The Liner Notes

All the music that matters

Posts Tagged ‘streaming music

Is Facebook Music a game-changer?

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Music is about to get a bit more “social” with a new move by Facebook to integrate a range of streaming music services into the social media site.

The concept is simple. Users of music streaming sites such as MOG and Spotify have the option to link their accounts to Facebook which will then post what they are listening to in a ticker. Their Facebook friends can see what they are listening to in real time, and if they subscribe to the same service, stream the same song right there on Facebook.

The service is still rolling out, but right off the bat it looks interesting, but has its flaws. The ability to see what friends are listening to is great when they are discovering awesome new bands, but can be embarrassing if they go into a three hour long Brittany Spears session.

Then there is the problem of having to subscribe to the same streaming music service that friends use. Right off the bat Spotify, being free, seems to be dominating, but it is a pain to have to open your respective music site and manually play the song. It defeats the entire purpose of integration.

The whole concept is sharing music on a bigger level, and provides the social aspect that many of these services are now lacking.

The idea, in theory, is great but will it work in reality? Time will tell, but this is another nail in the coffin for not just compact discs, but downloading music. Clearly streaming, most likely from a social centralized site such as Facebook, with various companies is the future – music on demand is a digital buffet.

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Written by David Young

September 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

July’s Hits

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One thing I have enjoyed with MOG, aside from streaming music 24/7, is it presents a list of everything I have listened to. It also puts those songs into categories of top songs, albums and artists that I’ve been checking out.

Here are the hits for July:

Top Songs:

Top Albums:

Top Artists:

Just for fun let’s compare to what Spotify says were my hits last month. It only breaks it down by top songs and artists.

Top Artists

  • Beady Eye
  • DJ Khaled
  • Brett Dennen
  • Flux Pavillion
  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • Nikka Costa

Top Songs

  • The Edge of Glory – Sultan & Ned Shepard Remix by Lady Gaga
  • Floating (Time isn’t working on my side) by Portugal The Man
  • The Cantina by The Sea and Cake
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel
  • The Roller by Beady Eye
  • Sydney (I’ll Come Running) by Brett Dennen

Written by David Young

August 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Studying Spotify

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The folks over at Spotify must have read my last post because that same week I received three invitations to the new streaming music service here in the U.S.

I immediately signed up and downloaded the mobile app for my iPhone. There I encountered my first disappointment. To use the mobile app you must subscribe and pay for the site’s upgraded service.

So I am tethered to the computer for now. But I was hopeful, if the site is a good as it is rumored to be I was ready to pay and switch from my current streaming music provider MOG.

Almost immediately I was frustrated again. Rather than just use a site online, the company requires you to download their program to your computer which you then launch from your desktop. All other streaming sites I have ever used are web-based.

After taking the time to install the program, I created a profile and signed in. A note on this step, you can’t change your screen name that you choose so take care. It almost is a moot point because to use any of the site’s social options you are forced to use Facebook, which is your main ID.

But I digress.

Initial impressions after logging in were great. The site looked really clean. Great interface and new music was right up front. Everything is easy to play, just click and boom music. The ads are horrible as they move and interrupt the music, but hey it’s free so I can get past that.

I was prepared to dedicate hours to exploring the site and all it had to offer. It took me all of 10 minutes. Spotify is so limited in what it can do.

I’ll start with the strengths. It offers all you can listen to free streaming music. The share options are easy, and playlists are really simple to create. And that’s about it. If you want to check out new releases or listen to some classics, yeah this site is great. But Spotify is supposed to be social and make sharing music with friends fun.

This is where the negatives come in. Spotify social permits you to link to Facebook. I did this and found only two of my friends had done the same. I assume this is because the site was still hard to access. Since then my “social” group on Spotify has grown to four people. This may change when the site opens up but really it does not matter.

To find a user who you’re not friends with on Facebook or who does not have Facebook you have to know their screen name. The point here is that I already know what my friends listen to, I want to be able explore a larger social network as in everyone signed up to Spotify and see what they are listening to then choose who I want to follow based on their tastes.

The bottom line is the site’s biggest strength tuned into its biggest weakness.

The ability to share with my four social friends on the site is great. I can simply click, drag and drop albums or songs into their inbox.

Beyond this the library has a ton of holes and is missing a great deal of music, but again it’s free so for someone who does not want to pay this is the best option.

For those willing to pay, almost every other streaming service I have tried – Napster, Rhapsody, MOG – all beat this.

With the high hopes I had for Spotify, It’s sad to report it’s not all that it was hyped up to be. Even Pandora beats it in respect to streaming radio.

Written by David Young

July 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Spotify premiers in U.S.

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It’s the day music lovers have all waited for.

Spotify is available in America. But as it is with all things that seem too good to be true, the streaming music service that was supposed to change the game is already exposing its flaws.

