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Streaming: Get your music the 2011 way

A friend sent me off to NPR.org to listen to REM's latest album 'Collapse into Now', which the public broadcaster streamed entirely.

NPR regularly does this with new albums; just go to its music section and you'll find the latest and the recent from a wide variety of groups.

The streams indicate musicians and the music industry is coming around to accepting the new market for their artistry and wares.

For example, NPR has 'Wile Or Wine: 10 Soca Songs For Carnival Season', a section of the latest soca music videos.

The write ups are pretty good as well, explaining the music for the uninitiated.

NPR is a good one, but there are other sites to stream music from other than say, BBC (try Radio 6 and Radio 1), ABC, YouTube, AOL Radio and Yahoo Music.

The big entry for streaming music is Spotify.com, a service based in Sweden, which recently hit one million paid subscribers, and seven million using it for free.

But for now, it is only available in Finland, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Spotify is negotiating with all the major music companies to expand elsewhere.

More to the point, Spotify is a model of the future music business on the “cloud”, where all your music is kept online you never lose it, and you can share it and access it through multiple devices, including your phone, iPod or home stereo.

Subscribers can either get a free account, or a paid subscription, sans advertising.

Until it comes to your home town, try Last.fm, which creates a profile of your tastes as you listen to more and more tracks.

It can never get my choices quite right, as I am a bit of a music hopper depending on my mood and I regularly throw it off the mark.

Last.fm is trying to meld music with social networking; your friends presumably have similar tastes, or you can find ones who do, if that is any criteria.

Deezer.com has been around for a little while and I used it quite often, but over the past year my interest has waned.

The site was quite difficult to navigate and more and more music was being restricted to paid subscribers.

Visiting it again this week I see it has been revamped to a clearer presentation. Perhaps I will try it again.

I also listen to Live365.com a lot, mainly for the streamed old radio detective shows, but you can also get music playlists as a free service.

You can also go to some of the newer players competing for Spotify, such as Grooveshark, Mixcloud, Blip.fm, Mflow, Musicovery, The Sixty One, Pandora (only available in the US), and We7.

There are lots of contenders and models being tested, so you have lots of choice. Don't forget music publications (such as Rolling Stone), band sites, and fan pages.

For example Neil Young has made an entire video of all the songs on his latest album Le Noise.

An obsessed fan, or 'rustie' has also created Rust Radio, which streams his live concerts every weekend. I guess I am one of the rusties.

Women programmers

As it was International Women's Day yesterday, it's good to remember that some of the first programmers were women. Just go to the Women in Technology International site (witi.com) and click on their 'hall of fame'.

It's surprising to learn that the first programmers started out being called “Computers”, the name given by the US Army to a group of 80 women at the University of Pennsylvania who calculated ballistics trajectories by hand during the Second World War.

Six of them were selected in 1945 to be the first programmers assigned to ENIAC, the first all-electronic digital computer, described by WITI as a machine of about 18,000 vacuum tubes and forty black eight-foot panels.

The computer and the ballistics trajectory programmed by the six and were unveiled in 1946. It became a “stored programme” computer in 1947, the world's first. “Thus, these six programmers were the only generation of programmers to programme it at the machine level,” says WITI.

Send any comments to elamin.ahmed@gmail.com

NPR: A good source of online streaming music

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Published March 09, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated March 09, 2011 at 8:55 am)

Streaming: Get your music the 2011 way

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