- My xoxo Talk (Bryce Roberts) — about indie.vc and the experience of trying something good in the investment world. You won’t believe what happened next …
- 10 More Robotics Companies Acquired (Robohub) — companies of all types and sizes are finding strategic reasons to acquire robotic ventures to add to their arsenal of products and services because they don’t want to be left behind.
- The Past, Present, and Future of the Music Biz — you might not agree with the conclusions, but the numbers are horrifying^W edifying. The U.S. concert industry has nearly tripled since 1999 (when recorded music sales peaked). Yet, what’s typically overlooked by this narrative is that the vast majority of this growth – 83% to be exact – has gone to non-Top 100 touring artists. In 2000, the Top 100 tours (which included ‘NSYNC, Metallica and Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre) collected nearly 90% of annual concert revenues. Today, that share has fallen to only 44%.
- U.S. Web Design Standards — U.S. Digital Service and 18F put together a reusable component library and style guide for U.S. Government apps.
Four short links: 29 September 2015
Indie VC, Robotics Acquisitions, Music Money, and USG Web Standards
Four short links: 24 September 2015
Machine Music Learning, Cyber War, Backing Out Ads, and COBOL OF THE 2020s
- The Hit Charade (MIT TR) — Spotify’s deep-learning system still has to be trained using millions of example songs, and it would be perplexed by a bold new style of music. What’s more, such algorithms cannot arrange songs in a creative way. Nor can they distinguish between a truly original piece and yet another me-too imitation of a popular sound. Johnson acknowledges this limitation, and he says human expertise will remain a key part of Spotify’s algorithms for the foreseeable future.
- The Future of War is the Distant Past (John Birmingham) — the Naval Academy is hedging against the future by creating cybersecurity midshipmen, and by requiring every midshipman to learn how to do celestial navigation.
- What Happens Next Will Amaze You (Maciej Ceglowski) — the next in Maciej’s amazing series of keynotes, where he’s building a convincing case for fixing the Web.
- Go Will Dominate the Next Decade (Ian Eyberg) — COBOL OF THE 2020s. There, I saved you the trouble.
Four short links: 21 September 2015
2-D Single-Stroke Recognizer, Autonomous Vehicle Permits, s3concurrent, and Surviving the Music Industry
- $1 Unistroke Recognizer — a 2-D single-stroke recognizer designed for rapid prototyping of gesture-based user interfaces. In machine learning terms, $1 is an instance-based nearest-neighbor classifier with a Euclidean scoring function — i.e., a geometric template matcher.
- Apple Talking to California Officials about Self-Driving Car (Guardian) — California DMV’s main responsibility for autonomous vehicles at present is administering an autonomous vehicle tester program for experimental self-driving cars on California’s roads. So far, 10 companies have been issued permits for about 80 autonomous vehicles and more than 300 test drivers. The most recent, Honda and BMW, received their permits last week.
- s3concurrent — sync local file structure with s3, in parallel. (via Winston Chen)
- Amanda Palmer on Music Industry Survival Techniques (O’Reilly Radar) — I’ve always approached every Internet platform and every Internet tool with the suspicion that it may not last, and that actually what’s very important is […] the art and the relationships I’m building.
Four short links: 11 September 2015
Wishful CS, Music Big Data, Better Queues, and Data as Liability
- Computer Science Courses that Don’t Exist, But Should (James Hague) — CSCI 3300: Classical Software Studies. Discuss and dissect historically significant products, including VisiCalc, AppleWorks, Robot Odyssey, Zork, and MacPaint. Emphases are on user interface and creativity fostered by hardware limitations.
- Music Science: How Data and Digital Content Are Changing Music — O’Reilly research report on big data and the music industry. Researchers estimate that it takes five seconds to decide if we don’t like a song, but 25 to conclude that we like it.
- The Curse of the First-In First-Out Queue Discipline (PDF) — the research paper behind the “more efficient to serve the last person who joined the queue” newspaper stories going around.
Four short links: 6 August 2015
Music Money, Hotel Robot, Performance Rating, and SIGGRAPH Papers
- Open the Music Industry’s Black Box (NYT) — David Byrne talks about the opacity of financials of streaming and online music services (including/especially YouTube). Caught my eye: The labels also get money from three other sources, all of which are hidden from artists: They get advances from the streaming services, catalog service payments for old songs, and equity in the streaming services themselves. (via BoingBoing)
- Savioke — hotel robot. (via Robohub)
- Deloitte Changing Performance Reviews (HBR) — “Although it is implicitly assumed that the ratings measure the performance of the ratee, most of what is being measured by the ratings is the unique rating tendencies of the rater. Thus, ratings reveal more about the rater than they do about the ratee.”
- SIGGRAPH Papers Are on the Web — collected papers from SIGGRAPH.
