Hyperion update

Hyperion has become a sleeping aid for me. That sounds like a poor review of a book sending me to sleep, but that is not what I mean.

For various reasons I have had to get up a lot at night recently. This is fine, but lately my mind has begun to race around, skipping from one thought to another which keeps me awake. Hyperion is what calms me down and focuses my mind on just one thing. The stories are so great and eventually I nod off to fantastic images of talking dolphins and portals across time and space. It’s kind of trippy to have so many nights with those stories running through my head.

Usually I am able to turn of audible before I fall asleep. Otherwise the story just keeps playing in my head and the next night I am hours behind and completely lost! I can mostly figure out what has happened, but after twenty hours of narration and a few nights leaving the story running on my headphones whilst I snore away, I definitely have some gaps.

Last night I finished the sixth and final chapter and I just have the prologue to go tonight.

Still highly recommended.

Happy Thursday chimps.

Online streaming

Yesterday my good friend Martin and I livestreamed a video on Instagram TV. It was a lot of fun!

Martin is a fine wildlife artist (insta link) who is trying to vary the pace of his drawing, and he challenged me to draw an animal in 10 minutes live with him.

Given my lack of expertise, I was very happy with the result of my 10 minutes :):)

If you are looking for something to do, then draw! It is therapeutic, calming and creative. Martin may even be accepting more challenges over on Instagram if you are up for livestreaming yourself.

It really was fun, so give it a go.

Who’s number 1? Plus an infographic

I just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out who is the number 1 streaming artist on Spotify. (FYI it’s Justin Bieber). Spotify doesn’t make it very easy to find this out – I ended up getting the figure from Wikipedia. This search led me to the below chart showing how the music industry is making money again through streaming. (link)

What these figures point to is a very complex formula for ever declaring an album as “Number 1”. Gone are the straightforward days of measuring LPs sold. It is a weighted calculation, subject to bias and change over time.

Spotify itself is not making much money. For now the Company is beholden to the record companies (link) for their back catalogues (and to a lesser extent, their A&R and recording infrastructure). But one day perhaps it will break free from this like Netflix has from Hollywood.

Pixies

The pixies as a band passed me by. I was a little too young and a little too stuck in east Africa for their first few albums to make any impact on my life. However, the beauty of music streaming services now is that I can dig into all the rich history.

I sometimes wonder why as a society we make all this new music when there is so much to discover in the back catalogues. Maybe they should put a moratorium on new releases until everyone has caught up with listening to everything ever released to date?

Just an idea.

https://music.apple.com/za/album/doolittle/7060469

Lock-in

Apple got me this time. The biggest company in the world is very good at selling a piece of hardware (in this case the Apple Watch) and then linking it to an essential piece of software (Apple Music).

The watch can’t play any other music offline apart from Apple Music. I only want to play music on my watch when I am offline on a run or in the gym.

I had to quit my previous music subscription (Tidal) to join Apple Music, to go to the gym and listen with my watch!

Lock-in.

Streaming music

I like to think about the music industry.
For my streaming needs I oscillate between Google Play and Tidal depending on how pretentious I feel about streaming quality, and how much cash I have. In reality there is not much difference though – all of the major streaming services have an impossibly huge library, the convenience is amazing too. What is most interesting to me is the angst it brings me – Whenever I stream something I think to myself “am i doing this right?” – with LPs and CDs it was far more clearcut how best to listen to music. Now nobody knows.
Which is the best streaming service? It’s not an obvious answer or even an obvious question – Best for the listener? Best for the artist?
I live in South Africa and don’t have access to Spotify or Youtube Red (or whatever Youtube’s subscription options are) it seems to me that Soundcloud was trying to be the Youtube of music, but failed to make money – why? The music industry seems capable of flicking a switch and making an artist centered service like Soundcloud disappear almost overnight.
The whole streaming genre has taken a grip on my brain – it’s such a vast universe and there are so many ways to listen to music now – Which hardware is the best to use?
I follow it with interest and compulsion.

Streaming and ownership

If I can consume media with purpose then I will be happy. Too often though, I feel like media is force fed to me like a scene out of A Clockwork Orange.

I have decided to make a change in music subscription services – from Google Play Music to Tidal. New MQA Masters catalogues on Tidal are a factor, as are my future plans to integrate with a service such as Roon. Roon lets you interact with the music you listen to like we used to with CDs and LPs.

All of this is a rather futile effort to mitigate against the fact that when we stream our music or TV or movies, we no longer own the content. It’s a mindset from another time I guess but to pay for a service rather than a piece of art seems like a poor deal.

At least it is convenient and works on my phone though.

 

Album Covers

So I am up early due to baby-screaming-in-the-night syndrome. It’s a tricky syndrome to manage… I have taken the “Stuff it let’s just get up at 430am” approach.

But I digress.

I have been thinking about album covers and how important they are still. Even without the physical album, digital streaming is enhanced by the album artwork and the information traditionally contained within the album cover. It’s all about the Metadata.

With a surplus of information, the trick is collation and turning chaos into a neat package to sell to folks. There is a premium for turning your messy downloads and MP3s into a cohesive library that looks beautiful. For proof – check out this product: https://roonlabs.com/

Besides, who wouldn’t want to look at a Tiger in a leather jacket while listening to CRX? Happy Tuesday!

album