Saturday, August 14, 2004

and now.. a little fun

ahh the joys of internet radio. I use LAUNCHcast with my yahoo messenger. I've had it for about a week now and i've already hit the Fanatic level. Its a great way to listen to a lot of songs you would never think of listening to... ever. Its a really basic premise. You start out by ranking out a lot of "essential" artists of various genres (either on a 1-100 scale or with stars) and then you have the option of writing in four other artists to listen to. Then through a process... not unlike how they make cheese whiz... LAUNCHcast goes through its massive library and picks out what songs it thinks you might like to hear, based on which artists, albums and songs, but not neccesarily the ones you rated the highest. The biggest problem with this system is that its main goal is to sell you CD's. With this in mind, it figures that the songs and albums that you've rated the highest must be songs you already own and ergo, it will be rare that you actually hear those favorite songs of yours. Instead, about 75% of the music will be based on an guess of what LAUNCHcast thinks you might like to hear and eventually shell out $12 to buy on CD. Another problem this causes with LAUNCHcast is that if by some chance you remember that one-hit wonder from the 80's and then rate that song at 100%, chances are you will almost never hear that song, but rather every other crappy song by the same artist.

Now this might not be a problem for the typical music fan, but I have very picky tastes. I will NEVER buy a CD unless the music has truly impressed me. For example, I'm still trying to decide whether or not its worth it to buy the Orgy CD with Blue Monday on it and I was VERY impressed with the video when it first came out. See? VERY picky. But I digress, LAUNCHcast goes on its own little tangent quest to sell me music I haven't heard before and on a rare few times its actually done a good job. I never would have found out about DJ Micro or Paul Oakenfold without them but even still, 95% of the time, LAUNCHcast is DEAD WRONG with its guesses as to what I want to hear. This can get very annoying very quickly. For example, I like Jump Around by House of Pain and no other song by them. Instead of hearing Jump Around though, I get every other song by House of Pain which I have to either skip (which you can only do 5 times in an hour unless you pay LAUNCHcast for more) or rate a zero in order to keep them from ever playing it again with the futile hopes that they might learn and not send me any other songs by them other than the one I WANT to hear.

One thing I do like about LAUNCHcast is they do have some nice videos which you can play as often as you like. Unfortunately, they don't have some of my favorites like Tom Petty's Don't Come Around Here No More or Genesis' Land of Confusion. Two essential 80's videos if you ask me. I love videos that play out little movies that actually have something to do with what the song is about. Meat Loaf's I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Wont Do That) is another good one.

They do have the Gump video by Weird Al Yankovic. I highly recommend this one. Watching Ruth Buzzi beating Forrest Gump with her purse was just priceless. Too funny. One more bit of Gump trivia... when Weird Al was playing Gump on a New Year's Eve party live on television, they showed the members of The Presidents of the United States of America singing along with the parody of their song, Lump. Now that's class. Prince could learn a thing or two from them.


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