signed to any label. Could this be a new way of selling music? Surely this will remove any need to pirate as people will pay what they want for the album even if it is nothing? I can only see them making more money this way despite having to pay for their own server bandwidth. No labels, no distributor cuts and lot’s of people paying quite a bit for the download or like me ordering the discbox for Â£40. Never did I think I’d pay Â£40 for an album that I could get for free. Is this another nail in the coffin for the traditional large record labels?
Roll on October 10th. It’s been a long time coming.
Pride of Arizona does…Radiohead?
A title I never imagined writing. A video I never thought I would see.
A marching band that I actually liked!
iTunes Signature Maker
Shamelessly copied from elsewhere I present my iTunes signature – itsm.mp3 (2 Meg download). The program that generated the file can be found on at Jason Freeman’s site. It has a few options and will generate your own signature based on this. The only requirements are that you use iTunes and can run Java apps on your pc.
So can you name all the tracks in my signature? I couldn’t but the app creates a list of the tracks used….
1 – So I Begin – Galleon – I Believe
2 – Love Will Come Through – Travis – 12 Memories
3 – Landed – Ben Folds – Songs For Silverman
4 – Whatever, Whenever – Groove Armada – Vertigo
5 – Kiss This Thing Goodbye – Del Amitri – Waking Hours
6 – Fix You – Coldplay – X&Y
7 – 1 Thing – Amerie – Touch
8 – Don’t want to Fall in Love – Chris Issac – Chris Issac
9 – All I Need – Air – Moon Safari
10 – Toca’s Miracle – Fragma – Dogs Balearics Disc 2
11 – Creep – Radiohead – Pablo Honey
12 – Bad Day – Daniel Powter – Daniel Powter
13 – Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet – Get Born
14 – Vertigo – U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
15 – El Salvador – Athlete – Vehicles and Animals
16 – Somewhere Only We Know – Keane – Hopes And Fears
17 – I Can’t Be With You – Cranberries – No Need To Argue
18 – Shiver – Coldplay – Parachutes
19 – Further – Longview – Mercury
20 – Fake plastic trees – Radiohead – The Bends
21 – Drop The Pressure – Mylo – Destroy Rock ‘n’ Roll
22 – Give It Away – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Greatest Hits
23 – Oh My Gosh – Basement Jaxx – The Singles
24 – Amsterdam – Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head
25 – Go – Moby – 3 for 1
26 – Electric Mistress – Jamiroquai – Dynamite
27 – ’95 aka Make Things Right – Lemon Jelly – ’64-’95
28 – Catch – Kosheen – Catch
29 – Free – Estelle – RnB Essential Spring 2005 CD2
30 – Mr. Brightside – The Killers – Hot Fuss
31 – Between Angels And Insects – Papa Roach – Infest
32 – Run – Snow Patrol – Final Straw
33 – American Idiot – Green Day – American Idiot
34 – Girls – Prodigy – Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned
35 – You’re Beautiful – James Blunt – Back to Bedlam
36 – Leave home – Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust
37 – What Sound – Lamb – What Sound
38 – Any Day Now – Elbow – Asleep in the Back
39 – Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz – Demon Days
40 – Hush – LL Cool J feat. 7 Aurelius – Now 60
41 – Black And White Town – Doves – Some Cities
42 – TwoMonthsOff – Underworld – AHundredDaysOff
43 – The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice – O
Worthwhile playing around with the settings to see what different sigs can be created.