Spotify

Spotify Running Playlists for House of Cards’ Frank Underwood, Claire Underwood and Doug Stamper

Ironically, nothing reminds you that you need to go out for a run more than binge viewing your way through another House of Cards season. Running plays a big part in the TV show and many are still trying to find out the hidden meaning behind the old woman telling Claire Underwood not to run in the cemetery in season one.

Have you ever wondered what Frank and Claire Underwood listen to on those infamous late night runs? Have you been tempted to purchase a North Face vest and live out your very own House of Card’s fantasy while running through the streets of your hometown? For those of you that bravely or nervously answered yes to both of the questions, Spotify has a treat in store for you.

Three running playlists appeared on the music streaming service as Season 5 hit Netflix. We are led to believe that the plalists were created by Claire Underwood, Frank Underwood and even the even the quiet, cold and calculating Doug Stamper gets his own playlist too. We are used to seeing our favorite antiheroes Frank and Claire Underwood wearing all black, putting on a pair of headphones, and heading out for a run before plotting their next dark and dastardly move. But, now you can hear what music they are supposedly listening to.

Sure we could dismiss Spotify’s actions as a stupid and cringeworthy PR stunt that went too far. But, if the motivation to get you away from the couch and out for a run is to pretend to be a character from your fave TV show, I don’t see any harm in that.

It’s fair to say that all three of the Spotify playlists contain an eclectic mix of tracks. Claire Underwood goes for girl power with the likes of Florence and the Machine, Beyonce, Tina Turner. Even though a bizarre appearance of We Are The World appears, it’s Foreigner’s, Cold As Ice that reveals more than she would like you to see.

Frank Underwood predictably opens up with Sinatra’s My Way. I cannot help but think that he is also very aware of the irony of including the often misunderstood protest song Born in the USA. Although I struggle to think of Frank singing Danger Zone from the top of his voice while running through a deserted graveyard.

However, once again a random mix of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osborne and Atlantic Starr will make for an entertaining run around the block.

One of the darkest and most complex characters from the show Doug Stamper has everything from AC/DC, Rise Against The Machine, Soundgarden to Boys II Men. But a theme of secrets and lies is prominent in his song choices.

You will not find any House of Cards season spoilers in this post. But as you binge your way through another 13 episodes of the superbly acted show, don’t rush your way through it. Some things shouldn’t be consumed in a few sittings like a trip to McDonald’s. Treat the series like a fine whiskey and savor every mouthwatering and jaw dropping scene.

Why not take a mid-season break, put on your North Face running vest, plug in your earphones and head out for a run while listening to one of the themed playlists. But, just promise me you won’t run in the graveyard.

The Digital Subscription vs. Ownership Debate

The big success story sweeping the digital landscape is the infamous Netflix business model, which has unwittingly created a long line of copycats who are desperate to imitate their rapid ascent to success in the modern world.

Recently the videogame publisher EA announced plans to offer their own subscription service called ‘EA Access’ in a collaborative effort with Microsoft and the Xbox One console. With many games retailing at $70 each, the allure of having access to a vault full of EA games for $29.99 a year sounds like a very tempting offer on the surface, but could also prompt other publishers such as Ubisoft to follow suit.

However the announcement was received by mixed reactions as many people are coming to the realisation that the average person on the street, no longer owns anything at all in the digital world that continues to move forward, whilst physical media is dying at an accelerated speed.

Shelves that used to contain video cassettes of movies, were replaced with DVD’s, followed by Blu-Ray discs before finally being replaced by all you can eat subscription services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.

The music industry has also changed dramatically, and despite hard-core music fans keeping vinyl alive, the reality is more and more people are turning away from purchasing or even downloading illegal music in favour of services such as Spotify where you can think of an artist or song at any moment depending on your mood at the time and listen within a few seconds.

Books are safe though right? Step forward the Kindle Unlimited that not only removes the physical book from our lives but Amazon’s latest Netflix style venture intends to remove ownership of a book too and lets you have access to an entire library at your disposal for $9.99 a month. (more…)

Top 100 Songs Currently On Spotify Music Videos

I have spoken in previous posts about how the expensive yet traditional Cable or Satellite TV packages are rapidly becoming irrelevant and an unnecessary luxury. It’s not unheard of for a typical family to spend £100 a month on 200 channels of garbage, but with the rise of the smart TV or smart TV boxes, all most people need is a YouView recordable box and a good internet connection.

Sure you can dip in out of services like NetFlix and Sky’s Now TV but there is no need for one of those pesky contracts that have no place in the digital world.

As a Spotify user, you often take for granted being able to listen to whatever you want with a playlist for literally every mood or mindset, but I must confess to having lost touch with the world of Music videos and this is not helped by the endless music channels that consist of more adverts than music, which usually ends up with you flicking channels every few seconds, desperately trying to find something that you like.

However one Reddit user has come up with the genius idea of creating a You Tube playlist consisting of the music videos for the top 100 Songs currently on Spotify. So anyone that has access to You Tube on their TV can now just hit “Play All” with minimal fuss.

