Results tagged “music”

Thank you Frank Zappa:-)

Way ahead of his time...

We require a LARGE quantity of money and the services of a team of mega-hackers to write the software for this system. Most of the hardware devices are, even as you read this, available as off-the-shelf items, just waiting to be plugged into each other so they can put an end to "THE RECORD BUSINESS" as we now know it.

From A proposal for a system to replace ordinary record merchandising copyright 1983 by Frank Zappa

Have been playing with so here's a concept to get us started. It's called "Paperplayer" :-)


The problem

  1. Track-based music purchases have created confusion for some listeners
    Many over 30s miss the ability to play albums and many of them can't get with playlists. Specifically, the album format offered value in the form of curation. In the eleven years since the launch of iTunes, many of us have grown collections of music based on single-track purchases and this has lead to a frustrating state of affairs where customers own large collections of music but never seem to be able to listen to them. Social music management services like Spotify have used social to fill the curation gap with some success and iTunes offers a "complete my album" function but the service is fundamentally playlist and track driven, not album-focused.
  2. The sensory experience of flicking through a rack of CDs or LPs has all but disappeared
    As more music consumption is via smart TV, MP3 players or other digital music solution, both online, social (like Spotify) and local. The experience of a simple manual gesture in the form of fingers flicking covers and then dropping a dic on a tray and then getting x minutes of appropriate music is a good one and I believe there is room for a system that would enable analog sorting and manipulating of albums.

My solution

The solution is a music player that uses physical cards in physical trays to store, arrange and play music.

Imagine a beautiful ebony or bamboo tray sitting on your midcentury book-case. In this tray are stack of cards, each 2" square and each representing an album. On the front of the card is the album artwork and on the back the track list etc. As well as track data, the back of each card has a small barcode which identifies the album.

I suggest that the cards could be printed on heavy paper at home or the system could integrate with Moo. Imagine logging onto Moo and theeling the service to suck you iTunes match collection and generate stacks of album covers based on your iTunes database. How awesome would that be:-)

The analog experience (the beautiful design, the smell of the wood or the brush of stainless steel) becomes a digital one when a card is picked up and dropped on the "player". The player scans the card and plays the album. No need to click start, or fast forward or double-click on iTunes or arse about with crappy wifi or whatever.

  1. Let your fingers walk through the tray to find an album
  2. Drop the card on the player
  3. Sit back and listen to the music. Want a different album? Pick up the card and drop another one in

From a technology standpoint, the player is an mp3 player plugged into whatever home system the user wants to use. The magic is in the analog controls. I could imagine the player looking bit like a Thorens turntable or it might be fun to have an AIWA beatbox shape for gen-Xers. The form factor of the player is open to the designer's imagination.

Here's the kinda visual look I was thinking of. Add a couple of Vu meters and you're good:-)


This idea is on Quirky if you're curious to see how the service works (or doesn't)

Is Apple too powerful?

Interesting article over at mobileopportunity

Jobs said There's a big new market, and we want in Not, we're creating something new or we can vastly improve this category Just, we want a cut

It sounds like something Don Corleone would say. Or Steve Ballmer. But it's not what I expected from Apple...

Michael Mace makes a number of good points and takes a good look at the potential clash between Pure Digital and Apple. All true, but the thing I take out of it is what's the point of a system that needs to contain its success?

Or put another way, if every time a capitalist succeeds in getting enough capital to knock out the competition we have to go in and manually adjust the market doesn't that suggest something fundamentally daft with capitalism?

Which got me thinking about whether we can teach innovation and fine art and colleges and stuff but I'll have a think about that later...

Oh. and just so I remember, #interesting2009 was bloody brilliant. I laughed (lots) I cried (twice) and came away happy and exhausted :-)

Goodbye London

A nice man called Luke Jackson sent me the following email:

Hey Dug,

As a London-based blogger I thought you might enjoy the animated video for my new single "Goodbye London".

It was animated onto photos of Camden, Hampstead Heath, Piccadilly Circus and other favourite parts of London.

I'd be delighted if you'd help me spread the word by posting it on your blog, Facebook, Twitter or myspace.


Darn, now that's what I call asking nicely. Have a look at his video it's good crack and the animation is fun too:-)

Interesting piece by Tim Brown on the migration from an economy of consumers to an economy of creators. He mentions a few of the likely casualties that are likely along the way, one of them being the record industry.

This is interesting stuff and is close to research I've being doing for a while now. He concludes with a nicely put statement on the nature of value definition:

We get more of what we measure. If we measure consumption we will get more of it. If we measure participation we will get more of that and we might just find we are already far wealthier than we realize, or perhaps far poorer. More importantly if our economy measured different types of value we could focus on designing things that created growth without automatically requiring that we consume more stuff.

I had this to add on the RIAA and fellow conspirators...


If we could value the increase in the amount of music being listened to, or the social connections that sharing music creates, or the increase in the number of music creators, or the meaning that an individual gets from creating their own music would we find that instead of the destruction of value we had instead experienced a significant creation of value?

You've highlighted something I struggle to explain in my everyday consulting. The destruction of an industry doesn't equate to the destruction of the value creation that industry one enabled

People have been using music to build tighter bonds, promote happiness and produce babies for millennia. For a few years in the Nineteenth century Ricordi managed to turn Opera publishing into a business and for a respectable chunk of the Twentieth century the record industry managed to leverage talent growth and distribution into a viable industry.

But just as the once great Ricordi family business was subsumed into other content-based businesses, just as the extensive Victorian industrial ecosystem surrounding the design, production and maintenance of steam engines shrunk to a niche business in the far reaches of Hunan province the record industry of 1980 must die. Well, it needs to shrink and adapt, but it's late Twentieth century form is obsolete.

It will die and be replaced by a different value creation ecosystem focused on making more babies, sharing more music and being happier while supporting the artists who choose to make music their primary income stream.

Exactly what the ecosystem will look like I don't know but I do know this. It's nothing to be afraid of :-)

Blast from the musical past

Have started using the old ipod again (8gig just doesn't do it) and bumped into this:

Architects may come and
Architects may go and ...
... When I run dry
I stop a while and think of you

Simon & Garfunkel signing about Frank Lloyd Wright. Wonderful:-)

I go and I come etc.

OK, so could someone be real nice and do some explaining re the translation of Je t'aime, moi non plus in the Karen Elson/Cat Power version on Mr. Gainsbourg revisited

Specifically, I need an assessment of the slider position between irony and sloppy. Or, in other words, is the translation brilliant as it literally (almost) follows the original text which introduces both quirkiness and humor (and has the phrasing benefit of of having Elson pause on "come")?

Is "I retain myself" from both Power and Elson's mouth sort of extremely kinky which is of course in keeping with the original...

...or is it crap?

I'm sending myself back to irony school because I love the track and love the crappy translation, but as I'm always the last one to get the joke around here i thought I'd better check;-)

Shut up and sing

I get a lot of questions about MySpace from clients.

For the most part, they find the site confusing and don't understand the mechanic it supports. In a nutshell, the service essentially allows you to spread the word in a seamless way--take a look at the Dixie Chicks movie above, their site had a single-click experience to copy this. The same site allowed me to express my support (and outrage at monkey boy) by posting comment, marking them as friends and recommending them in my profile.

Check out the Chicks' blog they're using Wordpress and it looks good. The only shame is the flash front end doesn't let you record name and email so my post went up as "anonymous blogger"