What’s playing now on BBC 6music?

I don’t know how to add a link to the Amazon MP3 store for a given song. If I did then I would add that to http://philwilson.org/6music/ and its purpose of letting me easily find out what song is currently playing and then buying it, would be complete.

As it is, it is merely a useful tool to be able to tell, pulling data from last.fm and twitter, what the current track being played on 6music is, and which show is playing it.

The BBC are the ones pushing the “now playing” data to last.fm but the name of the show comes from a robot built by Nigel Crawley. At no point does my code look at any of the BBC sites or services directly.

If only I could get the link to Amazon working then my sofa-based listening and purchasing experience would be complete.

The new model of buying music

My phone runs an app that idenitifies the song that is currently playing on the radio and an app to then buy and download that song, or the album it’s from. The two are seamlessly linked.

I am probably late to this, but listening to 6music whilst I have both Shazam and the Amazon mp3 store available to me means that, wherever I am, provided there’s not too much background noise, downloading a song that’s playing is about five presses of a touchscreen away.

This is not a good thing for my bank account but a bloody brilliant thing for those record execs looking to buy a new boat.

Papercamp and music

Jeremy’s written a great roundup of Papercamp, which I wasn’t able to get to. Amongst other things, he says this:

everyone gathers around a laptop for a demo from Durrell Bishop and Tom Hulbert from Luckybite. They have a printed book based on their music collection. Each page of the book contains an image—usually an album cover—and a barcode. If you scan the barcode from a page in the book, the corresponding music will play on your computer (or your phone). The book is the UI. The wireless barcode reader is where the magic happens. If these guys can make a cheap version of this reader, it will fantastic …for all us. Right now the only expensive bit is the reading head but the price could come down as low as a dollar or two.

Surely webcams and QR codes (or variants) are the cheap route here?

Listening to podcasts

I do not listen to many podcasts. This is mainly because I used to have trouble syncing a subscription list across multiple PCs. Now I have a Nokia N95 I use that as my primary client. It works well and I have started adding some feeds.

I don’t listen to music podcasts though – I’ve tried and they are almost always too long and players don’t allow me to add a bookmark a place in the hour-long mp3 where I actually liked a song and want to look it up later, or mark a point where someone mentions a URL or whatever.

Also the default media player won’t store information for submission to Last.fm. I also use Symbian OggPlay, an open source C++ app which I’m tempted to see if I build a binary from and add played items storage (although it might just be easier to write from from scratch in Python if all my podcasts are mp3s).

This means the core of my subscriptions are these:

The BBC’s new musc podcasts are all under 15 minutes (AFAIK), which makes them easily searchable and I’ve subscribed to these:

I just about manage to listen to all of these in a week, but I do feel like I’m missing out on some “new music revelation” by not having an adequate player for long music podcasts like those that Alf recommends. Is there anything out there?

Buying music is fun and exciting

LastGraph '05
LastGraph ’05 © pip / CC

I’ve just bought my first ever digital-only album. It was “We are the Pipettes” by, erm, The Pipettes.

I actually bought it via last.fm, after listening to their tracks through the embedded last.fm player, who redirect through to 7digital, who, once I’d registered and paid my £7.99, offered to let me download each track in either WMA, AAC or mp3 (Amazon are charging either £4.47 or £11.99 for the physical disk, depending on who you believe).

In order to download the entire album in one go I had to install some software on my local PC (currently Windows-only), but it was a breeze to install and let me download my mp3s in a matter of mere moments. There doesn’t even appear to be any DRM in the files and I’ve been playing them happily on my Ubuntu machine. This is how things are supposed to be.

The album’s great by the way.

The ogg wasteland

Samsung YP-U2

Mark‘s linked to David Pashley’s ogg player roundup. For what it’s worth, I’ve been looking into this recently too, except I had some additional restrictions which, given the players David puts on show, leaves me with only one choice (which was the one I’d previously selected in my own research): the Samsung YP-U2 (1GB for £61 or 2GB for, er, £58).

My additional restrictions were:

  • rechargeable internal battery
  • must not need cable to connect to PC

The player I’d be replacing is the Creative Zen Nano Plus 1GB which I’d give three stars for general alright-ness.

Whether I can actually justify spending ~£60 on a new player which will only give me a minor playing upgrade (only a few tens of tracks in my 20GB compressed-format music collection are in ogg) and some usability benefits (no more lugging a mini-USB cable and spare batteries around) is yet to be seen.

In fact, looking back, I’ve been wanting this player since June 2006. This is reasonably depressing – does this really mean there have been no new decent ogg-capable players for at least eight months?