Tumbler IRL: The Digital Music Revolution Continues


Tumbler IRL: The Digital Music Revolution Continues

It was a mere 15 years ago that Metallica filed a lawsuit against digital music host Napster, an act that would spawn more than a decade of bad blood between music artists and the concept of digital music. Today, digital music availability is widespread. And, although there are still some bad apples bobbing in the piracy seas, accountability for digital music has made leaps and bounds. There is a growing list of apps and services that provide music for customers, and more artists are buying in.

Tumblr IRL

One of the most recent incarnates of digital music ingenuity is Tumblr IRL. This service is unique because it doesn’t just provide a digital recording of a song, but instead gives listeners a digital experience. The service digitizes a performance, in real life and in real time, and then offers some pretty sweet visuals in addition to the live tunes.

Tumblr claims that Tumblr IRL is an invitation for fans to peek behind the curtain of their favorite artist’s world. The company has partnered directly with the artists to create these audio-visual experiences that reflect the artist’s inspirations, passions and artistry through a medium that transcends the traditional concert setting.

Artists such as Childish Gambino, Manchester Orchestra and Broken Bells have already signed onto Tumblr IRL. And, this week at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, Australian rock-ette Courtney Barnett teamed with Tumblr IRL to provide fans with an immersed experience.

Mobile Data Concerns

The accessibility of services like Tumblr IRL conjures up a new can of worms for music fans due to the sheer amount of data that it could possibly eat up. As digital music continues to expand, cell phone and service providers are working hard to keep up with its growth and their customer’s demands.

For example, many music fans choose to buy phones with T-Mobile because of its Music Freedom program, which lets its subscribers stream music from different services without counting it against their monthly data amount. Plus, T-Mobile just added many new music apps to its list of supported services, including heavy-hitters like Google Play Music, Xbox Music, SoundCloud, RadioTunes, Digitally Imported, Fit Radio and Mad Genius Radio. And, these options join the long list that already include Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Radio and Grooveshark.

T-Mobile estimated that the company streamed more 7,000 TB of music not counted against data caps to users in this program. They guess that the average daily streaming data used is now around 200 TB. Since the average data cost is $10 per 2 GB, this could potentially save subscribers quite a bit of dough.

Lessons Learned

The accessibility of digital music to the modern music aficionado is expanding as quickly as the technology that supports it can keep up. With services such as Tumblr IRL, digital music is starting to win over fans and artists alike. And, companies like T-Mobile are signing on to work with the tsunami of sound available online to bring music to listeners without gouging them.

Music and technology have come a long way in the past 15 years, since Metallica rode the lightning into the courtroom against Napster. Fortunately, we’ve learned a few things since then because the pace of digital music availability is showing no sign of slowing down

Going Direct: The Future of LTE


Could we see a future free from unsightly cell phone towers? A number of companies are working hard on technology that will let smartphones communicate directly with other devices, provided they’re within a 500 meter range. These will use LTE radio frequencies to connect, bypassing cell phone towers to talk with other mobile devices, local businesses, and other devices within this range. This new wireless technology is called LTE Direct, and it could become a common feature in the near future.

Image Source: Pixabay

A Broader Range

With a range spanning up to 500 meters, LTE Direct is an exciting prospect because it can reach farther than either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Big-name companies including Facebook, Yahoo, and Qualcomm are currently experimenting with it, and we could see LTE Direct enabled devices later this year. So what would the benefits be of this type of technology, and will it become a widespread future of our LTE phones?

Multiple Benefits

One benefit of LTE Direct could be its ability to automatically connect with nearby businesses, landmarks, and people. This would be useful when you’re travelling and want to find a certain type of business, or if you’re looking for specific information on a local level. From the business standpoint, this would provide companies with new opportunities for targeting their customers.

Another benefit of this technology is its ability to connect with other devices without draining its power. IT would be able to discover phones and beacons in public transportation networks or businesses while using very little power, compared to alternative technologies such as Bluetooth. It would constantly be scanning your environment, looking for these connections. Beacons would be particularly useful for commuters and tourists, in need of special information about train delays or weather reports.

On a social level, the technology could also have a number of new and exciting uses. It’s easy to see why Facebook is interested in this technology when you think about how it could be used to broadcast information about local meet-ups and special events. A band could play a surprise gig, broadcasting details with little notice to fans in the area, for example. Community groups could LTE Direct to organize impromptu meetings.

From a technological standpoint, LTE Direct could help reduce network traffic as well. In major cities or during busy events, a high volume of people often try to connect to a single cell tower, which reduces network speeds and leads to glitches. LTE Direct would effectively eliminate this traffic, because the devices would simply communicate with one another to glean information rather than clogging the network.

The Bottom Line

LTE networks are already considered to be the future of connectivity. At the moment, there are two configurations, including FDD and TD LTE configuration with Nokia Networks and other 4G providers. It’s not a huge leap to think about how these could be combined with the LTE Direct technology that’s currently in development. These are just a few ways that LTE Direct could lead to a more immersive mobile experience, creating new apps that route data between devices and make it easier to receive user-targeted information when and where you want it.

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