Myspace’s making a comeback…

September 25, 2012

... and it’s looking very promising.

A lot of feedback has been around the Pinterest-esque look and how sexy the video is making it out to be, but time will tell when we finally log-in and play with it (currently invite-only). Fingers crossed there will be some interesting integrations with Spotify and Soundcloud.


Beautiful way to combine art and technology

February 13, 2012

We have all been to a museum and had to fight the urge to touch the painting we are looking at.


That might have been what Petros Vrellis thought, so he went ahead and created an interactive version of Vincent van Gogh’s painting Starry Night.

Hi project is a flowing simulation of the painting that when you touch it reacts and synthesizes sound. If left alone it slowly returns to its original state. Displayed at about 30 frames per second at 1920 x 1080 I am sure Vincent himself would have been impressed by it.

check it out in action here:


Legally stream (almost) all the music you want in Australia – for free.

December 16, 2010

We all like music, right? I mean, some of us profess to enjoy it more properly, appropriately or adequately than others – this here Superior Hipster for example:

…but when you get down to it, pretty much everybody likes it.

So, we all want more of it, right? Thus the dawn and success of the iPod, and various other MP3 players. We could carry our thousands of tunes with us everywhere we went, beautiful.

Read on through my rambles to find out what I think the best music streaming service available to Australians is (so far). Read the rest of this entry »

Who said making music with wine glasses is boring?

December 10, 2010

This is a video by Youtube user Sp0ntanius playing the ‘Song of Healing’ medley from the Zelda classic Majora’s Mask using nothing but wine glasses.

It’s pretty clever



We’re now a record label!

October 18, 2010

We’ve seen how digital and social media, and specifically earned platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, can propel an unsigned artist into the mainstream of music success.

People like Lily Allen (famous after being discovered on MySpace), Justin Bieber (discovered on YouTube in what is debatably the worst example of YouTube’s possibilities), and even Lady Gaga who was discovered on YouTube and MySpace Music, represent a fundamental shift in how we are selecting popular artists and musicians.

Rather than the traditional push method where ‘Record Labels’ would pick and choose artists based on ‘marketability’ and their own industry agendas, we’re seeing a transition to a pull method. We’re self-selecting as an audience, and determining who will fill our iPods and PCs.

When you consider that social media is underpinned by two pillars: content curation and collaboration, it seems a natural platform for music and ‘stars’ to snowball into popular culture. As Andy Warhol once so famously said “”In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”      …Perhaps the new paradigm of this is “in social media, everyone could be world-famous”

The role of social media and music

We are publishers by our very nature, collaborating with one another as peers to appeal to our inherent need for fame and recognition. With social media, though, we have gained the tools that have the potential to scale our peer-level communications to a truly mass-market. And music is by its nature a social experience, binding people together with common emotions and values.

In what is perhaps the natural iteration of this, Razorfish in the US has stepped into the role of quasi-record label by forming a strategic partnership with an unsigned artist, AM.

David Deal, Vice President of Marketing at Razorfish, explained:

“How does an emerging indie artist in the dysfunctional music industry find an audience anymore?

My employer Razorfish is tackling that challenge through an unusual co-branding relationship with indie musician AM, which sees Razorfish playing the role of quasi-record label, concert promoter, and DJ. And so far we are having a lot of fun while building our brand with a creative and smart musician.

“We’re intrigued by the challenge of helping a promising artist find a national audience given how the traditional recording industry distribution model is broken,” said David Deal, vice president of marketing for Razorfish and the would-be A&R man guiding the agency’s partnership with AM. And if Razorfish or any of its clients can earn cachet through association with an up-and-coming artist, so much the better.”

What interests me is the idea that the traditional recording industry distribution model is broken.

Razorfish US have demonstrated that digital, and specifically social media, can play a critical role in bringing music to a mass audience. But for me, it’s a question of what comes first: the lagging of traditional record labels in their push model, or the growing prominence of the push model by the socially-connected. And further, how do you monetize this?

YouTube and music

Earlier this year, Lady Gaga’s manager, Troy Carter, stated that Lady Gaga “create (s) music videos for YouTube.”

When you look at some of the statistics with video views on YouTube (Bieber’s catalyst video achieved 55 millions views), it does make sense for artists to create their content specifically for social media.

Even Susan Boyle, the unlikely hit sensation of 2009, has demonstrated the value of YouTube in achieving success. Yes, she used the reality TV platform to position herself in-front of a National audience, but it was the ‘cloud’ that really propelled her into success. Her audition video saw more than 100 million views in two weeks. A social movement grew, seeing her favoured to take out the title of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winner (she came runner-up).

