The crab cakes at Barbara Jean’s at the European Village in Palm Coast, Florida were really good and so was the background music — (note: closed as of August 2010). When my wife and I heard "You Really Got A Hold On Me", we immediately recognized the song but could not remember who had recorded it. No problem. Our son whipped out his iPhone and clicked the "Shazam" button. The ingenious application "listened" to the song through the iPhone microphone for fifteen seconds and then a few seconds later presented the album cover and highlighted Smokey Robinson & The Miracles as the performer. In addition, the iPhone presented some options: purchase the song at iTunes, watch a performance of the song on YouTube, review a biography of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, review a discography of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and purchase or listen to any of their prior recordings, take a picture and attach that picture or any other picture from your iPhone to your "tag" of the song, or share the tag with someone else. My son shared it with me and then I received an email on my iPhone which enabled me to then click on a link in the mail and add the song to my Shazam tags.
Music is no longer a private collection of physical media. It has become a shared media and your "collection" is not limited by shelf space but by how many friends you have and how much meta data you can collect about music that you like. How does Shazam work? Shazam is a mobile phone based music identification service, headquartered in London, England. The service does not work for classical music or live performances but otherwise it does an amazing job. You hold your iPhone, click on "tag now", and the microphone captures the sound and sends it to the Shazam service. An acoustic fingerprint of the music is then matched against a music database. The result is shown on the iPhone screen complete with details on Artist, Album, Title, Genre, Music label, a thumbnail image of the song/album artwork, links to download the song on iTunes or the Amazon MP3 store and, where relevant, show the songs’ video on YouTube. You can review your list of tags and reminisce over where you heard each song or look at a picture to remind you. You can decide to add songs from your tag list to iTunes — which now offers DRM free copies. You can then move songs to another computer, to a portable player, or an MP3 player on your iTrike.
Anybody still buying CD’s? I can not imagine why. I used to think XM Radio had a big future but I now have my doubts. I love music and my current favorite way to play it is using Pandora. The music genome at Pandora allows you to pick a genre, a specific title, or an artist and it then creates a "radio" station on your Pandora web page that continuously plays music that "sounds like" the selection you made. You can give a playing song the thumbs up or down with a click and your "station" gets more and more like you like it. When at home I listen to Pandora through the house music system using a Squeezebox which is connected via WiFi to the home LAN. When away from home I use the Pandora application on the iPhone. In most cards these days you can plug your iPhone into an "aux" jack and listen to your favorite Pandora stations. Satellite radio has been disintermediating terrestrial radio and now the Internet is disintermediating satellite. Just like just about every other dimension of business, the Internet is taking a major role in music.