Tag Archives: music

Music Services I Use: Rhapsody Vs. Rdio Vs. Spotify Vs. Pandora

So Spotify is allegedly (finally) coming to the US.

I, for one, welcome our new music overlords. Rhapsody pulled a fast one on me yesterday, after years of loyal service with them (dating all the way back to when Windows Media / MTV’s Urge was enveloped). They told me I needed to up my plan. I’m basically giving them an “up yours” and likely switching to Spotify when it’s available. There’s also Grooveshark, but it’s not available in the iTunes app store (which makes it a non-option for me).

How did Rhapsody offend me? They’ve switched their plans, rendering the standing $10 a month option only viable if you have one mobile device. I happen to have two mobile devices (plus Sonos), which would push me into their $15 a month plan – and that’s a bit steep, considering the active alternative: Rdio.

For $10 a month on Rdio, you get unlimited web AND mobile access. While the library on Rdio may not be the same as what’s on Rhapsody, I can’t see Rhapsody giving that much more value for the additional $5 I’d spend with them every month. I was given a trial with Rdio but didn’t renew it. I’m waiting to see what Spotify will have to offer me (in terms of pricing and features) before I spend money with Rdio.

I’m also considering downgrading my Pandora premium account when it’s up for renewal this September — not because I don’t use Pandora prolifically, but because it’s not delivering insane value for the money I’ve spent (and higher quality audio and fewer commercials doesn’t cut it for me). Not to mention: who still uses Flash for Web services?

The good news is: I can easily float between these music subscriptions without fearing I’ve lost much. I can still get access to most (if not all) of the music I love, and not have to worry about buying tracks ala carte or going through the nightmare of managing media in any way. That, and… at least I’m trying to play along with the industry.

Tell me I’m not alone with these music subscription service woes!

How Does Music Influence Your Life?

If you’ve tuned into my live stream lately, you’ve heard the awesome 8-bit music that’s playing. I can’t stand silence. There’s always something making noise here in my office. This sound can come from the television, or from music I have playing. My tastes are pretty out there as far as style goes. The beauty of music, though, is that there’s something for everyone.

One of our LockerGnome contributors recently asked about music which influenced other members. This made me stop and think about music in a very broad sense. I know so many people – my assistant Kat included – who claim they cannot think, work or sleep without music playing. I cannot honestly say that I am the same way, but I do agree that what I listen to has a lot to do with the mood I am in.

Our tastes change depending on what is going on in our head. If you’re in the writing zone, you may prefer to have classical music humming through the speakers. However, others insist they have to have some hard bass pumping in their blood before they can type the first word. We go through life stuffing people into pigeon holes and deciding for them what they are most likely to enjoy. But when it comes to our listening style, every profile is thrown out of the window.

The grandmother of four down the street probably likes rock music, but the teenager on the bus has Jazz soothing her soul on the ride home. That young man with black fingernails and clothing isn’t listening to some “weird” punk stuff… he’s enjoying Mozart and smirking at you as you walk by. The little old lady with blue hair on her way to the supermarket isn’t playing something from the 1930s – she’s cranking up the Beatles and bopping her head along in time.

There’s something about music that reaches out and grabs you by the soul. It doesn’t matter what genre you happen to prefer – music is going to touch you in some way. You’re going to identify with it and you’re going to crave it. Why do you think there are hundreds of ways to get your fix? Crank up a radio, turn on the CD player, slap in an 8-track or cassette, tune in to your favorite online station or grab an instrument and play whatever is in your heart.

How does music influence your life each day? What do you listen to?

Sir Mix-a-Lot: A Geek Who Loves Carz

Anthony Ray – better known as Sir Mix-a-Lot to most of you – is back in the music game in a very big way. His new video, Carz, debuted just the other day and already has about a kajillion views and downloads. The video itself is put together very well, and you cannot help but enjoy the eye candy (I’m talking about the cars!) found within.

I was invited to the launch party for this new debut. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend due to a prior commitment. I’m told that I missed one hell of a party. He apparently brought me some honeys. I’m still wondering why it is that the Sir would bring honey to a music launch party, but hey! Who am I to argue? Perhaps he wanted to have a little with his toast.

By now, you’re likely wondering why in the hell I am talking about a rap star on my tech blog, and why he would have invited yours truly to the party in the first place. It’s okay, I still wonder myself at times why I get invited to places that are out in public.

Anthony Ray isn’t just another musical genius – he’s one of us. His love of technology spans even longer than his music career. Many years ago, he started building amps and boards for others. This is where his original music passion stems from and what brought him to where he is now.
Show a fellow geek a little love this holiday season. Watch the video, and check out the single. Let us know what you think!

How to Learn to Play Piano

Learning to play the piano isn’t as hard as you used to think it is, thanks to Synthesia. Synthesia is a game that can help you learn how to play the piano using falling notes. Synthesia comes with over 100 songs which are in the MIDI format. If you want to learn a song that isn’t included, do a simple search for the song title (or artist) with the tag MIDI added to it. You’ll be surprised to find millions – and millions – of hits. You can also get some great suggestions on the website forums.

