Now It’s Time For Napster To Get Its Own Movie: “The Social Music Network”

At Long Last, Napster Is Getting Its Own Movie

“The Social Network” was one of the greatest surprises of 2010, what with the movie being nominated for 8 Academy Awards (of which it won 3, including one for Best Original Score). So, it comes as no surprise that filmmakers are looking for other sites that would make for great movies.

And one of the few websites that can lend itself to a movie rivaling “The Social Network” in dramatic content is Napster. Created by 18-year-old college student Shawn Fanning in 1999, Napster was the most disruptive music service of its age. It marked the birth of peer-to-peer sharing, no less.

The service was forced to close down in 2001, following a string of virulent lawsuits. And although Napster remained around as a 100% legal music service and it changed owners several times, its 15 minutes were basically over.

But it’s a story well-worth sharing. And it will be told in documentary form soon. The as-yet unnamed project is going to be directed by Alex Winter (Bill from the “Bill and Ted” films), and this is a story he’s been wanting to tell for a long time – he once signed a deal with MTV films to create a scripted version of the story in 2002. But that came to nothing. Continue reading

LyricStatus – Get Lyrics On Facebook Right


Name: LyricStatus

A person who has never posted a song lyric to Facebook to convey the way he’s feeling is like a kid who has never watched “The Lion King”. That doesn’t happen, not even in another universe. Songs lyrics are tailor made for something like Facebook, a site that redefines how one presents himself to the world. The mere fact of interacting on a social network means that one’s exposing a lot about himself, so that anything that can sort of depersonalize the experience without sacrificing expressivity is just perfect. And song lyrics fall squarely in that category. Song lyrics can be used to tell someone he/she makes you feel special in front of the whole world without having to address him/her directly. They can be used to wind somebody up. And they also come in handy when you simply want to slag others off.

And in all cases, there’s nothing more embarrassing than getting the lyrics you’re quoting wrong. When you post lyrics on Facebook, the last thing you want is people commenting that you got them all mixed up. You want them to think about what they might mean to you and other, not to pick on words that you might have got wrong. That throws everything out of the window, as discussions will revolve around these words you messed up, and not what you actually meant to convey when posting them.

Such a thing is certainly frustrating, but (thankfully) you can prevent that from happening by using a site like this one. LyricStatus is a search engine for lyrics. This site lets you find lyrics both by artist and by song, and the idea is that once you’ve found what you are looking for you can have it posted to Facebook straightaway. Continue reading

Christoph Thür (Ovelin) – Interview (Part 2)

The second part of the interview I conducted with Christoph Thür from Ovelin, the creators of the super-cool WildChords for iPad. You can read the first part of this interview here. And this is my review of WildChords. Enjoy, and share!




When did you become interested in music? What was the first album or single you ever purchased?

I always loved those evenings at the scout summer camp where we were singing next to  the fire. I think the first album I bought with my own money was Keep the Faith from Bon Jovi. Continue reading

Christoph Thür (Ovelin) – Interview (Part 1)

Full Name: Christoph Thür
Company: Ovelin
Position: CEO

Last week I told you about WildChords, a cool iPad app created by Ovelin that lets you learn to play the guitar without you even noticing – it all becomes a game. Now I want to introduce you to Ovelin’s CEO, Christoph Thür. He was kind enough to answer my questions, and with WildChords’ release date set for October 2011 this interview’s all you need before heading to the App Store and downloading your own copy.




Tell us a little about your app. How was it conceived? What are its most distinctive features in your opinion?

WildChords is a guitar learning app that motivates people to practice on their real guitars. Its played with an acoustic (or electric guitar), and currently on an iPad (other platforms to follow). The cool thing about it is that you don’t need any special equipment to play, and you also no previous guitar knowledge is required. Turn it on, grab your guitar, and the game will get you playing in no time. We concentrate much of our energy on the motivational aspects of the game: give rewards, make it easy to use and turn it into a casual game (play a quick session in the add- breaks, rather than reserve an hour for practice). Both co-founders (Mikko and me) were guitar dropouts. Not because we did not know what to do, not because we did not have time to practice (who has time for anything anyway), but because we lacked the motivation to go through those early exercises. We figured that if we find a way to motivate ourselves to practice, it might work for others too.

