Category Archives: Music

cashIt seems like streaming services are all the rage lately. Beats just released their app (known mostly for headphones, the company bought MOG, and re-branded it) which gives you unlimited downloads and access across 10 devices for $14.99 a month. Spotify has now removed the limit to the number of songs subscribers on the free plan can access each month, as well. So the services are upping the ante by trying feverishly to differentiate themselves. Beats is adding a human element by bringing curators to the service instead of a computer algorithm to help you discover songs/artists you like. Spotify is stressing its social utilities and focusing on playlists based on your mood.

To carve out market share, the streaming services have offered subscriptions at a ridiculously low price: $9.99 a month on average, or even better discounts if you buy a year’s worth in advance. The paradigm shift for the general public has been moving from “owning” songs to “renting” them. While the streaming services seem to be taking hold, there’s new research that shows they can never be profitable. According to the report, the number of streaming users will balloon to 1.7 billion by 2017, up from 767 million in 2013.  Paid subscribers will leap to 125 million, up from 36 million currently. It seems like the labels are the culprits: taking 70% of the profits for themselves in royalties. On top of that, the freemium model that Spotify has adopted is convincing consumers that music is a commodity, and not really worth paying for. And, of course, there’s the controversy with what the artists are actually being paid.

As the services evolve, they’re going to have to figure out a revenue model that allows for scalability. And consumers, at some point, are going to have to pay up.

This won’t be the typical “year in review” post highlighting the best books, the best films, or the best songs of the year. There’s plenty of places you can get that kind of info, including here, here, and here. Instead, I want to focus on some of the more meaningful occurrences, some that may have flown under the radar a bit, but that will more than likely have a lasting impact:

andre

We lost Andre Cassagnes. Who, you ask? Well, if you grew up in the last few decades, you’ve been touched by his main creation: the Etch-A-Sketch. At the age of 86, he passed in January. I remember spending untold hours with my Etch-A-Sketch, and how when I finally painted my masterpiece, I would beg my sister to not shake it away (which she always seemed to find a sneaky way to do behind my back). It’s my generation’s Snapchat, and it gave so much to that “alone time” throughout my youth. Although it’s practically impossible to draw a circle, the Etch-A-Sketch was a toy for the ages.

(Tribute sketch of André Cassagnes by Tom Shillue)

Dealey_Plaza_2003When it comes to the events of November 22, 1963: we evolved (a bit). Yeah, 2013 marked the 50th year since our 35th president was gunned down on the streets of Dallas. First, Dallas itself owned up to its own role in that fateful day. The city’s leaders decided to honor Kennedy by producing a respectful commemoration, and for the first time since ’63, apologized for being the “city of hate” that took our President from us. The past is never in the past, but we can learn, heal and move forward. Dallas decided to do that in 2013, and it deserves praise for honoring that horrible day with a recognition it never knew how to do before. Of course, the “independent” Texas spirit is still alive and well as shown by this guy who felt the need to strap on an AR-15 at Dealey Plaza…

12.09.11-Skeuo-4We officially re-entered an era of “design rationalism”. Not wanting to be left behind, Apple fired Scott Forstall, the lone holdout in charge of Apple software design that still held onto the Jobsian design ethos of using fake leather and brushed aluminum backgrounds in software user interfaces. Microsoft and Google had already moved on, ditching ornamentation, and re-birthing the design philosophy set forth in the 1920s by the Bauhaus movement. Now, for at least awhile, pixels are pixels and old leather desk calendars are no longer allowed in your Calendar app.

 

cancerAnd, finally, 14 year old Jake Andraka showed us what Steve Jobs really meant when he pleaded for us to “always think like a beginner.” After his family friend died of pancreatic cancer, Jack was frustrated that there wasn’t an easier, earlier detection method for this common, but deadly cancer. Although he was only in 9th grade, he took the initiative to investigate a low-cost test idea he had come up with. His test was finally accepted at Johns Hopkins after he had received hundreds of rejection letters from other research institutions. Now, his low-cost early detection test is helping to transform the survival rates for pancreatic cancer. Goes to show you: persistence is critical, next up: just think of a problem you want to solve!

Photo of Jake: TED2013. Long Beach, CA. February 25 – March 1, 2013. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Fran+Lebowitz+Wolf+Wall+Street+Afterparty+dEGeOh, and there’s no way I can forget to add this honorable mention as the weirdest/funniest/most interesting cameo in a movie this year: Fran Leibowitz as a Judge in Wolves of Wall Street! Go, Fran, GO!

Photo of Fran: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images North America

 

A few days ago, the NY Times released this video (that refuses to embed), which was actually captured on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. It’s a nice moment, because it reminds us that there are enough of us out there to help conquer hate – and we can use the Beatles to do it.

In the video, Pastor Terry Jones is espousing incorrect and offensive rhetoric about Muslims in Times Square. People around him argue, but in the end it’s one guy who raises his voice in “All You Need is Love” who shuts down the speaker. Amazingly, the entire square joins in, singing the Beatles.

I thought it was a wonderful thought for today, the day before Christmas and smack in the middle of the Holiday Season.

No matter what you celebrate, I hope it’s wonderful!

All You Need is Love

This last weekend, the San Francisco Giants played their hardest and entered into the World Series running.

Monster Products loves the Giants so much, they created limited edition Inspiration Orange headphones and gave them to the players.

As you can see (left) Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Joaquin Aris couldn’t leave the locker room without tweeting a picture of them in the locker room!

We here at Bubblicious want to share the same with you! We’ve got a pair of Giants Inspiration Monster headphones to give away to one of our lucky readers!

The headphones are orange and white in color, and are perfect for the die hard Giants fan!  

George Kontos tweeted this picture (right) wearing his pair after the game.

You can enter into the contest by Tweeting a photo in your latest San Francisco giants gear to @bubblicious AND @monsterproducts and using hashtag #SFGiants.

You must tweet to both @Bubblicious and @MonsterProducts with the hashtag #SFGiants to win! Winner will be announced by 5 p.m. PT Friday October, 26. Good luck!

Gangnam Startup Style (photo via Michael O'Donnell/ZatPhoto.com)

One of the hottest songs to hit the airwaves over the past few weeks is not something you think would become mainstream. “Gangnam Style“, a song with a rocking beat by the South Korean artist, Psy, has become such a sensation, it’s even been performed by Psy himself on the Today Show during their Toyota concert series. After more than 215 million views on YouTube, this pop sensation has definitely opened itself up to a myriad of spoofs and parodies, including this Chatroulette version and the creative wedding version.

Being here in the tech capital of the world, I suppose it was only a matter of time that it would become a huge hit…and the community definitely did not disappoint.

Organized by Refer.ly co-founder, Danielle Morrill, the startup community put together their own version of “Gangnam Style” and today it was released to the world for everyone to see. It’s a mish-mash of footage from both people who videoed themselves doing the dance and also when Mrs. Morrill’s camera crew went around town collecting footage. But just who in the tech world would best portray the indomitable spirit of Psy? There are obviously a few good choices, but in the startup parody, it actually was a bunch of different people just having fun doing the horse-riding dance and everything else.

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