Spotify exclusive ignites closed vs open RSS flames again

Spotify logo

So Joe Rogan, comedian and host of one of the standout hits in the podcasting world, is getting in to bed with Spotify. Making it a Spotify exclusive,

When I first heard this news I felt something had changed as I knew the time of the platform exclusives was on its way. Opening the debate about open ecosystems like RSS vs closed ones systems.

James Cridland is always on the ball and covered this much better than I could. He makes some very good points

  • The show will be free to Spotify users (both Premium and Free users).

This is Spotify’s platform play, exclusive free access but only if you use our player.

  • It will be available in video on Spotify as well as audio. Spotify tested video (May 7) but were tight-lipped as to why.

I was aware Spotify have been testing a few things for their player including video as James pointed out. Canvas their tool for creating interesting music videos went quiet a while ago.  I wonder what else they have added and are keeping quiet about. This is the big advantage of your own proprietary player/platform, do what suits you and make the rest come to you.  I keep wondering if perceptive podcasting needs to get ahead of this now before we are all buried in proprietary closed systems.

  • His full show won’t be on YouTube any more, though he will post clips. Possibly not that coincidentally, YouTube is readying a full launch of YouTube Music, a Spotify competitor.

I hadn’t really clocked that of course Youtube music is coming out almost exactly at the same time. The date makes a lot of sense now

  • His full library, going back 11 years, is to switch to Spotify from September 1; exclusivity comes later in 2020.

Moving all those archives to Spotify is a interesting but potentially bad news for future plans. Especially if things go wrong.

Sounds, Spotify and Luminary

I also found these reactions very apt as it doesn’t take much to see the important discussion over podcasts vs audio shows instantly flare up again.

  • “Fuck Spotify, and fuck any ”podcast” that’s only playable in one app”, tweeted Overcast’s Marco Arment, adding that “moving an existing, open, free show behind a proprietary wall results in massive audience loss. I hope he at least leaves his public feed up so he can return to it when his Spotify exclusivity fails.”
  • Spotify’s new strategy is to kill podcasts (Simon Cohen, Digital Trends)

James made clear podnews stance on this all.

A “podcast” is something that is delivered via an RSS feed to multiple podcast apps. Podnews refer to things available exclusively on Spotify, BBC Sounds or Luminary as “shows”. Accordingly, from late 2020, we’ll no longer refer to The Joe Rogan Experience as a podcast.

Harsh? I think not, he’s right this isn’t podcasting…

The mayday lockdown night dance

Rave

Taking some hints from my previous live mix, I decided to make some changes and do another mix. This time not live, so its at the perfect volume now. Enjoy the mix which is up to 135bpm with lots of hands in the air trance for your listening pleasure… enjoy!

  1. Gouryella (From the heavens mix) – Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella
  2. Arise – Victor Ruiz & D Nox
  3. Follow me (Jerome Isma-Ae Extended remix) – Jam Spoon
  4. Call the galaxy taxi (Martin Roth Nu Style remix) – Plastic Angel
  5. Stellar – Driftwood
  6. Floyd (extended mix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  7. Borealis – Dj Eco
  8. Breathe (Blake Jarrell remix) – Anna Nalick
  9. Freedom (extended mix) – ARTY vs Muvy
  10. Grotesque – RAM & Alex M.O.R.P.H
  11. Soundbar (extended mix) – Giuseppe Ottaviani
  12. Numb the pain – Will Atkinson
  13. Everythings been written – 8 Wonders
  14. Tears (protoculture remix) – Dakota
  15. Hello (Jerome Isma-Ae remix) – Above & Beyond
  16. The Legacy 2.0 (Alphazone remix) – Funabashi pres. Saltwater
  17. Valhalla (tonerush remix) – OneBeat

Films and TV for the lockdown or films you may have missed in late 2019/early 2020

Uncorked

Someone recently said to me, there can’t be that much films since all the film studios are shut due to Covid19? There will be a delay but people forget how much media is made everyday (no idea where the hours of youtube videos per hour is now).

