It was quite a shock to me when I actually took some time to see how Spotify looked and played on a smart phone when using the free service. It's awful.
First of all you can't play an album or playlist in order. The only option is to shuffle the tracks. The individual songs are grayed out so you can't tap on a specific song you want to hear.
The music is then interrupted by commercials which totally ruins the experience of listening to an album. And it's a bit jarring if you're deep into the experience of an album. Really, Dark Side Of The Moon with ads interspersed is dreadful.
Then there's the lesser quality of sound. The free service stream is noticeably worse.
Finally, you can't download songs onto your phone for off-line listening with the free version. This is not only useful when you're out in the boonies with now internet but saves you from eating up monthly data usage. Being able to create a playlist of 10 albums or so that I can listen to throughout the week in my car without worry of hitting my data cap is gratifying.
The $10 monthly subscription seems a pittance after finding out the realities of the inferior free Spotify.
In a move that clearly marks a change in the meaning of the term radio, the country of Norway has declared that it will shut down the FM radio band in January, 2017. Here's the story form the BBC, FM radio switch-off looms in Norway.
Are you still listening to the "radio" if it's on the internet? Does this signal the inevitable end of the FM band worldwide? Probably not. Norway and many countries in Europe have been gradually moving stations to a digital band, something that hasn't happened here in the United States. It's akin to the move of TV stations from analog to digital when the U.S. shut down the UHF and VHF bands about 10 years ago.
Still, the National Association of Broadcasters here in America must have raised a concerned eye when Norway announced the decision. With more and more people "tuning in" to "radio" via the internet and satellite one wonders if the audience on the FM band, and AM for that matter, will decrease so significantly that such a move would make sense here? Could those bands be better used in another capacity?
I find the prospect unlikely. At least not in the foreseeable future. But turning off the FM band in Norway surely does show how different "radio" is becoming.
It's Rock Hall week here in Cleveland with the ultimate event, the induction ceremony, taking place tomorrow night at Public Hall. I was able to score a single ticket. Never could get a hold of a pair. Word is they go for big bucks on eBay too.
It's cool though. I'll be there with my kind of people. Those that love music. The biggest thrill of the night will be seeing Paul McCartney induct his old band mate, Ringo Starr, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The two remaining Beatles, undoubtedly performing together, in the same building they played on their first American tour back in 1964.
The actual inductee list isn't exactly what I wished for. No Kraftwerk and no Smiths left me disappointed, but I wouldn't miss this event. The line up of guest artists makes up for it. Presenters include Stevie Wonder, Patti Smith, Peter Wolf, Fall Out Boy, John Mayer, Steve Cropper, and Miley Cyrus. Hopefully they'll all play or sing at some point.
The list of scheduled performers goes like this; Zac Brown, Karen O, Nate Ruess, Beck, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, Tom Morello, John Legend, and Jimmie Vaughan. There's rumors of Springsteen showing up as well.
Tonight, as part of Rock Hall week, a group of local musicians, many of them personal friends including Chris Allen, Tom Prebish, Austin Walking Cane, Chris Hanna and Freddie Perez, will be performing in the smaller room at The Music Box. The sold out show will feature local guest singers joining the band to play a song by an artist in the Rock Hall. Some of these vocalists include Michael Stanley, Becky Boyd, John Petkovic, and Laurie Caner.
Since so many of Rock's elite are in town for the induction the dream scenario goes like this. Michael Stanley's performing so his old friend Joe Walsh will show up. Joe will bring his brother-in-law, Ringo, along with him. Joe married Barbara Bach's sister. And since Ringo's going he'll ask McCartney to come along too. Obviously they'll all want to join in the fun on stage.
So if anyone reading this has any clout see if you can help pull this off. It's the kind of thing that would make for good copy in the Random Notes section of Rolling Stone.
I came up with a mission statement for my life about 20 years ago. It goes like this, "to enrich people's lives through the sharing of music".
In my 9 to 5 world I live it by designing and selling music and video systems in people's homes for K+ Integration Systems. I have a mobile DJ business which certainly affords me the opportunity to practice it. Then there's my internet presence through this blog and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr where I share music discovery on a regular basis.
It's a good life and especially gratifying when I'm acknowledged for it. That's what happened on Monday's Sound of Ideas morning talk show on Cleveland public radio station WCPN.
Host Mike McIntyre, who also writes for the Plain Dealer, was conducting a round table discussion on the state of music here in Cleveland as part of a focus on Rock Hall induction week. The guests included John Gorman, former program director at WMMS in its heyday and now of oWOW Radio, Cindy Barber, co-owner of the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, Barry Gabel of Belkin Productions/Live Nation, and Lauren Onkey, V.P. of Education at the Rock Hall.
Gabel brought up the need for music tastemakers in Cleveland, saying they are far and few between, mentioning Kid Leo and Billy Bass, two former WMMS DJs, and their influence when they were excited about a record. McIntyre then says this, "I have a friend, his name's John Hannibal, and he tells me everything.". Gorman chimes in with "John does" and then McIntyre continues, "John knows. Suddenly he'll tell you a band and you say I've never heard of them before and before you know it my wife thinks I'm smart because I'm turning her onto some new music." The subject ends when Gabel agrees, "that's what's missing".
Well, I'm here to tell you it's not missing. Here I am. I don't dig deep into the underground. I look for what's just about to bubble up and if I think it's good I want to tell everyone about it. I have no time for criticism either. Why waste yours or my time telling you about how bad an album is. My focus is on the good and great.
I'm much obliged to Mike McIntyre and John Gorman who recognize me as a music taste maker. It gives me credibility and a feeling of accomplishment.
Last week Cool Cleveland published their list of festivals taking place in northeast Ohio this year. The festival season is synonymous with summer or, at least, warmer weather and with temps approaching 70 today isn't that what we all have on our minds?