#1 & #2 in music

This iPhone App Store screenshot is one we are proud of given it has our two portfolio companies (Pandora & SoundHound) in the top two positions in the free music category. They are also both in the top 50 of all apps and there are over 200,000 in the store according to 148apps.biz.

I was recently asked how they differ. Pandora is Internet radio. It's amazing at taking the haystack of music and throwing the needle (song) out that is appropriate and joyful to your listening experience. It's a lean forward experience with rich information about songs that are playing but somewhat passive in nature in that it brings the music to you versus actively having to hunt for it.

SoundHound is the inverse. It's mobile music search, possessing the ability to reach into the haystack to tell you what the needle (song) is. Use it any time you want to conduct a music search for songs, bands, or lyrics. Then indulge in detailed, browsable results including listening and watching. In addition to text search, it enables use of the mic as a search input: voice (say it), singing and listening to the music. You can even launch a Pandora station from a search result.

Tim Westergren gets timeless recognition from Time

Congratulations to Tim and Pandora on the well deserved recognition

Time Magazine's 2010 Time 100
Thinkers: Tim Westergren, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Pandora

By Kurt Andersen

If Pandora, the service that allows users to create their own Internet radio stations, is the little music search engine that could, then founder Tim Westergren, 44, is its quixotic engineer. A former rock and jazz musician, Westergren had a big idea in 1999: the Music Genome Project, a typology for categorizing any piece of music according to nearly 2,000 traits identified by Pandora's experts. As a user, you start with, say, a Brian Eno song, then receive a stream of "genetically" related music — Four Tet, Harold Budd and other artists you'll probably like.

For years, Pandora chronically verged on failure. But thanks to the iPhone, 15 million of which carry a Pandora app, it has finally made it over the top — and Westergren and his hybrid of human discernment and digital power are successful as well as cool.

Andersen is a novelist and host of public radio's Studio 360

See the full Time 100 and read more including a great photo of Tim here

iPad: the Consumption v. Production realization

I realize that the most important reason I love my iPad is that I fundamentally spend way more time consuming content than actually creating it. Sure, I write some emails and these blog posts (using my desktop now... though I could be using the snazzy yet heavy keyboard peripheral (shown above); however, most of the time, I more passively consume rather than actively creating stuff like email, web, models, presentations, docs, board packs etc. And then there's all the entertainment stuff that is pure consumption by definition: movies, TV, books, music, and the wonderful world of apps. With an iPad, all that entertainment is just plain stellar. The iPad sits on the tray table in a plane more easily and comfortably than I would hold a book. It's a better video display than the one built in on the seat backs of Virgin America or JetBlue. It's more enjoyable to sit on a couch or chair with an iPad than a computer. Do I miss the tactile keyboard? Sure, and that's why I have the peripheral as a type of dock; however, the typing is tolerable and brevity is always appreciated. Heck, Twitter only gives you 140 characters. So is an iPad a laptop replacement? Depends on how much you need to produce versus consume. The real question is how much more easily and pleasurably do you want to consume and be entertained? The apps add another dimension to the utility and fun factor of the iPad. That's just something that a desktop can't compete with. My biggest beef is the lack of flash support for web surfing, but the upside of the device working so well without it is worth the trade off. Hopefully websites will adapt appropriately over time. What is your experience?