25 January 02006

Active and passive music listening

There's a passage near the beginning of David Toop's Haunted Weather (reviewed here) where he writes, "trying to listen to everything has almost destroyed my desire to listen to anything". In a column in January's issue of Word magazine, Paul Du Noyer wrote about the ubiquity of music and entertainment being almost totalitarian, and referred his hesitation in replacing his iPod when it died, raising the possibility of evolving from an 'early adopter' to an 'early abandoner'. I experienced a similar feeling when my iPod died, and have now downgraded to the iPod Shuffle with the least storage. Finally, last November I blogged No Music Day, Bill Drummond's incitement to detox your earbuds by giving music a rest.

With that in mind, it's interesting to see the media reaction to the publication by Leicester University's Music Research Group of a study of music listening habits by 346 students, school pupils, workers and unemployed adults as they went about their everyday life. The headlines refer to download overload and listener apathy.

Continue reading "Active and passive music listening"

15 January 02006

Peer-to-peer recommendations coming to mobile

Proving that convergence is rapidly becoming a fait accompli, news of personalised radio on mobiles is supplemented by peer-to-peer recommendations on mobile devices, currently in prototype development through the Push!Music project in Gothenburg. The site encourages you to

Imagine that you have a mobile device that can store and play back music files, for example a mobile phone with an MP3 player. As you encounter various people, the devices you are carrying connect to each other wirelessly and media agents from the other nearby devices check the status of your media collection. Based on what you have been listening to in the past and which files you already own, new music might spontaneously and autonomously 'jump' from another device to yours (and vice versa). Later, when you listen to your songs, your Push!Music player also plays some newly obtained tunes that you had not heard before.
Continue reading "Peer-to-peer recommendations coming to mobile"

9 January 02006

Personalised radio moves to mobile

An unavoidable usability limitation of mobile phones is that you can't create a small, multi-purpose user interface that is well-suited to all the tasks asked of it: text entry, information browsing, taking photographs, playing games and even making calls. That's why a phone will never have the ease of use for music applications that the single-purpose iPod — every aspect of iPod design is intended to help it do one job as quickly, easily and pleasurably as possible. But if you could find a music application that required just very simple user input, that would get round the limitations of a mobile phone's interface — which is what this announcement from Vodafone and Sony does.

Think of the user interaction with Last.fm radio or Pandora (reviewed previously on this site here are here, respectively). Mostly it's restricted to clicking 'I love this track', 'Skip it' or 'Never play this again', which is pretty simple. So the new Vodafone Radio DJ will replicate this on your 3G mobile:

Continue reading "Personalised radio moves to mobile"

7 January 02006

Playlist portability: comparative review

One thing leads to another and, when we saw Barb Jungr play just before Christmas, I got a copy of her Every Grain of Sand album of Bob Dylan covers, which triggered another bout of my recurrent mania for these cover versions. I went through all my old covers albums again, ripped my favourite versions onto iTunes, scrabbled round on the web once again and even ordered a further album (The Bob Dylan Songbook).

I ended up with 81 songs in an iTunes playlist, which fills my iPod Shuffle to just over 80% full. The rest of this posting is the story of what happened when I tried to upload and publish this playlist using three different playlist sharing services.

Continue reading "Playlist portability: comparative review"