Google Chrome, Hamfatter and iTunes 8 - Genius

The problem with my self-enforced educational regime is that I'm sitting quietly, watching things go by, the scale of which would usually have me blogging relentlessly. So I'm allowing myself an evening's reprieve.

There's much to discuss, from Google Chrome to iTunes 8 (Genius Edition?) or Peter Jones fattening the suckling pig on Dragon's Den and the surprise of listening to MC Hammer on the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast and being, seriously, seriously impressed.

In the background Mazzy Star are drifting around my head through my little KRK RP5s now mounted sturdily on opposites sides of the acoustic foam behind my desk - Into Dust has never sounded so wonderful.

I'm a little miffed that Google didn't get the Mac and Linux versions of Chrome out at the same time as the Windows release but it's understandable from the business perspective. There's no confusion over who they are targeting, what market they want.

Isn't it funny that we complained so much when Internet Explorer 4 came out and was so heavily integrated with Windows 98 that we couldn't look in any direction without seeing the Microsoft colours? - yet, ten years from the birth of Google and now that Chrome has been released no one (that I've noticed) has commented on the clear parallels with Google Apps (particularly Google Docs, Gears and Desktop) and that momentous event all those years ago.

All that Google have done is flipped the paradigm on its head and their colours are nearly the same - and of course the broadband network access that the active desktop really needed is now in place. If you haven't considered how and where things are moving, think about how many folk out there now have a Netbook - a PC for which local storage is a secondary concern? .. I'm on my second... it's moving to the cloud at a rate of knots and I hope you're ready for the next step in the revolution. First impressions of Chrome are good, really really good. Down to the simplest things - such as ditching the "File, Edit.. " menu bar.. so obvious and very good.

My reason for mentioning Dragon's Den is the investment that Peter Jones made in the band Hamfatter and the flak that Hamfatter have since been getting in the music press for their approach to getting the band on the move, making that big step. It appalls me, the red mist descends and I want to set fire to the jaded music journalists, who are bored and scrabbling around in the stinking wastelands following Emo, for giving grief to a bunch of guys who have had a great idea, gone with it and it's only bloody worked. Perhaps it's just their own frustration, knowing that it can never be done again? - at least not on Dragon's Den anyway.

Thing is, it's not even an original idea in the music business anyway. Hamfatter may not know (despite having a strong Irish connection) that an Irish band did a very similar thing several years back, their name escapes me (not a good sign) and perhaps Liam or Kev P will know it. They sold off shares in the business of their band to a group of investors (mostly friends and family) against future earnings. It'll come to me, I'll update the post..they had a girl singer and I think sold a tune for use on an American TV show..

Anyway, I for one wish Hamfatter the best of luck. Their music ain't bad at all by the way. Have a listen to "Sziget (We get wrecked)", it's a great tune.

I should also shout out to Alex by the way - it's a stunning coincidence that him searching for left handed guitars ended up with us getting in touch after all these years on the very day that Hamfatter appeared on the den. Just excellent.

With Hamfatter's entrepreneurial success, I'm brought to the Standford ETL podcast and "Music Artists go Entrepreneurial" (what a terrible choice of name) - this was a panel based discussion presented by Tony Perkins and featuring some Hip Hop royalty including Quincy Jones III and MC Hammer. The discussion basically shifts around the impact of the Internet on the music business, obviously with an emphasis on Hip Hop and the panel members talking about how they have adapted to the changing music markets, the shift from distributed hard media to digital soft media and the wealth of new opportunities that are out there such as MC Hammer's DanceJam. It's an uplifting and inspiring 60 minutes - and in places, very funny - there's some good banter going on. I highly recommend it.

Last but not least in this high speed blog that I'm not going to bother editing is iTunes 8 (press release).. I've just downloaded it having watched Steve giving his keynote speech and liking what I've seen.

Central to the new release is Genius - basically an auto-playlisting function which uses your library, your ratings and song selections and others' libraries, ratings and choices to determine what should go into each auto-generated list. The seed for each list being based on a song selection. I can say straight off that Genius appears to work very well - admittedly I chose a tune that I suspected it would work well *from* - but I was still impressed with the results. A 25 song list where just about everything was acceptable - although following a track by My Chemical Romance with The Fray was a bit weird, maybe even disturbing.

I'll try picking a track from my own "The Void Which Binds EP" (iTunes link.. shameless) tomorrow to see how it fares.. right now it's time for bed.. hah, big content sigh - it's good to write, I can't wait to get my postgrad modules finished so that I can get my evenings and weekends back for music and writing. So much time and so little to do. Strike that. Reverse it.

:) chilly.


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