Brian Eno: Visual Music By Christopher Scoates

I have a Barnes & Noble birthday gift card (thank you dear) that is burning a hole in my pocket. I decided on the last day of 2013 to peruse the music book section at my local Barnes & Noble Store hoping to find a book to add to my music book collection. I cautioned myself, acknowledging this is the time of the year that store inventories are seriously depleted due to holiday shopping aftermath. My expectations were minimal that I would find a book title that would satisfy the music of our heart.

I conducted a diligent search of the music book shelves and I couldn’t find a book to buy. So I left firm in my conviction that I have plenty of books and magazines that still need to be read in my home office. I told myself as I walked to my car, “I’ll be back.” ūüėČ

I am thinking today that I did look over a book from the shelf that I contemplated buying. The book is titled,¬†Brian Eno: Visual Music.¬†It was wrapped in cellophane so I couldn’t thumb through the pages or sit with it for a while to see if I bonded with the book. One of my goals with this book is to increase my depth perception and appreciation of Brian Eno¬†the technology artist.

I attempted to do the next best thing to get closer to this book. I received an Apple iPad Air for Christmas (thank you again, dear). I downloaded a sample of the iBook edition to my Library. This allowed me to page through the Table of Contents along with various chapters, figure illustrations, photos, etc. I began to get a better “feel” for the visual nature of the book.

I then gave thought to comparing the nook for iPad App vis-a-vis the iBook App. Realizing I could buy the Nook Book eBook with my gift card I contemplated that alternative. My 2014 technology goal is to shift to the iPad as a more “dedicated” reading device. I have proclaimed 2014 as my year of digital content. The price of the eBook is attractive $21.99 vs. the hardcover price of $33.77 from a B&N Marketplace Vendor.

So I stand at a crossroad I wasn’t expecting, which “edition” of the¬†Brian Eno: Visual Music¬†book should I buy? I don’t think I can rationally make that choice until I can hold and review the hardcover edition in my hands, do you agree?

Well in any case that’s a decision for another day on earth ūüėČ

iTunes Festival 2013

The iTunes Festival 2013 will take place in London. It will also be a global Webcast live event every evening in the month of September via Apple streaming services.

The festival demonstrates the major bargaining power Apple has with artists, labels and venue.

In September, stream the shows‚ÄĒlive or after the performances‚ÄĒfor free with the official app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, on your computer with iTunes, or on your big screen with Apple TV.

More information available here: http://www.itunes.com/festival

Beats Music – Reading The Tea Leaves

I sip my freshly brewed tea anticipating the pattern of the tea leaves I will find in the bottom of my cup. I contemplate what will occur in the next rounds of competition in cloud music.

I am not concerned about Spotify and its ecosystem. Rumors of Spotify’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Spotify is very practical as it has a fluid model. It is a well architected cloud music platform with an open set of APIs. It is still very much the darling of the music hackathon global audience. Spotify’s effective use of The Echo Nest music back-end is superior to the “pay” model cloud music, look-alike/similar features crowd (amazon cloud player, X-Box music, Rdio, Google Play and Pandora).

The next shoe to drop could¬†be Apple iRadio as early as the World Wide Developer Conference June 10-14. Apple may not announce iRadio the much rumored streaming subscription iCloud music service if they can’t secure revised licensing deals with Sony Music, Warner Music Group, and BMG. (See the latest MacRumors Web article “Difficult Negotiations May Prevent ‘iRadio’ Launch at WWDC“)

Taking a fresh sip I focus next on Beats Music, the brainchild of music industry visionaries Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor. Beats Music has acquired MOG Music¬†¬†and appears to be architecting it to the vision of Trent, Jimmy and Dr. Dre. I wrote about this project when it was codenamed “Daisy” late last year.

There has been significant traction in the Beats Music company formation since that blog post. I have dug around in Google and LinkedIn to get a sense of what is transpiring.

Beats Music requires a well-articulated, open cloud music architecture to distinguish its offering from the present cloud music vendors, which I call the Round 1 players. I am curious how Beats Music will re-engineer the MOG distributed music service to meet that goal. Based upon the software engineering talent I see Beats Music attempting to hire they have their design and development work cut out for them.

