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“Discovering music through people.” This is the motto of 8Tracks. This free music streaming service is a blend of Pandora and Spotify with much more diversity. 8Tracks was founded in 2006 with the idea of a social networking site based around sharing playlists. The site gives people a legal and easy way to listen to all kinds of music, found in playlists of at least eight or more songs. You are able to search by genre, artist, activity, mood, and more!

One of the most interesting aspects of this site is that you are constantly connecting with people through their playlists. You have to listen to the playlists in order and you can’t go back to a previous song until you go through the rest of the songs. They also only give you a few skips, so you either take a chance on liking the whole playlist or go find another.

Everyone I know uses some sort of music streaming service, be it Spotify, Apple Music, or even YouTube, but none of these services focus so much on using music to find people who like the same music as you, or are going through the same sort of things as you in their lives. 8tracks gives you the option to look not only into the music, but into the person who brought it into your life.

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The Psychic Playlist

As I am sitting here writing this blog post, I have my noise-drowning Bose headphones on and my favorite Spotify playlist playing, Discover Weekly. Moments like this are some of my most favorite times during the day–good music and zero human interaction.

Although you may be an avid Spotify listener, you may not have yet unearthed the most thrilling and magical playlist on Spotify…Discover Weekly.

Every Monday morning, Spotify releases a personal playlist of songs that are tailored to your musical taste. The playlist recognizes the most popular songs you listen to in addition to the a selection of the 2 billion playlists created that also fit your musical taste. Spotify identifies what songs you added to your playlists, what songs you skipped after 30 seconds and what songs you cannot stop listening to. Through an algorithm, Spotify pieces together a playlist of 30 fresh songs for you to indulge in.  It is the perfect remedy to a gloomy Monday morning.

Here is a simple break down of this playlist creation process:


Of course, this a computerized process, so you will most likely not enjoy all 30 songs. Even with through data research and filtration, there are always a few sneaky random songs that are thrown into the mix. But by the end of your first full listen of the playlist, you will most likely become obsessed with at least one song.

So where do you find this thrilling playlist?

First, go to the Browse feature on your Spotify account.


Next, click on the Discover tab.


Your Discover Weekly playlist will be listed first with your Facebook profile picture as the thumbnail


Finally, you relax, listen and ask yourself why you have not listened to this playlist before spotify4


Once again, Spotify showed iTunes whose boss with this innovative and creative feature. You rock, Spotify.

For more information about the Spotify and their Discover Weekly playlist, check out this article 


Disclaimer: I take zero responsibility for unsatisfied Discover Weekly listeners

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The Power of Free


The Power of Free

It was in the summer of 2006 that singer/songwriter Derek Webb promoted one of his albums for free online, asking very little in return from the thousands of followers, fans, and musicians who provided as little information as name, email and postal code. In just a matter of months, the success of Derek’s musical generosity provided him with a list of 80,000 emails from those who had downloaded the final product. It was after this stunning response that Mr. Webb realized the potential in extrapolating this type of internet business model throughout the music industry.


Free music is nothing but commonplace in a post Spotify world, but back in the early years, was way ahead of its time when it came to downloadable music. The folks working behind the scenes quickly realized that that their model of free music let artists raise donation money for the content they wanted to give away, and recruit a fan base quicker and more substantially then the normal route that iTunes and CD sales provided. The musician is not only building a larger fan base, but building a “targeted” following. Allowing him to play shows in areas where he knows the people will receive him best.


Music isn’t the only source of media that the company is planning to stick to, as in recent months they have received commitment from dozens of authors and novelists who want to give their works to the people, so that their fans will hunger for more. This is a kind of business that could have only evolved from a music internet entertainment platform that is constantly evolving to benefit the consumer and the creator.

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Pandora is nothing new to most people, it’s been around for years, and it’s widely used.  While I am still somewhat unfamiliar with Spotify, it seems that Spotify has taken Pandora’s place for a lot of people, but Pandora is still worth talking about.  Pandora was one of the first websites of its kind, allowing people to listen to music for free with little to no restriction.  It created the market for music websites.

If anyone is unfamiliar with Pandora, it is a website where you can make radio stations based on your musical preferences.  You can add artists or songs that you like to the radio stations, and Pandora chooses and plays songs that are aesthetically similar to the ones that you’ve chosen.  You can give songs thumbs up or down, and Pandora will learn from that and change the station based on those responses, never again playing a song that you’ve given a thumb down to on that station.

Pandora is monetized through ads and through a freemium model, now, but its monetization strategy when it first began is unclear.  The revenue model is nothing unique, but I do think that the business is worth commending for being one of the first in the market.  It may not be as customizable as its competitors, such as Spotify, but it still has a huge customer base, largely thanks to it being first on the market.

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Mico–Tomonori Kagaya (Part 1)

How many times have we wished that we could just read someone else’s mind, to understand what they cannot, or will not, verbally express to us? Human beings are curious creatures, eager to know and discover that which is currently—and maybe will always be—out of reach. Unfortunately, no innovator has stumbled upon a practical solution to human mindreading. But what if the clothing we wore could read our minds?

kagaya ears

Thanks to Japanese visionary Tomonori Kagaya, this is now an actual possibility. Neurowear, Kagaya’s Tokyo-based company, offers a line of innovative products designed to respond to the wearer’s emotions and thoughts. For example, one of Neurowear’s first innovations was a pair of novelty cat ears that would twitch according to the wearer’s mood.

Kagaya’s most recent and brilliant innovation is Mico, a pair of headphones that play music based on the wearer’s thoughts and emotions—an accessory that reads and responds to mental processes even before the wearer can express it himself. This introduces an entirely new level to musical discovery. How many times have we wished for just the right mix of melody, mood, and lyrical composition to match our current disposition? While we cannot always find that tune even in our perusal of the extensive musical collections that we have at our fingertips (e.g. Pandora, Spotify, Itunes, etc.), Mico is designed to find and introduce the perfect song to us, eliminating the need for painstaking search.


“If we don’t know the title, artist name, genre, then how can we find the song? We need another approach. Don’t go searching for music, let music find you – that must be a new experience. So we made Mico.” –Tomonori Kagaya

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Star power in Music videos

This week I was watching ski videos like I always do and came across a picture of one of my favorite riders making a guest appearance in a band’s music video (the band is called bears with guns).  I had never heard of the band before, and honestly wasn’t all that interested in checking them out, but the photo peaked my curiosity well enough to get me actually watch the video. When I found the video, it turned out to 25 minutes long (its actually a documentary of a trip they took through New Zealand, here is a shorter version of it). But the amazing thing is that their use of a star actually got me to watch and listen for basically the full duration of the video (the skier comes in at around 19 minutes).

This got me thinking about the brilliance of this. Jossi Wells is a professional skier, but he was featured in a music video for an up and coming band. Could this same model work for other bands – getting professionals from different disciplines to endorse their music could be an incredible way to market yourself. I mean, if it got me to listen to a new band (and actually, bears with guns is quite good) when I was simply searching for new ski videos, then could a professional wakeboarder being featured in a music video (not even necessarily wakeboarding in the video) get a wakeboard fan to take an interest in the band? I personally think that it is possible and a great way to get more exposure to the music. Not to mention that athletes respect the musicians they listen to, and would undoubtedly brag, like Jossi Wells did, about getting to be in a music video, which would make the exposure even greater.

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