Wednesday, December 04, 2013

My Most Played Albums of 2013

  • It's that time of year where I wake up the hamsters and make them turn the wheel that cranks out my most listened to albums released over the past year.
  • One of these days I will do a an average of monthly plays from the month the album is released so that it better represents albums released later in the year. But until that time here are my Top 25 played albums released in 2013.

  • Songs from this album were played 121 times. Released: 2013-05-22.
    • Songs from this album were played 110 times. Released: 2012-03-27.
      • Songs from this album were played 95 times. Released: 2013-06-04.
        • Songs from this album were played 91 times. Released: 2013-05-14.
          • Songs from this album were played 88 times. Released: 2013-03-27.
            • Songs from this album were played 80 times. Released: 2013-04-16.
              • Songs from this album were played 76 times. Released: 2013-04-02.
                • Songs from this album were played 74 times. Released: 2013-10-01.
                  • Songs from this album were played 68 times. Released: 2013-04-26.
                    • Songs from this album were played 67 times. Released: 2013-10-15.
                      • Songs from this album were played 65 times. Released: 2013-04-16.
                        • Songs from this album were played 64 times. Released: 2013-05-31.
                          • Songs from this album were played 63 times. Released: 2013-01-29.
                            • Songs from this album were played 63 times. Released: 2013-03-15.
                              • Songs from this album were played 61 times. Released: 2013-05-28.
                                • Songs from this album were played 60 times. Released: 2013-06-21.
                                  • Songs from this album were played 56 times. Released: 2013-02-19.
                                    • Songs from this album were played 56 times. Released: 2013-04-23.
                                      • Songs from this album were played 54 times. Released: 2013-04-08.
                                        • Songs from this album were played 38 times. Released: 2013-04-26.
                                          • Songs from this album were played 37 times. Released: 2013-03-19.
                                            • Songs from this album were played 37 times. Released: 2013-10-29.
                                              • Songs from this album were played 36 times. Released: 2013-06-03.
                                                • Songs from this album were played 35 times. Released: 2012-10-09.
                                                  • Songs from this album were played 35 times. Released: 2013-03-04.
                                                  • Saturday, October 19, 2013

                                                    halfstep - a music hack

                                                    lfranchi and I spent the last day or so at Music Hackday NYC, and made a thing. I had a good time with it, it's sort of useless and tongue-in-cheek... two the most important traits (if you ask me) in a weekend hack.

                                                    Fitbit is great at motivating you to go the extra distance once you are out and about, but not so good at motivating you to get your ass off the couch if you've got nowhere to go. The issue (as we see it): there is no threat of punishment for not reaching your goals.

                                                    Now there is.

                                                    A chrome extension that looks at how you did against your Fitbit steps goal from the previous day, and then only lets you listen to the equivalent percentage of each song today.

                                                    Only hit 70% of your goal yesterday? Well, we hope you haven't grown too accustomed to the ends of your favorites songs... because you won't hear them today (but you will get some "motivational" notifications).

                                                    Maybe things will be better tomorrow, you slacker.

                                                    Currently supports Rdio, Pandora and Hype Machine (sort of).

                                                    Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required. Screencast:

                                                    Monday, October 14, 2013

                                                    Attention Rate vs. Royalty Rate?

                                                    This is obviously a sample size of 1, and this is meant to be an answer to anything... just a new question to ask.

                                                    Friday, April 26, 2013

                                                    After a Decade of iTunes Dominance, Apple Has a Tough Choice (guest post for Billboard)

                                                    My most recent guest post for Billboard... this time on iTunes.

                                                    Barrels of ink have been spilt hypothesizing Apple’s next move in music given the mass market transition to streaming and subscription music services has finally begun. I am responsible for a least one barrel of that ink, and am on the record as of 5 1/2 years ago speculating that Apple’s entrance into the subscription music market was imminent. In my defense, that was back in a time when there was only one music device in the market that mattered... the iPod. Back then, Apple could have flipped on a subscription music service and secured their place as the dominant force in music for decades more. Of course they didn’t do this, as this would have instantly cannibalized their still very large and important music download sales revenue. Those of us that were still happily shelling out several hundreds of dollars a year would instantly convert to only playing $10/month. The revenue loss from the hardcore music buyer wouldn’t (yet) make up for the slight increase in annual spend from the rest of the iTunes customers. Instead, Apple has been playing the financially prudent game where they can watch the revenue curves... when the projected subscription revenue line crosses the music download revenue line launch the full on-demand streaming service (that they inevitably have had working in the basement of Cupertino headquarters for years).