If you have a piano or keyboard connected to your computer (via USB, MIDI cables or an adapter), Synthesia will read from it and score your playing. Choose what parts of a song you want to practice and let the app play the rest, allowing you to focus on your personal goal. You can enable musical notation for any song in your repertoire or leave it off and just enjoy the falling notes.

During melody practice, Synthesia will wait for you to play the correct note before it moves on. You will see what notes are coming next right on the lighted keyboard, allowing you to find difficult chords and combinations faster.

Challenge your friends and compete against some of the best players out there using Synthesia’s online scoreboard. You can also capture your favorite renditions and upload them to your YouTube channel, as MisterMoes has done above.

Do Stormtroopers Listen to Music?


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What kind of music do you listen to? Well, that’s what was asked of the stormtrooper, so… here’s the answer, as recorded live – with questions being taken from Twitter.

This is a great question. Like all people, Stormtroopers have eclectic taste. I happen to love my Pandora stream and 8-bit music. It’s difficult to get a signal when you have to deal with another Empire in terms of your data plan. You want to talk about evil Empires… AT&T is the best of the best at that.

Every Stormtrooper has something different that they like to listen to, just as you humans do. We’re really not that different, after all.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code:

How To Create a Unique Music Video

This official music video for She Runs was taken from Tim Halperin’s latest album Make or Break. It was directed by Jonathan Combs and my friend Joe Childress. Not only is this a cool song, the video for it is seriously unique. It was shot as a “continuous shot” music video.

This is a single continuous dolly shot. There were no edits, despite what you may think when watching it. It only cost about $500.00 to shoot the entire film using a Canon 5D Mark II. It was meant to look stripped down like an elementary school play, and I think that they completely nailed that aspect of it.

The video received over 16,000 views in the first twenty-four hours, and has been featured on NYMag and DailyWhat. The sets were designed by Sarah Rogers and Brent Richardson. The song itself was produced and mixed by Brian Kieta.

Fantastic job, you guys! Keep up the great – and unique – work.

Organize Your Band with BandCentral

When a band is busy, things can go haywire pretty fast. There are many difficulties associated with staying organized during the touring, performing, writing and recording processes. Wil Padley, a bass player in the U.K. band The Domino State, came up with the idea for BandCentral to help him and his fellow musicians attempt to bring order back into their lives.

BandCentral is an easy way to manage your band online from anywhere in the world. The tools lets bands track their earnings and expenses from merchandise, CD and ticket sales. The admin controls allow for privacy settings to be altered, so that different access levels can be given to different members of the group as needed.

It’s also integrated with SoundCloud, which is an online place musicians can share their music and files. It also lets them comment on the various things they have in progress.

BandCentral has a free version, which is ad-supported. A band can sign up for the premium account to have full access to the site and services without having to look at ads. The premium account is about $9.00 (U.S. dollars) per month.

BandCentral is used by bands, managers and even record companies. It is a “shared space with all the tools you need to manage your band: everything, from gigs & rehearsals, assets & fans, to recordings, merchandise & money… all from one central, secure and instantly accessible place.”

Are You Awesome?

The new song “I’m Awesome” by Spose is a pretty big hit. Even though I’m not normally a fan of this type of music, I have to say I keep singing the lyrics. Something about part of the first verse just gets to me.

I’m awsome!
a quarter of my life gone by and
I met all my friends online
I’m awsome!
I will run away from a brawl
I’m awsome!
there’s no voice mail nobody called
I’m awsome!
I can’t afford to buy eight ball
and I talk to myself
on my facebook wall

Do you talk to yourself on your Facebook wall? If so… you’re awesome!

IZABO Video with iPhones

Funky band IZABO created their newest music videoOn my way – using a whole lot of iPhones.

Izabo’s music has been described as a “Brilliant, action packed combination of Psychedelic Rock, Disco, Punk and Arabic spices.” Featuring high-to-ultra-high vocals, twisting and expressive Arab-flavored guitar work, powerfully funky bass lines, arrogantly catchy keyboards and intense disco beats, Izabo have established themselves as one of Israel’s most absorbing live acts.

Their music is different and fresh… and a lot of fun to listen to. I dare you to play this video and NOT tap your feet or snap your fingers. I admit to some chair dancing.

How Does Your Face Sound?

UncleJohn has been a community member for quite awhile now. He regularly helps me out with screen captures and video editing. He also posts a heck of a lot of funny outtakes… random things that tend to happen on my stream.

He found BallDroppings recently, and knew he had to give it a try. All you have to do is draw lines on the black grid, adjust the speed and gravity, and enjoy your music.

How cool is it that he drew out my face to see what it sounds like? What sounds do your head make?