When is WildChords going to be released?

The plan is to launch the first version in October 2011.

What has been the response so far?

The response has been overwhelming. Users (kids and adults alike) love the game, they get hooked immediately, and make real progress. More importantly they really enjoy playing the guitar, which makes it that much easier to pick up the guitar every day for a few minutes. We also worked with different guitar teachers who love the idea even more. Finally their students practice at home and come to classes proud to show what they have achieved the past week, and motivated to learn more. One teacher tested WildChords with two of his least motivated students and said that they have practiced more at home in this one month using WildChords, than in the whole previous year. WildChords records the time you play, and another teacher reported that his student had used it on average of 2.5h per day! However, we are still learning so many things from our users that we are excited about gameplay modes, advanced features, and tons of new levels.
As a nice bonus, we won the Best European Learning Game 2011 competition with WildChords.

What features can we expect to see implemented in future revisions?

I don’t want to say too much about upcoming things yet, but we are working hard to make the game even richer, with new guitar techniques, and also more interactive features. We are also talking to different musicians and bands to help us create more songs for the game. And of course we will include some famous songs to the game too. Continue reading

Pablo Faragó Releases “Mantras”, His First Album

(Hagan click aquí para leer esta nota en español)

"Mantras" By Pablo Faragó

“Mantras” is the first album released by Pablo Faragó. It brings together some of the best compositions created by the celebrated former guitarist for Niquel during the last ten years. During that time, Pablo embarked on a solo career characterized by electric guitar improvisations with the use of loop samplers.

As Pablo himself explains in the liner notes that come with the CD, “these compositions are name “mantras” because of their cyclic and meditative nature”.

Pablo Faragó

On the album, Pablo is joined by percussionist Fernando “Cacho” Rodríguez in the two cuts that run the longest. The album is made up of 12 selections, and it certainly succeeds in taking the listener through very different sound landscapes.

I invite you to read the interview I conducted with Pablo just last year, and to visit his MySpace profile. You will find lots of pieces representative of this original project right there.

Pablo Faragó Publica “Mantras”, Su Primer CD

(Click here to read this post in English)

"Mantras" de Pablo Faragó

De inminente aparición en el mercado, “Mantras” de Pablo Faragó recoge algunas de las mejores composiciones creadas por el célebre ex-guitarrista de Níquel en los últimos diez años. En este tiempo, Pablo se ha embarcado en un proyecto solista caracterizado por la improvisación con guitarra eléctrica a través de generadores de ciclos de sonido (“loop samplers”).

Como explica Pablo en las notas que acompañan al disco, “estas composiciones reciben el nombre de “mantras” por su característica cíclica y meditativa”.

En el disco es asimismo acompañado por el percusionista Fernando “Cacho” Rodríguez en dos de las composiciones de mayor extensión.

Pablo Faragó

“Mantras” de Pablo Faragó será comercializado en todos los locales de Palacio De La Música. El disco cuenta con 12 temas, donde se generan paisajes sonoros realmente diversos.

Los invito a leer la entrevista efectuada en este mismo blog a Pablo hace algunos meses, y a visitar su perfil de MySpace. Allí encontrarán muchas piezas representativas de este original proyecto.

Pablo Faragó puede ser contactado en la siguiente dirección:

WildChords, An iPad Game That Lets You Become A Guitar Player

Learn To Play The Guitar With WildChords

The hardest bit when trying to learn an instrument is finding the time to practice. You show someone who hasn’t picked a guitar in his life how to play an E chord and he will get it. And he will retain it, even if he’s got a memory like a sieve. No doubt about it. But being able to concatenate different chords together harmoniously is something which only comes with practice, and the kind of perseverance that lies beyond most people’s grasp. Progress is always slow at first, and while few do a Pete Townshend and put their feet through their instruments most call it a day before too long.

