Yesterday, U.K. music download provider Omnifone announced a forthcoming program, MusicStation Max, that will offer cell phone buyers unlimited free music downloads. Of course, "free" is never free, and in this case, Omnifone is enlisting handset makers to subsidize the estimated cost of the downloads and pass that cost along to you in the form of a higher up-front price for the phone. So far, LG Electronics is the first cell phone maker to sign up for participation in the program. No confirmation yet on carrier partners, but the service builds on Omnifone's existing MusicStation subscription-based … Read more
Today, we rant about how J.R.R Tolkien's estate took home a whopping $62,000 from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. $62,000--that's like your dad's salary for a movie trilogy that grossed over $8 billion worldwide. Plus, we talk Fight Club reborn on Broadway, and Thriller's 25th anniversary netting some awful bonus tracks.
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While many were expecting Kanye West or Amy Winehouse to win, the Academy surprised us all last night by awarding the Grammy to Herbie Hancock for his Joni Mitchell tribute album (featuring Norah Jones, Tina Turner and more) . This was the first jazz album to win best album since Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto won for "The Girl From Ipanema" in 1964. Go jazz!
If you've got a song stuck in your head, this is the place to get it out (or make it worse through repeated plays). Go to Songerize, select a song name, artist, and hit play. That's it. No confusing interface, no sign-in screen, no extraneous information, no ads.
It doesn't find everything--in my quick tests, it had about a 50% success ratio, and completely failed on PiL and Jane's Addiction. But it found just about every pop and classic rock radio title I could think of.(Thanks to Listening Post for the tip.)
U.S. law often comes down hard on price fixing. That's why a magazine story in October about efforts to create a music subscription site potentially backed by the top four music labels may have sounded alarms in Washington.
Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment have received requests for information from the U.S. Department of Justice about a proposed music site called Total Music. The DOJ interest comes after an October BusinessWeek story that said Doug Morris, Universal's CEO, pitched an idea for a subscription site to at least two of his three main competitors, … Read more
Over on the Audiophiliac blog, Steve Guttenberg is polling readers about how they get their music. Here are my answers to his questions.
Do you buy CDs, LPs, MP3s, iTunes, or 8 track cartridges? I purchase about 80% of my music on LP. For a few years in the early 1990s it was almost impossible to find new vinyl, but now it's reasonably common, especially for indie rock, electronic music, and hip hop. (Classical? Not so much. Jazz? Only re-releases.) In fact, vinyl availability sometimes convinces me to buy a record I otherwise might have skipped--Of Montreal'sGladiator Nightstick Collection … Read more
UPDATE: 5:02 P.M. Federal regulators have begun asking questions about a plan supported by at least two major record companies to launch a jointly operated music-subscription site.
The U.S. Department of Justice has requested information from Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group about Total Music, an iTunes competitor that plans to offer music from all the majors for a $5-per-month subscription fee, according to a report in the newsletter Music Alley.
Two sources close to both record companies confirmed that that the labels had received letters from the DOJ in an interview with CNET News.… Read more
Between the Super Bowl, Super Tuesday, and the Grammy Awards, I think it's safe to say we're a competitive nation. We take pride in our favorite teams, politicians, and musicians, and we like to see how they match up against the rest. Contests that involve judges and not referees (like award shows), however, can get controversial. For example, we all accept that the Giants are the champions, but if Kanye West doesn't win a Grammy--watch out! We may never hear the end of it.
Whether you agree with academy or not, the Grammy awards are entertaining and … Read more
Baidu, China's leading search engine, gets 7 percent of its traffic on a service that eases access to free music downloads. Google, determined to catch up after two years in what is now the second largest Internet user base on earth, may follow suit.
The Wall Street Journal describes Google's possible plans thusly: "Vivendi SA's Universal Music and about 100 other foreign and domestic record labels have been working with Top100.cn, a Beijing-based Web site that currently sells licensed music downloads for 1 yuan (about 14 cents) each, and Google. Together, Top100.cn and Google … Read more
The Slacker Portable Player is not your average MP3 player. Rather than just providing the space for you to transfer your digital music (and sometimes video) collection, this device offers an integrated music-listening experience courtesy of the Slacker Web Player. Although the service itself is provided for free, the Portable Player is not a cheap device in the scheme of things, running well above the average price for most music players (the 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB models run $199.99, $249.99, and $299.99, respectively). But this player offers something the others don't: freedom from being tethered to … Read more