cloud

iTunes Match and SongKick Awesomeness

Discovered something wicked awesome about the iPhone SongKick app the other day. After I updated iTunes to the newest version and got iTunes Match up and running, I checked out SongKick to see if one of my favorite artists would be stopping by any time soon. Sadly, no–she is not, but that’s okay. A new CD is in the works, and that’s even better news!

However, I started playing around with some of SongKick’s options. As you’ll recall, along the bottom, there are 4 options:

  • Concerts
  • Locations
  • Artists
  • Settings

I tapped Artists, thinking that it would only pull up a list of the artists that actually had a digital presence on my iPhone. Not so! The list is comprised OF EVERY ARTIST I HAVE IN THE CLOUD. 25000+ mp3s, probably at least 2500 artists … and I can find out if/when any of them are coming at any given time from the SongKick app. THAT is wicked awesome.

Just from scrolling through the list, I can see that Abigail Washburn, Alela Diane, Ani DiFranco, Apocalyptica, ATB, and Azam Ali are all on tour, and that’s just a sampling of the As! Very, very, VERY cool!

Cloud-Based Programs for your iDevice (a.k.a. Death of the iPod Classic Redux)

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that it is entirely possible that we have seen the last large-capacity iPod. 160GB might be the max that Apple goes for music devices.

Maybe. Who knows …

The reason very well could be due to the movement of cloud-based music storage. Apple has bought a few different properties and land that could be the basis for their movement to online storage … probably at a monthly or yearly price point. Exciting, but … hmm. Again, my point is that many of us have music collections that far exceed 500GB. It’s ludicrous to think that Apple will provide a fairly decent-sized hard drive for EVERY SINGLE PERSON who wants to use a cloud-based service.

So what are the alternatives? Is there anything out there right now that can provide a similar service? At what cost? Can I get all my music and stuff to my device?!

Yes you can, and little to no cost.

How about “free”? How about “$20″? No subscription rates, no annual or monthly fees … your library, your device.

I’ve done some digging around and have come up with a pretty good list of applications and programs that will keep you earlobes deep in Funkytown.

Audiogalaxy
This is a *great* audi0 library streaming program. Best part–it’s free.  You create an online account on their website, then download and install a desktop application. Once you install it, you specify what folders you want it to scan for music. It finds all the audio files within those folders. Once it completes the scan, it catalogs what it finds on its server. Next, download the Audiogalaxy app, install it, and log in  using the account info you created on AG’s website. Voila! You have access to your entire music collection!

One drawback: you cannot delete files by simply selecting them from AG’s user interface. “Erm … why would I want to delete music from my library?” Let me give you an example. Right now, I have Terry Oldfield’s and Sally Oldfield’s entire discographies on AG. I … meh. I don’t particularly want to listen to them, nor do I care if I have them in my AG library. In order to get them out of AG, I have to move them to a separate file that’s not in my AG database, then I have to rescan the AG folder. Kind of lame … and I’m not a fan.

Of course, it works best over wi-fi, but it holds up extremely well with as little as two bars on my phone. Buffering is minimal.

Zumocast

First off, if you don’t already have Zumocast downloaded and installed, looks like you’ll be waiting a couple of months before you can get it. Bummer, since it’ll stream audio, music, docs … pretty much anything. So … that sucks. I was looking forward to watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Guess that’s not happening. Yet. When it was available in the App store, it was free. Here’s hoping it returns as the same.

The beauty of Zumocast is that it will stream audio AND video. That’s pretty slick … except it’s not available right now. Someday …

Sorry if anyone finds the ellipses condescending (YOU know who you are!!). :)

ooTunes

Not free. $19.99. And it uses a browser to stream. And it hella-sucks to set up. Unless your last name is “Gates” or “Jobs,” I wouldn’t mess with this. No program should be this difficult to set up.

Air Video

Similar to Audiogalaxy, except it doesn’t play music files; it streams only video files. However, this was too good to pass up. Same process as AG: go to website; download desktop app; install; search for vid files; download iPhone app ($4.99, no freebie version); xyz, blah blah blah. End result: 1300 video files streaming to my phone. Yah. I can deal with with that. I would like to be able to have “one app to rule them all,” as it were, but I can wait until Zumocast is back up and running. Meanwhile, this app will be fine.

There is one *tiny* little drawback, and it’s probably just some tweak that I haven’t properly configured … I can’t get this to work over 3G. It works great on my home wi-fi network, but I don’t know about wandering out of my router’s range. I’ll have to test that later. But if you’re just bumming around the house and you have a wireless network, it’s definitely worth the $5.

End result of all apps tested: Audiogalaxy for streaming all your music; Air Video to stream your vids … UNTIL Zumocast is re-released!

Death of the iPod Classic?!

I have a 160GB iPod Classic. It holds approximately 1/3 of my music collection. That’s just mp3s. This doesn’t include audio book, FLAC or wav files, or miscellaneous audio files. JUST music. I’m past the point of wanting to continually load/unload songs from my iPod.

There is no solution forthcoming.

I have searched high and low for the scrap of a hint of a rumor that Apple is working on a larger iPod size. Not only could I not find a single whiff of a clue as to if/when a larger iPod would be released … I found quite the opposite. It is entirely possible that Apple is phasing out their classic model in favor of the much smaller capacity touches, nanos and iPhones.

To Steve Jobs et al, I have a simple, basic, one-word question: “WHY?!”

I mean, really … who amongst us anymore has a scant 160GB music collection? Anyone? No? That’s what I thought. Not to mention that iTunes has an incredibly robust and rounded-out video library. Those take up tons more space than does a single song. So why the seeming slide backwards in the size department?

Let me pose this question: What if size really didn’t matter?

For all you female readers, I’ll give you a moment to quit your snide snickering. Done yet? Good.

Fact: Apple is buying up property left and right: old HP campuses, private land owned by old people (Fullbrights, anyone?) … what do they plan on doing with all that land?

Fact: Apple is moving away from the classic iPods with the larger storage capacities in favor of the smaller, slimmer, slicker looking iPhone and Touch devices.

What if capacity were no longer a necessity?

What if all your media resided “in the cloud?”

Think about it. It wouldn’t matter what capacity your device has: it would pull it ALL from a cloud-based location. All of the sudden, your 160GB iPod is moot.

Or is it? What about those who don’t have access to their “cloud?” Hikers? Anyone going “off the grid” is going to have a difficult time accessing their media content.

So in a nutshell, I went from being super-down about the classic line going away, to realizing what the potential reason for its demise is and actually getting excited about the prospects, to being upset about the whole “cloud” concept and not having access to all my music and stuff in a localized location. Interesting.

To be fair, most of these thoughts are based on articles that have been written in the last few months. This is pure speculation on my part, paired with the speculations of others who have written on similar topics. Will we see the end of the iPod classic? I bet we do. In favor of smaller-capacity devices? It would certainly seem so. Will it matter if iTunes goes cloud-based? Who knows?