Yet despite the massive amount of exposure, and social currency, Susan is purportedly still ‘poor’, with sales figures of her records disappointing.

Indeed, the question of revenue remains; how do you leverage the social popularity of a ‘digital artist’ and generate offline record sales. iTunes, and indeed other music-sharing platforms, are surely the key?

A digital advertising agency and sustainable music: the future?

But what if the revenue aspect of music wasn’t up to ‘traditional record sales’ and was instead based on another traditional revenue stream: advertising?

When we’re talking about artists achieving video views in excess of 50 – 100 million views, the opportunity for advertising revenue is very real. We know YouTube and Google have demonstrated the ad potential for high-view videos, and indeed Sony is purported to be a revenue-sharing partner with YouTube.

So, perhaps that’s where digital agencies such as Razorfish can really create a new paradigm in music. No longer do we need to pay for the right to access content (in this case the actual songs of artists such as AM), to achieve success and sustainability for an artist or the industry.

The value Razorfish, and indeed this model, presents to the industry is in its roots – creating content that resonates with a social audience, and generating revenue for their client, which in this case is a musician.

This model could allow artists from around the world to build social networks of fans who share their enthusiasm for independent artists with others through platforms such as But instead of relying on a dwindling group of large music publishers and radio stations building markets for a handful of artists around the world and attempting to generate ‘record sales’ in what is surely a digital world of music consumption, we actually turn it upside down.

This is essentially what the Spotify model could and should be. The Freemium version (a live online streaming platform for music) enables you to listen to playlists of your favourite artists, with advertising in-between songs. The gap in Spotify, however, is that the advertising revenue doesn’t go to the artist.

So, what if we marry this platform, the popularity of peer-based music sharing platforms like, with advertising-generating platforms such as YouTube and even Google, to create a new wave of accessible music?

I believe this is what MySpace Music was seeking to do, yet by perhaps failure of its own brand, hasn’t really seen success in its advertising subsidized streaming platform.

And this is, in my opinion, a key opportunity for a digital agency such as Razorfish; it’s our job to always remember that we must focus on content and sharing. Facilitating brands, ideas and messaging – or in this case, music – into digital environments where the community and artist can form a true symbiotic relationship, based on accessibility, sustained by partners and advertising revenue-sharing.

And as a side note, I for one (as a Razorfish employee) am excited about the opportunity to work with up and coming Australian artists based on the pioneering by our US partner. If you’re keen, you can email me 😉

So, what do you think?

Social Media Win: A Radio Station That Listens

May 10, 2010

It’s far too easy to focus on all the negative things in life, especially in this slippery social media scene that people are still getting a handle on. As a friend of mine quite wisely observed just yesterday – “social car crashes are compelling.”

As compelling as an epic fail may be, it’s still important to shine a light on all the little wins. Here’s one I prepared earlier.

A few days ago one @chess65 decided to share something of interest on the ABC Radio National Facebook Page. This was not a spammy comment, or something completely out of context – it was a link to Sounds of Australia content – something that may well be liked by people who like Radio National.

Moments later it was moderated into oblivion. How this turns into a win, and what that says about ABC social guidelines after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Moshtix Needs To Sing Their Sorry Song

May 6, 2010

Update 17/05 at bottom of post, after jump

Splendour in the Grass went on sale today, and Moshtix had a pretty good go at ruining absolutely everything. Quick summary for the uninformed:

  • 8:45am Everyone in Australia who loves music preps their computer
  • 9:00am 32,000 tickets go on sale
  • 9:01am – 2:14pm It all goes horribly wrong, site outages, mass complaints, Aussies take their complaints to the social space, Moshtix disable comments on Facebook, realise their mistake some hours later and switch comments back on
  • 2:15pm All tickets are sold out, thousands of people are filled with rage

After the jump I’m going to lay out a few examples of the kind of negative sentiment Moshtix have been receiving over the course of the day, and then lay out some blunt advice for what I’d like to see them do now. Yes, there will be swearing.

Read the rest of this entry »

The TV Show – Watch It

May 3, 2010

This isn’t the newest fantastic piece of animation around, but we haven’t mentioned it here yet – and it’s well worth watching. Produced by Sugimoto Kousuke (director) and Manabe Takayuki (music), it’s an excellent example of carefully combining sweet animation with thumping beats.

How you can not watch something with a scene like this? I don’t know. Click through to see the video.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tiny gadget studios

April 29, 2010

We all love gadgetry, maybe not as much as Stephan but quite a bit. I for one like making music slightly more so than acquiring gadgetry so I buy guitars at a similar rate to most gadget acquirers around here. Recently though, I’ve found that one of my gadgets in particular goes rather well with music making. That would be my iPhone.

