Silicon Valley, yet again, fails to be less weird than reality. Actual quote from the show:

“So then it hits me – we could take this thing called The Radio and put it on this new thing called The Internet. And no one was doing it – no one.”

In the show, to give this context, though, the character is talking about 20 years ago. Apple has actually claimed that running a radio station on the Internet “24/7” – that’s one radio station, broadcasting from the US and UK – is something groundbreaking.

To compare: BBC Radio 1, broadcasting from London. In English. 24/7. To anywhere on the Internet. Apps, computers, Web. DJs include Zane Lowe.

“Beats 1” radio, broadcasting from London… and New York, and LA. In English. 24/7. To 100 countries. To specific Apple software. DJs include …Zane Lowe.

Heck, even the name is barely different. It seems Apple will have just one channel. BBC has of course multiple stations; even BBC 1 has an extra station.

Oh, well, Apple gave us another chance to chuckle at Silicon Valley, so advantage: Apple. Also, right now, as I write this, Radio 1 is actually playing a great song. (I just fired it up to double-check the stream was still there on the Internet; I usually choose from one of the thousands upon thousands of other stations available online.)

Thank you, Nenad Popov.

  • Polite Society

    As someone who works in the IT industry, Silicon Valley resonates with me very strongly. Probably my favorite comedy airing at the moment.

  • Polite Society

    As someone who works in the IT industry, Silicon Valley resonates with me very strongly. Probably my favorite comedy airing at the moment.

  • foljs

    Besides the obvious advantages, one of the bad things about the explosion of micro-releases, the death of the “music industry” etc is that there’s no shared musical experience anymore that can reach hundrends of millions of people.

    When an act was big in 1965 it blew the whole western world (Beatles at the Ed Salivan show). Similarly in 1975 and 1985, etc. It was not only fans of the act that got to hear them.

    The charts were much more adventurous back then, and being on the chart also meant that you were part of a wide discussion.

    That has been relegated to novelty hits like Gangham Style and crap pop artists like Cyrus, Bieber and whatever the new BS name is.

    Music is about expression, but it’s also about bonding. And expression is not just about individual expression (which taken too far is just solipsistic self-reinforcement). It’s also about communal expression, being confronted by different worldviews and styles, even competing to yours, etc. To put it in different words: finding your very own microniche that you and 100 other people listen to is OK, but connecting to a curated voice and sharing listening habbits with millions is good too.

    Now, it’s a very very long shot, but a 24/7 radio station without “playlists” but with actual passionate DJs might help build a common shared experience. Sure, BBC does that too, but BBC is not pre-installed in 1 billion devices, and is seen as a British thing.

    Imagine if it catches on and people around the world can listen to someone like the John Peel of 2015, a DJ with personality, instead of crappy playlist-ladden commercial radio?
    It’s not like DJing died anyway, it’s just that now they went from radio to EDM crowds, or to making popular Spotify playlists.

    • So your complaint is that we don’t have the Beatles now?

      I think you may be romanticizing those charts. We just have a different musical landscape today. And looking at the charts now, the musical content is not dissimilar from 1985, 1995. This is the basic industry model; the question is what lies outside it.

      • chaircrusher

        I was born in 1957, so I lived through what foljs is romanticizing. The difference between 1965 and 2015 on the radio is that we went from wall to wall crap with a few gems thrown in to wall to wall crap full stop.

        It’s really interesting go through Billboard Top 100s for the past 50 years and listen to the songs you don’t know because they’re still ubiquitous. For every “Penny Lane” there’s a 100 “Yummy Yummy Yummy” For every Supremes there are 100 Archies.

        • Yeah, but – who listens to big corporate-owned radio?

          Though, to that, I can add a new radio station owned by The Biggest Corporation yet…

          • chaircrusher

            The reason that terrestrial radio (hows that for a retronym?) sucks so bad is because of corporate consolidation. Before changes allowing corporate ownership, there was wide variations between what different radio stations played. When was the last time you heard of a ‘regional hit?’

