Tag Archives: online music services

PiercingMetal & Social Networking: Official Google+ Fan Page

I’m not going to go into too much detail here since I have already discussed Google+ as a part of these narratives about the myriad of Social Networks that are out there and how they are used to help out the PiercingMetal.com site. It was back in May of 2011 that I first signed up for G+ account using an additional email address related to the website because it never hurts to have an alternate to ones main site email. That was great to connect with those musical types that also used Google+ and it gave me another means of posting our content as soon as it went live on the site. While that was great in the beginning it was not something that was accruing “Likes” or in this sense “Followers” like you want to do in the Social Networking dynamic. Now there is the permission to have what are viewed as the Branded Pages and with that being the case there is a companion Official PiercingMetal Page to serve the needs of those readers who have moved on from Facebook for one reason or another. Clicking the logo graphic above will actually take you to the Google+ Page for the website but before you do that let me tell you how it works for the content that you will be seeing on it.

Google+ is based on the idea of “Circles” that you add and remove users from and with this methodology you can also “Add To Followed Circles” certain brands that you enjoy the offerings of. Visitors can click any of the links that are found on this page and be brought to the website to investigate further. Below each posting is the means to give a “+1” which is the equivalent of a Facebook “Like” along with the means to share the item to your own Circles. We love the idea of plus ones and having articles that interest you most being shared but we really hope that you take a moment and add that Official Page to your “Followed Circles”. What this boils down to is the same status of giving a Facebook Page a like and being able to regularly see its offerings in a specific area of your Google+ account. Right now there are not a lot of users following the page but it is very new and since Google+ itself has taken off very slowly the same applies to any branded pages in there. Since I don’t want you to miss a thing with the site I hope you will add it to your followed circles as soon as possible. I don’t think there is a way to connect our Twitter or Instagram to it as a default action but that would be sweet since it would allow me to indulge your senses with maximum PiercingMetal stuffs with a single click.

I’ve noticed in the WordPress Software that we use for the Official Blog for PiercingMetal (aka “PiercingMetal Musings) that there is an option to share to Google+ so that will be happening with every post going forward. If I can get the site redevelopment plan underway when 2013 rolls around I will be making that a default setting for those review posts as well. Of course if you are still not a fan of doing this the Google way, the Official Facebook Page for PiercingMetal can be found HERE and remember that our Official PiercingMetal Twitter is always a busy place too. Thanks as always for listening and your interest in the workings of the PiercingMetal.com website.

Learn more of the finer details about Google + via its Wikipedia entry HERE.

Spotify Arrives In The USA – Is This Good or Bad For The Music We Love?

A couple of months ago, I had attended a Blog Conference with our own Skeleton Pete and we met two nice girls from Finland during one of the rest breaks from the adventuring.  The obvious discussion of music came up given the nature of what Pete and I do and these girls country and then one of them showed us her Spotify account. While I had not yet heard of it, Peter had, and what it amounts to is another music streaming service such as the once discussed on the PiercingMetal Blog Amazon cloud, the ICloud and the Google Music Player.  Whew, its now officially getting a little difficult to keep up with these based on the amount that keep popping up for us to examine.  I bet you readers thought you already had your hands full with the constant shift in Social Networking outlets didn’t you?  Welcome this new medium to the mix and one that clearly will not be going away any time soon.

http://www.spotify.com

Continuing along, this service is now available in the USA and is no longer only there for the European side of the Atlantic.  Some of you just got very excited about this I am sure.  Much like the other streaming services available to the public this DRM medium offers a number of different plans.  Once you get an account set up you need to download the software to your computer and then you can browse through millions of tracks.  You can set up an unlimited usage plan for about $10 a month or stick with the economy flavored free plan like I will plan on doing.  Personally I don’t need this since I get my new music serviced to me digitally by those who wish me to review it and have built an incredible music library over the years since becoming a music scribe.  You might be of the same mindset thanks to the financial state that most of us are in but be aware that if you plan on using Spotify on your mobile device (Smartphone and Tablet etc) that you will need a paid for premium account.  Mog works the same way if I am not mistaken.  I use Mog very sparingly in my reporting outlet and only moderately when it comes to researching music while some of my friends are absolutely taken to the moon by the service and what it provides.

So the question remains about whether or not this is good for the music industry and the bands that folks like us are all trying to support with our efforts in photography and writing.  If their work is paid for after numerous downloads or plays then yes this is fantastic but if it is not a fair exchange then I guess it is not.  You will have to be the judge on that.  It does look like everything will soon be going to digital route as shelf space for CD’s is almost non-existent in brick and mortar stores leaving only online outlets like Amazon.com and CD Baby the means to get an actual CD.

Click the logo above to access their site and to begin the process of setting up an account if you have interest in doing so.  If you want to learn more about the Spotify company brand just click their Wikipedia entry HERE.

 

Presenting Google Music Service

Click Logo To Learn More

A couple of months ago Amazon.com announced their “Cloud Player” and for those who don’t understand what that means it very simply is the ability to upload music to a server somewhere and then access these files anywhere you go via a computer with an internet connection or a Smartphone/Tablet device like an Android Phone or Xoom. I left out the Apple devices because they are doing their own cloud medium called “iCloud”. If you are an Ipod, Mac or Itouch and etcetera user then you will have to find someone who dished out the goods on that service.

The image above is the first screen you see when you login to the service and as you can see this is still in the beta phase of the project. Similar to the Amazon Cloud system, you will need to download what is referred to as an “Upload Manager” to your hard drive and this will let you select and later enjoy your music via the internet alone. I decided not to post a whole bunch of photos for this particular service since the Beta aspect could find numerous changes taking place and hence making many of them obsolete. As long as readers know of the existence and basic premise I feel we are fine.

