Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

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Trent Reznor on the future of music

April 15, 2009

nin-janes

Trent Reznor, always a man to call it like he sees it, gives great interview to the Guardian. The NIN iPhone app went live last night, and Reznor uses the occasion of its release to share his thoughts:

People are going to steal your music whether you like it or not; it’s out there, it’s free… You’re never going to make a lot of money selling records like you used to, that’s a fact. It’s over… Record labels do not know how to deal with the new media environment that they’re confronted with. They’ve made their fortunes selling plastic discs and now no one wants to buy plastic discs – they’re just trying to get their fingers in every other pie, but they’re so greedy and ignorant they’re not prepared to do what they have to do… All we’re trying to do is make something cool. Something that as a fan you’d say, ‘Hey, I want to have that’. If we can monetise it, then that’s fine, no problem.

You can read the full Guardian article on iPhone apps here, and the Wired Underwire blog has a great article on what  Reznor has done since leaving his label 18 months ago, including releasing music under Creative Commons licenses to encourage sharing and remixing, as well as harnessing social networking to create a fan community. It’s well worth the read.

MP3: Nine Inch Nails – Discipline [download/buy]

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Live music apps for the iPhone

April 13, 2009

gigotron bandloop

I’m a big fan of live music, but I also understand that there is a bit of a barrier. Unlike going to your favourite bar, live music is an ever-changing landscape. Two new iPhone apps for live music are working to make it easier.

Gigotron, which won an award for best mobile app at SXSW Interactive, was originally only available for New York, LA, and San Francisco, but recently rolled out an update that includes Seattle. To be precise, it includes ‘Seattle-Tacoma,’ which I wouldn’t exactly consider one city. The listings are presented as a time-ordered list (based on doors, I presume). The information about the bands is pretty good, but not exhaustive, obviously; a quick check of Saturday night shows resulted in descriptions for The Gaslight Anthem, the Heartless Bastards, and local band The Whore Moans, but not for fellow locals Peter Parker. But the venue information is minimal, at best. Not only does it fail to specify city or neighborhood within Gigatron, but the ‘map this venue’ button seems to only send street address (not city) information to Google Maps, which means I ended up with locations in Skagit and Vancouver. Not good.

Bandloop takes the opposite tack. Rather than focusing on artists, it focuses on your location, using the GPS info in the 3G iPhone to find you. Event information is presented as a map, and you can drill down for venue and artist information. The info page for each event includes the address of the venue, together with its website and the website of the artist. At the moment, it doeen’t seem to include Myspace pages, which means its easier to get information on more established bands. But I’m not really thrilled with having to go to artist websites to get any idea about their music, especially not on my phone.

I much prefer Bandloop’s location-based interface, but would love it if it included in-line capsule descriptions like Gigotron. Both of these apps are solid betas, but I don’t think I’d want to rely on either of them to make my Saturday night plans.

MP3: The Gaslight Anthem – Old White Lincoln [buy]

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Remix the new Deadmau5 on your iPhone

February 16, 2009

deadmau5-iphone

Here’s yet another new concept in music distribution. Toronto-based electronic artist Deadmau5 released an album’s worth of tracks with an iPhone application that lets you remix them. You can pick two of the ten included tracks, and then mix them together using a small set of effects (loop, filter, flange, delay). You can even scratch. The one thing you don’t get to do (or have to do – how you feel about it depends on your perspective and experience) is beat-matching—the two tracks are automagically synched, and while you can speed up or slow down the bpm, the tempi for both tracks change simultaneously. While the app does an interesting end-run around iTunes pricing restrictions (it’s only $2.99), it’s mostly just ridiculously fun to play with.

Touch Mix – Deadmau5 Edition

MP3: Deadmau5 – Slip [buy]

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Some new models for music

February 12, 2009

dcfc-iphone-app

A couple of bands that are using technology in interesting ways…

Groove Armada is making waves with a new model of music distribution. They left Sony last year, and are now in a deal with Bacardi, of all people. Their plan is to reward people for sharing music. You go register at the site (attesting that you’re of legal drinking age, of course), download your first free track, and get a unique link to share with your friends.  As more people get and share the song using your link, you are rewarded by being able to download more songs. I have to admit that I’m less interested in downloading the music than I am in seeing a data visualization of the number, timing, and distribution of how the links spread… (Why yes, I am a nerd.)

Pitchfork is making a big deal about Death Cab for Cutie‘s setting a ‘solid precedent‘ with the band’s new, free iPhone app – I guess they are too hip to have noticed that Pink got there first. Listening Post had a great article last October, in which they make a compelling case that the iPhone could be the new Myspace. It’s pretty clear that cultivating a relationship with fans is going to be a key element of differentiation between bands. Cory Doctorow talks about this in the context of authors, but it’s equally applicable to music:

But what kind of artist thrives on the Internet? Those who can establish a personal relationship with their readers…[who have] the ability to conduct their online selves [in a way] that establishes a non-substitutable relationship with their audiences. You might find a film, a game, and a book to be equally useful diversions on a slow afternoon, but if the novel’s author is a pal of yours, that’s the one you’ll pick. It’s a competitive advantage that can’t be beat.

Putting a direct link to your band in your fans’ pockets seems like a good step forward in establishing this relationship.

MP3: Groove Armada – Chicago [buy]