Digital Music Trends – Episode 62

This week on the show I am happy to feature an interview I just recorded with Scott Wambolt, the CEO of Canadian company Yangaroo.  In the past 10 years Yangaroo has been instrumental in helping record labels in North America transition from the dependence on physical mediums to more efficient digital media workflows developing an end-to-end secure B2B solution for the delivery of digital music and more recently music videos.

Also on the show this week I’m going to talk about European anti-piracy measures, Ministry of Sound’s ongoing effort to sue file-sharers, Microsoft launching a Zune service in the UK,  Vevo’s plans to launch a TV network to compete with MTV and a new piracy tool that is worrying the music industry called Mulve.

But let’s start with this week’s interview with Scott Wambolt from Yangaroo.com.

And now on to the news!

1) European anti-piracy measures

So the European Parliament on September the 22nd voted for the adoption of the report on the enforcement of Intellectual Property in the internal market. So what does this report say? Well basically it outlines the need to create a European-wide framework to protect intellectual property and calls for appropriate legislation to be considered. It is not a law in itself but its adoption allows for its findings to be used as a way to create a legislation on the protection of intellectual property. The report first of all calls for the creation of more services to access legal content online, second it establishes the need for ISPs to start a dialogue with the rights holders and third it allows for the possibility of creating a legislative framework for the protection of copyrighted material should the first two solutions fail. Potentially the effect of this report would be the implementation of European regulations that require countries to have a specific legislative path to protect copyrights and punish illegal file sharing. The approval of the report has been lauded by many in the music industry including the IFPI as the introduction of a European legal framework that could finally stop the slump music sales that has affected countries like Spain and France. Naturally all of this is a pre-preliminary step but one that makes labels understand that Europe has taken notice – though it may actually take a decade to finalize legislation!

http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1042622&c=1

http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i164dab495458bd2bf5dbd9d95c0e32e1

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/09/a-stab-in-the-back-eu-tackles-online-infringement.ars

2) Staying on the subject of piracy TorrentFreank and ISP Review this week reported that Ministry of Sound’s most recent request for the disclosure of broadband customer’s identities based on their IP addresses has raised concerns with the judge Chief Master Wintergarden – who pointed out first that he had received a large number of letters by people who were concerned with the way Ministry of Sound’s lawyers were sending out pay-up-or-else letters and second that he was surprised that after thousands of these letters were sent not one of the recipients was actually taken to court. The judge called Ministry of Sound’s approach like using a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut and refused to grant the labels’ lawyers latest request for the disclosure of personal contacts delaying the decision to the 4th of October. Many in the UK have questioned the legality of these pay-up-or-else letters, that have a very aggressive tone and demand the recipient for hundreds of pounds in compensation. The fact that none of these have been followed up and transformed into full-blown lawsuits is further proof that those damages would probably not be awarded in a court of law. The judge also made the point that after the introduction of the Digital economy act in the UK these requests will probably not be granted any longer. I don’t support piracy in any way but I have said it before – i really don’t like this approach. The fact that there isn’t a warning or anything and that the letters are sent indiscriminately to all users identified can only be seen as a way to get some money from the few people who will be scared enough by the letter to pay…

http://torrentfreak.com/judge-warns-of-end-to-file-sharing-cash-demands-100922/

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/story/2010/09/23/uk-isp-plusnet-illegal-file-sharing-judge-predicts-end-of-settlement-letters.html

3) Microsoft launches the Zune platform in the UK!