Google gives you about 50 free songs to enjoy, so depending on your tastes you might love or hate all of them. I lean to the Rock and Metal side while also remaining open but the offerings that they gave me outside of my genre scope were hardly interesting. This is purely a personal choice and you might feel different. I have not yet deleted the selections I did not want nor upload any new music to it as I am still in the process of organizing my music library. That kind of thing is good to do every once in awhile.

Once you have signed into the service and downloaded the music manager you will need to download the means to access it on your device and since this is Android based you can do that in the Market icon on your device. Once logged into the link on your device you should see all of the music that you have available. I tested this and thought it was great. I just need to upload the main stuff I want to have available like my KISS, Priest, Van Halen, Savatage and Type O Negative catalogs as a start.

Some Immediate Observations:

Amazon’s Cloud gives you 5GB free and anything after that becomes a pay per allotment account. The Google Music in its beta form seems to offer you the chance to upload 20k songs, and yes that is twenty thousand. Some of you might be shaking your head saying “who has that many songs” but believe me I know people with so much more. Especially the folks in the music industry that are out there and doing reviews. We get so many links to tunes to offer commentary on.

Google Music’s navigation is straightforward and when you are logged in you also seem to have access to the other Google services you are taking part in. I liked that very much as I have a Buzz, Email, and an Analytics account for the website.

This marks three heavy hitters all doing cloud based mediums for music and while folks like MOG and Last FM have been offering up stuff like this for a little longer, it does seem like they are looking to rid the world of physical CD media sooner or later. You might say that it can never happen, but when was the last time you saw a pre-recorded cassette tape around for sale or its predecessor the eight track tape. Yep. Times and technology changes the way we do things. I know I will miss CD’s when they are a myth and I only wonder what can follow this. Readers can learn a little more about the MOG and Last FM things by perusing my overview about the many different Social Networking mediums that are being employed by entertainment resources nowadays. Click HERE to see that massive and continually growing set of articles.

Presenting The Amazon.com Cloud Player

Even though this has been an item of discussion for some time now to my knowledge, I had to admit that I was a little behind in terms of what it would actually be and who would come out with it first.   Let me explain a little bit more about what this is.  Envision your music library being stored online and accessible anywhere that you can make a web connection via PC/Mac or mobile device.  Pretty cool right?  I think so as this moves the music industry in the next possible direction and frees us as fans of music by giving us yet another way to enjoy our favorite bands.    The biggest surprise of them all is that it was neither Google or Itunes who came out with this first but instead Amazon.com.   The name of this new music player is very simply “The Cloud”.

Amazon.com Cloud Main Screen

To begin using the Cloud Player you will need an Amazon.com account and I think most people actually have one by now since the company has been around for so long.  Many people are signed into it for book and music purchases and to get recommendations based on their interests not to mention their own Kindle device manner of reading.   I’ve been using Amazon.com for as long as I can remember in my online life, and we even made PiercingMetal.com one of their affiliates (but this post is not about that).

Once you have signed in with your account to the main screen you will learn that you have been given 5gb of free space to use as you see fit.  That is pretty good and actually a little larger than the amount of space one will find on the most recent iteration of the Ipod Shuffle.  You can purchase extra space to use for yourself and I tooled around the medium to see what those costs were like.  Check out the next image.

Amazon.com Cloud Pricing Plans

As you can see it can get a little pricy depending on the amount of music you have to upload but I am sure that as this kind of thing becomes the standard that we shall see discounts or premium pricing being offered their participants.  You are probably wondering if I tried this yet, and the answer is yes.   Recently I had downloaded about six free Metal samplers from the Metalhit.com Folks and was planning on offering up reviews of them on PiercingMetal.com so the readers could fully enjoy this free music and I figured this would be the best stuff to start my Cloud experience with.

Amazon.com Cloud Upload Screen

To get to this point I had to first download their “Amazon.com Uploader” tool but before using that you also need the Adobe Air applet.  That is good to have anyway and will not interfere with other things on your computer.  If you use Adobe Reader already you probably have this anyway.  Once these items are ready, the Cloud uploader will either search for music on your computer automatically, or let you stop and select the folders that you want.  I chose this option because I was only interested in uploading the six samplers from Metalhit along with a select couple of others from Relapse Records, Metalsucks.net and Nuclear Blast.com

Behold Your Cloud Collection

The upload time was going to take a little while, and showed about five hours for the nine albums that I would be utilizing for the experiment, but that is probably much faster on a FIOS or T-3 connection.  If you are using dial-up for some reason still, I am crying on the inside for you.   As you can see via the browser this is VERY EASY to navigate and almost fun in its simplicity.  It looks like you can delete the tracks that you added very easily so be careful of that.

Since the service was citing how easy it was to use on one’s Droid phone I quickly turned to my own and did my own test.  You need to have the Amazon.com MP3 player from the Droid Market installed and once you open that it asks you to choose either the Amazon.com Store or Player which is of course The Cloud.  Selecting “Player” got me a warning about how they recommend using this on 3g, 4g or WiFi connections to avoid incurring additional data charges.  These days most data plans on phones are unlimited but I selected WiFi since there are enough hot spots around for me to utilize. Sorry that I do not have a photo of that for you. The sound was very clear and the navigation of these menus as simple/functional as the ones found on the website.

Our friends and supporters over at WeRoqq PR did a little bit more of a comprehensive business analysis of the medium since that is the quest that they are on.  You can check out Shukmei Wong’s own stress test for the Amazon.com Cloud Player and some of its Pros and Cons by clicking HERE.

In the end I thought it was pretty cool and if I never move past the allotted free amount of 5GB it is still an interesting and different way to enjoy the Metal that I am listening to and eventually reviewing.