Friday, October 27, 2006

New (to me) music apps

Have stumbled across a clutch of new (to me) music apps over the last week or so, which all interface with iTunes in some way to extend your relationship with your music. Here's a quick round-up:

earFeeder - Neat little web app which scans your music library and creates a personalised RSS feed to alert you to artist news, release info and gig tickets. Unfortunately there's no regionalisation so all of the tempting gigs are in the States. Cool name though.

iLike - music discovery app which analyses your listening (and that of your iLike friends) via an iTunes plugin in order to recommend a mixture of established artists (with links to buy from iTunes Music Store) and new artists (with links to free downloads from iLike's parent service Hasn't persauded me to download any MP3 from unsigned bands yet but early days...

djay - Mac only app which automatically pulls in your iTunes music library and invites you to drag two tracks on to virtual decks and mix them in realtime. In addition to 5-band equalizers and tempo/pitch sliders you can set cue points and add audio effects. You can even scratch the virtual vinyl should you want to take it 'old skool'. Once you're happy with your mix you can record it or transmit it in real-time over the Bonjour network to other connected djays. Won't satisfy pro djays but pretty good value for free.

- Mac (Tiger) only app which analyses the BPM and beat intensity of the music in your iTunes library (excluding tracks purchased from iTMS due to DRM) to create playlists of a consistent tempo. Great for parties or, as the Potion Factory blog suggests, maintaining pace when using the Nike + iPod Sport Kit.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nike + iPod Flickr group

Pleased to see that the Nike + iPod Group I set up on Flickr is starting to take off. It's now got 39 members and a few virtual race meetings have been organised (latest race: the ambitiously titled The fastest human alive!). The group map shows members from Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, Los Angeles, London and Spain - a truly international running club!

It's interesting to note how Flickr is filling in the gaps created by the shortcomings of the official Nike+ site, which offers only very basic community features. This feels indicative of a broader trend on the web, borne of a culture of mash ups and APIs, to harness the functionality of one site or service to address the deficiencies of another. Rather than lobby Nike to improve its community features, users are simply appropriating the functionality they need from elsewhere. Will be interesting to see whether Nike clock this and how they respond. Will they be keen to bring the community activity around Nike+ back onto their own site or will they see a benefit in allowing it to be dispersed on third-party sites?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Share PowerPoint presentations online

Intriguing new Web 2.0 site for sharing presentation slideshows,, went live this week. Currently in invite-only beta (natch), the site enables you to upload PowerPoint or OpenOffice slideshows of up to 20MB in size and then, in their words, "share with a link, embed in a blog, discover interesting slideshows, tag, comment and have fun". I uploaded an 11MB .ppt of some of my most popular Flickr photos. Apart from mangling my choice of font (Cooper Black), the resulting Flash rendering was pretty tidy. The interface owes a fairly big debt to YouTube, although I guess they figured there's no point in reinventing the wheel. Will be interesting to see what people use it for and how it scales up. Looks pretty promising.

Changes impacting digital media consumption

A colleague recently asked me what I thought the key changes in consumer behaviour in relation to digital media consumption have been over the last few years. I came up with the following six, which conveniently all begin with the letter C...

Connectivity - from mobile phones to laptops and Wi-Fi, the digital consumer has become increasingly connected (more devices, more of the time), which has precipitated more frequent communication/interaction via digital technologies (e.g. e-mail, web, IM, VoIP, SMS).

Choice - the explosion in choice precipitated by the advent of digital has irrevocably altered consumer expectations around choice. The challenge for media companies is to develop services which can successfully compete in an exponentially-growing media marketplace for the attention of an increasingly fickle and fragmented audience.

Control - from iPods to PVRs, consumer expectations about the level of control they can exercise over their media (the when, the where and the how) have changed radically over recent years. Consumers are also exercising greater control over the process of finding media, as the relationship increasingly shifts from push to pull (e.g. web search, PVRs, P2P, podcasting).

Concurrent consumption - the digital generation, especially its youngest members, are becoming increasingly adept at engaging with multiple media sources at the same time (e.g. watching TV whilst surfing the net and Instant Messaging).

Customisation - from mobile wallpapers and ringtones to personalised radio stations and homepages, the digital consumer is increasingly used to being able to tailor their media experiences to cater for their specific tastes and interests.

Creativity - digital technologies (particularly, but not exclusively, the web) are facilitating a mass democratisation of the tools of production which in turn is fuelling an explosion in creativity (e.g. blogs, podcasts, GarageBand, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube).

Would be interested in other peoples thoughts on this...