My Sunday Audio Technology Binge

What could be finer than binging on the 12 audio CD box set, Otis Redding, Soul Manifesto: 1964-1970

The collection features the eight studio and live albums that Redding recorded between 1964 and 1967, as well as several essential posthumous sets.

The King of Soul’s box set gives me the opportunity to test the Spotify on Chromecast (2.0) solution. There are several features I am really liking such as an effortless find of the Google Chromecast device on the home wireless network (Connect to a device option).  Then the pairing with the Spotify Web app which instinctively knows I have used the Apple iPhone Spotify app to connect to the device. (The Spotify device icon states, “You are playing from: Chromecast”, a nice pairing…The audio is smooth at a dedicated 5GB throughput through Chromecast to the SONY Blu-Ray 7.1 Home Theatre sound system.

Bet you thought I was going to reveal my device network….not…..

I’ve been listening to Otis my man from the first track until the Mets World Series game tonight. Wonder how far I’ll get 😉

Part II of this audio binge (next chance I get) will be with Tidal HiFi, Google Chromecast and the Sony Blu-Ray system. The audio fidelity is much better that way 🙂

TIDAL HiFi, Why I Kicked Spotify To The Curb

Four years ago, I became a Day One subscriber to Spotify for $9.99 a month after I kicked Zune to the curb. I subscribed to Spotify for two main reasons. 1) Spotify promised better audio quality than the MP3 Freemium music distribution model. 2) Spotify promised to pay artists better royalty payments with a “portion” of the $9.99 a month they collected from me and others. After four years as a Spotify subscriber I have pulled the plug on Spotify Premium. I cancelled the $9.99 a month option. Spotify from my experience failed to meet the “two commitments” I wanted from them as a customer. I witnessed and read how “little” Spotify was paying artists for their content.  I never received more than 320 kbps audio sound from Spotify. In the four year interim 2011 to 2015 digital audio quality improved. I own and use a high resolution PONO Music Player. I can truly hear the difference with HiRes sound. I switched my subscription to TIDAL HiFi last week, $19.99 a month. I am finally listening to the high fidelity audio music quality Spotify failed to deliver upon. I am confident TIDAL HiFi will pay artists higher royalties. After all they aren’t “owned” by a record company as an investor. They are an artist owned platform. The “sweetener” for me is TIDAL HiFi and Sonos. I itch to own a Sonos Play:1 sound cube that allows me to hear hi-def music wirelessly. So long Spotify, Hello TIDAL HiFi. #TIDALforALL

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.

Father’s Day 2014, A Beautiful Day in the Music of Our Heart

This has been a wonderful Father’s Day 2014. The weather has cooperated marvelously, its Sunny, 76 degrees and there is a slight, cool breeze in the air.

I was very touched to receive from my son, Matthew a meaningful music gift he hand crafted on Spotify. He made my very own Spotify Music Playlist. Matthew has made TODAY playlists on Spotify that I love listening to online.

He surprised me with the image and the psychedelic rock art. I recall the day his Mother took this picture of us on our living room floor.

This is what my son wrote on my Facebook wall today 🙂

#HappyFathersDay to the ORIGINAL music man. to those who don’t know, it’s where all my love for music comes from. The day i learned how to stand, was the same day i learned how to rock! I really couldn’t have done it without the help of Edward David Jennings

So in Honor of #OMJ and Fathers Everywhere who have taught us maybe more than they know. Here’s a little Special playlist to show you where my family comes from. Long Live Rock!

http://open.spotify.com/user/containedexplosion/playlist/4cQRrkYE5bdutdoACyYzpd

Happy Fathers Day OMJ!

For those of you who don’t know my nickname OMJ stands for Old Man Jennings 🙂

Thank you Matthew it is you who rocks. I am so blessed to share the love, music and memories with you and Mom. I am really proud to be your Father.

 

Crowder – Neon Steeple

Neon Steeple is a soulful début album from Crowder, an artist who possesses an insightful depth that conveys heartfelt meanings directly to the listener.

I’ve listened to Neon Steeple tonight on Spotify marvelling at the feelings that it ignites inside the music of our heart. Being a religious person of devout faith I am comforted by the warmth Crowder resonates inside my being.