Even if you don’t have a Smart TV, games console or Apple TV box in your living room, there is no need to spend a huge amount of money, when a £30 purchase of Google Chromecast would bring you into the 21st century.

These kind of simple ideas are appearing everyday and changing the way in which we consume content and wonder just how long it will be before more and more people question their expensive TV subscription and how providers will adapt to the change in their customers lifestyles.

Why Are London Grammar Not On Spotify?

London Grammar look set to be the soundtrack of everyone’s summer this year with their new single Sights about to be unleashed to the masses, but apart from their singles, much of the bands late night introspective pop charms have passed me by and this is due to one reason only, which is quite simply because you won’t find London Grammar on Spotify.

I live in a world where as a consumer, my £9.99 subscription to Spotify gives me instant access to any song that I can think of and this also allows me to create endless playlists to suit my mood or surroundings, so to be brutally honest, if a band are not on Spotify, I am more than guilty of hitting a big red buzzer and shouting the words NEXT….

So anyone looking for an answer to the big question, “Why are London Grammar not on Spotify” it’s simply because the trio are signed up to the Ministry of Sound label in the UK , who have a reputation of standing up to Spotify who they seem to regard as bully boys in the music industry.

A recent interview in Music Week entitled “London Grammar ‘teaching the music business important lessons’ with the co-founder of the band’s management company Big Life, Jazz Summers, said “As a user, Spotify’s great. It’s very user-friendly. But I’ve got a big problem with them advertising ‘free music’. You know, it’s like: let’s shoot ourselves in the head, shall we? Kids thinks music’s free anyway. They could be educated to pay money. Spotify should be saying ‘all this exceptional music just £10 a month’.”

Summers told Music Week he was broadly an advocate of ‘windowing’: the practice of introducing released music onto streaming services only after it’s been exclusively available to buy for a set period.

One answer is not to let Spotify have new music that’s just been released,” he said. “You see movies in the theatre before they’re on DVD or whatever else. If Spotify want to sell a download like iTunes for the first three months, fine. But they don’t. No- one really thinks this stuff through”

On that point, Steve Jobs took the music business to the cleaners. He decided: ‘Okay, everyone’s panicking about file-sharing. I’ll create something that sells billions of iPods.’

“He decided a dollar [per song] was the price [on iTunes] and instantly reduced the value of records overnight. He didn’t give a shit – he was in the business of selling iPods. And, unbelievably, all the record companies went along with it.”

So in a nutshell, this new approach consists of  iTunes and physical releases being the equivalent of a cinema release with Spotify as the eventual TV version, complete with annoying adverts.  Wild Beasts also adopted this same method with their Top ten album ‘Present Tense’.

The familiar all you can eat Spotify or Google Play style package was originally launched as an antidote to illegal downloading and bring the record industry into the 21st century and the only risk of more and more bands withholding their material is that the whole system could be in danger of collapse, which would only send us back to the 90’s where illegal downloads rule our personal digital airwaves.

For me personally, I can say that a Spotify subscription has opened my eyes and broadened my musical horizons to discover a whole world of acts that I would never have got to listen which has also increased how many gigs I have attended.

This has to be better than a guy called ‘Dodgy Dave’ approaching you at work saying “Do you want a copy of the new London Grammar album because it’s not available on Spotify” Right or wrong this is the reality of the modern way that people access their music and the ultimate reason this interesting experiment has failed.

As for the band themselves, their credibility suffered the worst knock to be inflicted on any band as David Cameron desperately trying to appeal to younger voters announced he was a big fan of the minimalist pop trio in a bid prove he is down with the kids.

The thought of David Cameron sat in his favourite armchair at number 10 playing Fruit Ninja on his iPad with London Grammar playing in the background is a much scarier thought than anything a music streaming service could ever do to the music industry.

Lumi – Web Content Discovery Site From Last FM Founders

I binge on music via Spotify and Last FM, binge view my way through TV Boxsets on NetFlix and Info binge from hundreds of websites via content discovery apps like Flipboard and Pulse so I guess it’s of no surprise that LastFM founders Felix Miller and Martin Stiksel have created Lumi which a content discovery app that feeds you interesting content that you probably would have never found based on your past browsing history.

Martin Stiksel advised that users are not interested in being bombarded with details of what their friends were doing but wanted recommendations based on their own interests, reflected in their past browsing.

Whilst every new start up continues the obsession of sharing content, it’s hard to believe that only now are people realising that most people really don’t care what everyone else is doing and have their own unique interests, and this is where Lumi really excels.

Martin told the Next Web “‘I’ve been browsing the Web for 15 years and I have no benefit from that. I have a few bookmarks and I’ve learnt how to write a good Google query but that’s it – all this knowledge I’ve produced, all these choices I’ve made, they all disappear into the ether

No one allows users to put their browsing history to work,” Stiksel told Mashable. “That idea just proved so strong that we came back from retirement.” (more…)