Anyhow there’s a lot of media to watch and here’s a few noteworthy ones

Films

The assistant

Empathy, Inc

Quite indie sci-fi shot in black and white, its a interesting  pretense which plays out to a surprising  ending. Well worth seeking out.

Vanilla

Romantic comedy as such but with a edge, quite fun and charming.

The half of it

Another romantic drama/comedy which although not as edgy as Vanilla, still has something different to bring to your mind. The end church scene is some divine intervention.

The Rhythm Section

I quite like these films like Anna, La Femme Nikita, etc and this one is well told and executed well.

She never died

Never really a horror fan but I like this indie horror/thriller which has a great feel to it. The film feels like Black Mirror’s Metalhead crossed with Jessica Jones.

Official secrets

My friend recommended this one to me and its quite something. Always love these court room battles but know this is very true is just insane. No wonder there was such a worry about the UK – American relation.

Just mercy

Like official secrets, court room battles around real cases is always compelling. Just mercy touches so many emotional levels and does it without actually tugging on them.

The assistant

Slow and calculated film timed perfectly around the movement. What I find interesting is to see the everyday attempts by women to stop harassment knocked back in subtitle ways.  This won’t be a surprise for most women and any minority of course.

The platform

Most people have heard of this one and its actually quite a interesting take on the nature of human and kindness. Well worth watching a couple of times once you get over the shock value it provides.

Uncorked

I liked this one because of the relationship with the father. It could have easily been a whole film about prejudice but its so much more.

Dark waters

This one dropped under the radar but it very apt as we all discuss the importance of human values in our capitalist society. Is the money worth peoples lives?

The good liar

Such a smart and compelling story. I can’t say anything more about it than just find it and watch it. You won’t be disappointed if you like thriller dramas.

The coldest game

Good fun drama around around a chess game during the cold war. The tension and cinematography are great  and well worth your attention.

TV series

Gangs of London

Devs

I mentioned here already. Fantastic TV series by Alex Garland (the creator of Annihilation, Ex Machina and other great films. Stunning to watch and lots of deep routed theories.

Gangs of London

I was tipped off to this currently running TV series by a friend. I usually find some of the UK production lack the levels of realistic violence (sounds weird saying that) but I’m impressed with this TV series as it has the right balance of standout moments, character development and narrative.

The last dance

A documentary about Air Jordon? You got me! Annoying ESPN have spun it out over 10 episodes.

Watchmen

If you haven’t seen the Watchmen TV series, I highly recommend this to all, especially those who are fans of the original comic and film. I won’t spoil this TV series but its as deep and meaningful as the film and comic book.

Its been a while… the mayday rave up in your flat live mix

 

Its been a while since I uploaded a mix to mixcloud. I have plans to self host my own mixes using funkwhale or airsonic. But its not quite happened yet. So in the meanwhile I have done a few mixes and I’ll do the posse thing and upload it to mixcloud with a smaller amount of metadata.

Of course I’ll be keep a copy of my metadata for when I get my own system up and running. In the meanwhile the mixes will form not travels with pacemaker but locked in mixing out.

I present the mayday rave up in your flat live mix. Recorded live while mixing live on R&Dio the other day. The volume levels were a bit high sorry but its not horribly distorted

Here’s the tracklist… (at about 133bpm) as always enjoy!

  1. Gouryella (fall from heaven remix) – Gouryella
  2. The Desert – protoculture
  3. Arise – victor ruiz & d nox
  4. Switch (oliver klien & peter jurgens remix) – beckers
  5. Special K (timo maas remix) – Placebo
  6. Prosac (original mix) – Tomcraft
  7. Floyd (extended remix) – Jerome isma-ae & alastor
  8. Soundbar (extended mix) – Giuseppe Ottaviani
  9. Cuckoo – Jon Mangan
  10. Breathe (Blake Jarrell remix) – Anna nalick
  11. Cut and run feat Emma lock – Beat Service
  12. Freedom (extended mix) – Arty vs Muvy
  13. Tears (protoculture remix) – Dakota
  14. Megalodon – MaRLo
  15. Grotesque – RAM & Alex M.O.R.P.H
  16. The Legacy 2.0 (alphazone remix – Funabashi pres Saltwater
  17. Anahera (extended mix) – Ferry Corsten pres Gouryella
  18. Echoes (extended mix) – Henrik B, Niklas Gustavsson, Peter Johansson
  19. Higher State of Conscientiousness – Josh wink

.