Well, that’s what this emerging company is trying to remedy. Ovelin is a Finnish startup that is about to release an iPad app that turns practicing the guitar into nothing short of a game. Continue reading

Meet Daphne Oram, One Of The Unsung Figures In The History Of Electronic Music

Daphne Oram Was One Of The True Pioneers Of Electronic Music, And Her Work Has Finally Begun Receiving The Recognition It Always Deserved

We all know the role that individuals like Moog and Stockhausen have played in the history of electronic music, but (like always) there’s more to the picture than meets the eye.

Meet Daphne Oram, the first woman in history to direct an electronic music studio, the first woman to devise a personal studio, and the first woman to construct an electronic musical instrument. Using sine wave oscillators, reel-to-reel tape decks and other electronics, Oram managed to design and build a revolutionary device named Oramics. This could convert hand patterns to music, and that music could be stored magnetically. That’s cool-enough today, and it was even cooler way back when it happened (1965). Continue reading

The Day Manhattan Thought Radiohead Would Play A Free Concert

British Rockers Radiohead Were Involved In The Latest Social Media Fiasco

Twitter is a vertiginous tool bar none. And following story shows that the actual veracity of what’s being disseminated is absolutely irrelevant. All it takes is one spark to set a mammoth wildfire going.

Last Friday, the whole of Manhattan was ecstatic at the prospect of Radiohead playing a free surprise concert that would coincide with the Occupy Wall Street protests which had been organized online. Music bloggers and publications such as Gawker, Pitchfork, Gothamist and Huffington Post reported the concert was taking place based on an announcement that had been made on the official website for the demonstration at 12:13pm EST. That read “Radiohead will play a surprise show for #occupywallstreet today at four in the afternoon.”

We now know such a message was posted because a person who claimed to be involved with Radiohead’s management contacted the Occupy Wall Street organizers via email, and expressed the band’s keenness on playing at the event (which after all, is the kind of cause Radiohead always champions).

The media picked that up, and began reporting the concert was going to be held.

When Radiohead caught wind of the rumor, they vehemently denied it. Yet, fans took it as a tactic to prevent an unmanageable crowd from gathering.

By 4:00pm Eastern Time, a crowd had congregated at Wall Street. They waited and waited for hours, and it was only when night was beginning to creep in that a spokeman for Occupy Wall Street came forth and admitted they had been hoaxed.

Occupy Wall Street organizers certainly are to blame for the confusion, as they didn’t update the post they had made earlier on the day when Radiohead made it clear they weren’t playing Friday. Even hours after the rumor had been denied by the band, the post that caused the confusion was not redacted or even updated.

This isn’t the first time Twitter is used to disseminate falsehoods. I can recall the day someone announced Gordon Lightfoot had passed away, and Canadian radio stations began paying homage to the man until he got in touch himself and made it clear he was very well alive. Continue reading

ListnPlay – A Better Way To Watch Music Videos Online

Name: ListnPlay

As far as watching music videos online goes, YouTube is the port of call for many for many of us. But that’s mainly because there’s nothing better around. The amount of filtering one must do just to get to these clips he wants to watch and move past content which has got nothing to do with music is certainly infuriating. And VEVO (the one platform that was touted as the YouTube for the music industry) has been derided from day one, with users scoffing at this “Very Evil Video Organization”, visibly irked by the constant video ads that plague it.

Well, that’s exactly what ListnPlay intends to fix. A free-to-use service, it presents users with a simple search interface for music videos, and it also lets them create playlists that they can share with all of their friends. Those who think Debby Harry is the sexiest frontwoman in the history of music will be able to bring all these videos that have her commanding the stage, and create a playlist to support their point of view. They won’t manage to convince people like me (who wouldn’t change Emmylou Harris for anyone in the world), but they’ll be able to rest their case that little more easily. Continue reading