      • Indeed the landscape is different, but I think perhaps what foljs is hoping is that a centralized radio will turn that around. How many sources were there for hearing music 50 years ago? A handful of radio stations that everyone in the area tuned to, a few TV programs, and the record store. You could say, “hey did you year such and such on the radio” and immediately connect with people. Now that sources are nearly infinite and every bit of music is accessible, in my daily life I basically never come in contact with people who have similar musical taste as me. So that personal gap is harder to bridge… Imagine if you could say, hey did you here such and such on Apple radio and have that same connection…

        But, I seriously doubt that will happen. And as you said the landscape is different…but the same. Because that scenario is still happening. Look at the music foljs mentioned… Everyone knows Gangham Style, I remember when that spread like wildfire and everyone was talking about it. Whether it’s with music we like or not is another story. After all what did most parents in the 60s think when they saw their kids watching The Beatles?

        The wildcard is the quality of Apple radio. They were stressing this, that it was going to be different genres, different levels of popularity, etc. But there’s only one way to find out if they pull that off successfully. As you mentioned, we already have what Apple is bringing to the table, so will Apple radio reach a quality and ubiquity to really connect more people with more music? I doubt it, but I hope it does.

  • foljs

    Besides the obvious advantages, one of the bad things about the explosion of micro-releases, the death of the “music industry” etc is that there’s no shared musical experience anymore that can reach hundrends of millions of people.

    When an act was big in 1965 it blew the whole western world (Beatles at the Ed Salivan show). Similarly in 1975 and 1985, etc. It was not only fans of the act that got to hear them.

    The charts were much more adventurous back then, and being on the chart also meant that you were part of a wide discussion.

    That has been relegated to novelty hits like Gangham Style and crap pop artists like Cyrus, Bieber and whatever the new BS name is.

    Music is about expression, but it’s also about bonding. And expression is not just about individual expression (which taken too far is just solipsistic self-reinforcement). It’s also about communal expression, being confronted by different worldviews and styles, even competing to yours, etc. To put it in different words: finding your very own microniche that you and 100 other people listen to is OK, but connecting to a curated voice and sharing listening habbits with millions is good too.

    Now, it’s a very very long shot, but a 24/7 radio station without “playlists” but with actual passionate DJs might help build a common shared experience. Sure, BBC does that too, but BBC is not pre-installed in 1 billion devices, and is seen as a British thing.

    Imagine if it catches on and people around the world can listen to someone like the John Peel of 2015, a DJ with personality, instead of crappy playlist-ladden commercial radio?
    It’s not like DJing died anyway, it’s just that now they went from radio to EDM crowds, or to making popular Spotify playlists.

    • So your complaint is that we don’t have the Beatles now?

      I think you may be romanticizing those charts. We just have a different musical landscape today. And looking at the charts now, the musical content is not dissimilar from 1985, 1995. This is the basic industry model; the question is what lies outside it.

      • chaircrusher

        I was born in 1957, so I lived through what foljs is romanticizing. The difference between 1965 and 2015 on the radio is that we went from wall to wall crap with a few gems thrown in to wall to wall crap full stop.

        It’s really interesting go through Billboard Top 100s for the past 50 years and listen to the songs you don’t know because they’re still ubiquitous. For every “Penny Lane” there’s a 100 “Yummy Yummy Yummy” For every Supremes there are 100 Archies.

        • Yeah, but – who listens to big corporate-owned radio?

          Though, to that, I can add a new radio station owned by The Biggest Corporation yet…

          • chaircrusher

            The reason that terrestrial radio (hows that for a retronym?) sucks so bad is because of corporate consolidation. Before changes allowing corporate ownership, there was wide variations between what different radio stations played. When was the last time you heard of a ‘regional hit?’

      • Indeed the landscape is different, but I think perhaps what foljs is hoping is that a centralized radio will turn that around. How many sources were there for hearing music 50 years ago? A handful of radio stations that everyone in the area tuned to, a few TV programs, and the record store. You could say, “hey did you year such and such on the radio” and immediately connect with people. Now that sources are nearly infinite and every bit of music is accessible, in my daily life I basically never come in contact with people who have similar musical taste as me. So that personal gap is harder to bridge… Imagine if you could say, hey did you here such and such on Apple radio and have that same connection…

        But, I seriously doubt that will happen. And as you said the landscape is different…but the same. Because that scenario is still happening. Look at the music foljs mentioned… Everyone knows Gangham Style, I remember when that spread like wildfire and everyone was talking about it. Whether it’s with music we like or not is another story. After all what did most parents in the 60s think when they saw their kids watching The Beatles?

