Dear Google:

Welcome to Ann Arbor. It’s so nice to have you. Now that you’ve settled in a bit, maybe we can talk about your future, my future – our future together. You see, I have a couple of ideas you might be interested in and you have a couple million things I may be interested in. We’d make the perfect team. But let’s just get to the point. We’re both busy and important and we don’t need to waste time on pleasantries.

Googlediscjockey. How freaking cool does that sound? I’ll tell you: not as cool as it actually could be. Internet radio is the future of radio, and while it’s already in process, it could be done so much better. Imagine a simplified version of Serato Scratch: two (digital) turntables and a large library of streamable music, courtesy of record labels smart enough to get in on the free promotion. Users could DJ live or they could program a set list and then go out and listen to the stream on their Google phones. Googlediscjockey could be the downfall of terrestrial radio and the renaissance of freeform wrapped together. I can see all sorts of tie-ins with iTunes and dollar signs. It’s time to put the power of influence back into the hands of the people, which brings me to my next proposal.

Googlecritic. Everyone knows a wannabe music critic who loves to berate you with his opinions. Googlecritic could be an outlet along the lines of Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, but with the flexibility of Wikipedia and the database of All Music Guide. Users could post reviews and ratings alongside all those “professional” critics. Instead of allowing the indie kingmakers over at Pitchfork to have all the power, labels could post new albums for listeners to stream and review prior to their release dates – something anyone with any amount of savvy and loose morals already does with leaked mp3s – and all of a sudden the ever-elusive Internet “buzz” can be quantified. The only potential downside is that underwhelming or over-hyped albums will be exposed for what they are. But is that such a bad thing? Forcing labels to release quality music is win-win for everyone, and the old models of promotion aren’t keeping up with the times.

Googlecharts. One of the best examples of the above-mentioned antiquated businesses is Billboard. In what world do those charts match up with reality? That’s why Googlecharts needs to reconnect with the typical, alienated music consumer. Google has the power to track more than just Nielson SoundScan sales and iTunes downloads – it can more accurately gauge overall downloads, blog mentions, radio spins (including Googlediscjockey, of course) and physical sales. Googlecharts has the potential to be a useful tool for everyone from record execs to your average Joe. Sort of like .

Googlemusicblog. I had a great time this summer contributing to thefader.com and its excellent blog, but I think Google could one-up them by getting a hold of exclusive content – free downloads, video debuts and live performances – and being more stylistically comprehensive. It would require a staple of young, hip and talented writers, but I don’t think that’d be We could even just hire all the writers of the best music blogs already out there. and Googlemusicblog could be a one-stop site for the best in commentary and content. It could even be customized to the individual reader, as a sort of companion to my next proposal.

Googlemusicnewsfeed. The name is unwieldy, I know, but I’m flexible on that. The idea, though, is golden. Where can you go on the Internet for news about your favorite artists? There isn’t one place where you wouldn’t have to wade through a bunch of other crap you didn’t care about to get to Bruce Springsteen and Sufjan Stevens tour dates. That’s why a personalized news feed, available at google.com or in an e-mail digest, would be such a valuable service.

I’ve got a ton more of these, so maybe we could get together sometime and talk about them. There’s a great coffee place on Maynard I think you’d really enjoy, and let’s face it: we need each other.

Sincerely,
Lloyd

– Cargo thinks of this as a public service, not self-promotion. Wake him up at lhcargo@umich.edu.

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