Posts from Music

Streaming The Beatles

We are enjoying the entire Beatles catalog streaming via Sonos in our vacation house this morning. That’s because the Beatles finally decided to put their music on the various streaming services and their catalog arrived today.

The Beatles did not put their music on iTunes until 2010. So it is not surprising that they took such a long time to join the streaming music world.

It is worth noting a few things.

First, you don’t need the Beatles to build a great streaming product. They are a nice to have but not a need to have. It seems that there are no “need to haves” in the world of streaming music as long as you have most of the artists. No one artist is that powerful, even the greatest artist of the pop music era.

Staying off iTunes until 2010 and streaming until 2015 may have made good business sense for the Beatles, but it was certainly not a fan friendly move. It took me all of one minute to load up their entire catalog into our Sonos queue and hit play. That is such a superior experience to loading CDs, one by one, into a CD player, or downloading each and every record from iTunes and then creating a playlist. I am not sure where the line should be drawn by an artist between maximizing profits and maximizing the fan experience. But I don’t think the Beatles drew that line correctly over the past fifteen years.

The Beatles’ music is timeless. Unlike most pop music, the Beatles’s music seems to appeal to generation after generation. We have several generations in our house this morning and everyone is totally enjoying the music.

So I’m so happy that the Beatles finally decided to join the streaming party and we are celebrating that move. But I sure wish they hadn’t taken so long.

Video Of The Week: Lin-Manuel Miranda at the White House

Last night the Gotham Gal, our daughter Jessica, and I went to see Hamilton at The Public. This is a hip hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. The writer and star of the show, Lin-Manuel Miranda, read Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, got obsessed with Hamilton, and started writing a hip hop record about him. That eventually led to the show.

But along the way, back in 2009, the White House invited Lin-Manuel to Poetry Night and he performed the opening number for the President, the First Lady, and their guests. This is the video of that night. It’s great and serves as the perfect trailer for the play, which you should try to see when it opens on Broadway this summer.

Feature Friday: Swiping Through Music

One of my favorite user experiences is the SoundCloud mobile music player.  I’ve been driving a lot this winter in LA and when I get into my car, I bluetooth my phone to it and put my phone next to my seat. I can go forward and back from song to song with the buttons on the steering wheel but I find myself swiping the phone instead because the experience is so delightful.

Here’s a video I took just now of the experience of swiping through music;

 It’s also super easy to move through the song by pressing and swiping:

 Thanks go out to The Isley Brothers and The Beastie Boys for the audio portion of this blog post. If you want to hear the whole thing, it’s my song of the day.

Video Of The Week: Making Music With Splice

I had this chat yesterday on Ethan about electronic music related companies in our portfolio:

splice chat

Which suggests to me that many people in the EDM space don’t know about Splice (a USV portfolio company).

So here’s a short (less than 2min) video that showcases two of the most important features of Splice (cloud backup and version management). Splice does a lot more than that, but those two features alone make it a must have for anyone creating electronic music.

Fun Friday: Year End Music List

Every year since I started this blog, I’ve shared my favorite music of the year with the AVC readers.

In the early years, I would post different album every day for ten days (or eleven) in the process of putting together a top ten list. I moved away from albums a few years ago because I just don’t listen that way very much anymore.

I’ve moved to SoundCloud playlists and today I’m publishing my Essential Tracks of 2014 playlist here at AVC. It’s also available On SoundCloud and everywhere that SoundCloud is available (your phone, your browser, your Sonos, etc, etc). Enjoy.

Feature Friday: SoundCloud Cards On Twitter Mobile

Yesterday afternoon I was in a meeting at our portfolio company SoundCloud and I got a Kik from Kirk who said “did you see the new SoundCloud cards running inside Twitter?”

When we had a break in our meeting, I replied and said “No, but I saw the buzz on the feature on Twitter” and then asked him to Kik me a Tweet I could look at on my phone.

He kik’d me this one and I played it on my phone from inside Twitter (open that link on your phone in Twitter if you want to see it in action).

The really cool thing about this new card is you can minimize the SoundCloud card (like you can minimize a video on YouTube) and then keep listening to the music while you move away from the tweet.

That’s a big deal because most SoundCloud tracks are 2-5mins long and you wouldn’t want to keep that tweet open on your phone for 2-5mins if you could avoid doing that just to hear the entire track.

Apparently this feature (called Twitter Audio) will be available to other audio partners. This is a great move for Twitter and a great thing for SoundCloud and other audio companies too.