Wired's Geek Mom: Squeezebox Touch "revolutionized the way I listen to music"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 11:25am

Squeezebox Touch"The Squeezebox Touch makes me feel like Jane Jetson," writes Sarah Pinault in Wired's Geek Mom section. But does the touchscreen desktop music streaming device "meet the needs of this geek family"?

The Squeezebox Touch from Logitech -- among many functions -- can stream music from Pandora, Songza, Slacker, Last.fm, Live365 and thousands of streaming radio stations from around the world.

"Just by touching the screen I can access any type of music from any country. I can listen to talk radio, non-stop music radio, or simply listen to a playlist," writes Pinault. "I am far more likely to utilize this device to its full potential than I am of searching for local or even international radio stations online. The Logitech Squeezebox has revolutionized the way I listen to music and has rekindled my love of the medium."

You can find her full review on Wired here. The Squeezebox Touch is available on Amazon for $240 (here).

Public radio programs raise funds directly using Kickstarter, GigaOM writer sees trouble for local affliates

Monday, July 23, 2012 - 11:30am

99% Invisible on KickstarterIf you're a regular RAIN reader, you're probably familiar by now with crowdsource funding web service Kickstarter. We highlighted several radio services taking advantage of Kickstarter in April (here) and then later wrote about the online-only Q101's Kickstarter campaign to bring back the Jamboree music festival (here).

Now GigaOM pens an article explaining how Kickstarter and other crowdfunding services could "change public radio forever." Kickstarter could replace the "recurring nightmare" that are pledge drives, GigaOM writes. In fact, several radio programs are already doing this.

GigaOM points to Blank on Blank (a show that "resurfaces 'lost interviews'") and design show 99% Invisible -- both distributed by Public Radio Exchange (PRX) -- as examples. Blank on Blank recently raised $11,337 on Kickstarter. 99% Invisible's Season 3 Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $100,000 as of publication, with 18 days left.

"The potential Kickstarter has for shows like 99% Invisible and Blank on Blank is indeed exciting, because it gives the audience a new way to support them at a much earlier stage," writes GigaOM.

Wired writes, "Because it’s cheaper for local radio stations to play national content than to produce original programming, the projects that get funded are hour-long, weekly, high-production value shows... But the growth of the Internet as a distribution channel is beginning to level the playing field."

Said PRX CEO Jake Shapiro: “It’s a new way to bootstrap new programs, new voices."

"I guarantee that independent public media will never be the same," 99% Invisible producer Roman Mars writes.

Blank on Blank"Mars’s success may end up opening the floodgates for other independent radio producers eying Kickstarter as a funding source," comments Wired.

Both shows are also great examples of how radio programs can innovate on platforms other than the radio dial. Blank on Blank hopes to turn their interviews into animated YouTube videos, while 99% Invisible has created products "so cool, you’d want them even if you weren’t a fan of the show" to raise money on Kickstarter.

GigaOM ponders if this burgeoning trend may spell trouble for public radio local affiliates. "Crowdfunding threatens to further circumvent the local affiliates and their pledge drives — and the effect could be dramatic. What if listeners stopped giving to their local stations and instead just spent all their money to directly fund producers via Kickstarter?"

“They have to rethink their relationship with their audiences,” said PRX's Shapiro.

You can find GigaOM's coverage here and Wired's article on 99% Invisible here. You can also find 99% Invisible's on-going Kickstarter campaign here.

Wired takes a scenic drive through the "bumpy" history of in-car entertainment

Friday, July 20, 2012 - 12:15pm

Car radio history

From the earliest 1930s AM radio models to web-connected, Bluetooth-sporting, Pandora-playing touchscreens, in-car entertainment has come a long way. Wired takes a roadtrip through the often "bumpy" history of car radios and audio systems with a new photo gallery, found here.

The publication highlights the first AM/FM car radio (1953), the 8-track tape player (1965), cassette players, iPod integration solutions and of course Pandora and the coming "new era of in-car entertainment."

Shadowy Anonymous group builds social music platform

Monday, April 23, 2012 - 12:35pm

A group of developers claiming to be part of Anonymous have built Anontune, a social music platform that aggregates streams from various Internet sources (e.g. YouTube) to build shareable playlists.

The developers wanted a music player like YouTube, but better organized, and with more obscure music... combining "music websites like Myspace, Yahoo, YouTube and others."

Users register (anonymously, naturally), and set up an account. They can then craft playlists by supplying titles of songs they want to hear, or Anontune can browse a user's iTunes collection. Anontune then finds the songs on the web using the web browser. According to Wired, most of the tracks come from YouTube and SoundCloud, but developers are adding Yahoo Music, Myspace Music, Bandcamp and others.

The service simply finds music already online, and is thus more similar to a search engine or torrent tracker. According to a video released about the project, "Anontune will never host any copyrighted music at any time, nor will it be streaming music. It will not offer for download any copyrighted music or even encourage it... This time, the law will be on our side...

"The state of online music has been sabotaged by the fat hands of corporate involvement..." set on "steal(ing) your freedom and safe-guard(ing) their profits." 

You can read Wired's coverage and see the video here. You can read a whitepaper on it here and get more tech details here.

Turntable.fm to host "Mashtival" online music fest tonight

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 11:05am

Group music listening site Turntable.fm tonight holds the Mashtival music fest: more than 20 "mashup" artists in three different Turntable "rooms" will perform. Mashtival

Users gather in online music site Turntable.fm's "rooms" where they take turns DJ-ing. Listeners can rate how well each DJ is performing, adding social and gaming elements to the service. Several Turntable.fm rooms are now dedicated to the art of "mash-ups," musical works created by combining two or more pre-recorded songs by (for example) "overlaying the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another ." Google "Girl Talk" or Danger Mouse's "Grey Album."

Wired reports the event, beginning at 7pm Eastern, will take place in three rooms. Each room’s five DJ spots will have a couple VIP DJs as well as up-and-coming mashup artists.

There's more info on Mashtival's Facebook page here. Read more in Wired here.

Wired highlights artists using music service Turntable.fm to connect with fans

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 12:25pm

Turntable.fm"With the online musical landscape growing bigger by the day, artists are turning to music-nerd site of the moment Turntable.fm as a unique way to connect with fans and promote their projects." So writes Wired in their article on artists using the user-powered Internet radio site.

One artist opens his live shows with a Turntable.fm session projected on the wall of the venue (and programmed in part by fans at home). Other artists play new music on the site to gauge fan reaction, or DJ rooms as a way to simply connect and chat with fans.

Turntable.fm offers artists "verified" accounts (as on Twitter) and special avatars.

“I think artists love Turntable because it gives them an intimate way to interact with their fans,” co-founder co-founder Billy Chasen told Wired. “It’s like showing up at a small venue and surprising everyone with a show, except they get to chat with everyone during the show. It turns fans into super-fans.”

You can find the full article here.

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