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Online Music – Just the Way I Like It

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Well, I’m sad to say but the Christmastime didn’t continue in such a stellar way as it began. On 25th I started feeling a bit weird and luckily decided to leave home from the cabin, since in the evening I got what can be best described as an explosive stomach flu, which came with a high fever that made me enjoy funky delusions. All that wouldn’t have been that fun in the cabin in subzero temperatures, with just an outhouse and no warm water. So, I spent most of the Christmas holiday and the New Year’s Eve on our sofa, playing Fallout 3 – so it wasn’t all bad.

While recovering from the illness I had plenty of time to tinker around with web services, including something many of my pals are nuts for, Spotify.

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The basic idea of Spotify is pretty simple – you can listen to streaming music free, if you listen to an ad or two now and then. If you shell out ten euros per month, you get rid of the ads that aren’t too frequent in any case. You can either choose the genres and the decades, pick up a single band or listen to an artist radio, which does a playlist of music similar to the artist you chose. In itself this is not that revolutionary, but Spotify has collected an impressive amount of music for the service, which means you can find both top-10 stuff and surprisingly obscure underground bands side by side.  And yeah, it Scrobbles the songs to Last.fm.

For the last year or so I’ve been using eMusic, which is also a subscription based service. It costs something like 13 dollars per month, for which you can download 40 songs in a DRM’less mp3-format. I originally signed in to download the Dr. Steel albums, but stayed for the pretty nice ambient, dub and electronica -selection.

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I mainly listen the music from my desktop Mac, which is in my home office, but I pipe it over to the living room via Airport Express / AirTunes. So far this has limited my choices for a media player to iTunes, but a few days back I finally tried out and registered AirFoil, which streams stuff from whichever program to AirTunes. And yeah, it doesn’t stream the raw output of the computer, so you won’t get the incoming email / friend signed in on MSN bings and beeps, just the output of the program you choose.

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The only thing I have got to say now is holy fuck. Holy fucking hell. Now I have practically endless playlists of music I like, which I can stream straight to the living room stereo.  I can pay for listening to the music, a reasonable amount too. I can find and try out new music easily, and if I want to take it on the road, I can quite often buy it from eMusic. This has been pretty much what I’ve been waiting for with on-line music services – or as close I’ve dared to hope with the fossilized record company execs still in charge. If you manage to get an invite, I heartily recommend you to try Spotify, and also check out eMusic for a month or two and see, if they got stuff in there that appeals to you.

Maybe in a few years I can stagger out of the bedroom and go “Computer, morning ambient, something noiseish, follow up with something groovy on the lines of Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim once I’ve got my coffee”.

Now, when do the movie and TV execs get their heads out of their asses enough to make something like this for TV series’ and films…?

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