In 2011, we collectively listened to 64,876,491,602 songs on the Internet. Whether it was on YouTube, SoundCloud, Rdio or MySpace, the citizens of the Web listened to quite a lot of music last year. Bands and musicians made over 3 billion new fans, who viewed artist profiles over 16 billion times. These are just a few data points recently released by Next Big Sound, a startup that tracks the popularity of music and individual artists across a range of digital music providers and social services.
Digital music only continues to grow and mature, as streaming services explode, Internet radio companies go public and developers begin using the power of open APIs to mash up sounds and services. SoundCloud alone saw 231% growth last year, while Twitter saw a 104% increase in music-related activity.
The top artists on the Web are mostly unsurprising. You knew that people can’t get enough Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, for better or worse. Rihanna. Katy Perry. Adele. No shockers there.
What’s interesting, though, is how the Web is paving the way for unsigned, independent artists to reach levels of popularity that rival major label acts. This is especially true on SoundCloud, where unsigned artists flock to upload their recordings. But even across the larger Web, three unsigned artists broke into Next Big Sound’s “Social 50” list, which chronicles, the 50 biggest artists across all of the social and music sites that they track.
These numbers, while impressive, should be taken with a grain of salt. Next Big Sound has gone to great lengths to pull data from sources like YouTube, Rdio, Last.fm, Pandora, SoundCloud and several others. One service missing from their list is Spotify, which just launched in the U.S. this past summer and has seen enormous growth since then. Still, it looks like they’re using a pretty hefty sample of online music data to draw their conclusions. You can take a closer look at their methodology. if you’re curious.
Our appreciation for bald, vaguely Eastern European, totally insane slingshot purveyor Joerg Sprave is long-established and unbounded. And he apparently loves his fans right back, if this extremely dangerous, reasonably-sized death-by-wood-and-rubber contraption is any indication.
The only problem with previous Joerg creations (read: machete crossbow) is that they were a bit unwieldy, hard to carry down the street or to a family reunion without garnering a lot of awkward stares. Not so the ultra compact Bullpup Slingshot Crossbow, a condensed version of Joerg’s apocalyptic vision. Full instructions on how to build your own are coming soon, but for now, enjoy the retro-mayhem.
http://www.ted.com Plenty of robots can fly — but none can fly like a real bird. That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at Festo built SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, that flies by flapping its wings. A soaring demo fresh from TEDGlobal 2011.
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate.
Say hello to your new online friend, wdyl.com. An eagle-eyed TechCrunch tipster spotted this freshly launched Google portal, whose purpose it seems to be to gather up all of the company’s multifarious web services under one umbrella. A Google search for Google products, in other words. Punching in a topic brings up its popularity in Google Trends, lets you set up Google Alerts, plan related events in Google Calendar, email someone in Gmail, or hit up Picasa, YouTube or Google News with the same query. You get the picture. It hasn’t yet been made official and hitting up the site without the “www.” prefix throws up a bad URL error at the moment, but it’s there and seemingly fully functional. Give it a try and let us know which search terms bring up the most humorous results.