The Quantum theory of Devs

Devs

I won’t lie, Devs is pretty epic. Its created by Alex Garland who’s track record is excellent.Its smart, not too up its own backside and strangely calming in lockdown I have found. The quantum theory isn’t too complex to follow and is nicely explained throughout with prompts of mystery to keep the mind going. 

Its something I imagined Jonathan Nolan would have directed looking back at Person of Interest. But I kinda of dropped out of westworld in season 2, and can’t bring myself to carry it forward to season 3.

A better way to listen to mixes online?

Funkwhale audio logo

For a while I have been thinking about leaving Mixcloud. Its nothing personal, I think its a great service for djs but its clear their business model is starting to interfere with the listening experience.

I had a thought about what Mixcloud do for me and decided these are the key things.

  1. Hosting the full mix with limited rights problems (unless you do something like play a track from the same author twice)
  2. The community of people and djs in one place
  3. Ability to see the actual tracks within the mix

With this in mind, I thought I’d see what else was out there as I’m lucky enough to be sitting on a large enough internet connection to host my own mixes and become a node on a larger decentralised network. If it was build like the fediverse, that could solve the community side too? After looking around for alternatives I found a new upstart called funkwhale. You may have seen I mention it recently in a previous blog.

Maybe 1 and 2 could be solved but what about 3?

The last part of the puzzle seemed to be the track problem, as you want seamless playback but get an idea of what you are listening to. Mixcloud does this via metadata, which you can create via a slider over the audio waveform. Some DJ systems create this for you like the Pacemaker for example but that metadata is lost in translation I found. If only there was a standard way to define areas of a mix without slicing the audio mix up?

For example, here is a ambient mix I liked recently.

Its by Tonepoet and even they have gone through the effort of adding this metadata to their personal site complete with timings. I do a similar thing but without the timings (which I really should have added since I had them all and entered them into Mixcloud manually.

I looked a number of things including a bunch of playlist formats including pls, m3u and xspf. Even looked at smil and asx to see if they would help, but their problem was player support. The issue seemed to be they all treated their smallest objects as physical files rather than subsets of files. I did buy into xspf thought it was close with this extension.

The extension element allows non-XSPF XML to be included in XSPF documents. The purpose is to allow nested XML, which the meta and link elements do not. xspf:playlist elements MAY contain zero or more extension elements.

<playlist version="1" xmlns="http://xspf.org/ns/0/" xmlns:cl="http://example.com">
  <extension application="http://example.com">
    <cl:clip start="25000" end="34500"/>
  </extension>
  <trackList />
</playlist>

Close but not quite right and player support for extensions was going to be low. This is when I rethought the problem with something like .nfo files and found .cue files. Here is an example…

REM GENRE Electronica
REM DATE 1998
PERFORMER "Faithless"
TITLE "Live in Berlin"
FILE "Faithless - Live in Berlin.mp3" MP3
  TRACK 01 AUDIO
    TITLE "Reverence"
    PERFORMER "Faithless"
    INDEX 01 00:00:00
  TRACK 02 AUDIO
    TITLE "She's My Baby"
    PERFORMER "Faithless"
    INDEX 01 06:42:00
  TRACK 03 AUDIO
    TITLE "Take the Long Way Home"
    PERFORMER "Faithless"
    INDEX 01 10:54:00
  TRACK 04 AUDIO
    TITLE "Insomnia"
    PERFORMER "Faithless"
    INDEX 01 17:04:00
  TRACK 05 AUDIO
    TITLE "Bring the Family Back"
    PERFORMER "Faithless"
    INDEX 01 25:44:00
  TRACK 06 AUDIO
    TITLE "Salva Mea"
    PERFORMER "Faithless"
    INDEX 01 30:50:00
  TRACK 07 AUDIO
    TITLE "Dirty Old Man"
    PERFORMER "Faithless"
    INDEX 01 38:24:00
  TRACK 08 AUDIO
    TITLE "God Is a DJ"
    PERFORMER "Faithless"
    INDEX 01 42:35:00

Perfect, so I took one of mixes, Quiver in the underground and turned the .nfo file into a .cue file.

