Technology: Music lovers discover internet radio and playlists
Never before have we had so many ways of discovering new music.
Though Baby Boomers sometimes lament the good old days, when you could tune into FM radio and hear an eclectic mix of tunes, that golden age of radio seems like the dark ages in comparison to what's possible with today's music-related startups and internet radio stations. In fact, today's web-based options for uncovering new tunes are so diverse and varied, you might wonder if you'll ever have time to listen to the music you're discovering.
Of course, that's not a tradeoff you'll ever need to make, as the web's options for discovering music excel by blending the chance to listen to music on your computer or smartphone with opportunities to discover new artists and bands. And unlike other web trends (think Twitter), the learning curve is practically nonexistent; you don't need to be a twittering freak to enjoy these spots. If you have any doubt about this, just visit Pandora, type in the name of a tune, and see what happens. Seconds later, you'll have a radio station playing a stream of similar tunes, including, more likely than not, ones you've never heard. That's typical with the web's technologically driven music discovery and recommendation websites.
Dive into this world, and you will almost certainly come away with bands and artists you'll keep listening to. If you're so inclined, you might even make a few virtual friends, given the penchant for these spots to integrate social networking features into the mix. For many people, these spots have completely changed the way they explore and listen to music.
Here's a selection of established spots for learning about new music, such as Pandora, as well as upstarts looking to help you find your next musical obsession.
We Are Hunted: Billing itself as "an online music chart," the website tracks the buzz about music in blogs, social networking spots, and Twitter, and then turns this data into a chart of the day's top 99 songs.
Midomi: You sing or hum a tune into your computer's microphone (or your phone's), and Midomi finds the song.
thesixtyone: Artists upload tunes, listeners decide what they like and the best moves up on the homepage.
Blip.fm: Music discovery for the Twitter crowd, sort of. You "blip" a song by suggesting a tune along with a short, 150-character message to accompany it.
liveplasma: Type in an artist's name, then see a brilliant and colorful representation of related artists.
Shazam: Wondering about the tune you're hearing on the radio? Hold your Shazam-equipped phone up to it, and Shazam will ID it for you.
Songza: A music search engine, where you can play the results of your search and find similar tunes.
Popcuts: Buy tunes, then earn store credit if your songs keep selling. You earn more by buying the song early, before it becomes a hit.
Project Playlist (at playlist.com): Create and share playlists.
The Next Big Sound: Here you "play the role of a mogul" by assembling your own roster of unsigned artists.
Last.fm: You listen to music, then Last.fm connects you with other people with similar taste -- and recommends music from their collections.
Pandora: Type a song, and Pandora creates a radio station based on the song.
Grooveshark: Listen to a personalized stream of tunes, and also subscribe to other members' playlists and find people with taste similar to yours.
Lala: Listen to a library of millions of tunes, then get recommendations from friends and reviewers.
That enough for you? If want to explore even further, consider taking a look at finetune, iLike, imeem, Jango, Musicovery and Qbox.com.
23 aprile 2009
Radio addio, il Web guida alla nuova musica
Vediamo un po', che probabilità ci sono che gli "E nomine" (nome latino, band tedesca), sfondino con il loro Der furst der finsternis (principe delle tenebre) o che il cantante vampiresco Lord Toph scali le classifiche internazionali? O magari gli Agathodaimon (altro gruppo metal underground tedesco) con "Banner of blasphemy"? Non ne ho la minima idea, ma ho trovato questi nomi di nuovi musicisti tra i quasi quattro milioni che Qbox dice di custodire nei suoi database. Qbox è una delle numerose risorse, tra Web radio e social network specializzati, che i giovani navigatori utilizzano per cercare e scambiarsi impressioni su cantanti, complessi, canzoni e nuovi fenomeni musicali. Questo articolo del New Jersey Business Journal ne elenca una ventina, alcune delle quali già citate su RP, altre del tutto ignote, affermando che Internet ha completamente sostituito la radio nel ruolo di scoperta e valorizzazione dei nuovi talenti (come gli Agathodaimon?). L'epoca dei baby boomers che si sintonizzavano sulle stazioni in FM sembra tramontata da un paio di secoli e la radio fa la figura del telegrafo di Samuel Morse davanti a Pandora. Ma siamo sicuri che ci si possa orientare così facilmente in un catalogo - per quanto socializzante - di 25 milioni di brani proposti da 4 milioni di cantanti? A giudicare dalle foto non deve mangiare molto, ma riuscirà Lord Toph a sbarcare il suo lunario di artista della Rete o dovrà continuare a nutrirsi dell'occasionale click sulla sua pagina su MySpace (che tra l'altro - forse non casualmente - ci mette un'eternità a caricarsi...)?