Confessions of a Music Software Geek

The signs were there from an early age. I practiced piano after school instead of playing with the neighborhood kids. I was a member of the original Star Trek fan club. I hung our with the counter-culture music crowd in high school

Years later, I moved to Seattle and my fate as a music software geek was sealed. There, I fell in love with a globally interconnected music library and the software that brought it to my fingertips.

But it was a tragically doomed love affair. I was thrilled, inspired, redeemed, entranced, and delighted. And in the end, as so often happens when the object of your affection belongs to someone else; I was abandoned.

“Studio” was the brain child of former AEI Music Chief Technical Officer, Nick Wilson, back in the late ’90s. He realized that the company, which produced custom music programming for business worldwide, needed to move into the digital age.

So, he found a way to help those of us who were still lugging carts full of CDs to our desks from our massive music library to save time and energy by using what eventually evolved into what may be the coolest piece of software on the entire planet.

Studio is a proprietary app, so no one outside of the company has access to it. Unless, of course, like me, you still on occasion wake up dreaming about it. Yes, I actually dream about it. See, I told you I was a music software geek!

Studio allows the user to search for music by artist, song, album, genre, style, and by some individual attributes such as “female singer”, “guitar”, and “romantic”. If the songs or albums you are seeking have been digitized; you can click and listen to them immediately.

When AEI Music, which is now DMX, still had offices around the world; hundreds of new songs were being entered into our globally interconnected music servers every day. That meant if they ripped it in Miami, Los Angeles, London, Hamburg, Amsterdam, or Sydney; I could hear it in Seattle within hours.

It was a music lover’s dream come true. But, like all dreams; it had to end. Once DMX took over and laid off hundreds of people–including me–it was over. Suddenly, my access to millions of songs and the transcendent experience of being able to use them to create custom soundscapes for business and homes worldwide, was gone.

The closest I have come to being able to recreate that experience outside of DMX is with Rhapsody.com. Although their music database isn’t as wide and deep as that of DMX; it’s still pretty amazing and well-worth exploring.

Now that I don’t have to create branded music experiences for particular clients anymore, I am free to experience only the music that interests me–and there is plenty of it.

Rhapsody is a music streaming service that allows you to download and listen to as many songs per month as you want. It’s like Netflix for music. At $9.99 per month for a basic membership, and $14.99 per month unlimited; Rhapsody’s prices aren’t too bad. And, if you’re on a budget, or just want to try it out, you can listen to 25 songs per month for free.

The reason I like Rhapsody so much, is that I can listen to exactly the song I want, when I want to hear it. I don’t have to buy the song, although I can. I also like being able to see and what’s on the whole album, or on all of that particular artist’s albums.

But for times I just want to hear cool music and not specific tunes; I turn to Pandora and Last.fm.

Those free music services give me songs from artists I already know and want to hear, along with songs I will probably love based on my music taste. It’s the ultimate narrow-casting for an audience of one, and it’s amazingly cool.

No, Pandora is not Studio, but it’s what Studio actually was meant to be. In fact, Studio was on the way to becoming what Pandora is today, but time, money, and mergers got in the way. More on that some other time, but for now; why not listen to some great music?

Just follow these links:

Rhapsody.com

Pandora.com

 

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One thought on “Confessions of a Music Software Geek

  1. Hey, Jeanne thanks for the shout out! I remember well those times down in the studios on a rainy Seattle day watching you, and the rest of the amazingly talented music programmers using the tools we'd built with such skill.I built the hammer, bands and artists provided the nails and you built the house.- with fond memories.Nick

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