Google Chromecast 2.0

As some of you know I am a technical instructor. Google is a constant focus of discussion in the classes I teach.

I have been very content with Google Chromecast 1.0 since 2013. It has brought an immediacy by connecting the Web dimensionality of video and cloud music to my home entertainment network.

Google announced yesterday two new Chromecast devices for home entertainment networks.  Google Chromecast 2.0 brings us a new video device and a new separate audio device solely for audio streaming. For a combined price of $70 it is a no-brainer upgrade. Now I don’t have to purchase that Sonos Wireless speaker and I get 5GHz (802.11ac Wireless) inside the Chromecast video dongle.

Google Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Audio

Content Discovery

There is also a new Google Chromecast App that adds a very seamless Chromecast programming experience. Watch out now Apple TV interface you’re on notice.

The Chromecast App Fast Play feature along with a 5GHz Chromecast video device speeds up loading time like you won’t believe.

You can watch the Google Chromecast App announcement here http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/29/9417951/google-chromecast-trojan-horse-into-your-home#ooid=54Z3h0dzqY3JE-xGrINefHPe4WPJJwKe

I am excited to play with these two new Chromecast toys next week!

The PonoPromise

One of the benefits of participating in the PONO Music Gentle Revolution is the PonoPromise. It is a very important commitment to us who purchase on PonoMusic.Com and as stakeholders.

From: Neil Young, CEO PonoMusic

To: The Pono Community

Subject: Free Album Resolution Upgrades

Because we love and appreciate our Pono community of music lovers so much, all music purchased at PonoMusic.com will now be upgraded for FREE when a label offers a higher resolution upgrade of the same recording.

That is the PonoPromise!

People have had to deal with changing and eroding quality formats over the years, starting with vinyl, then eight tracks, cassettes, CDs, MP3s and now streaming services. Music lovers have been forced to buy or “rent” their music over and over and over again. We here at Pono, think that sucks…. But with Pono, those days are over.

Now, when you buy your favorite music at PonoMusic.com, the PonoPromise means you will never have to purchase it again, ever! If and when a higher resolution album you have already purchased becomes available, it is yours for FREE!

Read How It Works ———> https://www.ponomusic.com/ccrz__CCPage?oId=a201500000BtJ9CAAV&pageKey=product&type=Update

The PonoPromise is in keeping with the Pono mission; making the best sound and the highest resolution available, always. To hear your favorite music the way it is intended to be heard, use the industry leading PonoPlayer, available at Amazon and other retailers. We are offering the PonoPromise to you, our community. You have supported us through purchasing your PonoPlayers and high resolution music at the only hi-res music ecosystem in existence – PonoMusic.com. You are engaged in the Pono community and you are helping us to raise the bar. So through the PonoPromise we say thank you.

Thank you for supporting the Pono mission to preserve music quality in its highest form.

Neil Young and the PonoMusic team

Apple Music Takes It’s Cue From Taylor Swift and the Indies

Taylor Swift is the Joan of Arc for independent musicians and young songwriters who has helped to convince Apple Music to change their policy prior to the Apple Music launch on June 30th.

The original plan prior to Sunday’s social network back and forth between Taylor Swift and Eddie Cue, was that Apple would not pay any song royalty rights to artists, etc. during the 90 day trial period of Apple Music from June 30th through September 30th.

It was a bad business decision on Apple’s part. They had not budged on that decision since the Apple Music product announcement on June 8th. The blowback on the refusal of Apple Music to compensate artists has been significant and loud. There have been several independent music organizations writing petitions expressing their dismay with Apple about their unwillingness to pay artists royalties due during the 90 day trial period.

It took Taylor Swift who is a music artist with significant clout to sway the executive team at Apple. Personally I wondered when Apple Music would come to their senses about this ill executed decision on their part.

I mean after all Apple says it values music but not paying artists for the first 90 days of the trial devalues music and the artists who are entitled to compensation for their art. Spotify, TIDAL and other music streaming services pay music artists during the trial period. Apple chose to be rogue and exert its influence by not paying artists during a trial period. They were really coming across as we are Apple you are not.

Bravo Taylor Swift, once again you show sound judgment when it comes to streaming music and what its business model must become.

I’m glad Eddie Cue and Apple Music management changed their tune on this important matter. It’s a game changer for Apple Music for those of us who care about the artists and their future well-being.

Based upon Eddie Cue and the Apple Music executive team decision I will now trial Apple Music instead of letting it lie dormant for the first 90 days.

Artists matter.

The Open Source Concert Programmer

 

Open Source has revolutionized computing. Here is an interesting development that involves coding and concert programming. A live coded concert. Talk about getting your Geek on 😉

The Concert Programmer, Andrew Sorensen’s Creative Computing

Imagine a future where concert programmers are as common a fixture in the world’s auditoriums as concert pianists. At the Open Source Convention (OSCON) last month Andrew Sorenson* live-coded the generative algorithms that produced the music that the audience heard.

 

The language that Andrew is using in the video is called Extempore, designed by programmer Benjamin Swift specifically for live coding of multimedia experiences. Learn more about it and try it for yourself on the official Extempore site.

*Andrew Sorensen is an artist-programmer whose interests lie at the intersection of computer science and creative practice. Andrew is well known for creating the programming languages that he uses in live performance to generate improvised audio-visual theatre. He has been invited to perform these contemporary audiovisual improvisations around the world. Andrew is a Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology and is the author of the Impromptu and Extempore programming language environments.