The telegraph and the Register reported this week on Microsoft’s latest move which is to expand the Zune entertainment platform to Europe by launching it in the UK alongside the release of Windows 7 mobile phones. The platform will work with the Xbox, Windows 7 mobile and naturally Windows PCs and will allow a song that is purchased on one system to be played on all three. Xbox users that decide to splash out on the new Kinect controller will also be able to buy music using their hands rather than a traditional keyboard. A very important development for the UK is the arrival of a Zune pass that enables unlimited streaming and (DRM’d) downloads for only £8.99 per month which is one pound cheaper than Spotify’s premium service. The new platform will face fierce competition by the likes of Spotify and We7 who already have a very loyal customer base and naturally being completely tied to Microsoft for your PC, phone and Xbox its appeal will be limited. I believe that the only way it will really take off would be if Microsoft decided to release an app for each of today’s leading mobile operating systems, iOS4, Android and Symbian and Blackberry. Only then would non-gamers catch on to the service – who knows they could pick up some mac users on the way!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/microsoft/8015264/Microsoft-Zune-service-to-launch-in-UK.html

http://www.reghardware.com/2010/09/21/microsoft_uk_zune_pass/

4) Vevo plans to launch a TV channel

The New York Post this week revealed that in an interview with the CEO of Vevo Rio Caraeff he mentioned that the company is working on the launch of a regular TV network that would compete with MTV. But if you read the article closely there is actually very little reference to the “old” MTV model since Vevo has not yet established any partnership with networks or cable providers. Instead it is focusing on developing its relationship with manufacturers of web-enabled TV in order to offer a personalized channel that will be able to cater to the specific taste of a user. I think this is a great idea considering the resources and traction Vevo has at the moment and the fact that web-TV is on the brink of becoming mainstream with the new Apple TV and the upcoming Google TV set to sell in considerable numbers. I personally don’t think that they should even look into partnering with a network since I don’t believe there’s a huge amount of money to be made there – after all if there was MTV would have reverted back to its old model and ditched all of its annoying reality shows. But exploiting the momentum of Vevo to take it into people’s TVs via the Internet is absolutely the right thing to do and may also help the company attract more advertisers who would probably see the appeal in being able to reach people’s living rooms rather than just their laptop screen.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/coming_soon_vevo_u6tCNNLOmkxXOrHUIPhBNO

5) Is Mulve as scary as it sounds?

So this week every news outlet from Music Week to Billboard to CMU to more mainstream press seems to have covered Mulve. This is a new very small piece of software – only 2 megabytes – that gives the user access to a huge catalogue of music that can be downloaded, illegally i should point out, for free. Apparently Mulve’s representatives have clarified that this is not a new P2P software but that the music is simply stored on servers for which they did not reveal the location although they are believed to be located in Russia. The site mulve.com , in part because of the huge amount of coverage it received, is now down most of the time because of excessive traffic. Naturally the idea of a server storing the music is more appealing than a P2P solution because it is virtually impossible for rights holders to pick up on these downloads since they don’t happen in the public domain like on torrent networks. At the same time Mulve does sound a bit of a gimmicky challenge to the content industries and I wonder how long it will stay online for – after all maintaining all those servers, even in Russia, has got to be an expensive enterprise when so many users access the data. Naturally should it get funding and start meeting the demands of hundreds of thousands of users then yes – the nightmare scenario described on many publication may become reality. But I have the feeling that by then law enforcement agencies as well as the rights holders anti-piracy divisions will have worked out where the company’s servers are located and acted in order to get them shut down.

http://newsblog.thecmuwebsite.com/post/Everyones-talking-about-Mulve.aspx

http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i386774579db7c203f0f20f88b1751172

www.mulve.com

________________

And that’s all for this week. On Thursday I will be in Barcelona at the Future Music Forum where I’ll moderate a session on the business model for on-demand music so expect to see some reports and interviews on that in the next episode. I will actually be in the States for the next two weeks so if you are in Seattle or Vancouver give me a shout – I should be able to publish the show as usual with some interview from the Future Music Forum and hopefully the Norwich Sound and Vision session I took part in a couple of weeks back coming through from the venue but I probably won’t be able to post any news coverage and if the podcast is a day or two late please bear with me.

