Very Local Music

4 May, 2005

After I told him about my idea for bloggable public space, my housemate/bandmate, Cary, thought of an interesting extension to it. In addition to creating a community bulletin board-style blog, the venues could use their wifi hotspots to distribute music. Just as the Austin Wireless City Project did during the recent SXSW interactive media conference, these businesses could set up Rendezvous networks and use them to allow customers on their wifi networks to listen to a particular set of songs they made available.

So, you'd sit down in Pix, open your laptop, fire up iTunes, and you'd see a shared-playlist with songs from Laserhawk, Strength, Amy Subach, and, of course, At Dusk (all bands with members who work at Pix). There might also be some promotional songs of the upcoming PDXPOP Now compilaiton.

At SXSW, they took things a step further. AWCP actually set up a central server that each of the businesses could access which would then in turn make the songs available to their customers. Ever since BMI started threatening to sue Pix over our practice of playing music in the shop, we've (mostly) converted over to playing only local music for which we have explicit permission from the artists. Sarah, my boss, has talked about setting up a network of local restaurants and cafes that have received similar threats from BMI that would share a common library of permissioned-music. Using this Rendezvous system, we could make that metaphorical network into a literal, or at least digital, one.

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