Stream your favourite records
In this world of broadband internet access, when we talk about music the concept of owning a record is losing its meaning, as anyone with a decent connection can easily download all the music that they want, but that doesn’t mean much: in the past a guy with hundreds of records at home was certainly a music lover. Nowadays any teenager with a DSL connection can easily have the same amount of songs in a few days or weeks and yet have much less interest in music.
Besides this, an increasing number of artists are uploading their songs to websites such as MySpace, Last.fm, iLike and others. So in many cases you don’t even have to download mp3 files to your computer in order to listen to new records from your favourite artists. You don’t have to own a record to be passionate about it.
If you don’t need to store in your computer your e-mail, your photos, your documents and your videos, does this mean that you don’t need to have your favourite records either? This is not the case right now, and I obviously don’t know what’s the future going to be like, but it certainly seems that things are moving in that direction.
In the case of Last.fm (and outside of the UK, US and Germany, see the previous link) there are lots of records that can be already streamed for free. Such is the case of the great Swedish label Labrador, which have their (almost) complete catalogue available in Last.fm.
Many other artists ranging from the less popular ones (Tarántula, 6PM, Menomena) to the best sellers (Nine inch nails) can be listened on demand for free. There is a group in Last.fm dedicated to this kind of records. While you won’t see many free albums from mainstream artists, the selection is by no means restricted to unknown amateur bands with no record contract. Many well-known independent artists (those who play in the most popular music festivals and appear regularly on specialised magazines) have free albums available (examples here, here and here, and also the aforementioned Labrador label).
Vagalume 0.7 is out
For all the things explained above, it’s very useful to be able to keep a list of all your favourite music that is available on demand. That’s why the new Vagalume 0.7 introduces a new feature that I had already talked about during Guadec: bookmarks.
With the bookmark manager you can have a list of Last.fm radio URLs (those starting with lastfm://). This includes all of your favourite radios (your best friends’ libraries, your preferred tags, etc.), and also all the free music available in Last.fm. I like to think about it as the equivalent of the music library in Rhythmbox and other programs. To add free albums to your library you just need their lastfm:// address. It used to be available in each album’s page. However after the Last.fm site update it’s no longer there. They are working on it. Meanwhile, there are workarounds (see here and here).
Vagalume’s bookmark manager is still very simple, but I think that it is “good enough” TM to get started and to get the idea. It’ll be improved in future releases.
Another interesting feature in Vagalume 0.7 is that the desktop version has finally D-BUS support. Thanks to the vagalumectl script that is provided with the package, you can now control Vagalume (play, stop, skip, change radios, love tracks, etc.) from a remote host using SSH, for example.
The multimedia keys in some keyboards are supported as well. We have also added Latvian and French translations, and fixed some annoying bugs (activity in our bug tracker is increasing, thank you reporters!).
Last but not least, support for the Moblin platform has been enhanced. We have some binary packages now in case you want to try them out.
Regarding the MS Windows version, it’s still experimental. Vagalume 0.7 for Windows is not ready yet, but we’ll try to release some packages soon.
As usual, go to the Vagalume page for details on how to get it.
Going back to Germany
On another note, I’ll be flying again to Berlin in a couple of weeks, this time for OSiM World and the Maemo Summit. There’s going to be a lot of people there so it’ll be a great opportunity to meet known faces again 🙂
It’s also a good chance to see Vagalume running in a device other than a Nokia Internet Tablet: during OSiM World I’ll be showcasing the Moblin port in one of Intel’s MIDs.
See you in Berlin !