                                                    The wrench in this strategy many years later is, of course, Android. Now instead of owning the entire mobile music device market, Android has come along and turned iOS into a minority share player. While Apple could still launch a successful subscription music service now, they are faced with a “sophie’s choice” - play to win at streaming music (and maintain their leverage over the rest of the market) or dig their heels in deeper on an ever weakening iOS lock-in strategy. For the record, I am no fan of lock-in tactics, and generally think they are all doomed to fail - but given Apple’s choices I think this is likely the path they will take.

                                                    The interesting historical context for all of this is that it was Apple’s abandonment of a lock-in strategy that helped them secure such success in the mobile market. When the iTunes Music Store was first launched, it was Mac only... the tight ecosystem between iPods and iTunes (on Macs) were used to lure the Windows consumers to switch to Macs. Given their minority share (< 10%) in the PC market, this strategy did not bear much fruit. Apple then made the somewhat decision to bring their software to Windows - one of the few times they have done this (along with the likes of Safari & QuickTime). Bringing the iTunes Music Store to the mass majority of the market thereabout fueled massive iPod sales, which begat the iPhone, which begat a new massive revenue stream for Apple in iOS apps.

                                                    So, I’d argue that if Apple brought an iTunes subscription music service to iOS and Android they can “win” again. BUT, given the notoriously high-complexity/low-margin business that subscription music is... I think they will continue to cede subscription music to the other players. Apple execs have said that music is multi-billion dollar business for them that “is run at breakeven”. By continuing to focus on the other aspects of the iOS platform, they can get a much higher return on that investment while still generating low-complexity/high-margin revenue from music by taking their 30% vig on all music subscriptions that come in through their App Store.

                                                    Where in 2007 I’d have bet big money that Apple would enter subscription on-demand music, I’d now bet bigger money today that they won’t. My caveat is the much rumored “iRadio”... I believe the reports postulating that they will compete with Pandora on a “non-interactive” radio service. In my opinion, this has much less to do about being in music as it is about improving their iAD platform. They can use radio as a loss-leader to both create additional inventory for the ad platform while simultaneously gathering very valuable user taste and behavioral data that they can then leverage and offer to all of the other iOS app developers.

                                                    In a perfect world, a streaming radio service is an all-around win for Apple... they build a better advertising platform, they offer a programmed streaming experience that has proven both more popular and more cost-efficient than on-demand subscription services, they increase sales and extend the life of downloads, their incremental download sales help drive the sales of higher storage capacity iOS devices, all the while avoiding competing directly with the subscription streaming services (of which they take a nice profitable cut of the revenue on sign-ups through their platform).

                                                    There will certainly be a huge number of people that will try, and like, iRadio. For many having that experience only on their iOS devices will serve their needs just fine. A minority share of music listeners is probably “good enough” for Apple to help move their advertising and OS platforms further down the road. But, as the device market continues to fragment - with people enjoying their music on their iPads, Androids, Rokus, car stereos, Sonoses, and more - a platform/OS lock-in strategy will prove to be a short-lived advantage in music.

                                                    All of the above is a very long-winded way of saying, don’t count out the other players - both on-demand subscription and non-interactive radio services.. Apple’s entrance into streaming music will ultimately help build the awareness and userbases of those services that are dedicated to being fully-cross platform and being everywhere their listeners are.

                                                    Friday, March 22, 2013

                                                    Subscription-Music Wars: The Greatest Trick the Majors Have Ever Pulled Off

                                                    This is a repost of an op-ed I wrote for Billboard....
                                                    Jason Herskowitz is a core contributor and co-founder of Tomahawk, an open-source music platform that -- among other things -- creates a music aggregation and interoperability layer across music providers. He talks endlessly on Twitter about the industry, you can find him @jherskowitz. welcomes responsible commentary -- contact with ideas.

                                                    Google. Amazon. Samsung. Apple. If the various rumors and reports are to be believed, four of the biggest companies in the world are all preparing for battle in the subscription-music market. There they will meet: the industry darling (Spotify), the critically acclaimed (Rdio), the old-timer (Rhapsody), the internationally renowned (Deezer), the highly-anticipated (Beats), the living room invaders (Microsoft, Sony) and a host of others in the U.S. and abroad (Slacker, Qobuz, Rara, Simfy, WiMP). They will also be competing for market share against other music-consumption experiences from YouTube, SoundCloud, Grooveshark, Bandcamp, Pandora, Vevo, Songza, iHeartRadio,, direct-to-fan artist platforms, music blogs, the scores of white-labeled music services -- big and small -- powered by the platforms of 7digital and MusicNet, and let us not forget about piracy of all forms.

