Friday Favorites 12/20/2013
In my opinion, we live in wonderful times for music lovers … which I am most definitely am. We not only have access to an amazing variety of music via online media, we have a choice of how and where to enjoy the music we love. We can take our personal music collections almost anywhere, whether as mp3s on a postage-stamp-size memory card in our phones or through cloud-based storage like Amazon Cloud. On line music stores have finally started to mimic the record-store experience by offering suggestions for future purchases based on previous ones. My experience with Amazon’s suggestions is very good. On YouTube and other online video outlets I can not only listen to my favorite music and artists, I can usually find live performances to watch, often in HD, and as YouTube accumulates information on my tastes, it, too, offers new suggestions that sometimes lead me to new favorites. As long as I don’t think about how much information is being accumulated about me … and the NSA lurking in the shadows … I love it.
There was a time when I considered myself an audiophile, although by true audiophile standards, I never spent true audiophile dollars. In those days, I might have lamented the demise of serious speaker systems, the reduced dynamic range of mp3 recordings and even the shortcomings of digital music versus the venerable vinyl record. At sixty-nine, however, I can’t hear the difference so I’m happy with variety and portability and window-shaking volume on my in-car stereo, even if the frequency response isn’t quite what my Infinity speakers used to provide.
I’ve noted before that I frequently use Sirius xm satellite radio to provide me with a variety of genre or decade-based music in my car. In my family room for reading or posting, I use the internet radio app, Pandora, to provide the same via my smart Bluray player and TV. This week, Pandora’s Smooth Jazz Christmas station has been my favorite. Recently my friend Sharon introduced me to another online radio resource, Jango. Like Pandora, Jango is free and offers genre, decade and artist-based stations but it claims to do so with fewer ads. If you are willing to log in with your Facebook identity, you get only one ad a day. That, of course gives Jango access to your Facebook info … and sometimes results in your musical choices being posted on Facebook, as in Bud listened to Mylie Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball on Jango (yeah, right). So, if you are secretly listening to Gangsta Rap and don’t want anyone to know, skip the Facebook sign-in. What I like about Jango is that when I choose a station based on an artist I like … say, Acoustic Alchemy … the selection of similar artists it mixes in is quite good. I’d say 75% of the songs are by artists I know, some titles old friends and some potential new ones. And other 20% are artists I don’t know but like. I can either put up with a track from the remaining 5% or give it a thumbs down and have it removed from my playlist. Nice. So, Jango is this week’s Friday Favorite.
If there’s anyone out there who comes by every Friday to hear what Older Eyes is listening to these days, here’s a tune that popped up on my Jango Acoustic Alchemy Radio station this morning. It’s one I hadn’t heard by an old friend, Fourplay.
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