Why does it take so much input from so many sources for Pandora to build perfect playlists? Fast Company spoke with with Tom Conrad, the CTO and Executive VP of Product, to find out.
The one thing you can know absolutely about a piece of music is what musicological constructs are at work in a song. If you can understand that, you can, by extension, find other songs that are musicologically similar. Which means songs don’t have to be popular or well-known to be able to participate in the Music Genome Project system, since it’s based on underlying musical attributes. And oh, by the way, it turns out peoples’ musical preferences are hugely influenced by what the music sounds like.
Since its inception, SoundExchange, the organization that collects royalty payments from digital music services like Pandora, has brought in more than $900 million—$292 million of which it collected last year alone. But how much of a cut does SoundExchange take for itself? Nothing, other than for operating and administrative costs.
What do Adele, the British chanteuse so ubiquitous she inspired a Saturday Night Live skit, and Tyler, the Creator, an L.A. rapper fond of rhymes about rape and murder, have in common? Their label, XL Recordings.
Tuba player in need of a guitarist? Violinist in need of a drummer? Soundslates is a new site that helps aspiring musicians collaborate, no matter where they live.
Many, many years ago, back when there was such a thing as a Classifieds page, This American Life’s Starlee Kine wondered if she could bring together musicians advertising their services to form what she called a one-day band. (Spoiler: They put together a kind of awesome rendition of “Rocket Man.”) The Classifieds section may be a relic of the past, but lonely musical hearts are not. That, at least, is the theory behind Soundslates, a website that launched in beta on New Year’s Day. Soundslates is some amalgamation of a social network and jobs board, and it hopes to bring musical soulmates together across the boundaries of space.
Google launched its long-overdue music store today, roughly eight years into the reign of Apple’s iTunes Store, which just sold its 16 billionth song. Clearly Google has a lot of catching up to do—and that’s just with Apple. Amazon has had a digital music store since 2007 that’s known for its aggressive pricing, while Facebook recently integrated third-party streaming services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, and MOG.
“Coldplay’s haunting classic ‘The Scientist’ is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack of the short film entitled, “Back to the Start.” The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system.”
I’m not a Chipotle-eater, but this is pretty cool. (Thanks Ben, for the look.)