        The wildcard is the quality of Apple radio. They were stressing this, that it was going to be different genres, different levels of popularity, etc. But there’s only one way to find out if they pull that off successfully. As you mentioned, we already have what Apple is bringing to the table, so will Apple radio reach a quality and ubiquity to really connect more people with more music? I doubt it, but I hope it does.

  • chaircrusher

    The history of Apple: 50% “Why didn’t I think of that?” and 50% “That’s the stupidest fucking idea I’ve ever heard.”

    So every Apple Day the questions should be “Is this IPhone? Or is this Newton?”, and “Is this IPod? Or is this Apple III?”

    So they’re getting into streaming. Wonderful. After Rhapsody, Spotify and a half dozen other services. They paid 3 BILLION for what was essentially a “me too” app from Beats. Oh and some overpriced headphones. Oh and they’re charging for DJs for curating playlists. As though Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Satellite Radio and TERRESTRIAL RADIO didn’t do that first?

    I’m beginning to think that once Jobs died, they haven’t had another great idea. That’s not an original thought, but Apple right now is on some pretty weak shit.

    Maybe I’ll be wrong on this one, but the best reaction anyone can have at this point is ‘huh?’

    • I’m fairly certain the beginnings of all these ideas were – unlike Apple Watch – during Jobs’ tenure.

      Anyway, the *least* original idea, arguably – the MacBook Pro running OS X – is the one item of theirs I really can’t live without.

      • chaircrusher

        Apple III and Newton were, I believe when Jobs was off running NExT.
        And the great idea with the Macbooks was OS X when they said “hey let’s run a full version of Unix but make it so it’s zero administration for most users.”

        OS X is the perfect example of how Linux fails. Even with fancy packaged distros, like Ubuntu, if you want to do anything besides web browsing, you have to be Unix- and Command-Line-savvy. And it’s still really painful to set up a functioning audio production system. I was there when System V came out, and I’ve given up in disgust setting up audio on Linux many times.

  • chaircrusher

    The history of Apple: 50% “Why didn’t I think of that?” and 50% “That’s the stupidest fucking idea I’ve ever heard.”

    So every Apple Day the questions should be “Is this IPhone? Or is this Newton?”, and “Is this IPod? Or is this Apple III?”

    So they’re getting into streaming. Wonderful. After Rhapsody, Spotify and a half dozen other services. They paid 3 BILLION for what was essentially a “me too” app from Beats. Oh and some overpriced headphones. Oh and they’re charging for DJs for curating playlists. As though Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Satellite Radio and TERRESTRIAL RADIO didn’t do that first?

    I’m beginning to think that once Jobs died, they haven’t had another great idea. That’s not an original thought, but Apple right now is on some pretty weak shit.

    Maybe I’ll be wrong on this one, but the best reaction anyone can have at this point is ‘huh?’

    • I’m fairly certain the beginnings of all these ideas were – unlike Apple Watch – during Jobs’ tenure.

      Anyway, the *least* original idea, arguably – the MacBook Pro running OS X – is the one item of theirs I really can’t live without.

      • chaircrusher

        Apple III and Newton were, I believe when Jobs was off running NExT.
        And the great idea with the Macbooks was OS X when they said “hey let’s run a full version of Unix but make it so it’s zero administration for most users.”

        OS X is the perfect example of how Linux fails. Even with fancy packaged distros, like Ubuntu, if you want to do anything besides web browsing, you have to be Unix- and Command-Line-savvy. And it’s still really painful to set up a functioning audio production system. I was there when System V came out, and I’ve given up in disgust setting up audio on Linux many times.

  • Marsha Vdovin

    I love this show so much!

  • Marsha Vdovin

    I love this show so much!