 

 

arena Fair Pay. Free Play.

Music services proliferate the cloud. I just finished writing about whyd from France yesterday. The next music Web application that floats by my Chrome browser is Arena . Arena is an “artist-friendly streaming music service with a Listen To Own hybrid distribution model”. My curiosity is piqued so I become a member and sign in to another music experience.

Arena is designed to solve the thornier cloud music distribution model that accelerates and plagues the music industry. Musicians are grossly underpaid for the streaming digital music that others play for free. The gap between the number of cloud plays (listens) versus the micropayments the musicians receive is appalling. I thought I was helping by paying $9.99 a month to Spotify. After the pie is split I learn that I am not helping the artists very much at all, sigh.

Damon Evans, Founder and CEO of Arena Music has built a more equitable music distribution model. Listen To Own is the new future of music commerce. Here is why.

Listen To Own makes it easy to picture what the transition to an economically viable and artist-friendly streaming model looks like while maintaining the historic understanding of what a sellable music ‘unit’ is in today’s marketplace. We can say with a high level of confidence that it no longer matters how many albums an artist has sold. All that matters now is how many listeners that artist can convert into owners.

The music industry has concluded that the Average Return Per User (ARPU) is now highest through a monthly subscription account because consumers no longer see a value in paying to own music. Listen To Own diminishes the long term viability of any subscription based concept by doubling the standard value of an MP3 download after a track is streamed by an individual listener, either 5 or 99 times.

Consider the $9.99 Spotify Premium Subscription Account. If $3 is used for operations, Spotify has to split the remaining $6.99 of a single user’s monthly subscription between a mix of tracks served from a mix of individual artists. What is the point in promoting value in a gross ARPU of $9.99 when the individual artist payout becomes so marginal once divided?

Arena, on the other hand, generates an ARPU of $19 for a standard 10-track album and $1.90 for a track by combining premium stream pay rates with download revenue – roughly twice that of what the iTunes download store could produce for the same exact sale. The company leverages a multitude of unique revenue streams to fund the Artist Payment Pool it uses for premium stream payouts.

I want to thank PR Newsire for Journalists for putting me in touch with today’s content about Arena.

PR Newswire for Journalists

whyd, “A Human Pandora”, Really?

Been reading recent ink on whyd, a social record collection. They have an iPhone App available here.

whyd’s goal is to be a “Human Pandora “, which allows people to discover new music that they wouldn’t have found out about otherwise.

As a music connoisseur I’m resistant when it comes to someone “picking my music for me”. I rejected BeatsMusic as a music service because their music curation method presented itself like progressive FM disk jockey playlist, all filler no substance…

I consider myself a crate digger. I will happily comb through vinyl record crates for new music. In addition I search extensively through music magazine Web sites such as Rolling Stone, Uncut, MOJO Magazine, Paste, etc. for music recommendations.

Don’t get me wrong I’m open to human curation. I think we can benefit from another person’s music explorations, choices and playlist builds.

I keep expecting to see Spotify with their acquisition of The Echo Nest evidence “intelligent” software curation in the Spotify application.

I just installed the whyd app today so I don’t have enough time in service to comment on its capabilities yet. I will follow-up at a later time with a technical assessment of whyd.

PonoMusic Progress Update

The PonoMusic Team updated Kickstarter backers (I’m proud to be included in that number) with news about strategic partnerships and product engineering progress.

PonoMusic is making great progress on the development of the new and improved PonoPlayer (the one you pledged for), as well as the on-line store, the content delivery system, and the desktop media center application.

1. Desktop Media Software

JRiver (www.jriver.com) will provide a Pono-branded version of their world-class desktop media center software. This software will be similar to the iTunes® desktop app in that it will allow you to manage your music, create playlists, sync your music to your PonoPlayer, access the PonoMusic store, buy & download music to your desktop, do player firmware updates, etc.

2. PonoMusic Store

PonoMusic will partner with CloudCraze (www.cloudcraze.com), an eCommerce platform that runs natively on the salesforce1® platform. The PonoMusic Store will be hosted through a partnership with SalesForce.com. PonoMusic will establish a world-class social music store. PonoMusic expects to have their PonoPlayer pre-order store (for post-Kickstarter pre-orders of PonoPlayers and some accessories) up and running in mid-to-late June. Kickstarter supporters will receive notification of automatically created user accounts at that time.

3. Content Delivery

PonoMusic is days away from finalizing a partnership with a world-class content delivery partner who has great expertise in the content management and quality management issues.

Work has also begun the initiative with major music labels to have the PonoMusic store on-line with a very large, relevant and interesting content catalog by October.

Bruce Botnick has joined the PonoMusic leadership team. He is a legendary audio engineer and record producer known for his work with the Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, and many other artists. Bruce is responsible for establishing the PonoMusic content strategy and ensuring that they will provide the highest quality version of each recording sold in their music store.

Bruce’s graphic below captures the state of modern recording today and depicts his motivation for joining Pono to help us save music from the lossy formats such as MP3.

4. Headphones,

The PonoMusic Team is working on several offerings that they are very excited about. Their goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to experience the flawless sound from Pono soundtracks, and do so at an affordable price. They also will be testing headphones from many of the major manufacturers and posting their recommendations on their site in a few months.

 
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