Category Archives: Technology

Spotify iphone app: the missing link?

The missing link?

The missing link?

Ah, so that’s how they’re going to stay in business!

Ever since I first discovered the delights of Spotify back in March I’d been wondering how they were going to generate sufficient revenue to make a success of the Swedish Streaming Sensation in the long-term. In fact, I so was doubtful that they would be able to get sufficient advertisers and subscribers on board that I began preparing myself for the sad day some time in the future when the service got turned off, or stopped being available for free.

However, yesterday the Spotify app for the iphone was released, to generally positive reviews.  The Times covered it in brief on their Tech Central blog with a link to the YouTube preview that’s been doing the rounds for a while now, and there’s a much more in depth and interesting review on the Telegraph’s site today.

The app seems to do all you would expect and more, including letting you store up to 3,333 songs on your iphone to listen to while offline, bringing it into itunes territory, and the main drawback appears to be that you have to keep it open in order to listen to music, rather than running in the background like it does on an Android phone.

The interesting thing about all this for me though, is the fact that you can’t operate the Spotify iphone app unless you have a Spotify Premium subscription.  So, although the itunes store advertises the app for free, you have to pay £9.99 a month to Spotify to be able to use it. Clever! Suddenly I can see a reason why many more people would decide to take up a subscription rather than just stream music on their computer for free.

After success in Europe Spotify have been trying to break into the US market for a while, and this iphone app/Premium subscription tie-in is clearly the missing piece of the jigsaw to make that work, and probably secure the future of the business.

I wish them all the very best, and hope that this gamble pays off. Although a gadget fan, my deliberately phone-free existence (I use my ancient Nokia as an alarm clock and very little else) has no room or purpose for an iphone, but I’d be more than happy if the enthusiasm of those hundreds of thousands of devotees worldwide guarantees that I can keep on streaming The Broken Family Band for free indefinitely.

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Twitter ye not!

What on earth is the point of Twitter?

what a bunch of absolute tweets

What a bunch of absolute tweets

I joined about a month ago, partly for research purposes for work, but mainly as a tool for spreading the word about this blog.

Despite its massive global popularity, I am really struggling to see the appeal of this social networking phenomenon.

Like most people I guess, I was initially struck by the novelty of being able to ‘follow’ celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Lily Allen, but it turns out that being a cyberstalker isn’t that much fun after all.

Indeed, despite Mr Fry’s status as the world’s biggest Twit, I left the ranks of his followers almost immediately, because he just wouldn’t shut up. I was very soon bored by his incessant bleatings about his current stint filming in Borneo, and bunging up seemingless endless batches of photos of monitor lizards whilst whinging about the mobile coverage. Not jealous, it was just dull and irritating.

The two musicians I decided to follow haven’t fared much better. Lily Allen rivals the Ever Spotted Fry Warbler for sheer volume of bletherings, which whilst sometimes amusing, tend to focus on her devouring vast quantities of food and giving treasure hunt clues to tickets she has hidden for shows on her current US tour. If I were her management or record company I might be a little nervous about what message that sends about the success of her attempt to break the US market!

Colin Meloy, lead singer and chief lyricist of The Decemberists, has been even more of a disappointment. Having recently discovered the band and being intrigued by their love of English folklore, literary lyrics and mesmirising tunes I expected great things from this Renaissance Man. Instead, he just sounds fairly charmless and rather up himself so far.

What Twitter does illustrate very clearly is how much you can learn about a person’s character and personality from just the equivalent of a text message, or at least how quickly you can be encouraged to jump to conclusions and make a snap judgement. Now you don’t get more than 140 characters to make a first impression, never mind a second chance!

What really intrigued me about all this nonsense though was a couple of weeks back when I got an email telling me that Laila K was following me on Twitter. I know nobody of that name, and so was curious about who it could be. A quick visit to my twitter account (nest?) revealed that she is the singer of UK Punk/Hip Hop Band, Sonic Boom Six, from Manchester. My first celebrity cyberstalker!

But why? The egotist in me assumed that she’d recognised me as a major force in the blogosphere and hoped I could use my impressive influence to further her career. I then realised that she was probably doing the same as I had been in trying to advertise the blog. It worked, because I ‘followed’ her back and have since been bombarded with updates about the progress (or lack of) with the release of their latest album and tour. Then last week I was notified that a band called ”The Monotones’ are following me, but they sounded far too dull to warrant further investigation.

I’m hoping that by sticking to my policy of only ‘tweeting’ when I feel the need to boost my blog readership, they will eventually get bored and stop stalking, but for now it is quite amusing to have two bands as the only non-work-related people in my merry little virtual entourage (of only eight!).

Eventually I might get the urge to explore this medium further, maybe track a few artists I’m interested in, and possibly even add a twitter feed to the blog but for now I remain largely unconvinced, and my current feelings about twitter can be summed up in this little video I found.


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