Portable playlists at Media Web Meetup in SF

I’ll be in San Fran on December 11 for the Media Web Meetup at the Songbird offices.

Here’s the event description:

Subject: Portable Playlists and other POSH-ibilities
Speakers: Tantek Çelik, Lucas Gonze, Scott Kveton and Tom Conrad

This Media Web Meetup should be HOT! We are having a panel of people who will lead a discussion on the possibility of portable playlists and other ways for media lovers to carry around their data with themselves as they move around the web.

Think about it…wouldn’t taking that Amazon data with you as you browse other sites (last.fm, iTunes, Pandora, the music web in general) to get better recommendations rock? Perhaps we can get a base discussion of what kinds of solutions there are out there and where to go forward from.

Question: what does POSH (“Plain Old Semantic HTML”, a ) have to do with it? Why must tech religions crush everything in their path? Per Wikipedia:

The purpose of the term ‘POSH’ is to:

  • educate HTML authors who want to use microformats, but haven’t understood the intermediate step of ‘semantic html’ markup.
  • encourage use of the term ‘microformats‘ only for semantic html patterns which have been through the rigor of the microformats process.

Musicmobs XSPF archive

Two posts by Paul Lamere –

  1. Toby Padilla is leaving the Musicmobs project for Last.fm: Musicmobs was clearly ahead of the curve – pioneering many aspects that are now seen as requirements in the ‘Music 2.0’ space. Social playlisting, recommendation, open web services, implicit gathering of taste data, – the ‘hipster <-> mainstream slider’, excellent design, cool name: Musicmobs has it all.
  2. A parting gift from Musicmobs:

    As Toby shuts down Musicmobs, he has left us with a gift – an archive of all of the playlists that Musicmobs has collected over the years. It is a nice set of data for anyone looking to do research around artist or track co-occurrence in playlists. Some stats about the data:

    Playlists 1,899
    Tracks 429,873
    Unique Tracks 111,604
    Artists 23,463
    Users 577
    Tags 9,268

    This is really good data! Thanks Toby.

Amen. Thanks for posting it, kudos for doing such interesting work, and good luck at the last FM station, Toby.

band web pages

Comments on music distribution where people don’t have to host files went towards the issue of band’s web pages:

Greg said:

– A very low percentage of bands are actually tech savvy enough to create their own websites.

-MySpace, which is by far the most popular way for bands to gain a web-presence, hosts mp3s and makes them available for listening, but goes to relatively draconian measures to prevent them from having reliable, publicly available urls.

Together, these two obstacles constitute a killer one-two punch: MySpace lures artists into using it as a stop-gap against building a real website; MySpace only lets artists put their music online in a crippled innovation-hostile way (in a flash widget, hidden behind temporary on-demand-generated urls, un-linkable, and un-discussable).

This means that most of the indie, unsigned, and local bands — exactly the ones who should have the most to gain from making access to their music for bloggers, fans, and other people in the conversation as easy as possible — are locked into a service that reduces the ability of their music to participate in things like mp3 blogs, XSPF content resolvers, and more general content detection services.

Farsheed replied

“A very low percentage of bands are actually tech savvy enough to create their own websites.”

This is a bit unfair. The reason most bands don’t have their own website is likely more financial than technical. It also takes a long time to do it right, time that most bands don’t have.

The trick is getting rid of all the middlemen, and having a *really* reliable URL that represents the band. From there the band can dish out reliable URLs to MP3s (could be 3rd party) which can get aggregated and indexed by search engines. That will in turn improve the search relevance of indexed mp3 links so that music bloggers, Songbird, Google, Facebook, etc can quickly see that the most relevant and reliable source for music is the band itself, and link directly.

Perhaps the simplest solution is just encouraging ultra-solid URLs. Have bands register their domain name, and maybe have a service or script using Apache rewrite that resolve to the most current mp3 of a file.



I do think they need their own domain name to maintain ownership over the URL, even if the root domain redirects or redisplays their myspace page.

I could see a whole service being built around providing redirect links to other webservices, but giving the band control over these redirects (or having multiple sources to cycle through).

music distribution where people don’t have to host files

Mike Love — Songbird and XSPF for sharing music:

I’ve been thinking about way to do music distribution where people don’t have to host files.

Specifically, with a player like Songbird you could make an XSPF playlist that you could then send or post somewhere. On the other end people receive the playlist and find the audio using search engines, downloading from artists’ websites or buying.

Pros: no one gets sued, bands that host their mp3s retain ownership on the data about who is listening to them

Cons: at this point it’s too much work for the benefit.

About the amount of work for the recipient, it’s true that On the other end people receive the playlist and find the audio using …, but this doesn’t mean that the recipient manually tracks down every file. The XSPF plan is for the recipient to have a piece of software which knows how to locate the tracks automatically given a minimal amount of guidance from the user; this relies on the sender to provide enough metadata to support an automated search.

As it stands people share music references by uploading their own rips to a hosting service. That ensures that the songs they have in mind are globally available. This is a reliable process which is easy to figure out: rip, upload, send the URL via email or web. Most of the time the sender doesn’t even need to rip, since they were listening to an MP3 in the first place.

