Spotify Killed The Something Something – On not owning my music collection

I’ve been a premium subscriber to Spotify for 7 years, and it changed how I listen to music, and recently changed a lot again. And since I’m looking for things to post about, it seems like a decent topic.

Because I’m a certain kind of process geek, there’s a rough process for how my music listening works. Pre-2009 this was set up with a set of automated playlists that would select random selections from stuff I rated highly, stuff I hadn’t rated yet, recent additions and stuff I hadn’t heard for a while, weighted towards things that were on more than one list.

In Spotify, when I find a track I like it gets added to my “Starred” list (recently removed as a UI feature and replaced with My Music pluses, which work less well for me), every so often I’ll copy¬†stuff from the Starred list onto the Like [CURRENTYEAR] list, and stuff gets removed from starred when I get bored of listening to it a lot.

Day to day, I mostly listen to either the current starred list, Spotify’s Discovery personalised playlists (which do an occasionally terrifyingly good job of introducing me to new music I like, and are the source of most of the additions to Starred since it started) ¬†the entire 7 year collection of Like playlists, or stuff I get recommended by friends, foes and twitter (I have a host of other playlists, some artist based, some mood based, a lot single-album or larp-character playlists). Current Like list, Starred and Discovery get synced to my phone for offline listening, so I’m not dependant on network connections.

I don’t really buy physical albums anymore, and I was always more a single track (though not always singles) person than a whole-album one. I’ll buy any new Divine Comedy album, a few other artists, but generally my music for the last 7 years has lived on Spotify, which makes me fucked if they go under or suddenly become complete bastards (and on the hook for a lot of MP3s if I want to keep my favourites), but I went into that straight-up and eyes open, entirely unlike stuff like the – in retrospect – ironically named “Plays4Sure” Zune store stuff, which pretended to sell you albums while actually selling offline-available streaming services.

2010 MLP music

Mothers and pie

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK, and Pi day everywhere.

So, in lieu of actual content the Paul and Storm “Mother’s Day” song, as performed at the concert I went to:

And also, Hard & Phirm’s song “Pi”

and I start my new job tomorrow.

2009 music

Music of last year

I spend an awful lot of my time listening to music.

Over the last year, Clare introduced me to a band called “Flipron”, who I like a great deal, and much later in the year was shown the wonders of Duke Special by the wonderfully titled pessimistic orange, otherwise it’s been a year of occasional brief obsessions with different bands over different months.

The ever-wonderful LastGraph has once again shuffled my data into a pretty form to demonstrate my poor music taste:

(Any RSS reader with any sense will strip this out)

Or you can view it as: [ SVG | PDF | HUGE PNG | Smaller PNG ]

But that’s artists, really. I’ve put some of the tracks of the year that I’ve loved (not necessary ones released this year, mostly ones I’ve played over and over again) onto this spotify playlist. If you can’t use spotify (If you need an invite, shout in the comments), that contains:

  • Fish, Mr Scruff
  • Everyday I love you less and less, Kaiser Chiefs
  • Better, Regina Spektor
  • Once In A Lifetime, Talking Heads
  • Army – Live, Ben Folds
  • Oh My God, Lily Allen (yeah, sorry)
  • Oh My God, Kaiser Chiefs
  • Valerie (“Version” Version), Amy Winehouse
  • Thou Shalt Always Kill, Dan Le Sac & Scroobius Pip
  • Detachable Penis, King Missile
  • Rockin’ The Suburbs, Ben Folds
  • Happy Together, Leningrad Cowboys & The Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble.
  • Fidelity Live, Regina Spektor
  • You Don’t Know Me, Ben Folds & Regina Spector
  • Short People, The Kings Singers
  • Tobacco Road, The Nashville Teens
  • Our Love Goes Deeper Than This, Duke Special & Neil Hannon
  • Last Night I Nearly Died, Duke Special
  • Jiggery Pokery, The Duckworth Lewis Method
  • Cerebus Is As Cerebus Does, Flipron
  • Big & Clever, Flipron

If you do want to pimp stuff at me, add it here, or append it to this open spotify playlist.

