A while ago my sister introduced me to Gotye by playing me a session video of him and Kimbra singing Somebody I Used To Know for Californian radio station KCRW. You can watch it below:
I’ve always wanted to write this post. I’ve spent years evolving my technology-based home media setup, and for some reason, instead of writing a long blog post about it I ended up posting it on The Verge forums, and you can find it here:
It provides a brief overview of the various components of my setup, and what it can do, from acting as a central iTunes hub, to allowing for remote streaming of movies and TV shows, to hosting a VPN server for secure web browsing anywhere in the world. Since this blog is really the spiritual home of a piece of content like this, you can find the post in its entirety below.
Recently I have become extremely enamoured by a game on iOS. This doesn’t happen often, and I feel compelled to write about this and help spread the word. The game is called Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and is available on the App Store (universal version) for iOS and on Steam for Windows.
The Spotify blog, 30/11/2011:
We’re introducing a new world inside Spotify. It’s a world where there’s even more music for you to discover and a ton of new experiences to be enjoyed. Spotify Apps are here!
This is a big deal. It will increase Spotify user retention as users will become more reliant on Spotify to get their music-related content, and it will no doubt provide additional analytics to both Spotify and the 3rd party developers.
Still no view-by-artist/track/album on the mobile app though, so Spotify remains unable to compete with iTunes. I really think they are missing a trick here.
Interesting point from Glyn Moody regarding the impact Apple’s new music sync service is set to have on the music industry:
…iTunes Match doesn’t seem to care how you obtained those non-iTunes tracks, and it will happily include those obtained through ripping CDs or even piracy. Since Apple will presumably be paying the recording companies for every track that it syncs for you in this way, this means that the latter will receive some remuneration for unauthorised copies of music tracks – something that has not been possible before.
iTunes Match basically scrapes your entire music collection, including music downloaded from illegal sources, and includes them in your official Apple-sync’d list of music.
Apple has effectively made your illegal music legal again.
I have been holding out on subscribing to Spotify to see what Apple came up with yesterday at WWDC 2011, but it looks like Spotify still has the upper hand for certain use-cases.
With iCloud there is still a fundamental reliance on physically-stored data. To listen to a song you need to have a local copy stored on your device. All that iCloud does is let’s you sync it to other devices automatically behind the scenes.
Spotify, Google and Amazon have all embraced, in my opinion, a far truer representation of the “cloud” – you don’t have to physically own what you want to listen to. Your music is stored in the cloud only and streamed to your device.
The additional advantage of Spotify’s approach is that you only have a 2 step process to listen to any song (even one you don’t own) – you search for it, then play it. iTunes still relies on you to purchase the item first, download it, and then listen to it. This doesn’t seem very ‘cloudy’ to me.
iCloud also syncs documents. Again, the reliance is still on having physical copies of documents and other data on your local devices, which is then instantly pushed to other devices. Google Docs, for example, goes one step further by allowing you to directly edit the document in the cloud, so no local syncing is even required.
These are two very different visions of the cloud. Apple sees the cloud as a way of ensuring all your physically owned/stored data is replicated in real time across devices, whereas Amazon, Google etc see it as a way of removing the need for you to physically store this data in the first place. In my mind the latter is the more forward-thinking approach but there are limitations (offline editing for example). It’s just a pity that Google’s strategy isn’t orientated towards releasing refined solutions like Apple, so we may not see a really slick implementation of this purely cloud-based approach for some time.
I have no idea which method will prevail, but I find it suspect that Apple highlighted Google and Amazon as direct competitors when their services differ in such a fundamental way.
I just loaded up Spotify for the first time since they introduced the new listening package for free users. Essentially this package reduces the number of hours of free listening from 20 hours to 10 hours, and allows users to listen to the same song 5 times only (that’s EVER, not per month).
However, despite these major changes, the website promoting Spotify Open (link) makes no mention of any of these restrictions. In fact the only thing vaguely relevant is in the FAQs at the bottom which refers to a 20 hour per month limit. Not only is this incorrect (misleading and downright false advertising?) but they neglect to even mention that you can only listen to a song five times – a fairly fundamental aspect of the service in my opinion that people would want to know about.
The Overview Page also doesn’t mention the limit on hours and doesn’t mention the limit of song plays (not to mention the fact that the entire package is ad-supported).
On the face of it, it looks like the website hasn’t been updated, but in this day and age, and with a company with the brand and marketing of Spotify, I find that hard to believe.
Spotify – buck up your ideas, this is not how to earn trust and convert your free userbase to subscribers.