                                                    Why all the new interest from the “big boys” in a notoriously difficult business, with razor-thin margins, that has very few (if any) success stories in a sea of failures? As everyone following the industry is quick to point out, the music market is finally -- slowly -- transitioning from the "ownership" model (a.k.a. buying from iTunes) to the "access" model (paying a monthly subscription fee for unlimited access to virtually anything).

                                                    Not only are the consumers learning the value proposition of streaming music, but the labels have learned just as valuable a lesson over the last decade, and that is the danger associated with having one partner (Apple) dominating a market, gaining too much power and ultimately be able to hold an entire industry hostage. This flood of new entrants from some of the deepest pockets in the world may be the greatest accomplishment the labels have ever pulled off.

                                                    The major labels are doing everything in their power to ensure that the subscription-music market has multiple strong competitors -- companies with other profitable business lines that can subsidize a music-subscription model that has never proven sustainable on its own. Not only does this generate multiple, hefty, upfront checks and guarantees but it also enables them to maintain leverage in the bi-annual licensing re-negotiation dance by playing these companies off of each other. In addition to getting money upfront, others are making sure they get a piece of the back-end action too. Access Industries (owners of Warner Music Group) is now heavily invested both Deezer and Beats. For music lovers, this increased competition means the continued and deepening user-base fragmentation across multiple music providers. In a vacuum this fragmentation is no big deal, but given the lack of music data portability across different services, this will break the promise of the social web for music fans who can’t easily share what they love.

                                                    I fear this fragmentation will inevitably lead services into exclusivity wars, where big checks start flying around to get content that their competitors can’t. It’s certainly not a stretch to expect to see the recently announced upcoming Nine Inch Nails album available only on the service in which its creator, Trent Reznor, is Chief Creative Officer. At SXSW, an executive from Xbox Music confirmed that labels have already started shopping exclusives to the providers. The more competitive the market, the bigger these bidding wars become -- which is dangerous and unsustainable on their own, given the economics of the subscription music market today.

                                                    The lure of bigger checks (which can be creatively accounted for) incentivizes the rights-holders down a road that ultimately leads us back to the failed model of the first generation of subscription streaming providers: MusicNet vs. PressPlay, where each only had a subset of the content that consumers were looking for. From there, there are really only two viable paths for a consumer to take to fill the voids: the creation of a music data interoperability layer that allows them to seamlessly piece together multiple disparate sources -- or a return to piracy. I don’t think anyone wants the latter, so I am back up on my soapbox about the need to create the former.

                                                    Thursday, January 17, 2013

                                                    Open-Source Ideas

                                                    I just got access to my Twitter archive, so the first thing I wanted to do was look up all of my 'random idea of the day' tweets to see how good/bad they were.  Some of them I have later found as fully realized products (obviously completely independent of me), some of them are silly, some are dumb, and some still intrigue me.

                                                    I'm a firm proponent of the idea that ideas are free. And after spending the last few years fully-entrenched in open-source software development (see Tomahawk) - and seeing how that idea-transparency can lead to great collaboration and the realization of those ideas - I thought I'd repost them here and see if any of them spurs any other ideas from others. Alternatively, if anyone knows of anything that exists is similar to any of the below let me know. I love supporting projects that share common views of the world, and the problems to be solved.

                                                    36 results match ‘random idea’

                                                    J Herskowitz@jherskowitz
                                                    Random idea of the day: computer trackpad that measures pulse and heart rate. Map over browsing history. #quantifiedself

                                                    Random idea of the day (potentially evil): Mail client that lets *sender* reset the read/unread IMAP flag. Better than sending reminder?

                                                    Random idea of the day: gyroscopic umbrella stabilizer.

                                                    Random idea of the day: driver preferences transmitted via remote unlock signal so everything is set *before* you get in car. #doesitexist?

                                                    Random idea of the day: Super Mario World, the amusement park. Mario Kart would be an amazing attraction.

                                                    Random Idea of the Day: Google Stage View - photo from each seat/section of venue of stage.

                                                    Random Idea: upload your site's color palette and get returned a list other sites/companies (by industry) that use similar. #doesitexist?

