Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Microsoft + SeeqPod?

09 May

There’s a rumor floating around that Microsoft has bought Seeqpod, mainly fueled it seems by the fact that they have a link to Microsoft live search on their home page.

I may regret saying this, but I think that link is a red herring. Microsoft is the last company I would expect to have an interest in SeeqPod, unless their search technology is incredibly impressive and Microsoft intends to apply it to other forms of search. A possibility, but it seems pretty slim. Besides being a bad fit in terms of corporate culture, SeeqPod is probably under an NDA and would most likely be in big trouble for leaking that sort of information early.

If Microsoft is buying SeeqPod for their search technology, don’t expect to see the free streaming service re-launched after the acquisition, at least not until Microsoft has signed deals with the majors, which as we know is a lengthy and expensive progress. Of course Microsoft can afford it, but can they profit from it?

In the meantime, Grooveshark is still running, still growing, and we have an API as well, for all those developers left out in the cold after SeeqPod shut down.


A reason to upgrade

24 Mar

I use Flash Player 9 at work, and until recently I also used it at home. Version 10 is out, but most people still have 9, so for testing purposes I wanted to stick with 9, especially since Katy has switched to 10. Someone has to catch old bugs!

Anyway my Flash Player accidentally got upgraded to 10 at home, and I recently discovered this delicious Tom Waits song: Invitation to the Blues.

Alas, when I tried to play it at work, it sounded like a very sad, drunken donkey was wailing at me. That is usually indicative of a sample rate issue (Flash is very picky about sample rates), but close inspection of the file hasn’t turned up anything wrong with it, including sample rate. If I want to listen to that song at work, I’ll have to upgrade to Flash 10.

Tom Waits, or reliability? Hmm, a tough choice indeed.



28 Oct

One of my long-standing favorite bands is Soltero, and this song is a great representation of why.

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On being a DJ

18 Aug

When I was in college (oh so long ago…) I was a DJ for our radio station, and then I was a music director. I loved being a DJ: having lots of new, interesting and unreleased music on tap, from Smashing Pumpkins to Underwater Boxer; having a channel to share that music with other people; being able to make a small band’s day by playing their stuff and reporting it to CMJ. Well, there was one part I didn’t care for so much: talking on the radio. I’m a bit shy, which is why although I loved being a DJ and music director at Eckerd College, I knew it wasn’t ever going to be a career path for me.

It’s interesting, then, that I work at Grooveshark where much of that dream is being fulfilled by participating in this movement. The one piece that is missing is having a channel to share music with other people and subsequently helping small bands by making them more discoverable. Well, now with the release of Autoplay in Grooveshark Lite, it’s kind of like I get to be everybody’s DJ. Of course a computer scientist would write a DJing program rather than doing the manual labor of DJing.

As Professor Fishman, the best professor who ever lived, was fond of saying in our classes, a computer scientist isn’t satisfied with just using computers to put other people out of a job, they won’t settle until they manage to put themselves out of a job too. To be fair, he usually talked about that in the context of AI and specifically programming languages such as LISP, where the program can rewrite itself, but I think it applies here as well.

Now I get to be everyone’s DJ, but with everyone’s help too. If the system is currently a bad DJ, keep giving it feedback and it will learn. Imagine if you got to call up your local radio station and yell at them every time they played something you didn’t like, and congratulate them every time they played something you liked. If they didn’t block your phone number, you’d end up with the ultimate radio station for you, and that’s what Grooveshark aims to be, although we admit it will take some time to get there.

Check out Autoplay, and let me know what you think.


Grooveshark Lite updates: More music, Better Popular List

10 May

Grooveshark Lite now has more music available for listening. I don’t know if I’m allowed to disclose totals, so I’ll just discuss the delta: about 400,000 more songs than previously available, all of them very high quality (> 256kbps). We were excluding them previously due to technical limitations, but those issues have now been solved. Enjoy!

Tired of seeing the same old crap on the Grooveshark Lite popular list? Well now you don’t have to. Previously, the popular list showed only the all-time popular music which was interesting, but obviously didn’t change much over time.

Our new algorithm calculates a normalized weight based on how many times the song has been played today, how many times it was played yesterday, and the total number of plays of all songs for both of those days. Songs that have a lower normalized weight than they did yesterday are penalized slightly. The net effect is that it’s easier for new songs to get on the popular list, and songs that are gaining popularity will be pushed higher up the list than songs that are becoming less popular.

If you take a look at the list of popular songs on Grooveshark Lite, you’ll see that our users have very eclectic tastes, which makes sense since our goal is to have a bit of everything, and that’s exactly what people are listening to. You’ll find just about every genre, new music and old music on there. At the time of writing, the second song on the list is a Katamari song!


