The Second Annual Mostly Random What It All Boils Down To Awards, 2018 Edition

Building on the unprecedented success of last year’s awards (well, they were the first) I wanted to come up with the 2018 version. It shouldn’t be difficult as, according to the new “digital wellbeing” app, I use my phone over 5 hours a day, so I must be doing something on it. So here goes, … Continue reading The Second Annual Mostly Random What It All Boils Down To Awards, 2018 Edition

The personalization scale: we don’t have to turn it up to 11

Many of the post-election op-ed pieces focused on analyzing and criticizing Facebook and its handling of its prize property: the newsfeed. I assume that as some point in ancient Facebook history, the goal of the newsfeed was to show users everything their friends shared, chronologically, somewhat like Twitter still does it today. That changed because … Continue reading The personalization scale: we don’t have to turn it up to 11

Music’s new frontier: the home assistant

On October 4th, Google reintroduced Google Home, its answer to Amazon’s Echo after announcing it at I/O in May. In it they listed the top four intended uses for Home: listening to music, getting answers from Google, managing tasks and controlling IoT devices. Putting music first is pretty significant, and I assume that Google believes that that … Continue reading Music’s new frontier: the home assistant

The one surprising thing that music and academia have in common

In a word: piracy. In a few more words: when the difficulty or the price to access the content increases and the option to pirate the content exists and is easier, piracy will win. The wider this gap, the more items will be pirated, but it doesn’t have to be a huge inconvenience. Take the … Continue reading The one surprising thing that music and academia have in common

It’s not product or price, it’s exclusivity: the current trend in music streaming

The US music world experienced to great upheavals during the past few days: the death of Prince and the release of Beyoncé’s new album, Lemonade. Both served to highlight a trend in the digital music business that has been gaining ground during the past year: big artists, with control of their music and their release … Continue reading It’s not product or price, it’s exclusivity: the current trend in music streaming

Streaming revenue is up, music industry is still unhappy

I have always been intrigued by the music industry, though I’ve never worked a day in it, and I’m most fascinated by how the ways we listen to music have changed over the past two or so decades: from vinyl to CDs to digital downloads to streaming, with piracy thrown in the mix to make … Continue reading Streaming revenue is up, music industry is still unhappy

Sharing is caring: we’re missing something in the all-digital age of media

Last week the New York Times published a nostalgic piece about the state of media consumption. Teddy Wayne, the author of the article, discussed how isolated our reading and listening experiences are now, and how we have abandoned many practices that used to allow people to expand their musical and literary horizons. We read news, … Continue reading Sharing is caring: we’re missing something in the all-digital age of media

Spotify: permissions, privacy and consequences

Two weeks ago a debate popped up around Spotify’s new EULA, foisted upon its users in the sadly common "either say yes or stop using the service" option. Most of the discussion was around new data that Spotify was asking to access and share with third-parties. Aside from musical taste, it “wants to be able to access … Continue reading Spotify: permissions, privacy and consequences

The times, yeah, they’ve changed. Whatevs. One vision of a DRM-free world.

I’ve written about self-made YouTube stars, Lilly Singh and Michelle Phan, before. I was already awed by how they had managed to build a large fan base for their videos and parlay that into merchandise sales for Ms Singh and makeup sales for Ms Phan. Even so, I was surprised to see how many people … Continue reading The times, yeah, they’ve changed. Whatevs. One vision of a DRM-free world.

Independent artists aren’t flocking to Apple Music

Last week Apple announced a new and improved Apple Music to somewhat tepid response: it’s mostly nothing new. At $9.99/month for all the music you can stream, it is a lot like all the other services out there like Google Music and Spotify. Yet unlike Spotify, it doesn’t offer a free, ad-supported tier, one which … Continue reading Independent artists aren’t flocking to Apple Music