Posts from April 2007

FoxyTunes Planet & TwittyTunes

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This is a long overdue post, but better late than never. I’ve had the FoxyTunes extension in my Firefox browser for something like a year and a half. It’s also available for Internet Explorer. The one feature that got me to install it was a music player control in the browser (iTunes to start, a bunch more are supported now). FoxyTunes allows me to pause, skip, play, etc in the bottom pane of my browser. Unfortunately they don’t yet support rhapsody and last.fm on OSX and they don’t support the Hype Machine at all).

I always thought that FoxyTunes ought to do more with it’s place in my music listening experience. Well they sure have. First, they rolled out a web service called FoxyTunes Planet which is like Wikipedia for music. The UI for FoxyTunes Planet seems very inspired by Netvibes, with its boxes that you can create and move around. Here’s what FoxyTunes Planet looks like for the Arctic Monkeys:

505

I didn’t do anything to customize that page. One it are 505 videos on YouTube, lyrics, photos from Flickr, similar artists from last.fm, Arctic Monkeys radio from Pandora, Arctic Monkeys results from The HypeMachine, Arctic Monkeys music from Rhapspdy, Amazon, and Google results. Wow. That’s basically my universe of web music services. All neatly packaged on the fly by FoxyTunes. And available in one click from the player at the bottom of the browswer.

You can also tag anything in delicious, blog anything, share on Facebook, with one click in FoxyTunes Planet. The whole service has been optimized for social media.

But recently they launched one more thing that Ethan turned me on to this weekend. If you add the TwittyTunes extension to your browser, you can in one click send a message to Twitter telling everyone what you are listening to with a link back to that song’s or artist’s page in FoxyTunes Planet. Here’s my Twitter profile and you can see that I’ve done that three times in the past twelve hours.

Here’s the entire UI for the FoxyTunes extension, with the TwittyTunes button at the far right:

Twittytunesonstatusbar

So FoxyTunes is now way more than a simple music player control in the bottom of my browser. They are a music discovery service with an quick and easy link to Twitter. Very cool.

One thing that’s becoming very clear with all these great music 2.0 services is that they are starting to connect to each other and the rest of the web in some very interesting ways. It’s now possible to stitch together your own "music 2.0" experience and FoxyTunes is a great way to do exactly that.

#My Music#VC & Technology

ShackZaster

Huge line at the shake shack. We waited 90 mins in line to order

The computers crashed. They were taking orders by hand

Line stopped moving

And yet nobody left

That’s the power of a shack burger in the park

#NYC

Because Of The Times

B000mra3nu01_sclzzzzzzz_v42452090_aI am digging the new Kings of Leon record, called Because Of The Times.

I’ve added it to my In Heavy Rotation widget on the left sidebar.

I posted a Kings Of Leon track that didn’t make it on the record a couple weeks ago. At that time, I wasn’t so enamored of the new record. I am now.

They are what you’d get if you combined Pearl Jam with My Morning Jacket. Awesome stuff.

Here’s a live performance of the song On Call last month on Letterman:

#My Music

Broadcasting Your Status


  ilustra-respondendo 
  Originally uploaded by FelipeArte.

The thing I love most about the era of web services we are in is that no web service/company owns the entire stack. As massive as Google is, they only “own” one, maybe two, layers of the value chain (search and CPC ad services). They may be on their way to owning a few more. Maps certainly comes to mind. And with the purchase of YouTube, they certainly own my web video platform of choice.

But the web value chain is huge and there are so many important services out there. Want a marketplace? There’s eBay. Want hosted storage, bandwith, and servers? There’s Amazon. Want knowledge? There’s wikipedia. Want classifieds? There’s craigslist. Want photos? Flickr and Photobucket and Slide. Want bookmarks? There’s delicious. Want feeds? There’s FeedBurner. Want social networks? MySpace and Facebook.  I could go on and on but I’ll spare you.

And because of open APIs, feeds, and mashups, users and developers can mix and match these services together to create a better web experience for everyone. These services and many others combine to create the infrastructure of the Internet.

After using Twitter for the better part of the past month, I think it is going to join that list if they haven’t already. What exact role is Twitter going to play?  It will be the status broadcasting system of the Internet.

I don’t change my away message on my instant messaging client very often. When I am away, I’m not there to do it. But if I can send a text message to Twitter and it just happens, I’ll do that.

