Dun Dun Dun Duuuun… Music Apps!

Music. Nostalgia. There’s a playlist for everything: Playlist for pregamming; playlist for the actual party; playlist for the important moments after the party. But what’s the playlist for sitting in front of the computer and watching the time marker move across your screen? Doing some preliminary research I have found that, get this, most people who listen to any form of music on their computer whether it be songs owned on the harddrive itself, a CD, or an online music service often select a playlist and leave the computer! Surprising right? Those individuals who do remain on their computers often navigate away from the page. So I set out to find out what music apps are doing to keep users on the page. Well……. not saying all I found were gimmicks that probably wont keep the users attention on the screen long enough for advertisers sake…

…. Buuut, on a positive note, I have found that music apps are doing some pretty cool things: Check this out: its an APP ALBUM! This is so exciting that I’m gonna copy a small chuck of the story thanks to Wired U.K.:

Washington-based brothers Ryan and Hays Holladay, better known as Bluebrain, have announced their latest app-album, The Violet Crown, just in time for the South by Southwest festival.

Like Bluebrain’s previous apps, The National Mall and Listen to the Light, you can only listen to The Violet Crownwithin a strictly defined geographical area — a square encircled by Congress Avenue, Frontage Road, East 7th Street and Cesar Chavez Street in Austin, Texas, approximately matching the boundaries of the area covered by the festival.

If you open up the app within that area, you’ll be able to explore the album by walking around. It’s a novel way of approaching the listening experience — instead of listening to the record chronologically, you listen to it geographically, stumbling into pockets of sound dotted around the streets which blend between each other smoothly. “Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure of an album,” the pair say on the iTunes preview page for the app.

Imagine that! Music is such a social experience- this takes online social networking to real life social networking!

There is also an iphone app that reads your tweets while playing a song from your itunes at a lower level in the background. Cool.. ehh.. maybe once or twice but what if Pandora (for all us free subscribers out there) played their ads with songs like the ones currently playing in your playlist. As a seemless transition into the ads. People wont be interrupted as much!

Ooo. Ever wanted to be in your own music video? Ever imagined yourself walking down those hanging stairs in smooth criminal. Well now you can! Well… Video star an app for iphone allows users to shoot a video with cool music video like effects to songs already stored on the harddrive. So now you can get to shooting.

You might have heard of QR codes which embed information in a barcode-like square that you have to take a picture of to take advantage of the information. have you heard of audio tags? Audio tags are high pitched sounds embedded in music that trigger your iphone to do several things such as visit website and gather other information. Sonicnotify is the innovative app behind this, check it out:

A startup called SonicNotify embeds inaudibly high-pitched audio signals within music or any other audio track. When a compatible app hears that signal, it triggers any available smartphone function to link you to websites, display text, bring up map locations, display a photo, let you vote on which song a performer plays next and so on.

SonicNotify was developed with help from Cantora Records + Labs, which made its name by funding (for $400, initially) and releasing the band MGMT‘s massively popular records. As part of its newly minted technology division, Cantora, which is also a record label and publishing company, is offering $25,000 to $100,000 to promising startups, among the first of which is SonicNotify.

Lady Gaga could have used its technology on her Monster Ball tour1, and Coachella 2013 and other events are next in line. To interact via SonicNotify, fans can use any SonicNotify-enabled app. If you want to see it in action now, you can do so with the official Sonic Experiences app.

In searching I did find some really innovative and imaginative music apps. But I still cannot find a solution to my original issue. How can the apps keep us on the page? With audio advertisements available, should they even try?

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Apps & Facebook

According to facebook, creating a FB Open graph application is a sure way for companies to boost their online presence. Open graph applications allow facebook users to share activities users are currently engaged in. For example, Spotify’s fb app allows friends to share songs they are currently listening to or have listened to in the recent past. So if I am stalking one of my 1500 closest friends and want to know what she has listened to or is currently listening to all I have to do is click a button on Spotify an all of her listening habits are available to me (of course she has to be using Spotify and she has to opt into sharing).

Despite all the privacy concerns looming around open graph, making music a social experience is a pretty cool idea. After all, music is social. We know this because live performances continue to thrive  even during a struggling time for the music industry.Music apps have taken this idea an offered users a way to share their music experience even when alone.