Here’s something to listen to while you read on. It was recorded entirely on an iPhone: The Rules

Said iPhone has two pages of music apps. Some are complete gimicks (Smule’s Sonic Lighter for example which does not work under live music conditions since the noise blows the flame out – slight fail), some are only really useful on their own and don’t really work well for performance except under live conditions or using the iPhone as an instrument of sorts in an actual studio (such as FingerSound or the Thereminator) and some are amazing apps capable of being used to create a complete track (such as Beatmaker or the combo of Dopplerpad and FourTrack). In a slightly different vein are apps such as iTM MIDILab which you can easily sync with Logic to use your iPhone as a MIDI controller).

The Rules is probably over now so here’s the next one: Surely

Having grabbed these apps and had a play with them I decided that I was going to make a switch from rock/pop and industrial screecho punk metal to acoustic folk/pop and see what I could produce with the FourTrack (and later FourTrack/Dopplerpad combo). Step one, I needed an acoustic guitar since the one I already had was in rather ordinary shape – she’s over 50 now I think bless her, so I went with a Maton EML6 Mini. I’ve had a strange fascination with 3/4 size guitars recently starting with the purchase of a Gretsch Mini Diddley (which I actually bought because it looks like a cricket bat – in fact, I think there’s a photo in the Amnesiacs Flikr account showing Iain and I conclusively demonstrating that this guitar does work well as a cricket bat), took a strange turn with the purchase of two Disney guitars – one High School Musical and the other Camp Rock – they were $30 each: the defence rests, and now the mini acoustic/electric.

Another interlude I think is warranted. Note the children’s driving toy solo: 50 Miles of Blood

So, with my iPhone four track I began writing and recording. First thing I encountered was the difficulty of the FourTrack app not capable of providing monitoring the new track while recording. One can on and one can off, sorted with bonus quirkiness slash poor performance. There is a metronome but it’s nice to hear the current performance through the headphones while recording, shortcomings I suppose are to be expected with a studio the size of an iPhone. During this period, several updates were released providing audio sharing capabilities between a couple of other apps and the FourTack. One was Dopplerpad which basically is capable of creating beat and synth patterns that you can throw into FourTrack and then put down guitar and vocal tracks. Dopplerpad isn’t capable of storing any more than about one song so I won’t be doing much with that again until they get the concept of banking included.

Here’s the last song I’ll include in this post. I must also point out that the analog synths and piano in this song were added using logic after exporting from the iPhone. Once Dopplerpad supports patch banking I would most likely use that to keep the song 100% iPhone but these additions in logic were pretty minor. All of these tracks are to be re-recorded with my ‘real’ equipment BTW: Tiny Pieces

So where to now with the gadgets and the music? The iPad it seems. Korg have released a version of the Electribe for the iPad. Not surprisingly, it’s called the iElectribe. I wish it wasn’t but it is. Anyway, it looks awesome:

I think this is where I’m going next. The Korg stuff looks nice (and is on sale until the end of June therefore my prediction is that the iPad will hit Australia around July) and makes me think there could be some really good MIDI controllers built for this device and instruments would be far easier to use on the much bigger screen.

So, I’m excited. And if you were too you can hear more iPhone music of mine here: It’s Not Music and just general stuff I do here: Fat Kid Popular. Some of the iPhone stuff is really ordinary, consider yourself warned, and I chose to keep the incorrect spelling of Meme. Also, you need to visit this post once before every meal so that I win the iPad competition here at Amnesia and can update this post with the tracks I make with it.

So that I don’t instead win an award for the worst word to media ratio in a post, here is a picture of me and my new bass:

Always stand in the sweet spot for your music

March 29, 2010

did you spend hours setting up your sound system at home to have the perfect tuned sound for your recliner in the living room?

Now the guys at the TU in Dresden, Germany, have developed a program that uses your webcam to determine your position in the room and automagically adjust the loudspeaker signals in real time to give you the best listening experience for your position.

And they called it sweetspotter – classic


you can download version 1.0 from here and give it a go


Amazing holographic drumkit and turntables

February 25, 2010

Neurosonics live. Ammmmaaazzzzing.

Enter the Jelli

February 10, 2010

The clever music nerds over at have just made internet radio a wee bit more interesting.

You sign up, pick a tuner, there’s a ridiculously long list of tracks (and you can place suggestions to add more) that each have a vote count. Cast your vote, and move your favourite tracks up the playlist.