As usual please feel free to email with any feedback or news story – the address is digitalmusictrends@gmail.com On the site at www.digitalmusictrends.com you can find all information you need about the episode and the relevant links and remember that you have quite a few options to listen to the show – the iTunes store, Soundcloud, the Music Void, Mixcloud, RSS and I believe you can now also search for Digital Music Trends on standalone Internet radios like those made by Logitech or Pure. Have a great week and ’till next time!

Andrea Leonelli

www.digitalmusictrends.com

Digital Music Trends – Episode 62

This week on the show I am happy to feature an interview I just recorded with Scott Wambolt, the CEO of Canadian company Yangaroo.  In the past 10 years Yangaroo has been instrumental in helping record labels in North America transition from the dependence on physical mediums to more efficient digital media workflows developing an end-to-end secure B2B solution for the delivery of digital music and more recently music videos. 

Also on the show this week I’m going to talk about European anti-piracy measures, Ministry of Sound’s ongoing effort to sue file-sharers, Microsoft launching a Zune service in the UK,  Vevo’s plans to launch a TV network to compete with MTV and a new piracy tool that is worrying the music industry called Mulve. 

But let’s start with this week’s interview with Scott Wambolt from Yangaroo.com. 

Episode 62 by digitalmusictrends


And now on to the news! 

1) European anti-piracy measures 

So the European Parliament on September the 22nd voted for the adoption of the report on the enforcement of Intellectual Property in the internal market. So what does this report say? Well basically it outlines the need to create a European-wide framework to protect intellectual property and calls for appropriate legislation to be considered. It is not a law in itself but its adoption allows for its findings to be used as a way to create a legislation on the protection of intellectual property. The report first of all calls for the creation of more services to access legal content online, second it establishes the need for ISPs to start a dialogue with the rights holders and third it allows for the possibility of creating a legislative framework for the protection of copyrighted material should the first two solutions fail. Potentially the effect of this report would be the implementation of European regulations that require countries to have a specific legislative path to protect copyrights and punish illegal file sharing. The approval of the report has been lauded by many in the music industry including the IFPI as the introduction of a European legal framework that could finally stop the slump music sales that has affected countries like Spain and France. Naturally all of this is a pre-preliminary step but one that makes labels understand that Europe has taken notice – though it may actually take a decade to finalize legislation! 

http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1042622&c=1 

http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i164dab495458bd2bf5dbd9d95c0e32e1

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/09/a-stab-in-the-back-eu-tackles-online-infringement.ars

 

2) Staying on the subject of piracy TorrentFreank and ISP Review this week reported that Ministry of Sound’s most recent request for the disclosure of broadband customer’s identities based on their IP addresses has raised concerns with the judge Chief Master Wintergarden – who pointed out first that he had received a large number of letters by people who were concerned with the way Ministry of Sound’s lawyers were sending out pay-up-or-else letters and second that he was surprised that after thousands of these letters were sent not one of the recipients was actually taken to court. The judge called Ministry of Sound’s approach like using a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut and refused to grant the labels’ lawyers latest request for the disclosure of personal contacts delaying the decision to the 4th of October. Many in the UK have questioned the legality of these pay-up-or-else letters, that have a very aggressive tone and demand the recipient for hundreds of pounds in compensation. The fact that none of these have been followed up and transformed into full-blown lawsuits is further proof that those damages would probably not be awarded in a court of law. The judge also made the point that after the introduction of the Digital economy act in the UK these requests will probably not be granted any longer. I don’t support piracy in any way but I have said it before – i really don’t like this approach. The fact that there isn’t a warning or anything and that the letters are sent indiscriminately to all users identified can only be seen as a way to get some money from the few people who will be scared enough by the letter to pay… 

http://torrentfreak.com/judge-warns-of-end-to-file-sharing-cash-demands-100922/

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/story/2010/09/23/uk-isp-plusnet-illegal-file-sharing-judge-predicts-end-of-settlement-letters.html

3) Microsoft launches the Zune platform in the UK! 

