Google Music for Artists

Last week, Google announced a few things. One being that Google Music was now available without and invite. The second being Google Music for Artists, which is what I’ll be writing about in this post.

I’ve been wondering for some time whether Google would be opening some way for artists and labels to distribute music through the Android Market. There have been rumors for some time and as a user of Google Music Beta, I’ve enjoyed other music-based offerings provided by the company. When I initially saw that Google had now opened up an artist portal, I was intrigued but didn’t actually check it out right away simply because I wasn’t sure I wanted to dedicate the time in setting up yet another outlet for my studio recording project, “An Early Morning Letter, Displaced“.

Google Music artist search...

Once I did get around to checking out their service though, I was met with a number of pleasant surprises. The first being that Google already was aware of my project and had even prepared a sort of stub artist page for it. When an artist or label enters the artist hub to add an artist, they will first be provided with a search mechanism as seen above.

Uh... awesome! :D

The biggest surprise came when I actually claimed the page and set up a payment plan through Google Checkout. As seen in the screenshot above, Google actually waived the $25 setup fee! It says that they are doing this since they already had a page set up for me- so mileage on this one may vary. I can image though, a lot of artists are much more well known than my little project so if you are interested… go claim your page right away as they most likely will not be offering this waiver forever. Who knows. Kudos to Google either way.

Setup of the actual artist page is very straightforward. You supply an image, bio, links… standard fare. Setting up albums is a really nice experience though. You must create a new album, which is populated with a title, price, release data, type of release, and high quality album artwork. You’ll next need access to your CD-ready files from mastering, so hopefully you have those handy :) They obviously take some time to upload, after which you can then provide track meta-data along with individual prices. You can also allow certain tracks to provide limited free listens, if desired. Once finished, you hit publish and it generally took, in my case, a few hours for Google to approve the album.

Android Market: An Early Morning Letter, Displaced

At this point, you can have a full artist page and albums for sale on Android Market. Pretty cool, no?

One side note: this is not yet available in all countries… so many non-US artists will feel miffed, initially. I do hope Google is able to expand these services beyond the United States very soon!

ActionScript 3 Google Analytics API

Over on the Google Analytics weblog, they’ve posted about a new (official) AS3 library for GA! Apparently, the library is pretty robust, featuring; Metrics, Dimensions, Filters, Sequenced Pagination, and Data Views.

ActionScript 3 library for Google Analytics

I’ve dealt with Google Analytics and Flash in the past using the Google Analytics Tracking For Adobe Flash ActionScript 3 API which, from my experience, is still very useful. I even did a session on it at the FITC Unconference during Adobe MAX 2009.

Grab the code or check out a quickstart.

The Tide is Turning in Favor of Flash

Apple is increasingly finding itself alone in the war for choice on the web, the pocket, and the home as companies and other groups rally behind the Flash Platform.

The latest news is that Opera’s Jon von Tetzchner has come out in favor of Flash claiming “It is the only proprietary part of the Web we support”. A pretty big deal coming from Opera! Along with this news is that Nokia is also banking on Flash.

This all comes just one day after news broke that several large media companies, including Time Warner and NBC Universal, told Apple they won’t retool their video libraries for iDevices.

Last week, online video giant Hulu spoke out in support of Flash while explaining features of their (very slick) new video player:

Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user.

This follows the end-to-end support of Flash and AIR by Google during their Google I/O conference where Flash was showcased in the browser, on devices, and also as a major part of Google TV and the WebM initiative. Tech writers who have had access to Android 2.2 (FroYo), Flash Player 10.1 and AIR for Android have had surprisingly (to some) positive reviews.

While these recent developments are new and encouraging for Flash developers, do not forget that for over a year now, a number of high profile companies have thrown full support behind the Flash Platform through the Open Screen Project. As an aside: the Open Source Media Framework version 1.0 was just released today!

Looks like a lot of big players disagree with Steve Jobs and his “Thoughts on Flash”. Also looks as if the United States government is increasingly unhappy about Apple’s shady business practices… remember, if the United States is this concerned, chances are the European Union will tear Apple to pieces over these issues.

Good luck, Steve (not really).

UPDATE: To clarify; I’m talking public and corporate opinion here, not whether Flash as a platform is out of the woods. Adobe still must innovate on the platform and continue to refine the runtimes to succeed long term. I have no doubt that they will on all counts.

Google I/O Day 2: Android 2.2, Flash, and AIR!!!

So much cool stuff out of Google I/O today! New version of Android, Flash Player and AIR news, Google TV… really overshadows yesterday’s keynote in all ways. Another small list of takeaways and links:

  • Android 2.2 “Froyo” – Honestly, Google wiped the floor with Apple’s used up corpse with this release.
  • Flash Player 10.1 for Android – Beta now for Android 2.2 “With Flash on your phone, no website is really out of bounds.  Flash does not appear to be a battery hog, nor does it chew away at your phone’s resources.”Wired
  • AIR for Android – You can read all about it and sign up for the prerelease.
  • Google TV – Google TV includes Flash Player 10.1 integrated directly into the Google Chrome browser delivering the full Web to consumers on their television sets

Now we just have to wait for carriers to ready and distribute OTA Android 2.2 updates… Hopefully it won’t take as long as 2.1 took to get to my Droid.

Google I/O Day 1: Expense Reports!

So what’s the coolest thing shown at Google I/O today? Expense report apps? Ha… no… Though there was a lot of other stuff to love. Here’s a list of items I found compelling: