$10,000 Flute Left in Cab Nine Years Ago Is Finally Returned

Heidi Slyker, a Boston area musician, said the disappearance had consequences beyond the mere loss of property.

#boston-mass, #flutes, #music, #musical-instruments, #police-department-boston-mass, #powell-flutes, #taxicabs-and-taxicab-drivers


Why Don’t Some TV Shows Sound the Way They Used To?

Licensing issues have gutted the soundtracks of many beloved series on streaming services, resulting in bewildering music cues and missing theme songs.

#bones-tv-program, #copyrights-and-copyright-violations, #dawsons-creek-tv-program, #felicity-tv-program, #freaks-and-geeks-tv-program, #music, #scrubs-tv-program, #television, #the-x-files-tv-program


Jim Steinman, ‘Bat Out of Hell’ Songwriter, Dies at 73

The rocker Meat Loaf’s interpretations of Mr. Steinman’s songs became one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.

#bat-out-of-hell-album, #bat-out-of-hell-play, #dance-of-the-vampires-play, #deaths-obituaries, #meat-loaf, #music, #pop-and-rock-music, #steinman-jim, #theater


Why Is It So Hard to Show Black Women’s Musical Genius Onscreen?

Oscar-nominated performances this season put the emphasis on the trauma, not the artistry, of Billie Holiday and Ma Rainey. The most insightful movie might just be “Soul.”

#academy-awards-oscars, #black-people, #carrington-terri-lyne, #franklin-aretha, #genius-aretha-tv-program, #holiday-billie, #ma-raineys-black-bottom-movie, #movies, #music, #rainey-ma-1886-1939, #soul-movie, #the-united-states-vs-billie-holiday-movie, #tina-movie, #turner-tina


Black Rob, Rapper Known for His Hit Single ‘Whoa!,’ Dies at 52

A star for Bad Boy Records after the Notorious B.I.G.’s death, the rapper had a husky, seen-it-all voice even as a young man.

#bad-boy-entertainment, #black-rob, #combs-sean, #deaths-obituaries, #harlem-manhattan-ny, #ll-cool-j, #missy-elliott-1971, #music, #rap-and-hip-hop, #robert-ross, #whoa-song


The Sunday Read: ‘Voices Carry’

What will it take to get the choir of Washington’s Skagit Valley — and the rest of the world’s choral musicians — back together again?

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #music, #skagit-county-wash


When Her Mother Died, She Found Solace at a Korean Grocery

Michelle Zauner, a musician who performs under the name Japanese Breakfast, is making her book debut with “Crying in H Mart.”

#books-and-literature, #content-type-personal-profile, #crying-in-h-mart-book, #grief-emotion, #korean-americans, #music, #race-and-ethnicity, #writing-and-writers, #zauner-michelle-japanese-breakfast


Fyre Festival Ticket Holders Win $7,220 Each in Class-Action Settlement

Nearly four years after the infamous festival stranded thousands of attendees in the Bahamas, 277 ticket holders learned they will receive payouts, pending approval.

#compensation-for-damages-law, #festivals, #frauds-and-swindling, #fyre-media-inc, #ja-rule, #mcfarland-billy-1991, #music, #suits-and-litigation-civil


Dominic Fike Video Shows Paul McCartney and New York Times

Paul McCartney and the newspaper both make special appearances in Dominic Fike’s cover of “The Kiss of Venus.”

#college-point-queens-ny, #fike-dominic-1995, #mccartney-paul, #music, #new-york-times, #newspapers, #queens-nyc, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming


She’s 94 Now, but at 17 Her Voice Was Magical. Have a Listen.

Madeline Forman dreamed of being a singer, but life intervened. Seven decades later, she found a record in her closet that she had forgotten about completely.

#music, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #voice-and-speech


Did the Music Industry Change? A Race ‘Report Card’ Is on the Way.

The Black Music Action Coalition, a group of managers, lawyers and others, was created last summer with a mission to hold the business to account. In June, it will report on the progress so far.

#black-music-action-coalition, #black-people, #discrimination, #music, #race-and-ethnicity


Social audio startup Stationhead looks beyond music as it hits 100K monthly active users

When I’ve written about Stationhead in the past, I’ve focused on how the startup aims to recapture bring personality and interactivity of a live radio broadcast to streaming music. But CEO Ryan Star said his ambitions are broader now: “We’re going to be the largest social audio platform in the world.”

The startup says it’s growing quickly, with 100,000 monthly active users — a number that’s growing by 65% each month — and 500,000 total users. There are 6,300 hosts on the platform, and they created nearly 2 million live and recorded streams in the first three months of the year.

COO Murray Levison told me that the pandemic has brought more artists to the platform as they look for new ways to reach their fans. For example, Cardi B joined the fan show Bardigangradio last month, prompting 132,000 paid streams of her new single on Apple Music and Spotify during the broadcast. (Stationhead integrates with both music streaming services — when a DJ cues up a song, it’s actually playing through your account.)

At the same time, both Star (who co-founded the company due to his own frustrations as an independent musician) and Levison suggested that playing music is not quite as central to their vision as it used to be. Instead, they said Stationhead is all about live audio broadcasting, with or without music.

From a product perspective, Levison said they’re trying to build “the best broadcasting tools for creators and everybody people to use.” At the same time, he added, “Music is still at the core of what we’ve built. Just like games are to Twitch, music is our social glue.”

Ryan Star CEO Photo credit Shervin Lainez

Image Credits: Shervin Lainez / Stationhead

While the company emphasizes the live experience (which Levison described as “the core value prop”), Stationhead also supports recording shows for listening later, and apparently 50% of users are listening to both live and recorded shows. It has also been beta testing a tipping feature that will allow broadcasters to monetize their shows.

Of course, you can’t talk about social audio without talking about Clubhouse, which was attracting 2 million active users each week in January, according to CEO Paul Davison. Levison suggested that the buzz around Clubhouse has also benefited Stationhead as potential acquirers and investors get more excited about social audio. And Star argued that the companies are taking very different approaches.

“It’s in the name Clubhouse, it’s exclusive,” Star said. “It’s about social climbing and getting closer to the stage. [Stationhead is] living in the world where Cardi B was excited to meet her fans. We are for the 99 percent.”

#apps, #media, #mobile, #music, #stationhead


25 Free Performances Come to Bryant Park Starting in June

The park will host events for live audiences of 200 with institutions including the New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub and the Classical Theater of Harlem.

#carnegie-hall, #city-parks-foundation, #elisa-monte-dance, #greenwich-house, #jazz-at-lincoln-center, #joes-pub, #limon-dance-co, #music, #national-sawdust-brooklyn-ny-performance-space, #new-york-city-opera, #new-york-philharmonic, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #taylor-paul-dance-co, #thile-chris, #town-hall-manhattan-ny


Eddy de Pretto Is the Proud Sound of a New France

Born in the Paris suburbs, the singer has made waves with two albums that draw as much from ’60s chanson as contemporary hip-hop.

#a-tous-les-batards-album, #content-type-personal-profile, #de-pretto-eddy, #france, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #music, #paris-france


The Long Tail of Aphex Twin’s ‘Avril 14th’

A song released 20 years ago continues to inspire curiosity and covers by classical, experimental and pop artists.

#alarm-will-sound, #aphex-twin, #avril-14th-song, #lonely-island, #moran-kelly, #music, #reitzell-brian-1965, #saturday-night-live-tv-program, #taccone-jorma


Suzan-Lori Parks Gets the Band Back Together

Though she’s best known as a playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks is always looking to evolve as an artist — and derives a particular joy from performing her songs with and for others.

#friendship, #music, #parks-suzan-lori, #signature-theater-co, #theater


The Singers Who Long to Share A Stage Again

After a year apart, the Afro-Brazilian musicians Larissa Luz, Luedji Luna and Xenia França are looking forward to a reunion.

#brazil, #friendship, #music, #quarantine-life-and-culture


What DMX’s Poetry of Death Did for Hip-Hop

In life and art, death was never far from Earl Simmons.

#dmx, #music, #rap-and-hip-hop


Ethel Gabriel, a Rare Woman in the Record World, Dies at 99

For much of her more than 40 years at RCA, Ms. Gabriel was a producer, overseeing “Living Strings” and other profitable lines.

#audio-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #deaths-obituaries, #gabriel-ethel, #music, #rca-records, #women-and-girls


Making Music Visible: Singing in Sign

A new project is producing sign language covers of 10 seminal musical works recorded by Black female artists.

#black-people, #content-type-personal-profile, #dancing, #deafness, #kazen-maddox-brandon, #music, #primeaux-obryant-mervin, #sign-language


Review: Reveling in the Tap Magic of Ayodele Casel

Casel’s joyful and generous spirit is as vivid as ever in a new virtual presentation by the Joyce Theater.

#brown-ronald-k, #casel-ayodele, #castro-amanda-dancer, #dancing, #joyce-theater, #music, #ofarrill-arturo, #quarantine-life-and-culture


Cultural Venues’ Quest for Billions in Federal Aid Is Halted by Glitch

On the first day nightclubs, movie theaters and other arts organizations hurt by the pandemic could apply for $16 billion in federal aid, the system malfunctioned. No applications got through.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #culture-arts, #federal-aid-us, #music, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #shutdowns-institutional, #shuttered-venue-operators-grant, #small-business, #small-business-administration, #stimulus-economic


Music Therapy: Why Doctors Use it to Help Patients Cope

Music therapy is increasingly used to help patients cope with stress and promote healing.

#anxiety-and-stress, #cancer, #content-type-service, #harps, #hospitals, #music, #musical-instruments, #phobias, #post-traumatic-stress-disorder, #psychology-and-psychologists, #surgery-and-surgeons


Spotify stays quiet about launch of its voice command ‘Hey Spotify’ on mobile

In 2019, Spotify began testing a hardware device for automobile owners it lovingly dubbed “Car Thing,” which allowed Spotify Premium users to play music and podcasts using voice commands that began with “Hey, Spotify.” Last year, Spotify began developing a similar voice integration into its mobile app. Now, access to the “Hey Spotify” voice feature is rolling out more broadly.

Spotify chose not to officially announce the new addition, despite numerous reports indicating the voice option was showing up for many people in their Spotify app, leading to some user confusion about availability.

One early report by GSM Arena, for example, indicated Android users had been sent a push notification that alerted them to the feature. The notification advised users to “Just enable your mic and say ‘Hey Spotify, Play my Favorite Songs.” When tapped, the notification launched Spotify’s new voice interface where users are pushed to first give the app permission to use the microphone in order to be able to verbally request the music they want to hear.

Several outlets soon reported the feature had launched to Android users, which is only partially true.

As it turns out, the feature is making its way to iOS devices, as well. When we launched the Spotify app here on an iPhone running iOS 14.5, for instance, we found the same feature had indeed gone live. You just tap on the microphone button by the search box to get to the voice experience. We asked around and found that other iPhone users on various versions of the iOS operating system also had the feature, including free users, Premium subscribers and Premium Family Plan subscribers.

The screen that appears suggests in big, bold text that you could be saying “Hey Spotify, play…” followed by a random artist’s name. It also presents a big green button at the bottom to turn on “Hey Spotify.”

Once enabled, you can ask for artists, albums, songs and playlists by name, as well as control playback with commands like stop, pause, skip this song, go back and others. Spotify confirms the command with a robotic-sounding male voice by default. (You can swap to a female voice in Settings, if you prefer.)

Image Credits: Spotify screenshot iOS

This screen also alerts users that when the app hears the “Hey Spotify” voice command, it sends the user’s voice data and other information to Spotify. There’s a link to Spotify policy regarding its use of voice data, which further explains that Spotify will collect recordings and transcripts of what you say along with information about the content it returned to you. The company says it may continue to use this data to improve the feature, develop new voice features and target users with relevant advertising. It may also share your information with service providers, like cloud storage providers.

The policy looks to be the same as the one that was used along with Spotify’s voice-enabled ads, launched last year, so it doesn’t seem to have been updated to fully reflect the changes enabled with the launch of “Hey Spotify.” However, it does indicate that, like other voice assistants, Spotify doesn’t just continuously record — it waits until users say the wake words.

Given the “Hey Spotify” voice command’s origins with “Car Thing,” there’s been speculation that the mobile rollout is a signal that the company is poised to launch its own hardware to the wider public in the near future. There’s already some indication that may be true — MacRumors recently reported finding references and photos to Car Thing and its various mounts inside the Spotify app’s code. This follows Car Thing’s reveal in FCC filings back in January of this year, which had also stoked rumors that the device was soon to launch.

Spotify was reached for comment this morning, but has yet been unable to provide any answers about the feature’s launch despite a day’s wait. Instead, we were told that they “unfortunately do not have any additional news to share at this time.” That further suggests some larger projects could be tied to this otherwise more minor feature’s launch.

Though today’s consumers are wary of tech companies’ data collection methods — and particularly their use of voice data after all three tech giants confessed to poor practices on this front — there’s still a use case for voice commands, particularly from an accessibility standpoint and, for drivers, from a safety standpoint.

And although you can direct your voice assistant on your phone (or via CarPlay or Android Auto, if available) to play content from Spotify, some may find it useful to be able to speak to Spotify directly — especially since Apple doesn’t allow Spotify to be set as a default music service. You can only train Siri to launch Spotify as your preferred service.

If, however, you have second thoughts about using the “Hey Spotify” feature after enabling it, you can turn it off under “Voice Interactions” in the app’s settings.

#android, #apps, #iphone, #mobile, #music, #smartphones, #spotify, #voice, #voice-assistant


DMX, in a Coma, Is Set to Undergo Brain Function Tests

Fans of Earl Simmons, the rapper known as DMX, rallied outside his hospital this week, as musicians and others hoped for his recovery.

#dmx, #music, #white-plains-ny, #white-plains-hospital


Authentic Artists is building virtual, AI-powered musicians

Chris McGarry, who previously led music integration at Facebook’s Oculus, is taking a new approach to bringing music into the virtual world with his startup Authentic Artists.

McGarry pointed to virtual celebrities like Lil Miquela and virtual concerts like Travis Scott’s giant event in Fortnite as setting the stage for Authentic Artists. In a sense, the startup represents a combination of those ideas, creating virtual musicians who perform their own concerts — initially in Twitch — and can respond to audience requests.

“We are very intentionally not trying to create a digital facsimile of what already exists,” he said. “We want to use new tools to create new art, new experiences, new culture. The appeal is that these artists can really be vehicles for collaboration with the audience, so that [audience members] can selectively shape the live show.”

In fact, Authentic Artists has already held some test concerts on Twitch, and McGarry said the team was “frankly, sort of blown away by the response,” with average watch time of 35 minutes.

It will be unveiling its next generation of virtual artists in Twitch concerts starting on April 14, co-hosted by (human) Twitch streamers, who will introduce the concept to audiences — though McGarry said there’s potential for more collaboration between virtual and human stars in the future.

There are a number of different pieces to the Authentic Artists platform, working together to animate a virtual musician, generate their music and allow them to respond to audience feedback, whether that’s increasing the intensity of a song, decreasing the tempo or fast forwarding to the next song.

“Music is the lifeblood of our vision, and accordingly, we’ve invested significantly in the core audio engine,” McGarry said. He emphasized that the platform is not simply recombining music loops composed by humans, but rather generating music on its own: “We want [our virtual artists] to have autonomy, we want them to be real.”

It sounds like the team is still putting the final touches on the new artists, so I didn’t get to see a full concert experience. Instead, McGarry and his team presented renderings of these artists (including a half-human cyborg and a giant iguana) and their virtual venues, and they demonstrated the music engine, creating new compositions on-the-fly while adjusting different parameters. As McGarry put it, “These are all original compositions, generated and produced as we sit here, with no manual intervention.”

Authentic Artists is backed by investors including OVO Fund, James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, Mixi Group and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. McGarry said he’s currently more focused on finding product-market fit than on the business model, but he sees opportunities to make money through avenues such as branded music and decentralized finance/NFTs in the future.

#lupa-systems, #media, #music, #startups, #tc


Meet Axel Mansoor, the Clubhouse Whisperer

The 28-year-old singer-songwriter started the Lullaby Club, one of the most popular channels on Clubhouse.

#clubhouse-mobile-app, #content-type-personal-profile, #mansoor-axel, #music, #quarantine-life-and-culture


Malcolm Cecil, Synthesizer Pioneer, Is Dead at 84

His massive machine, known as TONTO, helped transform the music in Stevie Wonder’s mind into classic albums like “Innervisions.”

#cecil-malcolm-1937-2021, #deaths-obituaries, #engineering-and-engineers, #margouleff-robert, #music, #musical-instruments, #synthesizers, #wonder-stevie


Neil Diamond Bio-Musical Sets Sights on Broadway

“A Beautiful Noise,” featuring songs from the hit-maker’s deep catalog, will play a monthlong run in Boston in 2022, with New York planned next.

#a-beautiful-noise-play, #davenport-ken, #diamond-neil, #emerson-colonial-theater-boston-mass, #hoggett-steven, #mayer-michael, #mccarten-anthony, #music, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #theater


Performing Arts Make a Cautious Return in New York

More than a year after the pandemic abruptly shuttered theaters and concert halls across the city, limited audiences were welcomed back inside.

#blindness-play, #comedy-and-humor, #comedy-cellar, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dancing, #daryl-roth-theater, #de-blasio-bill, #guggenheim-solomon-r-museum, #kelsey-lu-1989, #masterz-at-work-dance-family, #music, #shed-manhattan-ny, #theater


DMX on Life Support in ‘Vegetative State,’ Manager Says

The rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was hospitalized after a heart attack, his lawyer said.

#dmx, #music, #rap-and-hip-hop, #white-plains-ny, #yonkers-ny


Constance Demby, New Age Composer, Is Dead at 81

Ms. Demby wrote ethereal, otherworldly music and played much of it on instruments of her own making, including one she called the Space Bass.

#deaths-obituaries, #demby-constance-1939-2021, #music, #musical-instruments, #novus-magnificat-album


Brandi Carlile Has Always Seen Herself Clearly. Now It’s Our Turn.

In her new memoir, “Broken Horses,” the singer-songwriter takes a deep look at how “a mean, scrappy little trailer girl with the wrong clothes” became a six-time Grammy winner.

#books-and-literature, #broken-horses-book, #carlile-brandi, #content-type-personal-profile, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #music


Spotify adds three new types of personalized playlists with launch of ‘Spotify Mixes’

Spotify this morning announced it’s significantly expanding its selection of personalized playlists with the addition of three new categories of playlists under the heading of “Spotify Mixes.” This collection will include artist mixes, genre mixes, and decade mixes — meaning you’ll gain access to a sizable number of new mixes with easy-to-understand titles, like 2010s Mix, R&B Mix, Pop Mix, Drake Mix, Selena Gomez Mix, and so on — or whatever reflects your own tastes and interests.

The company says the idea for the Spotify Mixes was inspired by its Daily Mixes, launched in fall 2016.

The Daily Mixes had been one of the company’s first big expansions in personalization beyond its flagship playlist, Discover Weekly, as they introduced a large set of playlists that reflected users’ listening history. Today, Daily Mixes bring together your recent listens with other tracks to keep you engaged — and the new Spotify Mixes essentially do the same, as they’re populated with music you like plus “fresh tracks.” The difference is that the new mixes have clearer names and a more specific focus, in some cases.

The Spotify Mixes will be available to all users globally, including both Free users and Premium subscribers. At launch, you can find them within Search in the “Made for You” hub.

You’ll easily spot them, too, as Spotify has already populated its app with a selection of mixes in the top three rows of the “Made for You” hub. Here, you’ll find “Your Genre Mixes,” “Your Artist Mixes,” and “Your Decade Mixes” —  each with a horizontally scrollable selection of mixes to get you started. Spotify says each mix category will be updated frequently and will always have several playlists available.

The new feature somewhat competes with a similar offering on Pandora, launched three years ago. The SiriusXM-owned music app had used its Music Genome technology to create personalized playlists across a number of attributes, including also genre and mood. While not an apples-to-apples comparison, necessarily, Pandora’s launch had instantly expanded its users’ access to personalized playlists by the dozens. It’s actually a bit surprising that it took Spotify as long as it did to offer a competitive response.

Spotify says the new playlists are rolling out today to global users.


#media, #music, #personalization, #playlists, #spotify


Listening to Music in the Desert at Dawn

Terry Tempest Williams, an author and environmental activist, on bird song, Keith Jarrett and slowing down.

#abyss-of-the-birds-song, #birds, #books-and-literature, #classical-music, #erosion-essays-of-undoing-book, #first-solo-voice-song, #invocations-album, #jarrett-keith, #messiaen-olivier, #music, #quartet-for-the-end-of-time-musical-work, #williams-terry-tempest


‘Follies’ Was My First Broadway Show. 50 Years Later, I Remember It All.

On a thrilling trip to New York, a 16-year-old budding critic learned that the insistent optimism of musical theater was a beautiful lie.

#bennett-michael-1969-2021, #broadway-manhattan-ny, #follies-play, #music, #prince-harold, #smith-alexis, #sondheim-stephen, #theater, #winter-garden-theater-manhattan-ny


Is the Music Over at Mills College?

A hotbed of experimental sound for nearly a century, this school in Oakland, Calif., is preparing to close its doors.

#colleges-and-universities, #mills-college, #music


How to Pretend You’re in New Orleans Tonight

The Crescent City is the kind of place you daydream about long after you’re gone. Here are a few ways to be there in spirit.

#alcoholic-beverages, #bars-and-nightclubs, #big-freedia, #bolden-buddy-1877-1931, #books-and-literature, #bourdain-anthony, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #jazz, #mardi-gras, #music, #new-orleans-la, #recipes, #travel-and-vacations


Maryland’s State Song, a Nod to the Confederacy, Nears Repeal

The lyrics of “Maryland, My Maryland,” long criticized as sympathetic to the Confederacy, refer to Abraham Lincoln as a “despot” and Union soldiers as “Northern scum!”

#baltimore-md, #black-people, #bowie-state-university, #civil-war-us-1861-65, #hogan-lawrence-j, #horse-racing, #law-and-legislation, #lincoln-abraham, #maryland, #maryland-my-maryland-song, #music, #poetry-and-poets, #politics-and-government, #preakness-stakes, #state-legislatures, #the-star-spangled-banner-song, #triple-crown-horse-racing, #united-states-politics-and-government


Virtual Concerts to Watch

Looking for signs of a return to normal? Sitting back to enjoy a live-music performance might be a good place to start.

#audio-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #content-type-service, #music, #quarantine-life-and-culture


The Unstoppable Merry Clayton

One of music’s greatest backup singers is releasing “Beautiful Scars,” her first new album in over 25 years, after surviving an accident that proved that her incredible strength isn’t only in her voice.

#beautiful-scars-album, #clayton-merry, #content-type-personal-profile, #music


Doc Severinsen Recalls High Notes, Low Notes and Everything in Between

The trumpeter and former “Tonight Show” bandleader tells tales from his personal life and his work with Johnny Carson in a new PBS documentary.

#carson-johnny, #content-type-personal-profile, #music, #never-too-late-the-doc-severinsen-story-tv-program, #severinsen-doc, #television, #the-tonight-show-tv-program


Eurovision Song Contest Disqualifies Belarus Over Political Lyrics

The song’s lyrics were found to violate the competition’s rules in what critics called an endorsement of President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko’s crackdown on antigovernment protests.

#belarus, #europe, #eurovision-song-contest, #music, #pop-and-rock-music


Janelle Monáe and Ralph Lauren Make the Case for Clubbing

Stella McCartney and Junya Watanabe join in. Rei Kawakubo floats above. Yes, there are still shows going on.

#burch-tory, #comme-des-garcons, #fashion-and-apparel, #mccartney-stella, #monae-janelle, #music, #ready-to-wear-fall-2021, #simons-raf, #undercover-fashion-label, #watanabe-junya, #your-feed-fashion


Bridging Time, Distance and Distrust, With Music

Neta Elkayam, an Israeli singer, plumbs the rich culture of the Moroccan Jews she descended from, and introduces it to new audiences in both countries.

#content-type-personal-profile, #elkayam-neta, #immigration-and-emigration, #international-relations, #israel, #jews-and-judaism, #morocco, #music, #politics-and-government


The Pandemic Work Diary of Margo Price, Nashville Rebel

The musician has spent her year at home, writing, recording new music, cooking and more, until she can tour again.