The Telegraph and the Register reported this week on Microsoft’s latest move which is to expand the Zune entertainment platform to Europe by launching it in the UK alongside the release of Windows 7 mobile phones. The platform will work with the Xbox, Windows 7 mobile and naturally Windows PCs and will allow a song that is purchased on one system to be played on all three. Xbox users that decide to splash out on the new Kinect controller will also be able to buy music using their hands rather than a traditional keyboard. A very important development for the UK is the arrival of a Zune pass that enables unlimited streaming and (DRM’d) downloads for only £8.99 per month which is one pound cheaper than Spotify’s premium service. The new platform will face fierce competition by the likes of Spotify and We7 who already have a very loyal customer base and naturally being completely tied to Microsoft for your PC, phone and Xbox its appeal will be limited. I believe that the only way it will really take off would be if Microsoft decided to release an app for each of today’s leading mobile operating systems, iOS4, Android and Symbian and Blackberry. Only then would non-gamers catch on to the service – who knows they could pick up some mac users on the way! 

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/microsoft/8015264/Microsoft-Zune-service-to-launch-in-UK.html 

http://www.reghardware.com/2010/09/21/microsoft_uk_zune_pass/

 

4) Vevo plans to launch a TV channel 

The New York Post this week revealed that in an interview with the CEO of Vevo Rio Caraeff he mentioned that the company is working on the launch of a regular TV network that would compete with MTV. But if you read the article closely there is actually very little reference to the “old” MTV model since Vevo has not yet established any partnership with networks or cable providers. Instead it is focusing on developing its relationship with manufacturers of web-enabled TV in order to offer a personalized channel that will be able to cater to the specific taste of a user. I think this is a great idea considering the resources and traction Vevo has at the moment and the fact that web-TV is on the brink of becoming mainstream with the new Apple TV and the upcoming Google TV set to sell in considerable numbers. I personally don’t think that they should even look into partnering with a network since I don’t believe there’s a huge amount of money to be made there – after all if there was MTV would have reverted back to its old model and ditched all of its annoying reality shows. But exploiting the momentum of Vevo to take it into people’s TVs via the Internet is absolutely the right thing to do and may also help the company attract more advertisers who would probably see the appeal in being able to reach people’s living rooms rather than just their laptop screen.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/coming_soon_vevo_u6tCNNLOmkxXOrHUIPhBNO

5) Is Mulve as scary as it sounds? 

So this week every news outlet from Music Week to Billboard to CMU to more mainstream press seems to have covered Mulve. This is a new very small piece of software – only 2 megabytes – that gives the user access to a huge catalogue of music that can be downloaded, illegally i should point out, for free. Apparently Mulve’s representatives have clarified that this is not a new P2P software but that the music is simply stored on servers for which they did not reveal the location although they are believed to be located in Russia. The site mulve.com , in part because of the huge amount of coverage it received, is now down most of the time because of excessive traffic. Naturally the idea of a server storing the music is more appealing than a P2P solution because it is virtually impossible for rights holders to pick up on these downloads since they don’t happen in the public domain like on torrent networks. At the same time Mulve does sound a bit of a gimmicky challenge to the content industries and I wonder how long it will stay online for – after all maintaining all those servers, even in Russia, has got to be an expensive enterprise when so many users access the data. Naturally should it get funding and start meeting the demands of hundreds of thousands of users then yes – the nightmare scenario described on many publication may become reality. But I have the feeling that by then law enforcement agencies as well as the rights holders anti-piracy divisions will have worked out where the company’s servers are located and acted in order to get them shut down.  

http://newsblog.thecmuwebsite.com/post/Everyones-talking-about-Mulve.aspx

http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i386774579db7c203f0f20f88b1751172

www.mulve.com

——————–

And that’s all for this week. On Thursday I will be in Barcelona at the Future Music Forum where I’ll moderate a session on the business model for on-demand music so expect to see some reports and interviews on that in the next episode. I will actually be in the States for the next two weeks so if you are in Seattle or Vancouver give me a shout – I should be able to publish the show as usual with some interview from the Future Music Forum and hopefully the Norwich Sound and Vision session I took part in a couple of weeks back coming through from the venue but I probably won’t be able to post any news coverage and if the podcast is a day or two late please bear with me. 