                                                    Random idea: site to inventory personal electronics and appliances. Automatically finds manuals. Also avg. resale price. Include swap meet.

                                                    Random idea of the day: 1) create Facebook app that turns written status text into giant image of said written text, 2)???, 3) Profit!!!

                                                    Random idea of the day: baggage tag scanner (NFC) on baggage carousel. Big monitor calling your name once your bags come out. And seating.

                                                    Create an @IFTTT task that takes any #randomidea tweet of mine and adds it my Evernote "Random Ideas" notebook. (and test it with this)

                                                    Random idea of the day: cap and trade system for bandwidth. If I'm under my limit one month, I can sell excess to those hitting cap.

                                                    Random idea of the day: animated album artwork (aka visualizers). More interesting than static covers. Demand less attention than videos.

                                                    Random idea of today: Jogging stroller mounted to front of skateboard for all the hipster dads. (I might try to make this one)

                                                    Random idea of yesterday: Grocery shopping list app that knows what aisle each item is in so I don't wander aimlessly looking for Sriacha.

                                                    Random idea: iPad/Tabloid with a screen that multipurposes as a flatbed scanner. #thefuture

                                                    Random idea: a running/gps app that enables you to pick a route first, then gives you audible directions while you run. cc @RunKeeper

                                                    Random idea of the day: 1) buy, 2) make some sort of product to put there, 3) profit

                                                    Random idea: phone that vibrates in morse code so that you can discretely "read" tweets while seemingly paying attention to real world.

                                                    Not So Random Idea of the Day: a bot that lets you file bugs directly into Jira from IRC channel. #doesitexist?

                                                    Random idea: make a Kindle/Nook cover that displays title of what you are reading. Restimulate real-world conversations around eBooks.

                                                    Random idea of the day for terrestrial radio: use inaudible tones as a sort of audio QR code. Easily drive users to companion apps or URLs.

                                                    Random idea of the day: replace those restaurant "your table/food is ready" buzzers with simple SMS messages.

                                                    Random idea of the day: Set up free wifi hotspots. Sell the SSID naming rights daily (as ads). Voila'... trojan push ads. Your welcome.

                                                    Random idea of the day: Combo USB/mini-jack headphones/mic that I can easily use with both my Mac and my phone. Anyone make?

                                                    Random idea of the day: bike handlebar-mounted phone charger (with crank/pedal powered generator). Does it exist?

                                                    Random idea of the day: Feed the mayonnaise *to* the tuna. Oh wait...

                                                    Random Idea of Day: geo-aware barcode scanner. Build an inventory of physical things in a particular space. Integrate with Yelp/4sq.

                                                    Random idea of the day: create way to identify what game someone else is playing on their phone w/o having to asking them. #subwaygameplay

                                                    Random idea of the day: Pressure/key velocity-sensitive keyboard. Type hard = ALL CAPs. Hit enter key softly = "are you sure?".

                                                    Random idea of the day: put GPS in kids shoes. Not to track the kids per se, I just need a way to find the damn shoes every day. #fb

                                                    Random idea of day: Add latest tweet to email signature using Feedburner. "Headline Animator" creates dynamic GIF of last post from a feed.

                                                    Random idea of the day: Center for Disease control should use Twitter Search to plot and track cases of self-reported sicknesses. @ev

                                                    Random idea of the day: if I ever decided to open a smoothie store, name it "Juicetice". And Juicetice For All.

                                                    Some tweets were less ideas and of me asking for solutions. These are ones that went unanswered...

                                                    4 results match ‘#doesitexist’

                                                    J Herskowitz@jherskowitz
                                                    13 Jul
                                                    Looking for simple video mashup maker for my nephew. Give it 2 YouTube URLs then cut b/w them and output single video. #doesitexist?
                                                    View on Twitter

                                                    24 Feb
                                                    Want a way to automatically embed a tweet on a page just by favoriting it then replace it with the next one favorited. #doesitexist?
                                                    View on Twitter

                                                    6 Oct 11
                                                    Wanted: a way to search my Twitter connections for people that work at a specific company (e.g. mentioned in profile). #doesitexist?
                                                    View on Twitter

                                                    27 Sep 09
                                                    I want a kids TV remote that just has one giant button. Turns everything on, sets the volume, and changes to kids channel. #doesitexist

                                                    I'll close this by posing another Random Idea of the Day: An open-source respository for product ideas. Where people can contribute, fork and hash out new product ideas and find like-minded makers. #doesitexist?