I foresee Beats Music harnessing Beats Audio with renewed purpose on the Android and Windows Phone devices. I can’t visualize how the Apple IOS Beats Music dev team can get synchronicity with the lack of a similar Beats Audio chassis in the iPhone. I do recall that Tech Crunch mentioned that a meeting took place in March of this year that strongly hints at Apple and Beats Music partnering later this year (It’s a great hedge their bet play with i Radio don’t you think?)

The Music of Our Heart will continue to watch the Cloud Music skies for more definitive plans and announcements from Beats Music and Apple.

Oh and don’t forget when it comes to 100% high-resolution audio in the clouds we also have Neil Young’s PONO solution pending too. Could that be why Warner Music Group is dragging its feet with Apple? One never knows ūüėČ (Mind you that last comment was purely speculative on my part…)

Special Mention

Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have warmed the cockles of the music of our heart with their $70 million endowment to the University of Southern California.

The duo’s gift will set up the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, an environment for those rare undergraduate students whose interests span fields such as marketing, business entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design, and the arts. The program will prepare them to become a new generation of inspired innovators.

I Googled this announcement after reading the NY Times article from May 14, “Two Music Minds Seek a Different Kind of Mogul“.

The Beats Music ecosystem is establishing very firm academic roots. If you couple that with the investment funding that Beats Music has secured (Forbes:¬†Blavatnik’s Investment In Beats’ Music Service Signals Major Change)¬†I see this initiative as a very¬†serious¬†cloud music innovation play in the months and years ahead.

Don’t Want Amazon MP3

In the much ado about nothing digital music category Amazon announced its MP3 App for iPhone. The Music of Our Heart says, “Don’t Bother” with this waste of technology.

There is no Amazon MP3 iPhone App. When the magician says, “Nothing up my sleeve, presto”. ¬†No Amazon Mp3 App Rabbit in the magician’s hand. Just this Amazon image on their Web site (Funny it has two different colored ears like a rabbit…)

Amazon MP3 store for iPhone and iPod touch

It’s like that Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon segment when Bullwinkle says, ” No Doubt About It, I Gotta Get Another Hat”.

But if the magician’s pretty assistant takes away the Apple magician hat and hands the magician the Android magician hat.

“Voila we have an Android Amazon Mp3 Play and Purchase App” Can you say Apple proprietary, I knew that you could ūüėČ

Trust me, the Apple App Store Search will point you to the Amazon Cloud Player App (Huh?)¬†when you choose “amazon mp3” or “amazon mp3 player”, slap your face like Curly Joe in the Three Stooges because that App¬†isn’t¬†the Amazon MP3 Store App.

The sleight of hand or better yet, the Amazon HTML5 Apple iPhone workaround (and that’s ALL it is…) is as follows:

You can explore and buy new music from your Apple iPhone Safari App by visiting amazon.com/mp3 on your iPhone or iPod touch device. Then you mark the Amazon MP3 Web page as a Safari favorite so you can recall this task.

It’s a huge “Non-Whoop” to be able to buy inferior MP3s directly from my iPhone. ¬†I was never clamoring for this from Amazon, were you?

Stifling a second yawn here, I am just not interested in an HTML5 Amazon MP3 purchase option?

Thank you Amazon for one more major reason to wait for Neil Young’s PONO High Resolution Audio solution.

Don’t want my MP3, Sing it loud with Neil Young and I.

Amazon, everyone knows MP3 is nowhere

Apple iTunes Responsive Design

Apple updated iTunes today with their interpretation of responsive Web design. Download the latest Apple iTunes UX (user experience design) and learn why Apple continues to set direction in interface innovation.

I am especially impressed with how seamless iCloud has become in¬†accessing content on all your devices¬†(Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch). Try that XBox Music with Skydrive, oh wait the cloud locker feature across the same list of devices ¬†is a Microsoft “future” deliverable…

View what has the Music Of Our Heart energized about Apple¬†iTunes¬†11 vs. stifling yawns with Microsoft’s XBox Music…

I mean really “Who Wants Yesterday’s Papers?”