Companies create fb open graph apps with the intention of allowing users to be more social and to boost online interaction, or so they say. Companies also seek to gain more personalized interactions with their consumers with the information consumers freely provide to the open graph. In return for personalized services the user promotes the various apps on her time line and other feeds.

But is the idea effective? Are companies actually receiving growth in traffic and more importantly revenue from the open graph applications? Facebook is reporting that companies are. Problem is facebook reports these increases in percentages and we all know how we can easily manipulate those. For example, it cites that Rdio has seen a “30x increase in new user registrations from Facebook” In reality, the app itself now has grown by just 200 users to reach a tiny 4,000 daily Facebook-logged in users– According to Josh Constine from techcrunch.com

It seems to be a bit too early to tell. It also seems, at least to me, like free, highly personalized, advertising. Individuals use the apps, like them or dislike them, the app then publishes the activity to their friends on facebook in hopes the friends will check out the apps as well. The more the user engages an app the more information advertisers and the developers gain about him. Advertisers and app developers seem to gain the most from open graph. They get valuable information they can sell. While users get to know their friends in ways they should already know a friend.

Check out how say moviefone is doing with its facebook open graph app-

Moviefone

AOL Moviefone has been the premier destination for movie showtimes and tickets for the last 20 years, first as a telephone service and then online. The brand became part of the AOL family of companies in 1999 and now creates original editorial content alongside its informational offerings.

Objective

Allow users to connect with their Facebook friends on the Moviefone site, push unique content directly to interested audiences and drive additional traffic back to AOL Moviefone.

Implementation

Moviefone’s full-scale Facebook implementation leveraged Login with Facebook, Graph API, Events API, Like Button and the Activity Feed to enable social sharing and engagement with AOL Moviefone and its offerings.

Results

  • 300% increase in traffic from Facebook back to AOL Moviefone since the launch of the Facebook integration on September 17th 2010. Referrals have increased from an average of approximately 40,000 per month to 250,000 per month.
  • Approx. 40% click-through-rate for shared content. The average user returns and clicks back to AOL Moviefone about seven times.

Key Takeaways

Social Plugins such as the Like Button help make static content more relevant and engaging. They offer a powerful distribution platform that enables personalized experiences for people and their friends, and helps increase discovery on your website.



GulfStream. A General Dynamics Company.

Greetings Gulfstream Aerospace Corp,

Congratulations on being ranked No. 1 in Product Support for the ninth straight year! I am Justin Williams currently a Graduate student attending The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication within the University of Georgia.

I am privileged to be enrolled in a Graduate Seminar entitled New Media 6200: Big Data- Really Gets Me. Within the Seminar our professor Dr. Scott Shamp doubles as our CEO and leader in discovering strategies to mine free “Big Data”. The “Big Data” my team and many other data miners are attempting to comprehend and utilize are permeable data. Permeable data are the free personalized information users offer online services in return for a more personal user experience.

My team is charged with presenting the advantages of utilizing  Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol which “enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. For instance, this is used on Facebook to allow any web page to have the same functionality as any other object on Facebook.”

Essentially the Open Graph Protocol uses  social graph to connect various users based on their actions and other freely contributed online information. Our team is interested in connecting you to individuals rather than demographics.This is what we mean by Big Data Really Gets Me.

What better way to show The Cessna Citation X and Bombardier Global Express 7000 & 8000 that the Gulfstream G650 is the true gold standard in business aviation than by connecting pilots and their experiences around the world? Here’s where the use of Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol comes in. Imagine using the data logged into every jet during and after every trip- data ranging from  the top speed the aircraft traveled, the peak of its ascent, the amount of fuel consumed, all the way down to the smoothness of the flight- by allowing pilots to input this data into an app utilizing Facebook’s Open Graph to compare and compete with their peers globally. Allow pilots the opportunity to share their amazing trips. Allow them to show off your jets, flying various nations head of state around the world in record time. Allow the pilots to show off the fact that they flew from Korea to Florida using minimal fuel as well as who has logged the most hours of flight time.

Many companies are trying to mine this data in order to package information for the sake of selling to advertisers. Gulfstream can use this data to continue to improve upon flying experience making your jets more appealing to pilots worldwide.

Gulfstream is the leader in innovation and understands what pilots and service technicians need to have the most efficient business aircraft in the world. Gulfstream exemplifies such innovation by implementing such ideas as PlaneConnect and PlaneBook. Both successful attempts to create a simple seamless interaction between pilots, the aircrafts, and technicians -ready to be deployed anywhere in the world at a moments notice.