Hurrah, my daily update maintained with 28 minutes to run!


Musical Interlude: David Ford – Cheer Up, You Miserable Fuck

Imported From Epistula music

Go, browncoats, go

Paul and Storm – who used to be half of Da Vinci’s Notebook, and were awesome when I saw them in concert with Jonathan Coulton a few months ago – have a Thing. A Running Joke. They create themetunes for things as if they were written by Randy Newman. The joke is that they sound the same. Then the joke became that you could do this for a great deal of things without changing much. Then it became, as they put it, an exercise in musical haiku.

For Advent, they did one a day.

This is the one for Serenity (Contains spoilers)

And here are the rest

Imported From Epistula music Politics social

Politics, Vegetables and Paul and Storm

For some unknown reason, possibly just the random whims and zephers of ideas that float across my mind, I have become more interested in US politics recently. This means my normal daily diet of The Daily Show (and occasionally Colbert Report if I have time) has been joined by occasional episodes of Countdown and other things. I like Countdown, the presentation appeals to me. I haven’t been watching it long enough to know how balanced it is – He’s pretty obviously liberal, but the other side have been doing more stupid things recently – but finding a balanced news source is like looking for a needle in a club whose major clientelle is pins that dress up like needles every night and get stuck in. I do hope Obama wins. John McCain doesn’t appear to be a bad chap, at the end. When he’s actually speaking as himself – instead of reading speeches or working from incomplete information he’s been fed – he appears to have a solid grasp of reality and a fair manner. My worry is that he appears not to be able to see the balance in the information that he’s accepting, which is a bad position for a president to be in. Also, I do not like Palin. I think he should ditch Sarah Palin and swap her for Michael.

New topic. At the pub last night Tristan was demonstrating his Eee’s ability to run Mame games by playing Karateka) on it. But due to pub noise and accent-parsing, I could only hear it as “Carrotica”, your one stop shop for carrot-based erotica. For Carrots, by Carrots. With a Coleslaw department for those who like Carrot bondage. Etc. I just thought I’d share that with you.

Finally, I went to see Jonathan Coulton on Thursday, although in truth I was as much there to see Paul & Storm – two of what used to be Da Vinci’s Notebook, which has kinda-split-up-ish – as the main act. Neither disappointed in the least, especially with “Soft Rock” devolving into Pink Floyd’s “Wish you were here” as well as “Welcome to the Machine” and various other songs. And, for a £20 bet supplied by the audience, Paul performing most of “Mein Herr”:

Closing off with an epic ten minute version of The Captain’s Wife’s Lament (NSFW. Also funny):

(A full featured and contentful post today)

Apple Imported From Epistula music

Genius Trial

So, Starting with the first track to come up in a random shuffle of my iTunes library, I generated one of the “Genius” playlists from the new iTunes.

The dividing line between genius and insanity has never been so close. The results. These are the tunes that iTunes thinks belong together:

Imported From Epistula music

Brown cup of joy

Imported From Epistula music

Amen Ratio

A while ago, I saw a video about a break-beat known as the Amen break on YouTube. It’s a fascinating 20 minute slice of your life for an insight into a world you may not have a view into, that of sampling and how a single sample can go though the world. I favourited it and forgot about it. I do things like that.

Anyway, a maths professor was shown a waveform of it recently, and recognised its peaks as an example of the Golden Ratio in action, which he’s written an article about.

2008 events Imported From Epistula music


A few hours before Jonathan Coulton performed his very first gig in the UK ever (And the first outside the states, I believe), he bought a Tenori-on which is apparently only available over here.

This means we ended up being the first people to ever see him perform playing with a new geeky toy. It looked very much like this:

I also, briefly, met Rory Parle.

We also ended up with covers of The Saturday Boy and “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?” The latter of which doesn’t appear to have made it to YouTube yet. Most of the rest of the concert did, though