Paul and Linda McCartney’s RAM

This week saw the reissue of Paul and Linda McCartney‘s album, RAM, originally released on May 21, 1971. It speaks to the period of Paul and Linda’s life when they spent a simple, happy time together on¬†their farm on the¬†Mull of Kintyre, Scotland.

As I listen to the original twelve tracks many warm feelings come flooding back to me. Rosemary played this recording all the time when we were dating in 1971. It was an 8-track favorite in the Chevrolet Monte Carlo audio system.

Reel forward to 2012 where you now have the 24 Bit 96 kHz High Resolution digital edition which contains 8 bonus tracks plus 2 digital only tracks.

For the ultimate collector you also have the prized deluxe box set edition.

Sir Paul McCartney and the MPL Communications Ltd. team have performed a stellar job in unarchiving and packaging the McCartney catalog. RAM makes a fine addition to the deluxe box set series as Sir Paul explains:

Line up early and buy often ;)

No, I’m not talking about Apple’s the new iPad (it is a sweet device I must admit…). I am referring to Record Store Day 2012, which this year takes place on Saturday April 21, 2012.

I have two new pieces of information to share with you about Record Store Day 2012.

1) There is now a Record Store Day iPhone App (also available for Android owners). It is called RSD Guide. It will soon tell us what all the vinyl collectibles will be for this year’s Record Store Day event. Download this app and refer to it often….

RSD Guide Home Screen

2) Widespread Panic has announced their limited edition 12″ vinyl collectible for Record Store Day 2012.

Widespread Panic – “Live Wood” – Limited Edition
12″ 180 grade Vinyl

Description:¬†Limited Edition One Time Pressing To Order 12″ 180G Vinyl. Widespread Panic’s “Live Wood” combines the best songs from the band’s 11-date, four-city dubbed “Wood Tour” which marks Panic’s first-ever fully acoustic tour. The tour is also the last set of shows before the band goes on a long-overdue hiatus for the rest of 2012, following what has been a fantastic 25th Anniversary year in 2011.

Price: $19.99

Track Listing:

Side 1
Blue Indian* 5:05
Degenerate* 5:52
Tall Boy 7:02
Side 2
Ballad of John and Yoko 4:13
Tail Dragger 4:30
Fishing* 6:09
Many Rivers to Cross 4:28
* John Keane plays pedal steel on Blue Indian, acoustic guitar and vocals on Degenerate and Fishing.

Dhani Harrison – Guitar Aficinado Magazine

I discovered something very cool while browsing the Barnes & Noble magazine stand today. I happened upon a new music magazine, Guitar Aficionado. I was struck by the photograph of Dhani Harrison on the cover of the Spring 2012 issue. I picked up the magazine and began leafing through the pages.

Guitar Aficionado-Spring 2012-The George Harrison Collection - Click Image to Close

Being an avid fan of digital publishing I was psyched to see on page four that Guitar Aficionado was available for the iPad and iPhone devices. ¬†I took out my iPhone 4s and went looking on Apple’s App Store for the¬†Guitar Aficionado App. I downloaded it and picked up the free issue with Richard Gere on the cover. It was added to my iPhone Newsstand. I knew I had to buy the magazine after that and walked the physical copy to the register.

I love what is happening with the convergence of print media and digital publishing through the iCloud. Publications like Guitar Aficionado are making tremendous strides in allowing readers choice in how they read and experience content.

The more exciting proposition is the added value that Dhani Harrison is bringing to fans of his father’s music. Dhani Harrison, along with the George Harrison Estate and Bandwidth Publishing will soon be making available a¬†new iPad app which will allow Beatles and guitar fans the chance to check out the personal guitar collection of the late George Harrison. The app, The Guitar Collection: George Harrison, will be released through iTunes on February 23, two days before what would have been the former Beatle‘s 69th birthday.

You can get an in-depth preview of the iPad app with Dhani Harrison as your guide through the pages of the latest issue of Guitar Aficiando Magazine. I can tell you first hand its an exciting and informative set of articles. The information is complemented with brilliant color pages and wonderful memories for us all. I am so indebted to Dhani and Olivia Harrison for being so sharing with the world. It is another¬†extension¬†of George’s love to fans living in the material world. ūüôā

Watch this video and see how you can touch and interact with George Harrison’s guitar collection. which is absolutely amazing if you ask me ūüôā

I love how this continues the synergy between The Beatles and Apple through digital technology. Something tells me that George Harrison and Steve Jobs  are smiling hugely over this accomplishment.

