Posts Tagged

music

The reasons for Myspace‘s fall from the zenith of social networking were the usual: neglect, user boredom, and a sparky new competitor offering an exciting, fresh alternative. Not terribly surprising. What has surprised me is the subsequent spooky quietness of the social music void that MySpace vacated.

Of all the would-be successors to MySpace, Last.fm has come the closest to being a direct replacement; but it provides poor listening options. Spotify and Grooveshark both have social aspects, although in both cases, the main focus is on music playing. And then there was Ping; as far as Apple is concerned, the less spoken about that car crash of a network, the better.

So it’s going to be interesting to see where new music discovery service Seevl fits in. With artist profiles, a comprehensive search engine, and integration with a plethora of streaming services, it looks well equipped to meet the needs of the contemporary listener. But can the app live up to its own, appealing feature list?

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Last year, a survey by ratings agency Nielsen found that YouTube is the go-to platform for teenagers looking to listen to or discover new music. Indeed, online music streaming is so convenient that it’s easiest to just search for a song and play it online—and especially on YouTube.

Two other popular destinations to search for music are SoundCloud, which has a huge collection of user-uploaded tracks, and DailyMotion, which is a fantastic repository of music videos. Combine these with YouTube and you will probably be able to track down any song you want to listen to.

That’s the aim of Solayo—to make a cool online music player for regular users and let them tap into the resources of these three portals. And on top of that, it wants to build a mini social network for you to discover friends with similar tastes.
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Consider broadband’s contribution to music. Without it, we’d all be stuck in our pre-Napster bubbles, unable to hear any harmonies on demand other than those we owned; no wonder music TV shows did so well back then. Without broadband, “iTunes” would just be a weird way of describing your CD collection. And without broadband, we’d still be sharing our playlists on tape. Nowadays, we can access virtually any piece of music ever recorded, and instantaneously share our latest audio discoveries with our friends. Thank you, broadband.

However, despite being spoilt for listening choice, we now have 2013 problems to deal with. Streamed music is a highly fragmented marketplace, and if you are trying to build a cloud-based library, it is unlikely that every track you’ll ever want will be on Spotify, or Rdio, alone. As a result, playing your internet-derived library may require a haphazard tour around the likes of YouTube and SoundCloud, just to get the sounds you’re after. That’s just silly.

The makers of the beta, music curation platform, Cumulus.fm, want to make the musical site-hopping game a thing of the past. But is a slick, cross-service, music library really achievable?

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It seems as if everyone is rushing to switch to streaming music, replacing owning the songs and albums with the idea of renting them instead. The concept has many advantages, including the ability to listen to pretty much any song at any time, providining we keep making that small monthly payment. Plus, the old need for those huge CD racks is a thing of the past.

There are also a number of free sources from which you can pull your tunes — YouTube is a surprisingly good location to find music, some of it quite obscure, and there is the oft-maligned Grooveshark, which soldiers on in the face of near-constant threats from the record industry. Spotify too, allows for a free account, though you must hand over the cash if you want unlimited ad-free or the ability to use it on a mobile device.

You get the point — there are a number of places to get music, and sometimes what one does not have a song another will. That is great in one sense of course, but it also means you could be wasting a bit of time searching around. A service called OnePlaylist aims to change this, by letting you pull from these different sources to create a jukebox of your very own. (more…)

As much as I love using iPhoto to create photo slideshows of our family, I tend to like web or mobile apps that can do the same thing. It tends to be much easier to create a quick slideshow and share it with friends and family from them, without having to upload a large video. There are a handful of web and mobile apps that help you create video slideshows, ranging from the extremely full-featured to the quick and simple ones with few features to fuss with.

Evver, which is a web app that falls into the second category is one that I am going to be looking at today. They are brand new, so they are not as full featured as some of the other photo slideshow apps that are out there. But, that doesn’t mean that it can’t serve a purpose for people. Let’s take a look at it’s features and see what it can do.

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Listening to music via a browser normally involves YouTube – and by association the terribly annoying Vevo. If I wanted advertisements before a song I’d turn on the radio. Soundcloud is an alternative but unfortunately caters mostly to the Alternative genre.