#content-type-personal-profile, #music, #price-margo


Bonzie Longs for a Post-Pandemic ‘Reincarnation’

On her third album, the Chicago-based songwriter offers melody, mystery and prized imperfections.

#bonzie-1995, #chicago-ill, #content-type-personal-profile, #music, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #reincarnation-album


Spotify rolls out redesigned desktop and web apps

Spotify today announced it’s rolling out a new look for its streaming service on the desktop, with the launch of a redesigned app for both Mac and Windows, as well as an updated web app. The changes, which will be made available to all global users, focus on improving the navigation and providing users with access to new controls and features across playlists, search, radio, their queue, library, and more.

Overall, the update gives the Spotify app a more streamlined, less cluttered look and feel, compared with the prior version.

Image Credits: Spotify

One notable change is that the new app does away with the oddly placed search bar that was previously found at the top left of the screen. Now it’s been relocated to the slimmed down navigation bar on the left side, in between the links for Home and Your Library.

The app also no longer details the various destinations within Your Library within this navigation bar — like Made For You, Recently Played, Albums, Artists or Podcasts, for example. Instead, you’ll have to click into your Library section to view these selections.

Now, the Your Library page will feature four categories across the top of the page, starting with Playlists, where you’ll find your Liked Songs, Discover Weekly, Daily Mixes, Release Radar, and more. Playlists is followed by different sections for browsing Podcasts (which got bumped up to the No. 2 spot in the update! hint hint!), then Artists and Albums.

Image Credits: Spotify

A new dropdown menu in the Your Library lets you further sort these various sections in a variety of ways: by Most Relevant, Recently Played, Recently Added, Alphabetical, or even by a Custom Order you can configure.

Meanwhile, those who like to build playlists will gain a handful of new features in the updated app.

They can now write descriptions, upload their own images, and drag and drop tracks into existing playlists. They can also use a new embedded search bar located at the top of the “Create Playlist” page to seek out new songs or even podcast episodes to add to the playlist. This could greatly speed up the somewhat tedious process of playlist creation, by reducing the steps it takes between finding a track and getting it into a playlist.

Image Credits: Spotify

This change in particular speaks to Spotify’s growing interest in catering to curators — something co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek mentioned during his recent appearance on the PressClub show on Clubhouse.

Ek explained that he was “excited about curatorship” because when a service’s content library grows, it needs curators.

“The playlisters are incredible on Spotify, but it seems like there’s limited ability to interact with those playlisters — or for those playlisters to really understand who is listening to them and be able to build that second set of creators [who] are indirectly creating by helping other people find content to experience,” he said.

To address this challenge, Ek said Spotify would try to add more tools to allow users to become better curators, if not on a social basis, at least for themselves.

“The primary focus for us on the roadmap is just enabling you to be a much better curator even for yourself —  just by, for instance, suggesting content that’s relevant to the things you’ve already put in the playlist,” he added.

These updated playlist creation tools seem like a natural first step towards Spotify’s larger goals in this area.

Image Credits: Spotify

A few other changes in the updated apps include a refreshed listener profile page which now features both your top artists and top tracks; a new way to start a radio session for any song or artist via the three-dot (“…”) more menu; and the ability to now edit your Queue and view your Recently Played items on the Desktop app.

Premium subscribers gain another perk, too: they’ll be able to download music and podcasts to listen to offline, via a download button in the Desktop app.

In a blog post announcing the changes, Spotify admitted that it hadn’t quite kept up with the development of its desktop app as its service had grown, and today’s launch is an attempt to correct that.

“At Spotify, we’re always looking for ways to provide the best possible experience so our listeners can consistently discover and enjoy music and podcasts—and that includes look, feel, and functionality. We constantly test, develop, and launch new features, optimize for new devices, and look to expand our content offering,” the post read. “Yet along the way, we felt that our desktop app experience hadn’t kept up, and that it was time for a change.”

The updated apps for Mac, Windows and the web are rolling out starting today. Unrelated to the app redesign, Spotify separately announced today it’s expanding access to its Marquee tool for promoting new releases. The feature will be made available to all teams in the U.S. through a new campaign management tool in Spotify for Artists.

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