A friend of mine on Facebook, Celeste, recently introduced me to the music service, BlueBeat.com. Having enjoyed it immensely, I wanted to share it with my readers, and offer you a little gift (see below).
BlueBeat.com is a subsidiary of Music Rights Technologies Inc., a company that creates products to distribute on-line media securely. It offers several ways to enjoy and share its comprehensive (and growing) catalog of music for free. Firstly, I should mention that the media players they provide, sound great. The default player uses Flash, and plays at 160kb/s. An upgraded player, which plays at 320kb/s, is available if you register with the site (which is free). I had a few technical problems when I used the upgraded player, probably due to lack of bandwidth, but I am perfectly happy with the quality of the default player.
What you are allowed to hear depends on where you are listening from, and whether you are registered with the service. For example, if you are in the USA and you are registered, you can actually listen to entire albums if you wish. In addition, you can listen to what BlueBeat refers to "Live Collections," which fall into one of three categories, "Artist," "Time Machine" and "Killer Playlist." Artist is somewhat obvious and represents all available tracks from an artist. A Time Machine is a collection of music from a particular time-period or genre. There are Time Machines for Synthpop and "The British Invasion" for example. A Killer Playlist is a handpicked "cream of the crop" collection based on a genre or theme.
One feature that makes BlueBeat very exciting for me is that it allows registered users to create what it calls "crates." A crate is a user-defined playlist that allows one to become a DJ. It may contain any combination of songs, albums and Live Collections. One neat thing about live collections is that they can expand when new music becomes available to BlueBeat users. The one restriction to a crate is that it must consist of at least, around 3 hours (40 tracks) of diverse material. This must meet the guidelines of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which means that it cannot deliver more than three songs from the same album within a 3-hour period to a particular listener, and cannot deliver more than four songs from the same artist within a 3-hour period to a particular listener. As long as you have a "diverse" crate, the player software takes care of the rest. Once you have created a crate, it can be listened to by anyone.
So now, I can get to the reason I wanted to write about BlueBeat in this blog. For the listening pleasure of my readers, I created a crate called Best of British. It is an evolving collection of what I consider the best of British music over the years. It contains mainly Rock, Pop and Folk and includes the British Invasion and Brit-Pop "time machines." So you might hear music by Billy Bragg, The Beatles, Fairport Convention, Erasure, Saint Etienne, Blur and Ultravox, among others.
I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know by dropping me a comment. I would also like you to think about what you might include in such a collection. If I get enough suggestions, I will create a brand new crate to include them.