In order for my team to utilize Facebook’s Open Graph to Gulfstream’s greatest advantage we will need to contact a representative from your company. We will need for your representative to commit to:  an introductory phone call, just five e-mails over the next several months, and to attend our New Media show off day on the 5th day of May year 2012. Basically we are asking for a commitment from you to help us better help you. For the New Media show off, my team will present to you a blueprint of how you can begin to utilize the free Big Data already in cyberspace.

In return I personally will commit at least six hours per week over the next several months to create the blueprint for Gulfstream & Big Data.

We look forward to a great partnership,

-Justin


Gulf Stream

Sites all over the world, 6 continents- and even Savannah, Ga. Gulf Stream carries various new and used G- series jets and parts. The G- series maybe you’ve heard of them, quite frankly whenever someone is talking private jets assume the G- series from Gulf Stream. They own -and sell of course- the fastest civil aircraft in the world as well as the longest traveling non-stop blah blah blah-

Whats interesting is Gulf Stream prides themselves on being first to the market with technology that meets or exceeds customer expectation. Gulf Stream is also “committed to technology that envisions the future.” So here goes our shot.

Constituency:

Gulf Stream has a long running tradition with all 5 branches of military & the government. The military uses Gulf Stream planes to carry out various “special missions” and the governments of the world use Gulf Stream to transport their various heads of state. Gulf stream also appeals to private pilots and many Fortune 500 corporate operators.

Innovative Tech: Gulf Stream has various interactive technological “product enhancements”

PlaneConnect:

Excellent Flight Perfomance Starts From The Ground, Up
From takeoff to landing and the incredible flight in between, the best way to monitor your aircraft’s performance is when it is doing just that, performing. PlaneConnect™ is a highly advanced system that transmits reports on your aircraft to experts on the ground all while you’re still comfortably in the air. By providing an automatic update of the condition of your aircraft during flight, PlaneConnect enables speedy resolution of any maintenance issues which may arise. Not only does the aircraft report active faults, it also identifies which system and in many cases which component is at fault. Crew Advisory System (CAS) messages along with Maintenance Messages are downlinked automatically via the PlaneConnect report as soon as the aircraft starts its descent to its destination. The report is then distributed via e-mail to whoever on your team may need the information.


Remote Fault Diagnosis
The level of redundancy in the aircraft means that a fault does not have to be acted on immediately, but with PlaneConnect on board there is an accurate report of what system has reported a fault. Analysis of that fault can occur on the ground as soon as its received. Remote diagnosis of a problem and ordering of replacement components can be accomplished while the aircraft is in flight, improving not only aircraft availability but also dispatch reliability.

Aircraft Health Monitoring
Operators can elect to have their PlaneConnect reports sent to Gulfstream Technical Operations where computers review the reports automatically upon receipt and highlight issues needing attention to specialists. All this happens within minutes of the aircraft sending out its report – regardless of where in the world it may be operating. The specialists review as many as 100 PlaneConnect reports per day and can identify actionable maintenance messages very quickly. In some cases, the aircraft has performed as expected with no issues on the flight deck, yet some maintenance messages are received. In these cases, further maintenance investigation has revealed issues which were not apparent to the crew but do need to be resolved when schedule permits. If Technical Operations has been provided access to your aircraft’s position information or you have requested Flight Following, parts stock locations near the aircraft’s destination are alerted to the need for a part. Parts are only shipped with your approval.

Fleet Information
As well as resolving individual aircraft issues and monitoring aircraft health, Gulfstream utilizes the information from the PlaneConnect fleet to identify new trends with system reliability so that investigations can be ordered sooner and fleet corrective actions implemented faster. Your aircraft information is stored for a limited time and then any association with the individual aircraft is removed. The de-identified data is then used for fleet statistics comparisons. Your individual aircraft information is not made available outside Gulfstream or its supplier base.

PlaneBook

Carrying, Using and Maintaining Your Pilot’s Manuals
Just Got Smaller – Faster – Better

PlaneBookPlaneBook™ is the newest advance in flight deck information architecture, providing numerous enhancements both in and out of the cockpit. Engineered by Gulfstream pilots and technical writers, PlaneBook provides the ultimate paperless cockpit solution.

Go paperless with intelligently-linked documents that provide simple and fast navigation across the complete suite of pilot’s manuals.