As usual please feel free to email with any feedback or news story – the address is digitalmusictrends@gmail.com. On the site at www.digitalmusictrends.com you can find all information you need about the episode and the relevant links and remember that you have quite a few options to listen to the show – the iTunes store, Soundcloud, the Music Void, Mixcloud, RSS and I believe you can now also search for Digital Music Trends on standalone Internet radios like those made by Logitech or Pure. Have a great week and ’till next time! 

Andrea Leonelli 

www.digitalmusictrends.com

?

Digital Music Trends – Episode 61

This week on the show an interview with Martin MacMillan CEO of mobile music firm Bounce Mobile that recently launched the Fireplayer app for the iPhone. Also this week a short report on MusicHackDay London that took place on the 4th and 5th of September and a couple of thoughts on Ping. You may have realized that last week the show didn’t go live and that’s because I tried to record it twice with a bad cold and both times my voice left me halfway through, didn’t think you wanted to hear me whisper into a microphone! So very sorry about that…

But let’s start with this week’s interview with Martin MacMillan from Bounce Mobile! (Interview follows in the audio version of the show)

And now let’s talk about MusicHackDay. So it’s the second MusicHackDay coverage for me after last year’s event – and again it was held at the Guardian headquarters after a last-minute venue change. So numerous the companies and hackers taking part in the event – not just from Europe but from around the world. Sponsors of the event – who deserve a mention for making it happen – include Soundcloud, Songkick C4DM, FXpansion, Universal Music, Last.fm, the Echo Nest, Bounce Mobile and Gigulate. So – if you’re unfamiliar with the idea of a hackday – basically it consists of a number of programmers, engineers, and hackers at large – not only on the software side but also on the hardware one – getting together to create cool new projects that mash together the APIs made available by some of the biggest and most innovative players today in the digital music arena. So let’s jump right into it! The coolest hack – and the one that was awarded what you could classify as a gold medal in the form of a Nintendo Wii prize was that created by Marek Bereza and is called Speakatron. In the Musichaday wiki – which you can find on http://wiki.musichackday.org – Marek described this as “A program that looks at you through your web cam and plays a sound when you open your mouth. It can tell what shape you’re making and how high your mouth is on the screen as synthesis parameters”. so that’s basically the essence of it, but trust me when you see it in action it is coool. From what I could gather you can actually assign different sounds to the different parameters so that makes it potentially really great little app. It was a damn cool application and I really hope that Marek will find a way to release it to the general public as I think this would be a number one app on any app store for quite some time.

The second hack I want to talk about is called Gramophone – and was created by James Coglan from Songkick. The application draws on the Songkick API with set-list data from past gigs, it also draws on 7Digital’s music store and Google Maps. Basically it allows you to fly into an area with google maps, select a month and a year and get a list of the tracks that were played live in that area in the that particular time frame, a really awesome idea! If you follow the link in the show-notes or go to the Musichackday Wiki Page you can actually go and try that for yourself. I have to say that at the moment it doesn’t seem to be working but give it a try and you may have more luck! If you live in an area that has seen its fair share of music go by – i’m in Camden Town for example – it’s a great way to work out which bands were playing 10, 20, 30 years ago – and with Songkick’s database in continuous expansion the data you get is bound to become more and more exciting.

http://gramophone.jcoglan.com/

The third hack that I want to talk about today is called EarthDestroyers  and it was put together by Paul Lamere from the Echo Nest – it uses the Bandsintown, Echo Nest and Google Maps APIs.
Basically this app – available on  http://labs.echonest.com/EarthDestroyers – lets you look up the environmental impact of your favorite band’s touring activities to see if they are well organized and organize their tours in clusters meaning that they are earth savers or if they jump from country to country and continent to continent meaning that they are earth destroyers. The app is incredibly quick and responsive already and you can pop in any artist and it will tell you how far they have travelled for x amount of gigs, working out an average mileage travelled per gig and spewing out the verdict – earth saver or earth destroyer, check it out!

