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Fred Seibert's Blog

OMG! Music fandom nirvana.

July 23rd, 2007


Most of the time I’m not a first mover. Early, sure (blogging, Channel Frederator, VOD Cars), rarely first. But with my music jones I’ve tried to be on top of most everything and often just wanted to kill myself. Over the years, I’ve been a musician, a record producer, a music television producer and most of all a stone music fan. Pop, rock, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, you name it, I’m there. So, the digital revolution has given me a wonder of hopes and frustrations.

I’ve used ‘em all –the original Napster, Winamp, MusicMatch, the HangGo, the Airport Express, heck I’ve even ran SonicNet Radio for a while– and eventually just chocked on the exasperation. The inventors have caught up with my needs –selection, convenience, and (relative) quality for a reasonable price– and though I’m a little behind the true hipsters, I’m finally at (almost) fan nirvana.

Sonos was the first level of enlightenment in 2004. I started ripping 100,000 quality (320 kbps) mp3s from my CD collection. It freed me from constantly transferring to iPods and plugging into my stereos, or figuring out ridiculous wiring schemes to wire up my computer with audio connections. Putting all the stuff on network attached storage was icing on the cake. It served me amazingly for three years.

Sonos added a Rhapsody trial late last year but I pooh-poohed it, having finally rejected subscriptions as impractical and anti-consumerist after iTunes shifted the world. Brooke Hammerling from Brew Media Relations represents both Next New Networks and Sonos and she was raving one day. Taking the plunge with the free trial made me realize most of my listening was to artists and tracks not the obscure, out-of-print stuff I’d transferred, and soon enough trial had turned into subscription. Millions of tracks instantly and permanently available, just in time for my 12 year old’s capricious entry into the pop music iPoding sweepstakes.

The coup de grĂ¢ce? The idea of “personalized” radio always struck me as an ideal better in thought than practice. Too hard, too rarefied, too… something. I even tried Pandora as a browser based thing, nevertheless, just like Rhapsody, too complicated for my actual home listening experience. But after my rhapsodic conversion when a Pandora trial showed up on a Sonos update I was game. I started with one of my lifetime faves, Booker T. & the MGs, figuring I kind of new everything and everyone in the soul instrumental thing. And then, in the first 30 tracks played on my Booker T station, I hadn’t heard of any of the tracks. None. Soon enough, Ebony Rhythm Band, Carleen and the Groovers, Sugarman 3 joined a whole bunch of discoveries on my Rhapsody collection.

And none of this gets at the fact that I’m accessing these collections at two locations 50 miles apart with a completely seamless experience. Geeeezzz. The truth is I’m not sure I’m ever buying a CD again. Honestly, a few months ago I would’ve told only digital idealists would’ve made such a completely hyperbolic statement.

Last thing? Is this stuff expensive? I guess, though a lot less than the flat screens everyone I know are snapping up. And, truth be told, altogether a lot less than my CD, stereo, and former digital music habits.

New ideas pass through three periods:- It can’t be done.

- It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing.

- I knew it was a good idea all along!

Arthur C. Clarke

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I’ve been considering the Sonos for some time. But until now, I’ve known no one who owns one. I’ve read some good reviews, but haven’t really heard too much in the last year or so. I too believed for a long time that ownership was the only true path for music aficionados. And could subscription services really provide the obscure tracks that made my music collection fun and interesting, so full of surprises when entertaining guests? Also, if everyone had access to the obscure, how obscure could it be? On the other hand, what of convenience? Or simple economics? This subscription thing is starting to make sense. The Sonos system is a great way to network music throughout the house. Right now, all I have is my iPod docked to my living room stereo. If I had the Sonos, I could listen in any room in the house.

So thanks for the advice on the Sonos. Who knew I ‘d get appliance info on an animation site? The Frederator blog — is there anything it can’t do?

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