Music 1.0 is Dead

28 Feb

Music exec: “Music 1.0 is dead.”

Five hundred top members of the music business gathered today in New York to hear that “music 1.0 is dead.” Ted Cohen, a former EMI exec who used the phrase, opened the Digital Music Forum East by pleading with the industry to be wildly creative with new business models but not to “be desperate” during this transitional period.

Consider the statements that were made today without controversy:

  • DRM on purchased music is dead
  • A utility pricing model or flat-rate fee for music might be the way to go
  • Ad-supported streaming music sites like iMeem are legitimate players
  • Indie music accounts for upwards of 30 percent of music sales
  • Napster isn’t losing $70 million per quarter (and is breaking even)
  • The music business is a bastion of creativity and experimentation

Just within the last year, we’ve seen an array of experiments that include ad-supported streaming, “album cards” from labels like Sony BMG, and allowing Amazon to offer MP3s from all four majors. Some labels even allow user-generated content to make use of their music in return for a revenue share from sites like YouTube—unthinkable a few years ago to a business wedded to control over its music and marketing.

All of this bodes very, very well for Grooveshark, aside from the fact that we weren’t used as an example. We’ll soon be getting much more attention in that vein, but hopefully not until we’ve had a chance to improve the site in these areas:

  1. Differentiating between files and songs properly
  2. Faster loading times
  3. Better searching
  4. More user friendly interface
  5. Eliminate silent failure

So clearly, we have a lot of work cut out for us in a market that is on the verge of exploding, but if we can focus our resources I think we can be mostly there within a few weeks. Now to get management on board.


Grooveshark + Local Music

24 Feb

Grooveshark + Local Music = match made in heaven?

Grooveshark has the potential to serve as a real boon to local music. Yeah, we’re based out of Gainesville and small enough that right now the majority of the benefit will be seen here, but as users start using it more intensely elsewhere (which is already starting to happen), it will help local music everywhere (or at least everywhere with internet access).

Two examples:
1. I went to a show last Sunday and saw Christabel and the Jons (playlist). They are not actually local; they were just passing through, but their music was delicious. I include them as local music because they came through and played at a very small local joint on a Sunday. Their music was not available on Grooveshark previously, so I bought their CD and ripped it to my computer. Now their music is on Grooveshark, and they are making money in two ways:

  1. Royalties are now paid every time someone listens to their music on Grooveshark
  2. They get paid if someone buys their music from Grooveshark

They also get the additional benefit that I have easily been able to share their sounds with other people in Gainesville thanks to Grooveshark, so next time they come through they will get an even better turnout.

2. The Barnacles (playlist). I saw them tonight (Saturday) for the second time. Both times they have not had a CD available for purchase, presumably because they ran out and CDs are expensive to produce, leaving me as a new fan with no way to support them by purchasing a CD. Fortunately for me and for them, when I went home I saw that their music was available on Grooveshark, so I was able to purchase it anyway. Now they will get the revenue from the sale, and I get to listen to their music some more (and share it with all of you).

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MP3 Tag & File Name Editing

21 Feb

If you’re anything like me, you like to have your MP3s organized with a consistent naming scheme *and* with correct ID3 info. It just so happens that if you scan your music in to Grooveshark, it really helps to have correct ID3 info and barring that, a useful file name. If the file information is incorrect or inconsistent, Grooveshark may get confused and create a new artist, album or song even though it actually already exists in the system. This also, of course, affects your chances of getting paid/having others download from you. Chances are if your info is wrong nobody is going to buy your music.

Therefore it’s a good idea to update your song info especially if you downloaded it from, ahem, less reputable sources. Fortunately, you can do this with minimal effort with the right tools. Or rather, with the right tool. All you really need is a free program called ID3-TagIT. It hasn’t been under development for quite some time and it shows, the interface is not slick, shiny or new feeling, but it works. I walked through the process of using file names to create ID3 tags and vice-versa via photo-journal on Flickr, go check it out.

ID3-TagIT Screenshot

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Ask and ye shall receive

01 Feb

I just recently posted a Paul Dateh Video and subsequently flipped out at marketing about how awesome he is.

They pulled through and lined up an interview with him next week. He had even already heard of Grooveshark, so that’s pretty awesome. It will be really cool if we can convince him to come play in Gainesville. Either way look for a post on the Grooveshark Blog next week with the interview.

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Paul Dateh + Inka One

28 Jan

One of the cool things about working at Grooveshark is that we are constantly exposing each other to new and interesting music. Today Vishal played this for us, and we were blown away:

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