CURRENTLY available as an invite-only beta launch for iPhone users, Oyster has the potential to change the way we read, much as Netflix has done for video and Spotify and Rdio are doing for music. Offering instant unlimited access to over 100,000 titles at US$9.95, Oyster hopes to latch on to the growing trend to read and consume information digitally.
Like other on-demand services, Oyster is banking on the fact users want quick, easy, affordable ways to interact with content on whichever device they may be using, no matter where they might be during their reading experience. Oyster is the first real attempt at using a subscription model for e-books. Like Spotify and Netflix, the service isn't just trying to offer easy access to content, but hoping to build on the experience of reading by helping users share and discover content. Along with social sharing via Twitter and Facebook, Oyster has its own social layer where readers can follow the reading activity of other users they are connected to. Interestingly, they are concentrating on the mobile phone market first, rather than the tablet market, which may seem like a curious choice, considering most users are more comfortable reading on a larger device, especially those over the age of 25.
Oyster's rationale is that more people carry around phones than tablets. They have focused on creating an engaging experience for reading on your phone, something that isn't easy to do. Whether Oyster survives in the long run will depend on how they adapt for tablets, operating systems other than Apple (Android is taking up a bigger and bigger market share every month) and how users feel about having access to digital content like e-books, but not owning them.
Red Bull Thre3Style
RED Bull's annual Thre3Style DJ battle is ramping up across the country. From over 200 hours of mix submissions, 64 DJs were selected to compete at regional elimination events. Each DJ must spin at least three genres of music during their 15 minutes in the spotlight and are fighting for a chance to compete in the Canadian finals in Calgary on Oct. 6. The Manitoba regional qualifier is Sept. 18 at Union Sound Hall and will feature DJs Co-op, Charley Hustle, Disspare, Hipnotic, Hollywood Hype, Jamil the DJ, Modus and Sw@t. The night will also feature showcase sets from past champs Hedspin and Four Color Zack. Tickets are $10 at the door and ticketweb.ca.
Video of the Week: Bleached -- Thinking of You
LOS Angeles-based Bleached may be channelling punk-influenced rock SSRqn' roll, but that doesn't mean the band is stuck in the past. The Clavin sisters (Jessica and Jennifer, formerly of Mika Miko) will perform Sept. 13 at Union Sound Hall in support of their debut release, Ride Your Heart. Tickets are $16 at northerntickets.com, Into The Music and Music Trader.
Stream of the Week: Vampire Weekend -- The Kids Don't Stand a Chance (Chromeo Remix)
With a new album on the horizon called White Women (the long-awaited follow-up to 2010's Business Casual), the Montreal masterminds behind Chromeo (Dave 1 and P-Thugg) are back with their unique brand of discofied electro-funk. The duo have spent the last couple years playing gigs and turning out dancefloor-ready remixes like The Kids Don't Stand a Chance by Vampire Weekend. Catch the duo's DJ set as part of U of M's Frosh party on Sept. 13 at the University of Manitoba Stadium.