Over the last holiday I picked up on a number of bands and albums. To start with (and most surprising), the new Neil Diamond album, 12 Songs: the product of collaboration with that interesting producer Rick Rubin, it's an affecting CD … I never thought I'd be recommending a new Neil Diamond album! There's an interview with Diamond here (Guardian) and in a short review Neil McCormick (Telegraph; longer Telegraph profile of Diamond here) makes some good points. Then I came across Secret Machines' Now Here Is Nowhere. I need to catch up with their new release, Ten Silver Drops — Observer piece here. I enjoyed the new Flaming Lips' album with its splendid title, At War With the Mystics, but the best discoveries have been Willy Mason (supporting Radiohead on their upcoming UK tour) and his album Where the Humans Eat (Pitchfork review), and Josh Ritter's new album, The Animal Years. On the latter, I'm particularly struck by 'Girl in the War' (mp3), and look forward to catching Ritter in London in May. I'm quite sure I'll be writing much more about Willy Mason once I've had the chance to hear him in May, too.
The social software scene of music listening has its Pandora fans and its last.fm fans. I use last.fm, but this post (via Matt Jones) caught my eye:
People say that the top-down, made-by-those-who-know-what’s-good-for-you approach is now outmoded,
but in this case it seems to have what folksonomy will never get us:
the element of surprise.
So I was very interested to hear via Techcrunch that the recently launched mashup, PandoraFM, that allows users to submit their Pandora feed(s) to last.fm, now has official Pandora backing. I played with PandoraFM (in its earlier incarnation) and came away thinking it had a lot of potential. The bugs of the early version, now Pandora has released its API to PandoraFM, should soon be a thing of the past.
Update! Gabe Kangas, the originator of PandoraFM, has posted about the new form of the mashup:
Well, sorry about the lack of warning. www.real-ity.com/pandora is no more. pandorafm.real-ity.com is the future! The name change really means very little though. … there are some … nice features I think
you’ll all like. This includes using feeds of information from last.fm
to seed Pandora stations. … The other new feature is “tracking” where it
tracks what previous artists you’ve listened to and can click on one of
them to reseed Pandora if you really like it and want to create a new
station with that one. Neat!
OH oh and yeah I added a url based interface to creating new stations
that will submit. I thought it would be cool if you’re like “Hey man
check out this new band called The Rockers, they play
electropunktripska” so you want them to hear music like that so you can
send them the link http://pandorafm.real-ity.com/?artist=The+Rockers.
And then, another sign of the battle that's been coming for some time now: news that Nokia has just released its latest edition of PC Suite, with the emphasis on … music.
Transfer music to your phone with upgraded Nokia Music Manager
- Faster music and video file conversions
Check out the new Music Manager — smartphones vs the iPod …
As if all that wasn't enough, the most astonishing bit of news — via Memex 1.1. The right-wing, US Cato Institute has produced a report (pdf; summary here), Circumventing Competition — The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that concludes:
The Founding Fathers gave Congress the right to recognize copyrights in order to “promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts.” It hardly promotes progress to give a handful of companies the ability to tightly control how consumers use copyrighted content. Rather, progress is promoted in a technological marketplace of interoperable products, consumer choice, and fierce competition. The anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA betray the constitutional vision. They impede rather than promote the progress of science and the useful arts.
Technorati tags: Neil Diamond, Secret Machines, The Flaming Lips, Willy Mason, Pandora, last.fm, PandoraFM, PC Suite, smartphones, Nokia