What are the drawbacks of this process?

* It’s inconvenient to have to upload. But not *that* inconvenient. And it’s getting easier all the time. I’d be surprised if there isn’t client software which integrates everything about the process.

* The media URLs go 404 pretty quickly because of takedown requests and the general instability of life in the underground.

* The file hosts are often sleazy.

Anything else? If the plan is to compete with file hosting, that’s not much to work with.

Greg’s comment in the Attributor thread comes to mind:

Content trackers get it from all sides. In the new Hype Machine redesign, a fear of the record labels is plain as day. And, in reducing access to mp3s — de-emphasizing playlist-access, etc. — they’ve greatly angered many of their users (they’ve actually done a good job responding to the feedback and so have moved to reinstate some of these types of features in the weeks since the relaunch).

It seems to me that content trackers are going to have to become diplomats. Stuck between the copyright holders and the users they have three choices: 1) Take the side of the users, a la The Pirate Bay: ‘User experience is all, quaint local copyright custom be damned!’; 2) Take the side of content holders, a la Attributor: ‘I’m taking my ball and going home; and if you don’t like it, taste the business end of my 1000 staff lawyers!’; 3) Find a third way that tries to negotiate a peace between both sides. This third option is the one that is the least obvious, but also, I think, holds the most business opportunities: if you grant both sides the right to exist, and take it as a given that both have demands that need meeting, you have twice the number of possible products and you stand to be in the best position to participate in really sustainable solutions that constitute wins for all sides.

Attributor Launches Service to Track Copyright Infringement Across the Web

Attributor Launches Service to Track Copyright Infringement Across the Web

Links are the currency of the Web. They are the way attributions are made. In most cases, media companies would be better off if they could just get everyone who is copying their stuff to link back to them than by trying to extract licensing fees out of them or suing them. There is a lot less friction in asking for a link, and it doesn’t cost anything to give one out. Yet all of those links can turn into traffic, both directly and by imbuing the original source with higher search karma (i.e. a higher ranking on search engines).

Links may be the currency, but domain names are the gold backing the currency. This works because domains actually cost something.

artist services.

Tunecore Tour

TuneCore is a music delivery and distribution service that gets artists’ original music (even cover versions) and record label releases up for sale on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon MP3, eMusic, Sony Connect, MusicNet and Napster without asking for your rights or taking any money from the sale or use of your music.

Enter the name of your band, the name of the album, upload your art and songs select which digital stores you want you music in and you’re done!

Providing services to active players is a good part of the music business to be in.

CD Baby is another artist services business, and they’re growing like a beanstalk.

Pasadena gig

Tequila Mockingbird and Lucas Gonze playing at the Pasadena Armory for the 1-Second Film Cabaret

Pasadena Doo Dah Queen Tequila Mockingbird and I played at the Pasadena Armory a couple weeks ago at a cabaret event for the 1-Second Film project.

A funny thing about the Tequila gig is that it’s jazz standards, none of which are public domain. Jazz repertoire is built on a closed set of about 200 songs which are heavily locked down. I have a real problem with this, even though they’re great songs which I love playing, but there doesn’t seem to be any way out short of refusing to play the compositions which are synonymous with the genre.

My philosophical absolutism leads to ridiculous positions sometimes.

(Image linkbacks: DSC_0138. Originally uploaded by the1secondfilm.com)

‘Return of spring’ by The Three Vagrants (and an experimental media metadata microformat)

I ran across this interesting recording from 1928 entitled “Return of spring” by an outfit called The Three Vagrants over at the Cylinder Preservation Project. I like it for the Kurt Weil or Tom Waits-y flavor.

Biographical information on the act from NickLucas.com:

Frank Lucanese was Nick Lucas’ older brother that played accordion in a vaudeville troupe called The Three Vagrants. When he joined The Three Vagrants, around 1915, he composed much of the material they would record for Victor, Edison and Columbia.

The composition was listed as being by somebody named Emil Waldteufel, who is probably the same as the French composer Émile Waldteufel that I found on Wikipedia. I didn’t find a score for the piece.


The Three Vagrants

MP3: Return of Spring (mp3)

This hCard created with the hCard creator.

(image source)

On a technical level what I’m doing in this blog entry is fiddling around with microformats for media metadata. The biographical bits above are in hCard format, which allowed me to express the name of the artist and a link for the artist. The MP3 URL is within that hCard construct with the link ‘title’ attribute set to the song title. That gives a media microformat which can express these bits of data:

  • song URL
  • song title
  • performer name
  • performer URL

Passwordless login #3

Mike Linksvayer » Passwordless login « the WordPress of Lucas Gonze

Why do sites force frequent logins anyway?

Especially given this process:

  1. You get a mail from a social network saying that you have a message there.
    new message
  2. When you go to the URL of the message at the social network, you get bounced to a login screen to ensure that you have the right security credentials.
    go to social network
  3. But anybody with access to your email can obtain the credentials.
    Ask for password reminder
  4. Enter email address for reminder
  5. So what is the point of hassling you for the password?
    Get your password in email