Saturday, March 21, 2009

Streaming services considered

I've been exploring various streaming services lately as a way to stream music on my site. The coolest by far is Yahoo's, which allows you to post an MP3 with a player to it, so that people can listen to the track and then download it if they want. Sole Sides uses this, and it is simple and elegant. The problem is that you have to host the music, which means paying for storage and bandwith etc.

I've been using Imeem's service for a while, and that works ok. The problem is, in an effort to have their site actually make, you know, money, they are making it more and more fugly and cumbersome, with more and more ads. That makes the site sluggish and annoying to navigate, and the embedded players end up with ads. Then again, I don't have to pay to host or play the music, and in general you can play entire versions. As far as I know, you can only upload tracks to Imeem on a song-by-song basis, which makes it tough to upload a lot. I could be wrong though. I'm not the most technologically advanced man on earth.

I've discovered Lala recently, which is another streaming service. They will let you listen to every song exactly once, and then allow you to download it for 90 cents, or buy a streaming copy of it for ten cents. If you post songs to your site, they only play thirty seconds, which is sort of a bummer. The awesome thing about Lala, and what I'm excited about, is that you can upload your entire music library onto the site, and then stream it from anywhere. This means that you can upload your music from your home computer and then listen to it at work, or store your library on one computer and stream it from the rest of the computers in your home. One negative is that it can take forever for your songs to upload, so be careful where and when you do it.

Then there is Pandora, which is a streaming radio station that lets you customize your playlist. I have a ton, including an MF DOOM playlist, a 13th Floor Elevators playlist, a Leadbelly playlist, a Johnny Cash playlist, and an 80s hardcore playlist. Pandora is great for discovering more about genres you like, and I've been exposed to a few new artists through it.

Finally, there is the behemoth known as YouTube. While not officially a site to stream music, a lot of people post static 'videos' with songs. The labels are cracking down on this, and at least one of the labels has pulled their music from YouTube completely. I use YouTube to find live footage of bands and old videos.

Coolfer has a great article about the downside of streaming services,
namely that people are streaming songs rather than actually buying them. I can say from my own personal experience that there is some truth to this. I love Beyonce's "Single Ladies," and in a pre-internet world I may have bought the single, cassingle, or even the entire album for that song. Instead, I've gotten my fill of it from streaming it online. In a lot of ways, I think the internet has cut down on my consumption of music I was merely curious about, rather than really into. It used to be that I'd have to dig through the bins at Amoeba or Streetlight to find artists I was interested in hearing. Now I can create a Pandora station and decide if I really want to invest ten or fifteen bucks in them. The downside is that record stores aren't getting my money, but the upside is that I'm left with far less crap in my record collection. A lot of the albums that sold so much at the height of the record industry was disposable garbage like Backstreet Boys, stuff that had the shelf-life of organic lettuce. Ten years ago we would have had to plop down 18 bucks to hear the latest pop single; nowadays we can stream it for free until we are sick of it, ten plays later.

1 comment:

RAM said...

I have a bit of a social media addiction and I was so happy to find It lets me use my music playlists on all my profiles even my music blog. As an independent artist I look for any way possible to promote my music and this site is amazing and offers a great artist profile section. Unlike many of the sites, http://www.hypster,com is comletely free!

Create a music playlist

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