REM GENRE Tech Trance
REM DATE 2019
PERFORMER "Digital Italic"
TITLE "Quiver in the underground mix"
FILE "Quiver in the underground mix.mp3" MP3
TRACK 01 AUDIO
TITLE "Activator, I know you can (That kid chris mix)"
PERFORMER "Whatever girl"
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TRACK 02 AUDIO
TITLE "Air traffic (Erik De Koning remix)"
PERFORMER "Three drives"
INDEX 01 02:07:00
TRACK 03 AUDIO
TITLE "Chinook"
PERFORMER "Markus Schulz pres. Dakota"
INDEX 01 07:25:00
TRACK 04 AUDIO
TITLE "Opium (Quivver remix)"
PERFORMER "Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor"
INDEX 01 10:32:00
TRACK 05 AUDIO
TITLE "Surveillance"
PERFORMER "Jordon Suckley & Kutski"
INDEX 01 15:24:00
TRACK 06 AUDIO
TITLE "Nitric (Division one remix)"
PERFORMER "Hybrid system"
INDEX 01 19:02:00
TRACK 07 AUDIO
TITLE "Circa-Forever (Galen Behr & Organ Nilsen remix)"
PERFORMER "Rapid eye"
INDEX 01 23:55:00
TRACK 08 AUDIO
TITLE "Opulence"
PERFORMER "Simon Patterson"
INDEX 01 30:05:00
TRACK 09 AUDIO
TITLE "J'ai envie de toi (Protoculture remix)"
PERFORMER "Armin Van Buuren presents Gaia"
INDEX 01 35:10:00
TRACK 10 AUDIO
TITLE "Z.I.T.A (M.I.K.E's progressiva mix)"
PERFORMER "Hiver & Hammer with Funabashi"
INDEX 01 39:30:00
TRACK 11 AUDIO
TITLE "Kubrick (Extended mix)"
PERFORMER "Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor"
INDEX 01 42:01:00

Tried it out on a number of media player and they all worked except Plex.

There is a very good chance if I was to run my own funkwhale node/server I could set it to index .cue files and playback the mix in a seamless way like Mixcloud? Theres only one way to find out really… Get Funkwhale installed!

On a side note I am slightly kicking myself now because I entered all that metadata into mixcloud but never stored it myself. I’m going to need to go through 90 of my own mixes and convert my .nfo files into .cue files.

I have the SQLite Database for my pacemaker device with the actual real timings but I need to identify which mix is which one (another thing I should have done, as changed the names of the mix depending on many things). I also hoped mixcloud’s developers guide would come to the rescue but it looks like maybe a GDPR request is my only option if I want the metadata for my mixes?

Wishes for a better e-reading experience

Likebook mars ebook reader

I was listening/reading My wish for a better device for reading and enjoying books. I found it a interesting read with some good points

I’ve been thinking that I don’t want to settle with a simple e-reader anymore. I want more. I want an all-new gadget that’s dedicated to enhancing my reading experience.

This is why I ended up buying the Likebook Mars. It was time for something new which was a pleasure to read. Especially since the latest update which dropped a few days ago.

I understand that among the things that make an e-reader so successful is the e-ink display. But the Kindle also works well because its a less distracting device. But even then I’ve often found myself holding my Kindle in one hand and checking my smartphone notifications in the other.

This is something I imagine lots of people struggle with. Having a Android device in your hand is tricky because the temptation is to put a lot of apps on the device and make it a duplicate of the phone. But it simply doesn’t make sense to put a lot of the apps on the ereader. Try scrolling through a twitter feed on a e-ink screen is just painful. However respect to anyone who wants to give it a try for what ever reason.

