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