Payin’ attention

Ping, ping, ping, it’s 22:45 and I keep getting notifications. Emails, Facebook-messages. The whatever Slack named their diarrhoea.

It’s 22:45 and Sunday. I needed to catch up with work so I sat down in front of the screen in super-efficient power-through-emails mode. Music usually helps: Infected Mushrooms cancels out everything while I write code. Radiohead helps to bring out my creative spirit.

And two and two always makes a five
It’s the devil’s way now
There is no way out

Thinking about it, when was the last time I’ve listened to an entire album in one sitting? From the beginning, to the very end, waiting for the hidden track after the 8-minute silence. I don’t even know when was the last time I could listen through one single song without interruption.
If there’s nothing going on outside, I’d go ahead and interrupt myself.

Ping, ping, ping, Slack won’t shut up.
One more ping I hear and I’ll throw my laptop through the closed window.

You can scream and you can shout
It is too late now
Because you’re not there
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention
Payin’ attention

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It’s the same person

Dust Brothers are famous for their work on the soundtrack of Fight Club, many of Beck’s songs and on what’s pretty much Hanson’s only hit.

What’s astonishing is that all those works are completely different from each other: not many people would put Fight Club’s soundtrack and MMMBop on the same playlist.

While writing this post, I’m listening to Dead Man’s Bones’s In The Room Where You Sleep. At the mic, it’s the same person who played Lars in the movie Lars and the Real Girl, then, a few years later the hot guy in Crazy, Stupid, Love: Ryan Gosling.

Danny Boyle directed and John Hodge wrote some of my all-time favourite movies like the Shallow Grave, Trainspotting or The Beach.

This sort of genius is not uncommon. Creativity seems to be this unstoppable thing that pursues you to stay up late and follow the voice in your head. People who have the voice don’t seem to be able to get rid of it. They are bound to meet like-minded folks and then put out whatever they are capable of producing together.

Another one of my favourite examples used to be Prince: he wasn’t only a musician but mastered many instruments, produced movies or wrote crazy songs for other artists.

It will never seize to be inspiring.

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Spotify or Apple Music: which subscription to cancel?

It’s been a long way for the music industry to catch up with what users need, but at last, there are plenty of really good choices. I’m listening to Apple Music’s British Talent selection right now (The Southern – Shout it!), the sun is shining bright, I have my late-morning coffee, and wonder which subscription to cancel: Spotify or Apple Music.

First world problems, you know.

Both come for £10 a month, Spotify is an awesome Swedish company, and Music’s curated playlists are just fantastic. Oh, such a hard choice this.

Apple’s service is all new, Spotify is offering all their music for free – an interesting test would be to compare which of those databases is seemingly larger. I’ll do this with a list of bands from my to-be-checked-out list: these are the songs I Shazam, get recommended to, or find in a random music store.

Ten songs on ten albums. Extremely unrepresentative.

The results are in.

The big names and new releases both Spotify and Apple Music seems to have:

  • Seb Wildblood / Foreign Parts
  • Wilco / Star Wars
  • Yo La Tengo / Stuff Like That There
  • Beck / Dreams
  • Maaskant & Adam Marshall – Outside the Cave / Vamp
  • Deradoorian / The Expanding Flower Planet
  • Shigeto / No Better Time Than Now

And some are just missing from both stores:

  • Xiu Xiu / Respectful & Clean
  • Brooklyn Funk Essentials / Funk Ain’t Ova

And the only piece that was available on Apple Music, but missing from Spotify:

  • Jean-Michel Jarre & 3D (Massive Attack) / Watching You

Apple did slightly better on this list, but only sliiightly. And the point is, almost every crazy album and song you possibly want to hear is available online.

There you go, the final result: this is a useless test, and you need to decide based on something else.

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Which cities does the music from?

Here in Berlin we like to think that this city is: the European capital of music. This is where artists can flourish, where all cool stuff comes from, where early adopters get what they want the most. Only that the European capital of music is not Berlin. It’s Oslo.

The alternative point of view: Wimagguc
From the paper: The geographic flow of music has a great pile of data about what people in the world are listening. This is a detailed snapshot of user’s taste in space and time. One can see what kind of music people are listening to and also how the taste of music changes: a flow across genres and place.

Based on this data, a research shows that music preferences are closely related to nationality, language and geographic location. Also (with a similar method I used in my masters thesis!) they figured that some cities are consistently early adopters of new music – the interesting part is that these hubs are not that easy to guess.

In Europe for example, would you have guessed that the capital is Oslo? Or that all North-America is following Montreal?

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