Spotify is a free streaming music service that has been available in limited countries for a number of years now. For some time the record companies here stateside haggled and hemmed and hawed over legal rights.

For the longest time it seemed as if the service would never make it here. In that time competition has grown. Services such as Napster, Rhapsody and MOG have taken chunks out of the streaming service market. Each has their strengths and weaknesses.

Spotify was supposed to come in and crush them all. Or so they would have you believe. The biggest disappointment is for now the only way to use Spotify is to pay or to get a special invite.

The biggest claim by Spotify, as you can see in the video below, is that it is all the music in the world at your fingertips for free. But no, it’s not true here in the U.S.. An impact of the record companies I would guess.

Thus the site makes you enter your e-mail for a special invite. This is frustrating because more than two years ago I gave Spotify my email for updates on its U.S. launch. Not only were there no updates, but they gave no advantage to those who signed up in advance of the launch.

We will see if the site can overcome these initial foul-ups. I would even be willing to pay for the service if it is that much better than current sites, but not without a free trial period.

It’s not looking good for the site to start for Spotify.

In related news, MOG has unveiled a new beta user interface for its site. After using it, I must say it is much better than the previous layout. The new site is cleaner and permits users to have “favorite” songs and albums as well as manage their music in a left-hand tab system.

However, the best improvement is an embedded player that eliminates multiple windows to play a song or album.

Written by David Young

July 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Peter Bjorn & John new album streaming on NPR

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NPR’s First Listen offered up Peter Bjorn & John’s new album “Gimmie Some” a week before the official release. First listens indicated it is one of the best albums of the year so far.

The album is the best effort by the Swedish trio since “Writer’s Block” in 2006. The poppy snappy hooks sound comfortably familiar while braving some new ground here.

The best track by far is the cowbell laden “Second Chance” complete with transcendental lyrics and a syrupy guitar solo. Other  songs such as “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off” have a more traditional rock sound to them driven by deep guitar riffs and simple drum beats.

In all PB&J have recaptured some glory here while managing to raise the bar at the same time, it’s a great album well worth a listen.

Tracklist:

1. Tomorrow Has To Wait
2. Dig A Little Deeper
3. Second Chance
4. Eyes
5. Breaker Breaker
6. May Seem Macabre
7. (Don’t Let Them) Cool Off
8. Black Book
9. Down Like Me
10. Lies
11. I Know You Don’t Love Me

 

 


Written by David Young

March 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm

New Smashing Pumpkins streaming

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Smashing Pumpkins “Teargarden By Kaleidyscope"

The Smashing Pumpkins are a shell of the band that they once were.

With the departure of drummer Jimmy Chamberlain last year, the only remaining original member is guitarist and singer Billy Corgan.

Corgan is like a child that hugs a puppy to death, he couldn’t give up any aspect of the music to his cohorts and eventually even the trusty Chamberlain left.

However, Corgan has and always will be the architect and the soul of the Smashing Pumpkins. That is evident by the new singles from the Smashing Pumpkins’ new album “Teargarden By Kaleidyscope.”

The first two songs from the album, which will eventually be available for free download on the band’s website, are vintage Pumpkins.

On the first song, “Widow Wake My Mind” Corgan airy voice sings “I’m looking for a love that I can’t find” over a crunchy guitar riff that is undeniable Smashing Pumpkins. Corgan crafts in a catchy piano break at the crescendo of the song’s chorus.

As good as the first single is, “A Song For A Son” is the real gem and glimmer of light that Corgan can carry on without Chamberlain and the gang.

Built around a somber piano melody laced with an acoustic guitar, Corgan hauntingly sings “This is a song for a space invader that flew into the sun never to return.” There is an electric guitar solo that is reminiscent of early 90’s Pumpkins.

The two songs, both streaming and available for free download, are enough to pique interest about what else Corgan has up his sleeve.

Check out the new tracks here.

Written by David Young

February 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Napster offers all the music you can listen to plus downloads

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Napster logo

Napster logo

Napster has unveiled a new subscription music service that is quite possibly the best deal out there.

Paying for access to streaming unlimited music is nothing new; however Napster has taken it to a new level with a $5 deal.

For the new low price listeners not only get unlimited access to streaming music on the site, but five downloads a month. That equates to 60 songs a year for $60.

For anyone who routinely pays for at least five downloads a month the offer is really a no-brainer because in addition to the songs you now have unlimited access to millions of songs.

The two main appeals to this offer are its cheap, and you get downloads every month.

Napster, which got its start as an illegal download site, is all grown up and legitimate as it was bought by Best Buy last year.

The comprehensive site offers new releases, staff picks, playlists, radio stations and extensive search options.

Compared to Rhapsody and iTunes it is the best combination of downloads and streaming songs on the market right now.

Bravo Napster, Bravo.

Get to listening now at Napster.

Written by David Young

May 22, 2009 at 3:48 pm