Programming in concert mode
Andrew Sorensen's cyberphysical music-making demonstrated programming real-time systems in real time.
Music and programming share deep mathematical roots, but have very different senses of “performance”. At OSCON, Andrew Sorensen reunited those two branches to give a live “concert” performance as a keynote. Sorensen brought his decade of “live coding musical concerts in front of an audience” to a real-time demonstration of Extempore, “a systems programming language designed to support the programming of real-time systems in real time”:
“Extempore is designed to support a style of programming dubbed ‘cyberphysical’ programming. Cyberphysical programming supports the notion of a human programmer operating as an active agent in a real-time distributed network of environmentally aware systems.”
Four short links: 15 October 2013
BF Maker, Wikiseat, Decentralising Software, and Streaming Economics
- BF Skinner’s Baby Make Project (BoingBoing) — I got to read some of Skinner’s original writing on the Air-Crib recently and couple of things stuck out to me. First, it cracked me up. The article, published in 1959 in Cumulative Record, is written in the kind of extra-enthusiastic voice you’re used to hearing Makers use to describe particularly exciting DIY projects.
- Wikiseat — awesome Maker education project. (via Claire Amos)
- Redecentralize — project highlighting developers and software that disintermediates the ad-serving parasites preying on our human communication.
- The Internet Will Suck All Creative Content Out of the World (David Byrne) — persuasively argued that labels are making all the money from streaming services like Spotify, et al. Musicians are increasingly suspicious of the money and equity changing hands between these services and record labels – both money and equity has been exchanged based on content and assets that artists produced but seem to have no say over. Spotify gave $500m in advances to major labels in the US for the right to license their catalogues.
Four short links: 27 September 2013
Amen Break, MySQL Scale, Spooky Source, and Graph Analytics Engine
- The Amen Break (YouTube) — fascinating 20m history of the amen break, a handful of bars of drum solo from a forgotten 1969 song which became the origin of a huge amount of popular music from rap to jungle and commercials, and the contested materials at the heart of sample-based music. Remix it and weep. (via Beta Knowledge)
- The MySQL Ecosystem at Scale (PDF) — nice summary of how MySQL is used on massive users, and where the sweet spots have been found.
- Lab41 (Github) — open sourced code from a spook hacklab in Silicon Valley.
- Fanulus — open sourced Hadoop-based graph analytics engine for analyzing graphs represented across a multi-machine compute cluster. A breadth-first version of the graph traversal language Gremlin operates on graphs stored in the distributed graph database Titan, in any Rexster-fronted graph database, or in HDFS via various text and binary formats.
Four short links: 24 June 2013
Location Data, Online Science, Mythbusting for Education, and Cheap Music For All
- Reading Runes in Animal Movement (YouTube) — accessible TEDxRiverTawe 2013 talk by Professor Rory Wilson, on his work tracking movements of animals in time and space. The value comes from high-resolution time series data: many samples/second, very granular.
- Best Science Writing Online 2012 (Amazon) — edited collection of the best blog posts on science from 2012. Some very good science writing happening online.
- Designing Effective Multimedia for Physics Education (PDF) — Derek Muller’s PhD thesis, summarised as “mythbusting beats lectures, hands down”. See also his TED@Sydney talk.
- Melomics — royalty-free computer-generated music, all genres, for sale (genius business model). Academic spinoff from Dr. Francisco J. Vico’s work at UMA in Spain.
The future of classical music
Where is classical music publishing headed now that the great works are available for free online?
The job of a publisher is to identify and cultivate talent, underwrite the writing process, and distribute the result. The publishing industry has been wringing its hands about the future of the print book for some time, but that model is sound (in the abstract) regardless of whether a book is printed on paper or transmitted over the Internet to a paying reader.
But what if you’re a publisher of works that have been in the public domain for a long time? The talent has already been identified and the writing has already been done, so the only value to be added is in editing, printing and distributing. That pretty much describes the business of publishing classical music scores, and the amount of value that publishers add varies greatly — between Dover, which mostly produces cheaply-bound facsimiles of out-of-copyright editions, and the German publishers Barenreiter and Henle, which produce beautifully printed scholarly editions.
Regardless of quality, all of these publishers face disruption in the form of the International Music Score Library Project, which makes 67,927 works of public-domain classical music available, for free, as scanned scores from academic music libraries. Traditional publishers rely on sales of warhorses like Beethoven’s piano sonatas to fund their operations, and that’s precisely what’s most readily available at IMSLP. It’s as though Knopf needed to sell Great Expectations to supply Robert Caro’s typewriter ribbon.
In our latest podcast, Mike Loukides and I talk about classical publishing and changes in the ways we play music. You can subscribe to our podcast series on iTunes or SoundCloud.