I haven't heard any of these bands--I tend to avoid bands that appear to have put too much time into their names, thinking that they're trying to cover up bad music--but Psychedelic Horse**** intrigues me, especially since I've seen so many bands whose music fits that description perfectly. (Note: I have no idea what CNET's policy on swear words is, but I don't want to create extra … Read more
I can't wait to get rid of my Verizon Wireless service, which has deteriorated horribly in the last two months (nice timing, guys!), and my contract expires a convenient four days before the iPhone 3G goes on sale.
But exciting as it might have been for iPhone holdouts like me, today's keynotes at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference didn't have much music-related news. Steve Jobs did promise that the audio on the new iPhones would sound better than … Read more
Update: Qbox seems to have fixed the problem, and songs from MySpace now play fine within the Qplayer. See my updated post here.
With the Web allowing any artist to present music to the masses, listeners are less likely to distinguish between the local band they saw down the street and major label acts they heard on the radio. Of course listeners know the difference, but they don't care--they want to be able to flip between all the music they're interested in without hunting each song down on a particular Web site. Unfortunately, local artists with limited resources … Read more
Having spent some time in recording studios, I was aware that automatic pitch-correction software exists and is used by nearly every singer to smooth out the occasional off note. (Neko Case claims she doesn't use it, but she's the rare exception.) But I don't sing, so haven't spent a lot of time with it myself.
So I was fascinated to hear New Yorker music editor Sasha Frere-Jones, who wrote about pitch-correction this week, give an audio demonstration of Antares' AutoTune software in the magazine's Out Loud podcast. He sings a version of Kelly Clarkson's … Read more
Here's an interesting post on how to save the Zune over at digital lifestyle blog Last 100. The blogger is Michael Pinto, creative director of Very Memorable Design, a design company that specializes in youth marketing.
To summarize: Microsoft needs a super-cheap Zune--maybe $25--to compete against the $50 iPod Shuffle, and should create limited-edition Zunes associated with fashionable brands, artists, comic books, and sports heroes. He also suggests preloaded content, including selling cheap Zunes loaded with concert recordings immediately after the show ends, as some artists are already doing with flash drives.
Let me start with the positives. Napster claims the store has 6 million tracks, which is 50% larger than any other MP3 store out there. They do have a single download of "The Promise" by When in Rome, an obscure 1980s single my wife loves but that iTunes will only let you buy as part of the full Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack. I'm sorry, Apple, but I won't pay more than $0.… Read more
Amazon released a new MP3 Clips Widget today that lets you build playlists with 30-second samples from any of the 5 million+ songs on Amazon's MP3 store, then embed those playlists in any Web page. The process is brain-dead simple: first you run a search of song titles or album titles against Amazon's database, then select from the results. Second, choose the size of the widget. Third, select from a list of 15 popular blogging and personal home page sites (Blogger, Yahoo 360, and so on), or paste the code directly into your page, as I've done … Read more
If you've followed the RIAA's antipiracy efforts, perhaps you've wondered how they find suspected pirates. Yesterday, the The Chronicle for Higher Education published an article in which an RIAA spokesperson--anonymous for fear of hate mail--outlined the organization's surprisingly low-tech methods.
The RIAA hires an organization called MediaSentry, which has developed an automated program that scans LimeWire for song titles that match titles of copyrighted material in an RIAA database, collects the IP addresses of the computers where these songs have been made available, then reports this information back to the RIAA. The article doesn't reveal … Read more
I've had a chance to play around with Zune 2.5, the latest software update to Microsoft's iPod-competitor, and I'm happy to report that all of the basic fixes Microsoft promised, such as the ability to edit song information and sort songs by genre, are there and work as promised. They also fixed a number of other niggling problems--for example, you can now update album art by copying a file (say, an album cover you find on the Web) and pasting it immediately into the Zune software in the appropriate spot; previously, you had to save the … Read more
Microsoft is releasing a major update to its Zune software and online service, and it couldn't have come soon enough.
Most of the headlines will probably focus on Microsoft adding downloadable shows, such as "South Park" and "The Office," to the Zune Marketplace for $1.99--sorry, that's 160 Microsoft Points. (No, they're still not adopting conventional currency. Argh.)
And in my discussions with the Zune team, they seem to be most excited about the new social features. For instance, your friends' Zune cards will now appear on your Zune device, where you'll … Read more