Need to hear something ASAP? Use a precious power-up (a Rocket) and shoot that tune into the public view, call for votes, team up with other listeners, and get it on the air. See something you desperately need to never hear again? Use a Bomb, send that garbage to the very bottom of the list.

It gets a little more interesting than that, if you Rocket a song into the player, for all to hear – and The Majority are loving your choice, they’ll click the “Rocks” button, should the rock metre fill up, you’ll get your Rocket back, giving you the power to choose again. If not, too bad, at least you got to hear your song.

If the track is filling the listeners with bile and rage, they’ll hit “Sucks” – enough suckage and that track is pulled off the air, immediately.

After a week or so of testing, Jelli has proven to be addictive through the game-ish aspect, but also excellent for discovering new music through the choices of fellow listeners. Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough.

That should be reason enough to take it for a spin, but there’s one more tidbit that bears mentioning. They’ve managed to ally themselves with 2dayFM via – and this occasionally leads to Jelli voters controlling the 2dayFM radio waves for various timeslots.

So if you like the idea of having a say in what the radio plays, and forcing everyone to listen to the music you like… then you probably want to head on over and exercise your right to vote.

The Beatles: Mostly played in major key, apparently

January 29, 2010

Designer Michael Deal embarks on an impressive if not somewhat obsessive effort to illustrate the work of The Beatles in infographics.

Here’s an example showing the musical key distribution of their albums and a conclusion that on average they played mostly in a major key:




Looks kind of like Magical Mystery Tour had the most minor key of any of them. Wasn’t that their least popular album? Coincidence?

Other samples here:


The relationship between music and graphics begins with musical notes on paper ahead of a recording session. Interesting to see graphics at the other end.


HT Flowing Data

What to do when Dyson takes over the world

December 11, 2009

the vacuum cleaner world that is.

You make a really quiet vacuum cleaner and implement an iPod dock and speakers.

and then you sell it by making a report about how you clean your house faster, more thorough and you also loose weight doing it.

Check out the Elektrolux UltraSilencer


here are some insights into the study

great study – but I am sure I read somewhere that people think their vacuum doesn’t clean properly when they don’t hear the all so familiar sound of sucking.

Sour Japanese Music Video does it with Webcams

August 5, 2009

This breathtaking video was made by coordinating dozens of fans of the Japanese music group Sour. The only way I can think of describing it is “webcam synchronised swimming”. Watch it. It is pure genius.


Posted by @eunmac

A robot that can keep a beat

July 29, 2009

We blog about robots quite a bit. Here’s one that finds objects it can turn into drums, beats the object, records the sound and then plays with it until it gets bored.


(As far as drumming goes it’s almost as cool as this: )

The video is from a while back. It’s an interview of creator Frits Lyneborg of

Interesting thoughts on AI.


Musical Apparel – Mos Def releases album via a T-Shirt

July 7, 2009


Mos Def’s new album, The Ecstatic, is released in the US today but it’s taking a refreshing approach to distribution. Rather than offering up a CD (who buys them apart from me) people buy a T- Shirt with the album artwork on it, along with a code embedded into its tag so you can download it.

I love this kind of blurry stuff that is digital, traditional, social and a product innovation all rapped up in one (excuse the gag). It’s such a simple idea I can’t believe it has been used more often. Imagine how much The Ramones could have made with all those millions of walking adverts – it might also have ensured the cool kids actually listened to the music as well.

Not only that, it has raised the price to $39, probably reduced the production costs and generated cheap, peer 2 peer advertising. Genius.


Interactive Video Clip – Cold War Kids – I’ve seen enough

May 22, 2009

This is great fun (here) – turn the band members on or off and change the instrument they’re playing (using the coloured bars at the top). In theory I this would give you about 256 different versions of the same song.

Only thing missing… the ability to download and buy the track you created 🙂


T-Mobile, The Beatles & 13,500 Unsuspecting Fans

May 4, 2009

In the latest in the great flashmobs being put together by T-Mobile, people were asked to show up to Trafalgar Square at 6pm on April 30th. Some were expecting dance lessons, but instead they got microphones before joining a massive sing-a-long to the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” Pink makes a subtle appearance (a brand’s gotta get what it paid for, after all), but all in all it’s more feel-good than down-your-throat advertising. Love it.

Ikea Rhythm – is this new site on drugs?

July 16, 2008

Probably. It’s like some crazy Japanese Creative director just took control of IKEA marketing. I have absolutely no idea what this is all about …but I like it. The fact that it’s in Swedish doesn’t help but nothing really stopped me enjoying this “stop-motion music madness”. Go Play.



Whatever happened to IKEA family values? 🙂