Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BlueBeat.com and The Best of British

A friend of mine on Facebook, Celeste, recently introduced me to the music service, BlueBeat.com. Having enjoyed it immensely, I wanted to share it with my readers, and offer you a little gift (see below).

BlueBeat.com is a subsidiary of Music Rights Technologies Inc., a company that creates products to distribute on-line media securely. It offers several ways to enjoy and share its comprehensive (and growing) catalog of music for free. Firstly, I should mention that the media players they provide, sound great. The default player uses Flash, and plays at 160kb/s. An upgraded player, which plays at 320kb/s, is available if you register with the site (which is free). I had a few technical problems when I used the upgraded player, probably due to lack of bandwidth, but I am perfectly happy with the quality of the default player.

What you are allowed to hear depends on where you are listening from, and whether you are registered with the service. For example, if you are in the USA and you are registered, you can actually listen to entire albums if you wish. In addition, you can listen to what BlueBeat refers to "Live Collections," which fall into one of three categories, "Artist," "Time Machine" and "Killer Playlist." Artist is somewhat obvious and represents all available tracks from an artist. A Time Machine is a collection of music from a particular time-period or genre. There are Time Machines for Synthpop and "The British Invasion" for example. A Killer Playlist is a handpicked "cream of the crop" collection based on a genre or theme.

One feature that makes BlueBeat very exciting for me is that it allows registered users to create what it calls "crates." A crate is a user-defined playlist that allows one to become a DJ. It may contain any combination of songs, albums and Live Collections. One neat thing about live collections is that they can expand when new music becomes available to BlueBeat users. The one restriction to a crate is that it must consist of at least, around 3 hours (40 tracks) of diverse material. This must meet the guidelines of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which means that it cannot deliver more than three songs from the same album within a 3-hour period to a particular listener, and cannot deliver more than four songs from the same artist within a 3-hour period to a particular listener. As long as you have a "diverse" crate, the player software takes care of the rest. Once you have created a crate, it can be listened to by anyone.

So now, I can get to the reason I wanted to write about BlueBeat in this blog. For the listening pleasure of my readers, I created a crate called Best of British. It is an evolving collection of what I consider the best of British music over the years. It contains mainly Rock, Pop and Folk and includes the British Invasion and Brit-Pop "time machines." So you might hear music by Billy Bragg, The Beatles, Fairport Convention, Erasure, Saint Etienne, Blur and Ultravox, among others.

I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know by dropping me a comment. I would also like you to think about what you might include in such a collection. If I get enough suggestions, I will create a brand new crate to include them.


Cindy O said...

Hi Graham! I will definitely listen to your first crate - hopefully today - and I will let you know if I like it.

I also want to check out BlueBeat, too, cause I think it would be great to create a crate and add it to my blog's sidebar! Wonder if that's possible...

Graham said...

@Cindy O - Hope you enjoy it! I've created a few different crates. You can find them when you're on BlueBeat by clicking on my name "Foucault" that you'll see with my "Best of British" Crate.

BlueBeat doesn't supply any "widgets" that you can use on your blog, but you can access any crate with a simple link, so it's doable. I've given feedback to BlueBeat saying that I think they should add some Social Media aspects. You can't even set a particular user or crate as a "favorite" through BlueBeat.

Don't forget I'd love to know some of your favorite Brit artists or albums, so I can create a new Crate.

Pazcual said...

Well...Mmm probably some jazz. Little Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald...Soft music, in exception you want to start dancing (something I do, I accept it!) like mad at the office then...well add The Kooks and Kaiser Chiefs. Obviously, the last one it's a little more punk (and my ad hates them haha)but it's only a recomendation.



Graham said...

@Pazcual - I was actually thinking of British music, so Billie and Ella would be out (even though I love 'em!), but The Kooks and the Kaiser Chiefs would certainly fit right in - thanks!

Pazcual said...

Yeah later I wrote them i realized of my mistake. But yes, I think you'll probably like The Kooks and Kaiser, are excellent british rock/punk bands.

Greets again,


Carrie B said...

Thank you for introducing us to BlueBeat..it is too cool! I am throughly impressed by your "crate" collections. Perhaps a little XTC for your Best of British Crate?

Also a little Phoebe Snow for your Folk or Classics crate?

Hope you are well!
Carrie B

Graham said...

Thanks for your suggestions, @Carrie B!

I'm ashamed to say, I'm not really familiar with Phoebe Snow, but I'm going to give her a listen.

Glad you're impressed by BlueBeat! Did you register? Are you going to create your own crates?

Carrie B said...

I haven't registered yet. I've been thinking about my crate categories: alternative, mellow, girl bands...

I saw just this morning in my local newspaper that Janis Ian is confirmed to play at this year's annual Folk Fest. Cool!

Graham said...

@Carrie B - Janis is great to see live!

Let me know once you've registered and started building crates. I'd love to take a listen.

Carrie B said...

I'm having a difficult time deciding which songs are crate worthy.

Graham said...

@Carrie B - my very first crate I did song by song. You soon learn to use those "live collections": time machines, artists, albums, etc. Makes your crates more interesting by making them different each time you play them.

Carrie B said...

I've got my first crate! And it only took me the entire weekend. It's under carriebga.

Graham said...

@Carrie B - NOISY! ;) I'm listening to it now.

If only I could access BlueBeat on the road - it sounds like good driving music!

Here's a direct link to Carrie's crate, "Alternative Nation:"


Traci said...

Graham, apologies for the delay but only just got around to listening - I love it! I guess the hardest thing would be what to add to your crate. Does anyone remember the agony of getting the 'mix tape' exactly right in the old days, especially if you were going to give it to someone else?

One question - do you ever use Pandora? What do you think of it? (OK, 2 questions!)

Graham said...

Glad you enjoyed listening to my crate, @Traci. Keep listening - every time you listen to it, you should hear something new.

Mix tapes - I hardly ever did them, because it was so agonizing to choose what to put on, and in what order.

I love Pandora, and think it's a great way to listen to new stuff, based on your existing tastes. I do have a few problems with Pandora playing when I have a lot of other stuff open, though.

All for different reasons, I use and like last.fm, blip.fm, Pandora and of course, BlueBeat.

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