Digital Publishing and The Beatles:The Ultimate Album By Album Guide

Digital publishing is readying for a justifiable volcanic explosion. The tablet device is the platform that will usher in rich, interactive digital publishing solutions. Maybe you are reading this blog post as I am on an Apple iPad ūüėČ Next week Apple will be hosting a major education market¬†announcement¬†in New York City regarding electronic textbooks. “The revolution will not be televised.” Rather it will be available to you to you in real time via the cloud. Just think no more late book shipments….

An interesting multimedia application for the Apple iPad for Beatles fans is available from Rolling Stone Magazine¬†and Apple iTunes.¬†The Beatles: The Ultimate Album by Album Guide. With a little help from their friends at¬†Managing Editor Inc. MEI, an Adobe¬ģ¬†premier development partner and a leading provider of software solutions for publisher.

MEI is playing a key role as a gold level reseller for Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite solution. It also helps that MEI supports and resells the¬†vjoon K4‚ĄĘ Cross-Media Publishing Platform. The vjoon K4‚ĄĘ Cross-Media Publishing Platform is a versatile, powerful system that lets you deliver content to any output channel ‚ÄĒ print, online, iPad, iPhone and other digital formats.¬†The vjoon K4‚ĄĘ¬†¬†is the major solution that is driving the digital publishing direction for¬†leading publishers today.

I purchased The Beatles: The Ultimate Album by Album Guide for my wife, Rosemary. Rosemary is the most devout Beatles fan in the family. She is also the most avid iPad user. We looked at the app while playing The Beatles Stereo Box Set (Audio CD). The combination adds a vivid dimension to the listening context.

The track by track listings are pointed and helpful. The vital stats in the insert box provide a quick reference for each recording. I especially love the photographs that accompany each album.

My favorite section is “The Beatles Albums by the Numbers” its an infographic that is thought provoking.

I believe this technology to be the early adopter edition of how Rolling Stone Magazine will be utilized on an Apple iPad. I anticipate more innovation including interaction with digital publishing when Apple releases the iPad 3 this year. Perhaps that is when Rolling Stone Magazine will go live with their cloud subscription.¬†Stay tuned as we all have more to discover in 2012. ūüėČ All together now…

iTunes in the Cloud (My Web Music Locker)

I purchase a fair amount of music on an annual basis(100+ recordings a year) Being a fan of music and technology, I have been eagerly awaiting Apple’s iCloud music announcement. On Monday, Apple announced at their World Wide Developers Conference, iTunes in the Cloud.

My present solution for buying music is varied like most music collectors. I buy music from record stores, music retailers, music e-tailers (amazon, CD Universe), directly from the artists and the record labels, Apple iTunes and Microsoft Zune.

I have been trying to determine how I can shift to a full digital music collection but I have been waiting for two things to happen. 1) Better universal availability and a more seamless management/distribution of my music. 2) Better digital audio quality sound (that may be answered next year by high audio resolution from Warner Music but how far reaching that will be across the rest of the industry remains to be realized.) Apple Audio Lossless Codec (AALC)  has not lived up to its expectations.

It looks like iTunes in the Cloud will satisfy the first requirement by allowing me to easily consolidate my music library in their cloud. I have the same reservation everyone is expressing about the nature of the cloud, “Can I entrust my music to the Apple iCloud?”.

I can begin by experimenting with the technology with ¬†iCloud’s free 5GB of storage when Apple acknowledges me via e-mail that the service is available. The service will scan and match my current music collection for music that is available on the iTunes store. What I really like is that iCloud will then make it available to all my devices by sending my songs’ metadata (probably via Gracenotes technology…) to the cloud. Then if I so desire I can sign up for the new iTunes iMatch service which will cost me $25 a year, (uh-oh yet another Internet subscription) with unlimited storage.

So Apple how do you solve #2 for me and others? Hmmmmmmmmm ūüėČ