“The times they are a-changin,” Bob Dylan once sang through a nasal drawl. And you only have to look at princess of pop Taylor Swift’s recent spat with streaming service Spotify to see how this has panned out in 2014. So as Swift leaves streaming services standing forlorn at the altar in a bid to take her catalogue back under her own control, is the relationship looking any rosier for tech and music in general?
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Streaming certainly isn’t going anywhere despite Swift’s noble efforts to remove herself from the playing field. In the UK, about 7.4 billion tracks were streamed on audio services in 2013, twice the total recorded in 2012. And it goes much further than playlists and Best Ofs; Smartphone app Shazam and Spotify went head to head predicting this year’s Grammy Award winners through looking at the global plays of each artist and their tags.
It’s not surprising then that developers are now taking the reins and leading in design, offering up even more innovative ways to use the platforms and their streaming resources. Speaking at Dublin’s Web Summit earlier this month, Spotify and Echo Nest’s Paul Lamere spoke around how, more often than not, developers are looking to build products based on feedback from the industry. And, lucky for us, Lamere had a whole bag full of tricks for everyone to play with.
Here are the top three you should definitely give a whirl:
It’s finally your turn to step up to the DJ booth at the party and boy, are you ready. Records in tow, you slink through the crowds with a knowing smile. You’ve really honed your track selection this time. Nothing can stop you.
Well, what if you could only prolong elongate that feeling? Keep a room of party-goers pumped to the early hours of the morn with one of your plastic classics? The Infinite Jukebox has the ability to extend your favourite song by dynamically mixing it to create a never-ending track. Not sure how that might work? You can give this Katy Perry track a spin in all its never-ending glory just here.
Image Credit: ajchen.com
Drummers might be the butt of a large proportion of rock and roll jibes but there’s no denying that beating the skins out of your kit in a sold-out stadium wouldn’t be something of a thrillride. And you know, sometimes when I’m listening to the more folkloric twang of say Mumford and Sons or the twindie strings of The Postal Service, that’s exactly what I want. A bit more rhythm, a bit more beat, a bit more Bonham.
Thankfully, Lamere unveiled this tool where you can sling in the background beats of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham to any given track and all from the comfort of your own home. No need for sweaty rehearsal spaces or jam packed tour buses here. Bedroom jamming is so 2015.
Spoiler alert: This final one is a bit of a time suck. Essentially, Girl Talk in a Box sets you up as the next Mark Ronson, lining up your BPMs and producing personal twists on your favourite tracks. Upload your track and use the controls listed below while a song is playing to take control – speeding it up, slowing it down and skipping beats galore.
Mouse click – Start playing from the clicked beat
Space – Start and stop playing the song
Arrows – Control song cursor velocity
w/a/s/d – Move the song cursor
<>?;' – Controls the beat period
b – Toggle between beats and tatums
shift+key – Bookmark a beat
[/] – Set loop points
So while some haters gonna hate the streaming platform (we’re looking at you, Swift), Spotify’s clearly got an eye on the evolution of music as we know it, offering up an interactive experience for any level of music maker out there.
Where do you think tech and music come together in a happy medium? And what other hacks would you like to see the team at Spotify pulling together for the New Year? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.
Next week we’ll be chatting through The Internet of Things and Tony Fadell’s appearance at the Web Summit. Sign up to our email list to make sure you don’t miss out.