I don’t change my avatar’s audio as much as I’d like. But if I can send a text message to Twitter and it just happens via text to voice, I’ll do that.

I don’t consume local services very often on my phone because it’s a hassle to log in and tell them where I am. But if I could just send a text message to Twitter with my location and information starts coming to me on my phone, I’ll do that.

If all these things happen because of one text message I sent to Twitter, that’s fantastic.

Like many of the services on that list above, Twitter doesn’t try to do too much. It’s a place on the web where I can broadcast my status (whatever that means to me). But I can do that via the web, SMS, and IM. And I can subscribe to other users’ status via the same three messaging systems. And it’s all open because anyone’s status is a feed.

Someone said to me today that Twitter is a "SMS to feed platform". I think it’s a bit more than that, but like all great web services, the people who built it reduced Twitter to its simplest usable form and let the users decide what to do with it.

I am primarily using it to update my “status box” on my left sidebar using text messaging on my phone. Others prefer SMS in/SMS out, web in/SMS out, IM in/web out, SMS in/RSS out. Or combos of these modes. It doesn’t matter.

Twitter is a simple but flexible status broadcasting system. The web doesn’t have one yet and so Twitter is going to be it.

POSTSCRIPT: When I sent this post in draft form to Andrew, he replied, "yes, but …" He thinks Twitter can be even more, possibly replacing text messaging as the dominant form of mobile messaging. I have to dig into that a bit. When I do, I’ll blog my thoughts and Andrew’s in a follow on post.

#VC & Technology

This Is Not Right

On March 2, 2007 the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which oversees
sound recording royalties paid by Internet radio services, increased
Internet radio’s royalty burden between 300 and 1200 percent and
thereby jeopardized the industry’s future.  I posted my thoughts on the increase at that time. 

The CRB
ignored the fact that Internet radio royalties were already double what
satellite radio pays, and multiplied the royalties even further.  The
2005 royalty rate was 7/100 of a penny per song streamed; the 2010 rate
will be 19/100 of a penny per song streamed. 

By what logic should a webcaster pay double or triple what satellite or terrestrial radio pays? This is nuts. I love Internet radio. I listen all the time. We’ve done a lot of work on monetizing streaming audio in the past six months and I believe that there’s a good business in Internet Radio, but not at these rates.

But to me the fundamental issue is that our government is giving "over the air" and satellite broadcasters an unfair advantage over internet broadcasters. That is not right.

I’ve joined the Save Net Radio coalition and sent my congressional representative a piece of my mind. I’ve added their badge to my house ads on the right hand side of this blog. I’ll glady do more if anyone has any good ideas. I’m pissed about this.

SaveNetRadio.org

#My Music#VC & Technology

Looking For A Killer Information Architect

Our portfolio company, Oddcast, is at the cutting edge of social media with their talking animated avatars that allow people to express themselves virtually on the web. They are seeking an information architect to help them take their products and technology to the next level. The job is in New York City and they are willing to do a relocation for the right candidate.

As Adi Sideman, Oddcast’s CEO puts it,

…the position requires strong technical background, yet its a multi-disciplinary position of sorts, not only leading the product development, but working with the CEO and the business managers to shape new consumer products and features, the community structure and the revenue infrastructure…
 
…Its to be in the eye of the storm of developing the next generation Social Media Technology…

Here’s the job spec in case you want a more detailed description of the job:

The position is a critical and key role in the company, driving product from the early conceptual stages through development, launch and ongoing feature enhancements and associated new consumer products.  The product allows consumers to express themselves through avatars within social environments.

Responsibilities include:
·        Responsible for creating product specifications

·        Lead product development working closely with the engineering team

·        Create product marketing schemes, viral features

·        Integrate CRM, Reporting and analytics tools

·        Review, analyze and incorporate customer/market requirements.

About the Candidate:

Experience in writing technical product specifications, a must.
Experience in information architecture, product management or product development required.
Background in development of state of the art internet applications critical.
Must have detailed knowledge of internet & graphics applications
Strong technical background including an Engineering degree or the equivalent.
Experience working in Media on Consumer products is a plus.

Company Contact Info:
Please send resume to Oddcast along with cover letter including salary requirements.

#Listings#VC & Technology