The next-gen Zune Marketplace makes a sharp departure from its Windows Media Player roots, embracing a clean, minimalist design with engaging visual imagery. As it's notably different from the standard jukeboxes, it takes a little getting used to, but it will please your eye in the interim. Check out our slide show of the Zune Software and Marketplace for a detailed look at the interface and service.
The next-generation Zune Marketplace makes a sharp departure from its Windows Media Player roots, embracing a clean, minimalist design with engaging visual imagery. As it's notably different from the standard jukeboxes, it takes a little getting used to, but it will please your eye in the interim. Check out our slide show of the Zune Software and Marketplace for a detailed look at the interface and service.
Good news for fans of Creative--and big numbers--as the company has announced that it has shipped 25 million portable music players. In recent times Creative has given us such gems as the Zen Stone, which impressively challenged the iPod shuffle in both price and sound quality. The Zen Stone Plus, built on it by adding a tiny screen and various other perks.
Its most recent player, the Zen, impressed us with its awesome sound quality, SDHC support, a 16GB capacity option and superb video playback.
To put the announcement in perspective however, Apple, the portable music player market leader … Read more
Gene Simmons, who raised a generation to believe that "If it's too loud, you're too old" (and to whose Creatures of the Night album I used to jam on an air guitar in fourth grade), apparently thinks that if you're responsible for destroying the music industry, you're too young. As noted by Reuters, the long-tongued bassist is now on a rampage about them pesky kids:
The record industry is in such a mess. I called for what it was when college kids first started download music for free -- that they were crooks. I told every record label I spoke with that they just lit the fuse to their own bomb that was going to explode from under them and put them on the street.
There is nothing in me that wants to go in there and do new music. How are you going to deliver it? How are you going to get paid for it if people can just get it for free?...… Read more
Truth will prevail, even when it first has to minnow its way through the calcified brain of a music-industry chief. At least, this is the story coming out of the GSMA Mobile Asia Conference, as reported by MacUser. Edgar Bronfman, a senior Warner Brothers executive, admitted to institutional incompetence:We used to fool ourselves. We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."
As TechCrunch notes, it's actually pretty amazing to hear the music chief openly admitting that the music industry considers[ed] its customers hostile combatants on the other side of a war.
Sad. But what may be worse is that Bronfman can't seem to understand the word "choice," as revealed by a later comment:… Read more
While the battle to access your music and video files on the go continues both of the software front with services like Qloud, Orb and Simplify Media, there's also the hardware side of things with placeshifting technology from Sling Media, SanDisk and others. Ultimately people want a really simple way to enjoy their stuff elsewhere with a soft or Webware experience that's easy to use.
rVibe is an interesting piece of Windows software that opened up its doors to the public last month. It's half jukebox, half social music marketplace that's taken a new approach to music pricing and sharing by giving users a sizable array of songs that can be both streamed and downloaded using two different price points. While the music comes from a combination of sources, the actual transfer of the songs is handled via p2p in a similar fashion to Napster in the days or yore.
Streaming a song will cost you $.03 a pop, while downloading an entire copy (sans-DRM and at a audiophile-friendly 320 kbps) runs $.99. RVibe has a built-in recommendation service that lets you suggest a track you've purchased to one of your friends. If they end up buying it, you get $.05 back, which can either be spent on more music or donated to charity. It's also worth noting that every time you pay for a streamed song, it will reduce the price of purchasing the track by subtracting the price of a streaming session, all the way down to $.78 a track (or seven streamed plays). While there's a preview portion of the service called "auditions" I wouldn't mind seeing a super low cost streaming option in other popular online music stores to avoid purchasing songs with deceptively good preview clips.
Today they're launching "rVibe Anywhere" which is their personal streaming component. Assuming you've got a copy of rVibe running on the machine with your music library, you can get full access to all your tracks, along with the capability to share any purchased songs with others with an embeddable player widget. While the incredibly popular iTunes software from Apple can accomplish similar feats locally (and across the Web by fooling it with plug-ins), rVibe's solution is a little more extensible from the get go when it comes to making music sharing a social experience. Despite Apple launching their own set of Widgets earlier this year, clicking on a song still requires firing up iTunes, which everyone might not have.
I'll tell you one thing: Slacker sure does like to drag out its buzz. Now, you tell me: Did it work? Or are you over it already? Actually, we should give them a little leeway for making us wait so long, for a couple of reasons. First, they're starting something totally new with the whole Wi-Fi/Satellite radio-hopping thing and worked out all the kinks, which in a configuration like this, can be time-consuming business. Second, it takes some serious negotiation (hence, time) to get the type of audio permissions they need. Still, all the waiting makes me … Read more
Warner Music Group--a company that originally took Apple and its iTunes service to task for not allowing it to sell music at a premium--has changed its entire outlook on the music downloading business and has praised Apple for knowing what is best for everyone involved.
"You need to look no further than Apple's iPhone to see how fast brilliantly written software presented on a beautifully designed device with a spectacular user interface will throw all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms and brand loyalty right out the window. And let me remind you, the genesis of the iPhone is the iPod and iTunes--a music device and music service that consumers love," Warner Music Group's CEO Edgar Bronfman gushed, according to a blog post by Simon Aughton on MacUser.
Am I the only one that enjoyed a hearty laugh after reading this clown wax poetic on how wonderful Apple is? If you look closely at what he said, you can almost see him kneeling at Steve Jobs' altar begging for forgiveness. Now that is what I call comedy.
But why has Warner Music seen the light all of a sudden? After months of claiming that his company knew what was best for consumers, Bronfman finally found out the hard way that the music industry knows nothing about consumers.… Read more
As John Cage knew, music is everywhere. If you take a second to turn the radio (or MP3 player) off in your car, you might hear the vibrations of the tires against the road. And if you happen to be driving at 28mph on a particular road in Japan, you might notice that the designers of the road have placed grooves at different intervals so, as you drive, the sound changes, creating a song.
Now this is a marked improvement in design over the last MP3 bed we encountered, unfortunately from afar. Then again, that shouldn't be particularly surprising given that this model is from a company based in the aesthetically conscious Netherlands.
The "Music Power Bed" from Holland's Gravity Zero has a 150-watt sound system built into its attached headboard, but that's just the beginning. It also comes with "two sleep system motors, two massage systems with 12 massage programs, Talalay Latex mattress, matched pillows, and pneumatic hand control," according to Uber-Review.
But before you throw … Read more