Dispatch 2: What is the fastest music?

The Best Art

Artist Nicole He has created a collaborative art experiment with her Macbook as partner. Every day, the computer creates a new piece of art that it has calculated to be "the best art" for that day. It is then up to the human (He, in this instance) to create that art piece.

You can see the project in action here.

The math of maps

Numberphile, a favorite Youtube channel, has a great video explaining the theory behind "four color theory" in cartography.

In short, there is a well known fact of maps that you only need 4 colors to delineate the borders of states. Numberphile goes into why that always works.



How fast can you hear?

Musician Adam Neely answers a very intriguing question: "what is the fastest music?"

The answer is a bit more complicated, of course.

Adam analyses popular performances of fast music, virtuoso performers and explains one of the thresholds of human perception.


Another music streaming service

We aren't really wanting for options for paid music streaming services, but we're getting another one anyway. Pandora, which was one of the earliest (and still in existence) music streaming services, now has a true on-demand option that will rolling out to subscribers and then to the general public.

What makes this interesting is that Pandora acquired Rdio's assets a few years ago which made this possible. Pandora, by virtue of it being fairly long lived for such a service, has a large installed userbase. So there will certainly be takers for the $10-a-month option to listen to music on demand, as well as harnessing Pandora's algorithmicplaylist generation feature.

The biggest stumbling block, as far as I see, is that this type of service needs to have some other hook to truly stand out and I don't think that just smart playlist/'radio station' creation is going to do it. Yes, as The Verge's article mentions, new users are probably put off by the sheer vastness of most online catalogs (i.e. "I just want to listen to something") but the other streaming services have some additional value adds.

For example, Google bundles in Youtube Red, which turns off preroll ads on Youtube, making the vast music stored on Youtube feel like an add-on to Youtube's music offerings. Spotify has extensive support across various other apps, or being accessible directly through channels on Amazon Echo, Roku, etc.

All those things add utility, and more important for Pandora, keep users around. The catalog is almost beside the point.