Thursday, 24 July 2008

local cloud dj

no more radio

In this interesting AdAge article Steve Rubel talks about how new media do not usually supplant old media, they add to it. That is, with the possible exception of mobile internet and the radio. The radio has a few problems, some summed up in The use of conventional and new music media: implications for future technologies;
"Due to its broadcast nature, the only way to control the mix of music played on the radio is to change stations. Participants came to know what shows would be likely to play music they might like, and not have heard, but found it difficult to fit their time around these programs. Moreover, they might miss or forget the name of the song or band before remembering to buy the music."
That is all magically fixed by 'Cloud Music':
"With a number of websites offering [music] free (chiefly LastFM from my usage but also Songza, BoomShuffle, Imeem, SpiralFrog, Qtrax and Pandora), iTunes may even become redundant and the idea of owning a track may be history. Instead, all your music would be within the LastFM (or equivalent) 'cloud', accessible and streamable on whatever your hardware, whenever you want, as long as you are plugged in."
In February - when I wrote that - there wasn't really a way to do this. Not easily anyway. However, with typical Apple aplomb democracy has been brought to a previously difficult task with the iPhone 3G. As I went on to say,
"I think 'cloud music' spearheaded by LastFM and others amounts to nothing less than a quiet revolution in the way we consume music and lays down a first draft for the future of music."
Sounds a bit grand but I think the shift will be quite grand. Radio might be one of those things that goes, a medium that is replaced by something genuinely better.

Still that leaves the problem of what to listen to; choice can be crippling.

From experience (and research in this paper) it seems most of the new music people get comes their way from a few seriously keen musicologists in their group of friends.

The tyranny of choice places like LastFM offer up may be solved by people like this, as they become curators of the massive databases with constantly morphing playlists, which their friends can tune into. Of course big DJs will still exist - and should move into places like LastFM now and get curating - but the rise of the 'local cloud dj' should happen if 'on-demand' music with 'effectively infinite choice' goes ahead.

As Steve Rubel has said in another article:

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Aye to that.

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