The fourth hack that I want to talk about today is called auto Tube Scoring, an it was created by Nicholas Froment, Thomas Bonte and Werner Shweer in collaboration with Simon Dixon and Chris Cannam from the Queen Mary University. The application allows you to look at a musical performance on YouTube whilst that is being synchronized automatically to a music score running alongside it. You can watch the video on how this works on a YouTube link that i’m throwing the the show-notes and in the blog. It’s pretty incredible – especially if you’re a buddying musician. Just think of being able to look at the same score for a piano sonata played by 10 different professional pianists – all completely synched to the score. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1_kzPg1dLI

Naturally this is a tiny selection of the hacks that were made at MusicHackday, less than 10% actually since there are over 50 hacks on the Wiki page – so do take the time to go and explore for yourself all the projects. If you like what you see and are better at programming than I am remember that MusicHackDay London is only one in a series and that there are more events scheduled soon – one in Boston this coming weekend and one in Barcelona on the 2nd and the 3rd of October – go to http://musichackday.org for more details!

—–

Ping! in the last couple of weeks has been everywhere. Slightly overlooked during the first day of the Steve Job’s press conference aftermath the real troubles for the service started when people actually started playing with it. On top of that shortly after launch the juicy story of a spat between Apple and Facebook started to take shape. The two companies failed to reach an agreement over the amount of times Ping was allowed to reach out to the Facebook API which caused Facebook to disable Ping’s access to their friend connect feature altogether when Apple decided not to remove it from the product – making Ping pretty hard to use…

So Ping was well overdue, with Apple being quite late in the game considering how many users they have at their disposal through the iTunes platform. But does it deliver? As a concept it’s promising but its current implementation certainly feels like a social network that is half baked. Setting aside how difficult it is to find your friends on the platform, Ping also makes it hard for people to express themselves – comments can only be made on products available on the store – and it makes it hard for the artists that want to access the service since access to the platform is by invitation only at the moment. Apple has stated that it is committed to bringing more artists – both major label and independent ones – to the network since now there are still only a handful of artist pages live and most of them have little to no interesting content on the artist….

My advice on this one is – if you’re an artist try to get yourself a page because 160 million users are worth some of your time and if you are a fan go and have poke around but i don’t think the Ping experience is going to become truly engaging for a little while longer. But Artists beware – just as with the iTunes store metrics there’s a high chance that Apple will not disclose valuable information about your fan’s location, demographics etc which could mean that even a large Ping community will be harder to monetize.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/204807/apple_the_king_of_digital_music.html?tk=hp_new

http://gigaom.com/2010/09/03/ping-a-social-network-inside-a-walled-garden/

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6830CE20100904

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/09/01/ping-itunes-10-and-apples-social-networking-strategy

——

Well that’s all for this week. Still on the calendar for September are the Norwich Sound and Vision festival and the Future Music Forum in Barcelona. The Norwich Sound and Vision festival is taking place this week between the 16th and the 18th of September and is just a couple of hours away by train from Central London. There will be lots of live music and a conference day which is going to be on Saturday the 18th. I’ll be on a panel at 11:15 entitled Digital Weaponry – how to make the most of the web tools available to promote and distribute music alongside Patrick Ross (Artsists Without a Label), David Adams (Soundcloud) Caroline Bottomley (Radar Music Videos) and Stefan Baumshalnger from Last.fm.

