Tag Archives: music

How I Coloured My Life with Live Music

Some years ago now I used to live in suburbia and work in the city, 1.5 hours each way door to door 15 hours of my life a week taken up by moving my flesh and bones to another location.

Not only was this a waste of my time, but sitting idly reading thru the newspaper on the way home I would see gig listings for gigs that were due to imminently start and I was already heading in the wrong direction from. I’ve since made a point of filling my evenings with live music and here’s how I achieve it.

Automatically Find Gigs

I scrobble all the tracks I listen to, from my phone, my home stereo system, everything, to Last.fm http://www.last.fm/user/mikedixson
This means that my Last.fm data is a pretty complete picture of my musical tastes.

I use the Songkick application on my smartphone to scan my Last.fm profile for artists to track. Song kick then keeps an eye out for gigs posted by artists I like and alerts me on my phone when a new gig is posted.
I’ve also got BandsInTown installed, but this doesn’t seem to let me know about as many gigs as Songkick does.

Money’s not a problem

If I hear about a gig within the first couple of weeks after pay day I’ll usually just book the ticket. But towards the end of the month, like most of you, money’s a little tighter. So what I do is whenever I see a gig that I want to go to I set myself a reminder using Google Now or Google Keep to go off on my next pay day.

That way, come pay day I buy a load of tickets to gigs and set up my coming months.

Size might be everything

I like a lot of small bands that I’ve discovered by going to small/medium size festivals and listening to less mainstream radio like BBC 6 Music.

As a result a lot of the tickets I buy are between £5-£15 a ticket. Much better than shelling out £60-£100 on one gig.

Ticket to ride

A lot of my tickets nowadays are bought thru the Dice app or thru Songkick themselves.
Both of these resellers allow for digital only tickets and no fees!

This keep the price down, and saves me having to hunt around in ‘safe places’ for tickets for gigs that I’ve booked 6 months ago.

Dice app also has a pretty nice interface to just go scrolling thru looking for other gigs that you might not have otherwise known about and then buy tickets for them too.

Weekend Project: Battery Powered Sonos Play:1

Following this video guide and the step up booster converter from ebay below I’m going to make a Sonos Play:1 battery powered so I can enjoy some lovely music on the balcony over the summer.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/XL6009-DC-DC-Voltage-Step-Up-Boost-Converter-replace-LM2577-3-32v-input-UK-Fast-/400858208676

Where have you gone digital music?

I love Spotify as a service. I use it all the time and love being able to find and listen to new music as soon as its out.
However whilst trying to play the latest Ben Folds Five album to a friend whilst telling him how good it was I found that it was no longer available. This was an album I had listened to numerous time in Spotify, so I was available, and now it was gone.
A bit of a search online and I found that it’s only available in the US.
I don’t know why Sony have decided to do this. But even looking to by the album now on Google Play music store it’s not available.

I could understand if they’d made it available to a particular digital music provider for a exclusive limited period, that makes great sense for the  music service. However to have it available on a broad range of platforms and then pull it like going backwards.

Come on music industry, get with the times. You make me want to pirate music I was happily paying for before!

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SOPA and PIPA Alternatives

SOPA and PIPA seek to prevent and punish piracy thru law and technical obstruction. Piracy, is wrong, most of us have pirated something in our time, even if it was copying a friends cassette or cd so you could have a copy of an album your mate owns, in our hearts we all know we’re being a little bit naughty when we do it.

Here’s the thing, the music and film industry don’t care too much if you are recording a film off TV at home that they own the rights too, or record a copy of a song off the radio. It’s small scale, it’s not really affecting their bottom line.
They care when it starts to make their fat wallets thinner and makes them look inaffective at protecting their intellectual properly.

However the gist of it is that as long as the amount of legal plays/buys of a song/movie Vs the amount of pirated copies of a song or movie is in their favour and keeps their wallets fat they won’t really give a rats arse.

So why not embrace the new digital landscape, why not make music and movies so easy to get and reasonably priced that piracy seems like idiocy?
Since buying a Spotify premium account subscription I’ve been lovingly listening to more new albums than I ever did before. I’ve been able to share these tracks via Spotify to friends and colleagues, and instead of a radio playing in the office now we have Spotify playing with a collaborative playlist that we all add tracks to. We have our own, very eclectic, radio station thru Spotify and it’s exposing colleagues to new tracks continually.

With the recent launch of Netflix in the UK, I’ve watched films and tv series, old and new, much of which is shared on my Facebook timeline and I’ve recommended films, and Netflix to friends.

So why is the film and music industry trying to make it so hard for me to get a hold of the product that they want me to have. Just make it easy and cheap enough and we’ll take the deal.

The downside to this streaming, legitimate consumption of movies and music is that some labels and/or artists choose not to release their product this way, and some major labels release their latest products.
I look forward to watching Netflix deal grow in the UK so their provision grows, and I look forward to being able to get hold of the latest albums immediately on Spotify.
Why record, movie companies and artists feel the need to be so prohibitive and restrictive in this I don’t know. They seem to be scared of technology.

The message is simple, make the gatorade taste nice and we’ll gladly gulp it down.