The album is more like an in-depth look at the soul – the humanity, the redemption and the regenerated. – Ryan Barbee of Jesusfreakhideout.com

Enchant yourself with a listen to Crowder’s Neon Steeple. You’ll be pleasantly surprised and blessed all at the same time. Oh and don’t forget to clap along 😉

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Oh Happy Day! Spotify and The Echo Nest Become One

Spotify made a friendly, strategic acquisition of their long time music intelligence metabase partner, The Echo Nest. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic to see these two music platform technology companies working more harmoniously to further their common music vision.

The collective intelligence of The EchoNest combined with the discovery of Spotify looms significant for music listeners, record companies, and artists. TechCrunch sees this partnership as creating a “Facebook Connect for Music”. This will be accomplished with The Echo Nest API remaining in place and continuing to serve the need of developers and music companies who use it such as XBox Music, rdio, MOG (BeatsMusic) to name just a few.

Spotify seeks to be the music identity provider across the web and mobile the way Facebook has become a social identity provider.

Spotify and The Echo Nest have a long, mutually beneficial history together. Back in March 2012, the two integrated their APIs so that any Spotify app developer could tap into The Echo Nest’s music intelligence technology. In March 2013, Microsoft, Spotify, and The Echo Nest joined forces to create Mixshape, a visual tool that automatically sorts playlists based on the properties and moods of individual songs.

What excites me the most about this closer development synergy is how Spotify will evolve and ratchet up another layer or two. Music hacking thrives with increased dimensionality now that Spotify and The Echo Nest are one entity.

Jim Lucchese says The Echo Nest and Spotify both have “music hacker cultures. We move quickly. Our goal is to start pushing things that will have a real impact on the [Spotify] user experience as soon as possible. I think probably in the next three months you’ll start seeing things in Spotify based on what we did here today that will have a big impact on music fans.”

Improvements to Spotify’s radio algorithm, discovery suggestions, and more could come even sooner, Daniel Ek says. “I expect to see things that touch consumers really, really fast. You’ll start noticing improvements pretty much instantly.”

I expect further analysis and commentary as the industry processes this announcement. Man do I love this deal and what it will bring us all.

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No thanks beatsMUSIC, I’ll be staying with Spotify

I have completed my trial evaluation of beatsMUSIC. I am impressed with their interface and “human” curation. But unfortunately I found beatsMUSIC a “Closed” cloud music solution. I am a music technologist who respects innovation and music software development. beatsMUSIC achieves those attributes to a “degree” but it lacks being an extensive “development” platform. beatsMUSIC doesn’t publish an application programming interface that encourages music software development.

I am staying with Spotify because it is an “Open” cloud music platform. Spotify allows me as a subscriber to choose the music application I wish to use to grow my music listening experience. Spotify offers a cloud music architectural platform that embraces music software engineering (music hackathons) to take place on a global scale. We in turn as listeners get the advantage of harnessing those apps and interpreting music from new vantage points. I don’t get those options at all from beatsMUSIC. beatsMUSIC programs my music for me (didn’t radio do that for decades…) or I can build a music playlist, underwhelming options, already available elsewhere if you ask me.

The true competitive advantage Spotify has over beatsMUSIC, Pandora, etc. are the applications Just like on Apple’s iPhone or the Android phone the rich set of applications helps to sophisticate the use of these devices. Spotify like Apple’s iOS is a software platform.

Let’s look at Spotify from the jazz listener point of view. The Spotify Web application has the option App Finder listed under the Apps section. I found two premier Spotify Jazz apps from 2013, Blue Note Record’s Timeline and JazzTimes Magazine and Concord Music Group The StylusThe Blue Note application leverages the Blue Note historical timeline of jazz. You can set various filters for jazz artists by sector (Tradition, Groove, Voices) and instruments.

The Stylus app was developed for JazzTimes and Concord Music Group by a development company known as Neon Roots. Albeit a random app to play with I find it intriguing to discover jazz genres and artists. Give it a spin sometime and see what I mean 😉

Spotify continues to innovate and invent on behalf of the music listener with a technological interest towards what lies next in the cloud music ecosystem.

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