Saturday, October 10, 2009

California Guitar Trio – Wolf Trap Barns, Virginia

Just returned from a fantastic concert by the California Guitar Trio at the intimate Barns at Wolf Trap. The last time I saw CGT was when they opened for King Crimson at the Warner Theater in 1995. They’ve been together for 18 years.

I find that at times CGT sounds like a giant harpsichord. They have truly honed their sound and interplay to a rarified level over the years. They featured songs from many of their album including Echoes from the same named recent album. Paul mentioned that they have recently been recording a new album and they played a new song that he described as a Japanese/Spanish mix featuring Bert Lams on nylon string guitar. I believe the song was called Hazardous Sea.

Another highlight was a moving version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps that CGT has prepared for an upcoming tour with the Montreal Guitar Trio.

One wonderful surprise was the option to purchase a CD recording of the show immediately after the concert. I’d say at least 100 or so people took advantage of this. They used a cd burning station that burned 9 CDs at a time. I’ve heard of this capability, but this was the first time I had attended a concert with this option. This should be mandatory at all concerts.

The CGT were gracious enough to come out and mingle and sign CDs while they were being burned. I chatted briefly with Paul and asked a bit about the Roland V-Guitar synths they were using. Apparently, they have MIDI interfaces built into their acoustic Breedlove guitars. I’ve played a Breedlove and have considered purchasing one. I also asked Paul if he was familiar with the French band Philharmonie? He respond that they indeed were and that Bert Lams (from Belgium) knew them. Apparently, Philharmonie also attended the Crafty Guitarist seminars held by Robert Fripp. CGT at times resembles the music of Philharmonie.

The house sound of the Barns was spot on and a perfect environment for what was the third appearance by CGT in this venue

Thursday, June 11, 2009

First Blog From Palm Pre

My new Palm Pre arrived sooner than expected. A little hitch in activation but now all is well. Nice to have a new toy.
-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Greg Maffei confirms free Sirius XM radio in the future

Okay, I’m browsing and see this link to an interview on CNBC with Greg Maffei (formerly CFO of Microsoft, now with Liberty Media). He says in this interview that “a certain amount of satellite radio free for all not necessarily premium.” Well, blow me down, someone is thinking outside the box! I would take this as confirmation that a free version of Sirius XM radio is in the works. IMHO, they cannot do this soon enough.

Cadillac CTS adds WiFi - Sirius XM weeps

Well, hot on the heals of my post on Sirius XM comes the announcement that Cadillac is now offering a $499 dealer installed option for in car WiFi for the CTS model. Since I own a 2008 CTS, this is a very interesting story. Apparently, it will cost $29 per month for 800Kbps service. This will make it very simple to access internet radio from an iPhone, iPod Touch, or other WiFi connected device and listen to any internet radio stream. Undoubtedly, this is a harbinger of the future and will probably become standard on all cars in the distant future.

Further proof that Sirius XM needs to change their business model now. I think they should go with commercials immediately and turn on the 60% of their radios that are currently dark in cars. Of course, they never will. They’re doomed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

55.8% of Sirius XM Radios Dark!

While reading this article in the Wall Street Journal today, I was struck by the fact that after the free trial for their pre-installed Sirius XM radio expired only 44.2% actually continued to subscribe.

As someone who recently elected to cancel my XM radio subscription, I was amazed but not surprised by this figure. I had long been skeptical of the value proposition of this service. When I did purchase a new car last year with XM, I did give it a listen and found little to hold my interest. As a lark, I did subscribe for a full year to give it a bit more time. I did find one channel, Fine Tuning, that piqued my interest. Unfortunately, when the great merger of XM and Sirius finally was culminated things changed for the worse. XM Radio customers clearly got the short end of the stick. My main area of music interests centers around Progressive, Jazz, Modern Classical, Celtic, Folk, and a host of other categories. With the elimination of Fine Tuning and Beyond Jazz as well, the value of XM really went off a cliff for me. Thus, I decided not to renew this month when my subscription expired.

Given Sirius XM's well documented revenue/debt problems, I am surprised at how unimaginative their business model is. There is still no iPhone app, despite there being dozens of internet radio apps already available for the iPhone. Their own internet radio stream has been a poor step child and poorly marketed. And now they are raising the price to compete better with all the free streams available (irony intended)!

Back to the 55.8% dark issue. I would suggest that Sirius XM implement a free commercial sponsored service of say 5 to 10 channels that featured a cross section of the full service and allow all currently dark radios to listen for free (albeit with commercial interruptions). It seems ludicrous to be so stubborn to have nearly 60% of your potential user base deaf to your service. With this service, I would suspect they would attract large advertisers and could generate a sizeable revenue stream. In effect, they could claim a 100% listener base rather than the almost 60% absent listeners they now have. I would think setting up such a service would add little expense to their existing operation. I have not seen such an idea suggested before and would strongly urge Sirius XM to consider it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Domain renewal

Today, I renewed my domain and hosting for this blog. My blogging has been dormant for many months now but one day I may return to it? Even still, I consider my small little plot in cyberspace an essential requirement for life in the 21st century.