Cell Break

Chances are high that banning phones from shows will become the norm.

SF Weekly

feature3If you’ve been to a concert in the last few years, surely you’ve seen them: dozens upon dozens of cellphones hovering above the audience — and, most likely, blocking your view. But it’s not just the view-blocking that is annoying about cellphone use at shows, nor is it only audience members who have beef with their rampant use. More and more artists and bands are fed up with cellphones at shows, and are arguing they not only distract the crowd and ruin the overall vibe, but lead to piracy and leaks, especially if they choose to unveil new material.

“[Without phones], there exists a somewhat mythical rave ideal, a crowd singularly in tune with the music,” says San Francisco producer and DJ Lane 8, who, along with musicians like Alicia Keys and the Lumineers, has started banning phones. “If half of the crowd is on their phones at a show, it is literally impossible to create that atmosphere.”

Lane 8’s means of nixing the devices includes putting tape over the camera lens and enlisting extra security to make sure no one peels it off. Others, like Prince and the bands She & Him, the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, and the Savages, have opted for more passive solutions, such as posting signs outside the venue or relying on security to do the heavy lifting by shining lights in phone users’ faces or removing people from the venue.

And then there’s Yondr, a startup that makes self-locking pouches that can’t be opened unless they’re demagnetized. The beauty behind this invention — which has been used by everyone from Keys to Dave Chappelle — is that it allows concertgoers to hold their phones, without opting for more drastic measures like locking them up.

But even this contrivance has its cons. (Click here to read more)

Can Yungcloud Replace SoundCloud As The Next Major Music Streaming Site?

SF Weeklyfeature6-2yungcloud3-9f1ee721059140ef

It happened overnight.

On May 6, Jude Mc and Marcellus “MFK” Marcy, roommates in Los Angeles, were hanging out in their Koreatown apartment and ruminating on the current state of music streaming platform SoundCloud and the changes the site’s Berlin-based founders might make next.

Since 2014, SoundCloud has rolled out a number of additions, revamps, and policy changes to what was once the Wild West of music streaming and sharing. When the site launched in 2007, it was a place where half-finished demos, bootlegs, and copyright-infringed remixes could be uploaded and shared freely. Now that copyright infringements are staunchly patrolled, songs — and sometimes entire playlists — are regularly nixed from the site.

In the beginning, SoundCloud was free. Today, it offers paid subscription plans ranging from $38 per year to more than $100, and caps non-subscription users’ uploadable content. A continuous play feature that slips in “featured” songs has been added (unlike YouTube’s autoplay feature, it cannot be turned off), and the site has been rebranded to appeal more to listeners rather than the artists and producers who upload content in the first place.

(Click here to read more)

App Genius Develops Pixable for Android in Freakishly Short Time

juan-carlosDesigning apps is a bit like pleasing two siblings: either you create the iPhone version first and risk pissing off Android users, or vice versa.

Fortunately for Pixable, that is no longer the case. The previously iPhone-only company announced at noon today that their photo-sorting app will be available in Android form, too.

Inaki Berenguer, co-founder of the four-year-old social media company, said that creating an Android app was always on his agenda, but that the company had just never gotten around to it. “The reality is that it was in the road map but we didn’t feel any urgency to build it right now,” Mr. Berenguer told Betabeat. (Click here to read more)

TechStars NYC: Where Are They Now?

We feel a little guilty. We’ve been fickle and easily distracted. Last year, the first two TechStars NYC classes were all we could talk about. But when their programs ended, we kind of forgot about them and directed our attention to the newest TechStars NYC class. Shame on us!

But back in the day, those first 23 companies were all the rage. Like shiny new toys, they were exciting and fascinating. There was even a reality television show about them. So even though their three-month, highly-competitive startup accelerator program has ended, these companies are still around. They didn’t just vanish into thin air. (Well, some of them did).

But all of this begs the question, where are these companies now? How have they fared in the big, bad world? Did they flop? Or surpass expectations?

(Click here to read more)

Vimeo Awards Show Proves That Imperfection Is Interesting

grand-prize-winner-photo-2012Perfection is overrated. It’s boring and predictable and uninspiring. But imperfection? Now that’s fun.

Take for instance last night’s 2012 Vimeo Awards show. Within the first few minutes, the audio crapped out. Awkward silence ensued.  The light projections turned on and off sporadically.  Jokes were occasionally lost. Awkward laughter ensued.  The audio crapped out again.  Some award presenters missed their cues.  Others read verbatim off the teleprompters.

Imperfection might be, um, imperfect, but it is also endearing and refreshing. And, given that this was only Vimeo’s second semi-annual award show, we’ll cut them some slack. After all, it wasn’t the show that people were there for, it was the films. And not just any films: user-generated online films. (Click here to read more)