The Drive Tunes extension for Chrome however promises a seamless listening experience straight from your Google Drive. As with most things good and Googly – it’s free, it works and isn’t chock full of malware.

On the face of thing’s all is well. But is it usable? Is there even a point to a browser music player? Oh, and does it play nice with Google’s other offerings? The plot thickens.

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Music may have been around since the dawn of time, when our ancestors were banging sticks together, but it took Napster breaking all of the rules to make music big on the internet. Since then, services have been appearing left and right, all promising to give you the moon…or at least any song you wish to hear. The RIAA may not yet be fully comfortable with all of this, but technology moves forward and the recording industry, despite its best efforts, cannot stop the future from happening.

But, along the way, we’ve lost a lot of the freedom in finding new music, and somehow YouTube — a video site — has become the best place to find music for free. There’s tons of great music focused services today, from Pandora and Google Play All Access to Xbox Music and iTunes, but none are free. Even the old fashioned radio was better than this, if you simply wanted to find new music for free.

That’s exactly why you need to check out Earbits.

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If you listened to the claims of startups and entrenched tech giants alike, you’d be led to believe that it’s terribly hard to find and listen to music today. That’s anything but the truth, of course. If anything, it’s easier to find and listen to the music you want today than it’s ever been.

There’s the older, traditional route of buying music on CDs (and even records, if you’re an audiophile), and that still works perfectly fine today. There’s free over-the-air radio, complemented with internet radio often from the same stations. You can likely find most songs you want to listen to in music videos on YouTube, and can keep the song forever with music downloads, either directly from artists or from stores like iTunes and more (as well as less legitimate sources, which are the real reason music industry leaders keep searching for new business models).

But that’s not enough. Now, we’ve got an insane selection of music subscription services, where for a low fee per month you can listen to every song imaginable, and then some. You won’t own any music, but you’ll have more accessible than you could ever listen to. There’s also brand-new in-between services like the new iTunes Radio that give you auto-generated radio streams of songs in a genre you like, with options to buy the songs if you want to listen to them again.

It’s getting to be a bit too much, and sometimes one could wish for a return to the simplicity of just flipping on the radio. So what’s your favorite way to get music nowadays? Are you still listening to traditional radio, buying songs directly, or subscribing to music services? Or are you using a mix of all 3? We’d love to hear your thoughts on music in 2013 in the comments below.

I’ve got a serious problem: I’m addicted to music. It’s unusual for me to not be listening to music, especially when I’m working. The stereo is always on when I drive. Headphones are on when I walk the dog or go the gym. I’ve been in and fronted multiple musical groups, from alternative indie to heavy metal. I own hundreds of CDs, but made the transition to going all-digital over my university career, when I valued portability over all else.

These days, I’ve got multiple devices, each with a finite amount of hard drive space. I’ve got an iPod Classic that can hold everything, but my iPhone and iPads are both much more limited. My Android devices have even less room to spare. Rdio recently saved the day. We reviewed Rdio in 2011, but a lot has changed since then. Read on to find out what still makes Rdio worth the subscription today. (more…)

Google’s geeky. Its homepage has always been spartan, and even the shade of blue used on its links are tested for performance. Its HQ is known for group bikes, indoor slides, yards mowed by goats and filled with inflatable deserts, the representatives of the web giant’s robot-themed mobile OS.

But Google’s also successful, wildly so. It’s a rare day when any internet connect human doesn’t touch at least one Google products. Not because we’re forced to, but because we want to. Google Search just works, and its popularity got us to try the rest of their apps. And you know what? Google Maps, Gmail, Docs, Chrome and more all work so good, most of us choose them because they work great. They may be spartan, but they sure do the job.

That’s not enough. The new Google, one increasingly infused with Google+ DNA since its launch 2 years ago, is focusing harder than ever on design. And features. And glasses, and driverless cars, and beating Dropbox, and more. It’s a busy — and shiny — new search giant, and that’s on showcase more than ever at this year’s Google I/O developer conference.

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