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It’s the End of The Road…

The End of The Road Festival, that is.

This time tomorrow I’ll be there, and I have to say I am more than a little excited and very much looking forward to it. I’m a little ashamed to say that this will be my first proper music festival, but by all accounts I couldn’t have chosen a better one to start off with. The EOTR festival, which takes place at Larmer Tree Gardens in North Dorset from Friday to Sunday is only in its fourth year, but is apparently THE festival for REAL music lovers. It began with a few friends who decided they wanted to put on a festival featuring their favourite bands, and they have a very refreshing view of how a festival should be.

It’s also very small, with a maximum capacity of 5,000 (though it is totally sold out) and is jam-packed with a quirky assortment of indie folk, and Americana bands. So, in essence, absolutely my cup of tea.

I’m particularly excited that I’ll finally be seeing one of my very favourite bands, The Hold Steady, play live for the first time, and there are several other ‘must-see’ slots on my schedule, such as The Broken Family Band, The Low Anthem, The Duke & The King, Fleet Foxes and Vetiver. Having known the line-up for some time, I’ve also had the chance to research some of the more unfamiliar names on Spotify, so I will also be checking out Joe Gideon and the Shark, Explosions in the Sky, Shearwater, Neko Case and Dirty Projectors.

As a regular punter, rather than a gadget-packing journalist I have no intention of doing any live blogging from the festival, tweeting or any of that malarkey. However, I will be taking my trusty moleskine notebook for writing reviews and notes and will report back on what should be a fantastic weekend.


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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