Instead of limiting the capabilities of the device to make it free from distractions, we can choose our own distractions, ones that will keep us engaged with the device. Imagine an iPad with a dedicated reading mode, as part of the Screen Time feature, where you could turn off all distractions, and focus on reading. Or the device could have a “Reading Mode” where you could add reading and productivity apps…

Ideally the device would be capable of both an eink and LCD screen. This is why I found the Yota phone interesting and  although Goodereader wasn’t quite right about the trend for eink phones. It still could be a future trend with colour eink getting really good too.  Reading mode could simply be an adjustment rather than a mode. For example the Lenovo Thinkpad plus has a eink display on the lid.

…or a redesigned version of Goodreads, where you could engage with the community, and celebrate reading. If you wanted to take a break from reading a book, instead of checking your Facebook or Instagram, you could read articles or update your Goodreads. So you’d still have access to distractions, just better distractions.I want someone to redesign Spotify as a reading app, right now.

The idea of a goodreads or spotifiy for ereading can easily be dismissed but its actually important.

Once you get into the world of ereaders with standard android apps, you get the diversity of experiments and applications. Yes you can have your Amazon Kindle app on a android ereader but thats just the start. Its time for a better way to not just read but annotate, share and remix. The modes should work smoothly but due to the silo mentality of the different services we can’t rely on any changes from them. Why would Amazon do anything but the minimum for android devices?

While we already have subscription models for reading books and articles, and are listening to audiobooks, no one seems to be fighting Amazon or Apple for a share of the market. Maybe reading isn’t as big a market as music, or television, or even gaming. Or maybe the big players are not ready to look in this direction, yet. This could be about the size of the market, the potential for growth and a largely Amazon-dominated marketplace.

This is a market which could do with some changes but it will come from the smaller players. The same way authors like Cory Doctorow convinced his publisher to support some Creative commons versions of his books.

Unlock the ebooks and see things change I and others have been saying for a long long while. Its something which the author Sumit never actual mentions. Its the one thing which underpins everything he wishes for.

I was once at the World book fair for Oreilly’s Tools of change conference. One of the sessions I went to was about ebooks and their locked down DRM containers. In short DRM is a major killer and won’t get the creativity till its  restrictions are changed. There was so much hate given to Amazon for this reason.

Its clear DRM holds back so much of what ebooks could be and that effects the devices, the systems and ultimately the experience.

Well worth watching: The Boys TV series

The Seven from the boys

I just started watching the Boys and I got to say its right on point. This review sums it up.

For me the whole series is a total and effective satire that lets us see what would become of the world if fiction becomes reality: heroes lose interest in saving the world (or take advantage of its status), are forced to do things that are not right, to follow the company’s own interests and do not go out to end the crime if they are not followed by a camera that captures each of their movements, even though they are always transmitting that image of exemplary citizen when in fact they are greedy and treat their fans badly.

It’s also chilling to know that people in power act as judges and executioners to decide what crimes are profitable and what millions of dollars they rent their superheroes to other cities so they can be safe. The precision in the denunciation of The Boys is one of its strongest points since satire towards these characters is not new, but combining it with the theme of corporate America and wild capitalism gives it a clear differential touch.

The series is a total hit and is perfectly developed, to the point of making it impossible to miss because chapter by chapter the anguish increases. So if you have free time, I strongly recommend you to watch this satirical series.

I’d echo the last paragraph, I’m surprised I haven’t heard about it before. Its a very different show from the Watchmen but full of interesting points on society and couture.

The best films of 2018 and 2019 you may have missed

I meant to publish this list of great films you may have missed in 2018, but never did. So instead I’ve edited the draft and included the best films of 2019 you may have missed too. Enjoy!

2018

Spiderman into the spiderverse


Fantastic take on spider-man which includes some cutting edge graphics combined with a great soundtrack and a clever plot line which keeps you going. The diversity really shines what different people from different backgrounds could do together.

The Mule


I got to say I didn’t want to really like this one but Eastwood is great as that guy love to hate. His interactions with others is something which you can’t help but question; but with an understanding of why.