As usual please feel free to email with any feedback or news story – the address is digitalmusictrends@gmail.com On the site at www.digitalmusictrends.com you can find all the written information about the episode and the relevant links and remember that you have quite a few options to listen to the show – the iTunes store, Soundcloud, the Music Void, Mixcloud, RSS and I believe you can now also search for Digital Music Trends on standalone Internet radios like those made by Logitech or Pure. Have a great week and ’till next time!

Andrea Leonelli
www.digitalmusictrends.com

Digital Music Trends – Episode 61

This week on the show an interview with Martin MacMillan CEO of mobile music firm Bounce Mobile that recently launched the Fireplayer app for the iPhone. Also this week a short report on MusicHackDay London that took place on the 4th and 5th of September and a couple of thoughts on Ping. You may have realized that last week the show didn’t go live and that’s because I tried to record it twice with a bad cold and both times my voice left me halfway through, didn’t think you wanted to hear me whisper into a microphone! So very sorry about that…

But let’s start with this week’s interview with Martin MacMillan from Bounce Mobile! (Interview follows in the audio version of the show)

Episode 61 by digitalmusictrends
And now let’s talk about MusicHackDay. So it’s the second MusicHackDay coverage for me after last year’s event – and again it was held at the Guardian headquarters after a last-minute venue change. So numerous the companies and hackers taking part in the event – not just from Europe but from around the world. Sponsors of the event – who deserve a mention for making it happen – include Soundcloud, Songkick C4DM, FXpansion, Universal Music, Last.fm, the Echo Nest, Bounce Mobile and Gigulate. So – if you’re unfamiliar with the idea of a hackday – basically it consists of a number of programmers, engineers, and hackers at large – not only on the software side but also on the hardware one – getting together to create cool new projects that mash together the APIs made available by some of the biggest and most innovative players today in the digital music arena. So let’s jump right into it! The coolest hack – and the one that was awarded what you could classify as a gold medal in the form of a Nintendo Wii prize was that created by Marek Bereza and is called Speakatron. In the Musichaday wiki – which you can find on http://wiki.musichackday.org – Marek described this as “A program that looks at you through your web cam and plays a sound when you open your mouth. It can tell what shape you’re making and how high your mouth is on the screen as synthesis parameters”. so that’s basically the essence of it, but trust me when you see it in action it is coool. From what I could gather you can actually assign different sounds to the different parameters so that makes it potentially really great little app. It was a damn cool application and I really hope that Marek will find a way to release it to the general public as I think this would be a number one app on any app store for quite some time. 

The second hack I want to talk about is called Gramophone – and was created by James Coglan from Songkick. The application draws on the Songkick API with set-list data from past gigs, it also draws on 7Digital’s music store and Google Maps. Basically it allows you to fly into an area with google maps, select a month and a year and get a list of the tracks that were played live in that area in the that particular time frame, a really awesome idea! If you follow the link in the show-notes or go to the Musichackday Wiki Page you can actually go and try that for yourself. I have to say that at the moment it doesn’t seem to be working but give it a try and you may have more luck! If you live in an area that has seen its fair share of music go by – i’m in Camden Town for example – it’s a great way to work out which bands were playing 10, 20, 30 years ago – and with Songkick’s database in continuous expansion the data you get is bound to become more and more exciting.
http://gramophone.jcoglan.com/

The third hack that I want to talk about today is called EarthDestroyers  and it was put together by Paul Lamere from the Echo Nest – it uses the Bandsintown, Echo Nest and Google Maps APIs.
Basically this app – available on  http://labs.echonest.com/EarthDestroyers – lets you look up the environmental impact of your favorite band’s touring activities to see if they are well organized and organize their tours in clusters meaning that they are earth savers or if they jump from country to country and continent to continent meaning that they are earth destroyers. The app is incredibly quick and responsive already and you can pop in any artist and it will tell you how far they have travelled for x amount of gigs, working out an average mileage travelled per gig and spewing out the verdict – earth saver or earth destroyer, check it out!

