Thoughts on Music

Shame The Thieves or Fix the Music Model

David Lowery wrote a piece on how downloading music is hurting musicians (which is a response to Emily White's piece on admitting to not buying music). Here is my response.

Music is a really interesting "product," especially when distributed digitally for $0.001 cents per download (that's my snarky guess at the production costs of a download: bandwidth, storage, etc). The real production costs are for the time put in by the artist, studio fees, and creativity. Besides the creativity part, that formula sounds a little bit like the FDA drug market, right? It costs about $0.001 cents to manufacture a pill so the hefty price tag goes to recoup the money spent on drug research. Or does it? Pharmaceuticals is a messed up industry...

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Music Everywhere: Amazon Cloud Player

A few services have been popping up lately that let you stream music from any computer or device (the so called "cloud"). Amazon just released theirs, uncreatively named Cloud Player.

I'm pretty excited about this one because it's the first I've seen to actually offer sane, reasonable pricing ...

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Using Dropbox As A Worm Hole To All My Computer Worlds

Dropbox has nailed a use case that I've struggled with for a long time. I have a computer at work. I have a computer at home. Generally I keep files in sync via version control (Subversion, Mercurial, etc) but this is cumbersome for large files, specifically mp3 files. I consume a lot of music, digital and otherwise. How do I keep my music in sync between computers? ...

read article A portable record player for the Internet

I'm very pleased to announce a website I just launched:

I'm calling it "a portable record player for the Internet" because I'm a record collector myself and listening to as much music as possible has been the best way to expand my collection. Yep, I'm one of those guys who goes to record conventions and brings a portable record player.

There are a few places to find used vinyl online — since 161,783 records are for sale on eBay right now, I'd say the Internet is a good venue. The problem is that you can't always listen to a record before you buy it and it's impossible to find great music by name alone when there is so much to choose from. I'm hoping to change all that with this site.

As you can see, it's still in very experimental stages and leaves a lot to be desired. eBay is the only marketplace supported so far but I plan to integrate Music Stack next. If anyone knows of another marketplace, please let me know. Also, if you have a friend who buys records then please send on the link (I'm interested to hear feedback from record buyers).

It took me about 6 months to get the data in order (doing all this in my spare time) so it is very exciting to be able to release an actual site now. The data pipeline is home-grown ETL and uses the eBay API + the super speedy and tolerant lxml.html (contrib by Ian Bicking), the excellent SQLAlchemy, and other tools. As I take the data pipeline to the next level I really hope to start using the very cool SnapLogic ETL framework for Python.

On the UI side this has been my first chance to really dive into Dojo. I like Dojo because it takes semantic HTML seriously, namespacing seriously, unit testing seriously, and object oriented JS seriously. It's a bit monolithic and I still haven't figured out how to build a custom minified version but so far I like it. Also, I really wish the Dojo API reference was more comprehensive. On the backend UI side, I'm using Pylons since I like how well it integrates with 3rd party Python libs. I don't like some of the magic it inherited from Rails but that is pretty easy to work around. Oh, I almost forgot to mention SoundManager 2, the ultimate javascript/flash mp3 player.

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