by Tyler Hayes

Tyler is a music and technology enthusiast, previous freelance writer for Fast Company and Paste.

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What Spotify’s Video Ads Mean For The Future Of Recorded Music

Spotify announced today that it would begin using video ads–in either 15 or 30-second increments. A 30-second video ad, for example, would net the listener 30 minutes of ad-free listening time.

At this point it seems that there are only two ways recorded music continues to survive. Either companies eventually subsidize it until all recorded music is free and paying for it isn’t an option, or streaming music services lower the price to the point of widespread mass adoption.

As Spotify further explores monetizing its 30 million free users–versus 10 million paying–with video ads, the subsidization option looks to be the most realistic. At a certain point artists trying to make a career in music likely won’t even accept direct payment from fans because few will be willing to pay what advertisers or corporate sponsors will pay.

Samsung spent nearly $14 billion on marketing in 2013, while

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Music Everywhere

Despite numerous streaming music services available at the touch of a button, music is still too fragmented.

Laying in bed last night, I desperately wanted a simple way to listen to Ryan Adams’s new self-titled album premiering on NPR First Listen on my Sonos Play:1. Every scenario I imagined required too much work for that time of night.

Having the possibility of streaming any audio content I want through a connected speaker is so close, but still so far. Off the top of my head I can think a few different things I’d love to be an service available through Sonos’s app.

  • NPR First Listen (Weekly streams of album not yet released)
  • NPR One (Personally tailored on-demand radio)
  • Whyd (Social network dedicated to music)
  • Thunderspace (iOS app with stereoscopic recorded thunderstorms)

AirPlay or Bluetooth aren’t really the answer. Those solutions are band-aids for when other better

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Is This How You Share A Song?

Looking for a way to share a song with someone? Someone who may not use the same social network or music service you do?

Check out Craaave.


It’s a direct messaging app with no user names or profiles, just simple song sharing from one person to another. Once some one sends a song, you can save it to your preferred service.

Finding a song to share is fast, but you can also have it listen and detect a song playing right then, just like Shazam.


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The Best Front Pocket Minimalist Wallet

Even after a year, the post on my favorite front pocket wallet remains one of the most viewed posts on Liisten.

The post deserves an update considering I’m no longer using the Flipside Strata, though I still think it’s a great option.

Like previously stated in the original post, the goal with a front pocket wallet is both minimalism and practicality. The ability for a wallet to be efficiently thin, shedding unnecessary bulk, makes a good front pocket choice.


My current choice is the Mojave Picker’s Wallet from Whipping Post. It serves all the basic requirements of being slim while holding enough cards, but its benefits are in the finer details and aesthetics.

The most important aspect of the Picker’s wallet is its exposed ID slot. It’s extremely handy to not have to take out your ID or open your wallet to produce the card every time you pay for something. The slot securely holds

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The Secret Little Problem With Amazon’s Fire TV

I got a little nervous that something was wrong when I go a notice from my Internet service provider, Cox Cable, saying that I had hit my monthly download cap.

If you don’t know, most Internet services allow a monthly limit of data that you can download each month. Even if it’s not advertised, most services usually have a data cap in there somewhere. With the particular speed of service I’m signed up for I get 250GB/month. That data allotment has always been enough in the past, even streaming all TV, movies, music and having 10+ connected devices in the house.

When I received the email from Cox Cable, the first thing I assumed was a rogue WiFi guest doing something they shouldn’t be doing. So I immediately changed my router’s administrator password and wireless password and turned off guest access.

I checked my wife’s Windows 8 computer which tracks data usage – nothing there. I

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Possibly The Best Wireless Headphones You Can Buy Today

If you’re like me then it’s essential to have a solid pair of headphones. Some that are of a certain level of fidelity and aren’t unnecessarily bulky or expensive. For a lot of people, myself included, spending ~$100 on headphones is a lot of money so I’d also like whichever headphones I choose to be a wise investment, even years later.

I happened upon Outdoor Technology and its wireless audio products through other reporting, but found something I wasn’t expecting, the exact type of headphones I’d been looking for – high quality, portable, and wireless.


The Tuis are some of the Outdoor Technology’s newest headphones and are top of the line for the company. Coming in at $150 the Tuis aren’t expensive compared to ones from Beats or another dedicated headphone manufacturer, but they aren’t exactly cheap either. What they are, however, are some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve

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Your USB Cable Is Now A Carabiner Clip

Nomad, the company fitting usb cables into the shape of keys and credit cards is now adding the capability to a carabiner.

From Nomad’s site:

NomadClip is a smartphone cable that is the size and shape of a carabiner. It works like your normal cable for charging and syncing your phone - plug one end into a USB port and the other end into your mobile device.


You can pre-order the clip now. Use the code LIVESIMPLE for 25% off your order this week.

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Intelligent Speaker, Cone, Available Soon

Instead of having to decide what music to listen to when you get home from a long day at work, Aether’s new Cone speaker wants to do that for you.


I wrote about the speaker when it was first announced and how it would be able to know what you wanted to listen to as you moved it around the house. As well as what music or podcasts to play at different times of the day.

Today, Aether announced that the wireless intelligent speaker would be available to purchase on June 23rd – for Rdio premium subscribers. Rdio is the first service to fully support the speaker with on-demand playback so it makes sense you’d need to be a subscriber to order.

The Cone will also be partnering with Nuance – presumably for the speech recognition – and Stitcher radio – presumably for podcast support.

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HTC One (M8) Goes Gold With Harman Kardon Edition

If having the best sounding phone on the market wasn’t enough already, Harman Kardon took the HTC One (M8) and made it sound even better. Sold as a Sprint exclusive, the stunning black and gold appearance won’t likely sway customers away from their current carrier, but for existing Sprint customers it’s an obvious choice.

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HTC’s newest flagship device, the One (M8), is among the best phones currently available today. It’s sleek, well spec’d, and has dual front facing speakers that make it sound just as good as any small device available. The H/K edition tweaks some of the music features further, putting it well above other phones currently available today.

Part of the H/K One (M8) might be the headphones it comes with, the AE-S. With any headphones, however, they’re still most likely hit or miss for most people with fairly generic rubber in-ear tips. The standard HTC One (M8) comes

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Why ‘Fire Ahead’ Is The Album Lakes Needed To Make

The new album from Lakes, ‘Fire Ahead’, unfolds like a bitter-sweet ode to California.

In the midst of joy, love, brokenness, and pain, there’s also this unintentional backdrop of the golden state found throughout the record.


“This album plays out like a story,” says lead singer Seth Roberts. “It’s very personal, but hopefully that comes across clearly to the listener.”

The story Roberts is referring to is a some what dark one, saying that he lost track of how important and beautiful time can be even when things aren’t going well, that it’s these moments that get built upon and will eventually add up later.

“I went through a pretty rough marriage and ultimately a messy divorce,” Roberts says. “It really spun me into a dark time trying to make sense of a lot of things in my life. Spending years investing your dreams, goals, time, energy, into something is kind of like building a

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