The fourth hack that I want to talk about today is called auto Tube Scoring, an it was created by Nicholas Froment, Thomas Bonte and Werner Shweer in collaboration with Simon Dixon and Chris Cannam from the Queen Mary University. The application allows you to look at a musical performance on YouTube whilst that is being synchronized automatically to a music score running alongside it. You can watch the video on how this works on a YouTube link that i’m throwing the the show-notes and in the blog. It’s pretty incredible – especially if you’re a buddying musician. Just think of being able to look at the same score for a piano sonata played by 10 different professional pianists – all completely synched to the score. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1_kzPg1dLI

Naturally this is a tiny selection of the hacks that were made at MusicHackday, less than 10% actually since there are over 50 hacks on the Wiki page – so do take the time to go and explore for yourself all the projects. If you like what you see and are better at programming than I am remember that MusicHackDay London is only one in a series and that there are more events scheduled soon – one in Boston this coming weekend and one in Barcelona on the 2nd and the 3rd of October – go to http://musichackday.org for more details!

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Ping! in the last couple of weeks has been everywhere. Slightly overlooked during the first day of the Steve Job’s press conference aftermath the real troubles for the service started when people actually started playing with it. On top of that shortly after launch the juicy story of a spat between Apple and Facebook started to take shape. The two companies failed to reach an agreement over the amount of times Ping was allowed to reach out to the Facebook API which caused Facebook to disable Ping’s access to their friend connect feature altogether when Apple decided not to remove it from the product – making Ping pretty hard to use… 

So Ping was well overdue, with Apple being quite late in the game considering how many users they have at their disposal through the iTunes platform. But does it deliver? As a concept it’s promising but its current implementation certainly feels like a social network that is half baked. Setting aside how difficult it is to find your friends on the platform, Ping also makes it hard for people to express themselves – comments can only be made on products available on the store – and it makes it hard for the artists that want to access the service since access to the platform is by invitation only at the moment. Apple has stated that it is committed to bringing more artists – both major label and independent ones – to the network since now there are still only a handful of artist pages live and most of them have little to no interesting content on the artist…. 

My advice on this one is – if you’re an artist try to get yourself a page because 160 million users are worth some of your time and if you are a fan go and have poke around but i don’t think the Ping experience is going to become truly engaging for a little while longer. But Artists beware – just as with the iTunes store metrics there’s a high chance that Apple will not disclose valuable information about your fan’s location, demographics etc which could mean that even a large Ping community will be harder to monetize. 

http://www.pcworld.com/article/204807/apple_the_king_of_digital_music.html?tk=hp_new
http://gigaom.com/2010/09/03/ping-a-social-network-inside-a-walled-garden/
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6830CE20100904
http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/09/01/ping-itunes-10-and-apples-social-networking-strategy

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Well that’s all for this week. Still on the calendar for September are the Norwich Sound and Vision festival and the Future Music Forum in Barcelona. The Norwich Sound and Vision festival is taking place this week between the 16th and the 18th of September and is just a couple of hours away by train from Central London. There will be lots of live music and a conference day which is going to be on Saturday the 18th. I’ll be on a panel at 11:15 entitled Digital Weaponry – how to make the most of the web tools available to promote and distribute music alongside  Patrick Ross (Artsists Without a Label), David Adams (Soundcloud) Caroline Bottomley (Radar Music Videos) and Stefan Baumshalnger from Last.fm. 

As usual please feel free to email with any feedback or news story – the address is digitalmusictrends@gmail.com On the site at www.digitalmusictrends.com you can find all the written information about the episode and the relevant links and remember that you have quite a few options to listen to the show – the iTunes store, Soundcloud, the Music Void, Mixcloud, RSS and I believe you can now also search for Digital Music Trends on standalone Internet radios like those made by Logitech or Pure. Have a great week and ’till next time!

Andrea Leonelli
www.digitalmusictrends.com

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