Planebook is available for both Windows and iPad. Select a platform below for more information.

Now for our class. For pilots: Create a competition among private pilots, whether commissioned to fly for a Fortune 500 company, the gov’t, or any private jet owner.

Display Flight patterns. Since pilots fly various jets, how does each handle the various lengthy or short trips? How fast did pilot get to destination? How much gas used? How many stops? How many hours logged in air?

Gulf Stream should provide incentives or awards to push for quality competition and ensure they have the best pilots & create the best jets in the world… as they claim. What better advertisement could there possibly be?

USER [pilot] ACTION [flying] OBJECT [jet]


Dial, what dial? Pandora.

Dial, what dial? When was the last time you tuned in to your favorite radio program on an actual radio, single letter (point) number x4, and in the middle of an amazing mix, just when you were getting your groove on, the on air personality cuts in saying something like: “don’t turn that dial we’re about to go pay some bills” leaving you dancing to the ringing in your ears from blaring your favorite jams probably too loud as Sherwin Williams the world leader in the world of paint sells some indoor outdoor eco friendly paint alternative? Even worse, imagine that same groove all of your favorite jams back to back and as you reach your climax the on air disk jockey, plays that one top 40 song that you hate because you hear it 20 times a day. The song you’ve been trying to physically remove out of your mind the song even your grandmother knows as a hip grandmother, completely killing your mood. So in order to prevent this you begin to illegally download music from kazaa creating your personal playlists lacing your house computer with viruses and spyware stealing personal information and selling it to the highest bidder before the RIAA sends your mother a letter threatening to sue her for $15,000. Now as your grandmother turns on the computer she is blasted with porno pup ups and when you come around she looks at you funny. Well good news, you no longer have to be that guy.

Enter Pandora and the Music Genome Project. Pandora, in the most basic of terms is an online internet radio which a user can input track names, artists, albums, and even genre to create a “station” or a host of  songs similar to user inputs. Pandora allows the user to provide positive or negative feedback which Pandora remembers when recommending songs for your station in the future. Pandora listeners can enjoy an unlimited flow of music once limited to 40 hours a week prior to Sept. 2011. Pandora listeners have two options to subscribe to the leader in US Internet radio: a paid subscription as well as the more popular free account only requiring an email address and a password. Yes you guessed it the free subscription requires interruptions by advertisers but before you get your undies in a bunch remember those annoying advertisements which have plagued your groove since the beginning of FM /AM  fund your free personalized music. The revenues from these ads help cover Pandora’s total cost about 50% of which going to content acquisition.

The big question listeners are asking is: how does Pandora know exactly what I like? Please tell me music isn’t invading my privacy like every other online site I visit. Well not to worry Pandora has not taken the mysterious Google spying in your email via keyword recognition route. Pandora a service created through the Music Genome Project that uses complex algorithms and over 400 music genes to find songs as similar as possible to your search input. Yes you just read genes as in blue eyes, dark skin, tall, short, double helix alladat GENES. What the geniuses at the Music Genome Project intended to do was to “capture the essence of music at the fundamental level.” The innovators of this project use over 400 attributes, complex mathematical algorithms, and genomes which includes music genre to codify songs. Each song is represented by a list of attributes known as vectors containing about 400 genes similar to the way geneticists determine genetics for living organisms.

Each individual gene represents a characteristic of music. The following are examples of those genes:  gender of lead vocalist, level of distortion on the electric guitar, type of background vocals. The different genres of music contain a certain amount of these genes. The geniuses at the Music Genome Project have identified the following: Rock and popsongs have 150 genes, rapsongs have 350, and jazz songs have approximately 400.  The system must have a certain number of genes to render useful results. Each gene is assigned a number between 1 and 5, in half-integer increments. The vectors are analyzed through algorithms utilizing distance functions which are then analyzed by musicians and various technicians. Which in turn find the songs most similar to the user input.

Pandora however has encountered great competition in the internet radio market. Programs such as Spotify and Last.fm threaten to take hold of the internet radio revolution approaching Internet radio with different strategies. Unlike Pandora which  plays random songs similar to user input listeners of Spotify can stream whole albums and recommendations from friends. While Pandora is restricted to the United States Last.fm an United Kingdom based company can stream music worldwide and connect socially with friends sharing playlists and songs recently listened to. So the next time you consider getting your groove on consider the smartest Internet radio, Pandora.