Spotify: An Introduction

Spotify is something you may have heard about. For some, it is a long-awaited music streaming service. For others, it’s just something else they don’t use that might or might not (and who really cares?) be like Pandora, Rdio, iCloud, Jango, Slacker, Maestro, Grooveshark, last.fm, MOG, or Turntable.

But whether you are excited about it or ambivalent towards it, Spotify is here, and Spotify is changing music distribution.

That change has been met, as all changes are, with skepticism, anger, elation, and all of the other reactions produced by the friction of that change. The rub from Spotify has been keenly felt, and discussed, in the classical music community recently, causing conversations and even arguments in the Twitter and Blog-spheres for months.

So, for those of us who aren’t following the exact conversation, what exactly is Spotify, and why is it causing all of this hubbub?

For the next three days, Classical MPR will explore those questions and hopefully give some clarity about what Spotify is, why people are upset, and why others think it’s great.

So, let’s start with a little context.

First, what is Spotify?

In short, Spotify is an online music library that you can access, completely free of charge. Think of it as an iTunes account that has been pre-populated for your use by several major record labels (including Universal, Sony, EMI, and Warner Music Group) with their music catalogues. Imagine, if you would, waking up tomorrow to find that overnight your iTunes library had been expanded to include a large portion of all recorded music. Well, imagine no longer, because that is the reality of Spotify.

Once you sign up, which you can do with a free, but limited, account, you can search out and immediately stream (to your computer) any song or piece of music that has had rights cleared to be in the database. That database is currently over 15 million songs, and is growing every day.

There is a social element to Spotify as well, which can link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to share playlists with friends. Through Facebook you can even “send” songs to friends, highlighting for them something you’ve just discovered, or an old favorite you love. You can also collaborate on playlists, allowing multiple people to add songs to the same playlist.

So, Spotify is a huge collection of recorded music that I can listen to at any time for free? That sounds pretty cool.

TOMORROW: So, why are people so upset about Spotify?

Music for 2x4s

Composer Michael Gordon explores the various timbres of a set of 2x4s in, wait for it… Timber, which was co-commissioned by the Dutch dance company, Club Guy and Roni, Slagwerk den Haag, Mantra Percussion, with generous support from the Nief-Norf project. Gordon talks about composing the piece here.

When I heard of the piece, I was a little skeptical. How interesting could a few pieces of wood really be? Now that I’ve heard part of it, I find the textures intriguing. What do you think?

Roll Credits: 08/29/2011

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Playlist:

Alan Silvestri – Forrest Gump

Original Soundtrack

Epic 66430

Lalo Shifrin – Main Title and Tar Sequence from Cool Hand Luke

Original Sountrack

Aleph 022

Don Ray/Hughie Prince – Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

The Osborne Sisters

Telarc 80366

Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II – The Last Time I Saw Paris

The Four Freshmen

Capitol 98475

John Barry – Suite from The Lion in Winter

David Temple, conductor

The City of Prague Philharmonic

Silva 6015

Cole Porter – Friendship from Dubarry Was a Lady

Ethel Merman, vocal

Bert Lahr, vocal

ProArte 473

Leonard Rosenman – East of Eden Main Title

Skitch Henderson, conductor

New York Pops

Angel 54499

Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II – Sure Thing/Long Ago and Far Away

Sylvia McNair, soprano

Andre Previn, piano

David Finck, double-bass

Philips 442 129

John Williams – Seven Years in Tibet

John Williams, conductor

Studio Orchestra

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Sony 51333

Frank Churchill/Ned Washington – Baby Mine from Dumbo

Wally Harper, conductor

Studio Orchestra

Barbara Cook, vocal

MCA 6244

Young artists display their skills at the Minnesota State Fair

Join us LIVE at the Minnesota State Fair today for two hours filled with future stars of Classical music:

Classical Live Performance

11 am: Chad Hoopes live performance hosted by Steve Staruch

12 noon: Minnesota Varsity Finalists hosted by Daniel Gilliam

You can find these and more events at the MPR Booth (see the mpr.org/statefair page) or even watch the performances online via the live web cam!

Learn more about the performers:

* MPR Artist-in-Residence 2011-2012: Chad Hoopes

* Minnesota Varsity: Showcase Round Concert

The Short Version: A Fraud!

Lee De Forest

Briefly noting the birthday, on August 26, of an American inventor whose most familiar contributions helped make Classical MPR (and everything else on the radio) possible. Once though, he was considered something of a high-tech snake oil salesman —whose electronic elixir turned out to be everything he claimed.

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Roll Credits: 08/23/2011

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Playlist:

Berlin: There’s No Business Like Show Business

Patti Lupone/hollywood Bowl Orchestra

Philips 446406

Kern/fields: The Way You Look Tonight

Fred Astaire

Sony 44233

Harline: When You Wish Upon A Star

Boston Pops/fiedler

Rca 60393

Berlin: White Christmas From Holiday Inn

Bing Crosby And Marjorie Reynolds

Vintage Jazz Classics 1012

Berlin: Count Your Blessings From White Christmas

Patti Lupone/hollywood Bowl Orchestra/mauceri

Philips 446406

Newman: Captain From Castile

Gerhardt/national Philharmonic

Rca 184

Mancini: Days Of Wine And Roses

Mancini/studio Orchestra And Chorus

Rhino 72278

Legrand/the Bergmans: I Will Wait For You

Jessye Norman/john Williams

Philips 422401

Barry: Theme From Goldfinger

Kunzel/cincinnati Pops

Telarc 80251

Jones/lubbock/temperton: The Color Purple

Itzhak Perlman/williams/pittsburgh Symphony

Sony 63005

Williams: Theme Form Schindler’s List

As Above

Horner: Re-entry And Splashdown From Apollo 13

Kunzel/cincinnati Pops

Telarc 80437

Desplat: Snape Goes To Malfoy Manor

From Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1

Warner Brothers 39212

Kaper: Hi Lili, Hi Lo

Jimmy Durante

Warner Brothers 45456

On the Air This Week

Highlights from August 23 to 30

Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: Jennifer Gerth and Timothy Lovelace perform at the Alexandria Festival of the Lakes

Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: In Concert

Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast:The BBC Philharmonic plays Beethoven, St.-Saens, and Liszt

Monday, 8 pm: Roll Credits