More music madness – Songbird, a time-lapse mashup and other music miscellany

October 7th, 2006 | by ian |

40 years of pop music summaried in 37 minutes

Before I get to one of the more interesting pieces of music aware software I have seen lately, I need to credit Alex Gelfand with another interesting music nerd article in Wired:

DuBois…has developed a technique he calls “time-lapse phonography.” … DuBois devised an algorithm to compute the statistical average of all frequencies in an audio sample, reducing vast swathes of music to tiny, amorphous sound clips. The result, called “Billboard,” traverses 42 years of pop music history in 37 minutes

For the results, read the rest of Alex’s article here.

Music browser for the web: Songbird

A new crossplatform (XUL based) application for browsing and organizing your music as well as music located on the web: introducing Songbird! Available for less than a song (free in fact), it is impressive enough in this beta release that I will be adding it on a trial basis to my staple toolset: Winamp Lite (for simple playback of playlists and internet radio) and Mediamonkey Gold (for managing my library, creating playlists, being a DJ). Sometimes I fire up Pandora. For those wondering: I’ve tried iTunes and Windows Media Player and they have never failed to disappoint me. In every version they have ever released. Sigh. Anyhoo. Here’s a demo of Songbird if you’re interested:

Songbird won’t replace any existing tools. Yet. But it sure complements them, making it easier to find music on the web, download it, add it to playlists. Discover artists. Evolve your tastes. Winamp had been heading in this direction but they never got the UI right. I think Songbird gets it. It is a beautiful and useful gift to the rip, mix and burn culture.

Apple ripping, mixing and burning. Oh, and some positive things said also…

The track display window of Songbird is a little too iTunes for my liking. Bad association for me. Very bad. Did I mention iTunes sucks? On windows PCs the installation includes all kinds of unnecessary stuff and tries to hijack your file associations. It is slow and crashes. It tries hard to sell you stuff that you don’t want to listen to, let alone purchase. It isn’t a great music manager. However for all my dissing of Apple they have done some good to my world of music. I have a new black iPod nano. Not because it is Apple and trendy and all that. But after years of using other portable media I found it has the best design: simple. Functional. The black ain’t bad either if you tend to bring a few metal tracks with you, as I often do. It works great for running. Good job Apple. I just need to get me some black earphones.

Also, Apple has some pretty good ads, if you’re into that, such as (relevant to this post) “Rip. Mix. Burn“:

  1. 3 Responses to “More music madness – Songbird, a time-lapse mashup and other music miscellany”

  2. By Chris Beck on Oct 7, 2006 | Reply

    For no good or convincing reason, I use Quinn Media Player ( I stopped using Winamp when I realized that it didn’t actually do as good a job of playing music as it should have – the audio output wasn’t as high fidelity as other players. The best one I ever found was something called Apollo – but it had attrocious list management features (it couldn’t even remember where it was in a playlist on restart). I use mediamonkey occasionally, and snackamp for tag editing.

    What I really want is a hi-fi player that is ok for list management, takes up 1 icons worth of width in my system tray and allow fast mouse access to playback from that icon. Left-click should pause/play, left double-click skip, right double-click rewind, right single-click can pop-up the menu, and all playback entries should be FIRST dammit, not in some stupiud sub-menu.

  3. By Chris Beck on Oct 7, 2006 | Reply

    Why is crazyegg trying to execute scripts on your blog pages? Isn’t webalizer enough for you people? And why does everyone and their brother try to set Urchin cookies on my ass?

  4. By ian on Oct 7, 2006 | Reply

    Yeah sorry, I was just trying it out. I generally abhor these third party monitoring scripts but a customer of mine raved about it and I just had to give it a try. Its not that impressive. Very web 2.0 though.

    Actually I use Mint:

    Highly recommended – stats at a quick glance which is all you really need. Although for even better at-a-glance effectiveness I am considering adding sparklines to boot.

    I do experiment with a few things on this blog (witness the changing themes and plugins) but hopefully it will stabilize soon. As soon as I find a decent theme which is easily customizable. Noone seems to have quite nailed it yet.

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