Boy Erased


Its a story which is shocking to the core and although like many think this couldn’t happen in this day in age; this story makes it super clear we are very wrong. Shocking and done tastefully.

The Hate U Give


There is something about this film which says “oh its one of those films for minorities.” But it escapes the stereotypes and manages to paint the tricky relationships between races in America very well. Well worth watching for a slightly deeper message.

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer


Its cheaply put together and feels like a TV movie (it might be) but the impact of the America’s biggest serial killer is lost when you first met the man involved. Over the course of movie it hits you wants really going on. Quite a shocking story, worth watching especially if its remade my someone else in the future.

Unsane

Never want to spoil movies, but I’d say Soderbergh pulls off this thriller/horror in fine style. The plot is simple but the acting pulls the boot strings up tight. I’m not a fan of horror but this was smart and very watchable if mindbinding at the same time.

2019

The best of enemies


Quite an incredible story about how two people of different backgrounds can agree to disagree when it comes to their child but end up being best of friends in the end. Well worth watching, especially looking at the current state of the world. Watch to the very end for a treat!

The public


This is not a great film but its an important film to watch. A film which really talks to the human value work  and movement. The plots is slow but settles in for the long journey focused on the people and the interactions between people and corporate interests.

Selling Isobel


This is a truly horrific true story which at the very start the real women behind it said thank you for watching. Being tricked into sex slavery isn’t a light topic but a very important one.  I didn’t realise till my partner pointed it out, the woman in the sex slavery is played by the same woman who it happened to! I was completely blown away! Unbelievable and something I could only watch once a year. Just like the public an important film to watch!

Untouchable


Following selling isobel, a documentary about the start of the movement with Weinsten. It really shines a light on the horrific abuses of power. Its really puts into perspective everything which has gone on to date and could easily be updated with more in the future.

The room


I would class this as something  like inception and a few films I have mentioned in previous editions of films you missed. Its a simple plot point, a room which gives you what you ask for. But the fall out is pretty well thought out. I certainly would have liked another 20mins of film to really dig into the mind bending inception.

Shadow of the moon


This gritty story about a serial killer is well told and you can’t help but feel wrapped up in the detective story as the drama unfolds over time. The story is paced perfectly with surprises and dead ends along way.

I am mother


The word mother conjures up many visions but a robot isn’t generally one of them. This movie centers its sights right at that point. Its a slow film but it really forces you to either side of the coin. You think its going one way then it goes another way. Its hard to decide how you feel at the end.

Chemical Brothers: My first concert?

IMG_20191122_222710

Thinking back, I don’t think I have ever been to a concert for popular music with a single group; I was explaining to my partner the other day while walking to the Manchester Arena.

IMG_20191122_220529

I have been to many raves, club nights, festivals but not really a concert unless it was classical music or something like a opera. I might be wrong because I saw Portishead in Ashton Court, Bristol a long time ago but I think it was alongside other arenas.

Chemical brothers may have been my first music concert, and it was very cool. Although others disagree.

IMG_20191122_211154

I was interesting to see how the music and visuals were custom set for the chemical brothers. I imagine this is what something like Armin only is like. But to be fair Gareth Emery’s Lazerface looks amazing for this exact reason.

My booklist challenge

Every once in a while you get some viral challenge, where you have to tag someone else in. Its a little annoying but I thought this might be interesting. From a friend on Facebook…

I have accepted a challenge to post seven books I love, one book per day, no exceptions, no reviews, just covers. Each day I will ask a friend to take up the challenge. Let’s promote literacy and create a book list!

Tagged in ianforrester

I just seen this and I’m more than a few days late… As I only ever use Facebook for signing up to my volleyball team events and the monthly occasional post of the public service internet notes. I pretty much missed it and very unlikely to post anything daily. I decided to do the challenge on my own blog.

So here is my booklist with books which were pivotal…

SundayRebeccas world

MondayFree culture

TuesdayStrange attrators

WednesdayUncertain vision

ThursdayMindbenders

FridayDesign for community

SaturdayThe dyslexic advanage