Pandora on Roku and Google TV

I’ve rediscovered Pandora. First I noticed it appear on my ROKU box. I see it’s also available on Google TV. Pandora grew out of the ‘Music Genome Project’. It’s a pretty nice way to listen to music … music you likely already have in your library intermixed with similar music that Pandora finds for you, some from artists you may not have heard of. I’d gotten in the habit of browsing ‘similar artists’ while in on Amazon.com. Pandora takes the work out of it and saves you from possible future carpal tunnel syndrome from using this serice. So with a ROKU box or Google TV hooked up to your nice stereo system, it makes for a very nice way to take the headphones off, kick back, and do something ‘offline’ like read a book or magazine. Pandora is still ‘online’ of course.

It’s not something that you actually watch, but I often do leave the TV on so I can fine tune my ‘station’ with some selective ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’. I’ve not yet done much experimentation, but I may try to do more than one station based on exactly the same artists but choose up tempo vs down tempo song selections for the 2 versions.

I started with this station based on Ceu (brazilian with some elctronica mixed in) and added some African artists I like as well. You  are welcome to ‘take a listen’ here at http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh143342416227699431

Draft Conan O’Brien for MySpace CEO

It makes a lot of sense.  MySpace could add “comedy” to it’s stable. Music, Games, and Comedy is not a bad line up. Judging from Conan’s Twitter stats after just one week, maybe having a celebrity voice to lead MySpace to it’s next incarnation is not a bad idea.

Tom ... if Conan becomes MySpace CEO

If Conan becomes the next CEO of MySpace, this will be your 1st friend.

Conan vs. Ashton twitter followers algebra problem

(a small departure from my normal blog topic … but relevant to Social Media)

In a momentary snapshot in time on Feb 25th 2010 the following  facts are observed:

  • Ashton Kutcher has 4,578, 376 followers on twitter.
  • Ashton is averaging 5 new followers per minute.
  • Conan O’Brien has 335,838 followers.
  • Conan is averaging 87 new followers per minute.

VEVO vs Playing for Change

Looking at VEVO in the 1st hour of Dec 9th, 2009 … I have these thoughts:

  • Nice quality video and excellent sound (as expected)
  • HD coming in 2010 (why not now ?)
  • Advertisements and a playlist from AT&T (a little disappointing)
  • Blog claiming that Music Videos from the major labels will be on VEVO while user generated content will be on YouTube ( What will happen to MTV? )
  • Content promoted is more of the same old “top artists”
  • Share your favorite music on Social Networks (as expected)
  • “Sign-up” link gets me “This Web page is not Available” (Ooops … or maybe 5,000 users are trying to create an account simultaneously?)
  • Me … spending hours listening to Music Videos right now because of the new service offering? (not going to happen … no compelling new content to keep me interested)
  • Me … writing a blog post about this (Of course, how could I not blog about this major launch)

Now, to put it in perspective, last week I watched a TV show on NPR about Playing for Change .

  • After the TV show, I spent hours at my computer listening to and watching the videos. Stayed up too late.
  • I posted a link on Facebook and joined the Playing for Change Fan page
  • I was thoroughly engaged with the story behind it. The “largely unknown” but very talented musicians.
  • I was not surprised to find Bono here (He seems to be everywhere … including the VEVO launch)
  • Me … wondering how it is that we have missed such great music from so many people in so many places until now.
  • Me … thinking “here is an expression of a truly inspired vision and the real power of social media to share it and make a difference “.

5 thoughts on Apple’s interest in Lala

Hearing about Apple’s interest in acquiring Lala, I have these thoughts as to why Lala is a great value to Apple.

1. The 10 cents per song music streaming price

I’ve previously posted a blog post on Lala titled ‘10 cents a song is pretty tempting‘ .  Maybe Steve Jobs read my blog post. How many times do customers not follow through with an iTune purchase because “they like the song, but maybe not enough to buy it … just yet”.  Paying 10 cents a song to essentially bookmark the song for internet streaming rights to play back, in my mind, is the unique thing Lala offers that is a very nice feature…. and one that may lead to a  further sale. Note; this #1 reason influences all the other reasons, in my mind.

2. User music interest data mining – adding the 10 cent streaming purchases to purchases gives two levels of indication of user interest. Plus the conversions of 10 cent to full mp3 purchase is yet another data point to measure.

3. Playlists – User created playlists can feed recommendation engines. What if this were channeled into crowd-sourced online radio station programming ?

4. Home Theater play ? –  I don’t hear that Apple TV has been a huge success. What if your music library (including streaming only purchases) were added to an Apple home theater system offering? That may be more attractive to consumers. Roku just added Pandora to their Roku box (which I purchased awhile back to stream Netflix movies … for free …  since I have a Netflix account).

5. Response to Google – Google’s music search addition announce October 28 2009 brings up Lala as one of several matches to searches for  music at the top of the search page. Frankly, I was expecting to hear something from Facebook as a response. Apple’s response is pretty impressive considering their dominance in the digital music already with iTunes. And with the launch of Vevo.com (powered by Youtube), maybe Apple’s Lala acquisition is a counter attack in the making.

Will Facebook respond to Google’s Oct 28 Music announcement?

I saw on Techcrunch that Google will launch a music service on October 28th that combines some services from Lala and iLike  (no details yet …).

Screenshots

Some suggested listening on Lala while you read on.

I’ve previously posted an article on Lala titled ‘10 cents a song is pretty tempting‘ . Now if Google turns that into billions of songs, this adds up to real money.  So while no details are available yet, if I were to guess, I like Lala’s player and 10 cents per song online price for purchasing rights to internet plays.  I like iLikes ticketing/concert information. All they need now is a great recommendation engine like Last.fm or Pandora (I slightly prefer Last.fm), but then Google likely has the talent in house to develop a great recommendation engine. The hard part of starting from scratch would be doing the licensing deals. Lala and iLike have that.

So will Facebook respond ? I would be very surprised if Facebook does not announce something (at least an intention) either prior to or within a week of Google’s October 28 roll out. There were rumors just a few weeks ago that Mark Zuckerberg likes Spotify . I was unable to check that music service out as it is not available in the US … probably licensing … the hard part.

If both Google and Facebook partner up with just a few of the multitude of music players out there, there will likely be some other music services that just end up fading away.  One thing is certain. Most people are pretty attached to their music. An awesome music service coupled with broad music licensing can make for some very loyal customers, perhaps even loyal enough to follow their preference with a compatible phone service.

Google Wave Amazon MP3 Bot

The features that make Google Wave most interesting as a social platform are Widgets and Robots  (bots).  The Google Wave Amazon MP3 Bot is a great example of a recently developed robot application.

What is a Wave Robot ?  A robot is an application that is invited to participate in the wave just like you would invite a person. Once added to the wave as a participant, the robot performs a particular automated task. In the case of this robot application, the Amazon MP3 Bot, auto detects the artist name that one of the other participants types in and automatically converts identifiable artists, songs and albums into Amazon MP3 product links.

Rather than embed the excellent video demos here in my blog post, I would invite you to go to the Google Wave Amazon MP3 Bot micro-site blog. Not only is there a great Vimeo  demo of the bot in action, but the author also shows how to install a robot.  As many of you do not have a wave developer account yet and can’t try it out, you will definitely want to check this site out to get a taste of how Google Wave works.

Google Wave Amazon MP3 Bot
view all Google Wave related posts

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