If you're curious about the new portable device made to work with the Slacker Personal Radio service, check out our slide show of the Slacker Portable Player, where I've posted a handful of up-close and personal shots as well as some more info about the player. And if this particular device doesn't float your boat (it is awfully large for a flash player, after all), you'll be pleased to note that Slacker is talking to other device manufacturers about making both its free and premium services available to non-Slacker portables. How freakin' sweet is that?
When I first found out I would be coming to SXSW this year, I was a little worried I'd be wandering around solo, looking more than slightly sad and losery. Namely, because I wasn't certain any of the tech reps I work with would have any reason to be here. As it turns out, my fears were for naught, as several digital-music entities that I work with are out in force in Austin, including Zune, Lala, and Rhapsody. (Yay! Friends!) Today, Rhapsody is hosting a six-hour day party replete with live acts, and the good news is that … Read more
You know, I consider myself to be a pretty nice person. I try not to dis anyone...well, except maybe the iPod (of course, that's a thing and not a person). But seriously. Who could make a SXSW panel with the title The Ultimate Music Recommendation Smackdown boring? I'll tell you who: representatives from Pandora, Last.fm, iLike, and MusicIP. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure these guys are perfectly nice--even cool--people, but sheesh. Actually, I should really blame the person who wrote the description for the panel. Allow me to paste that description here: "… Read more
Why should skull music be enjoyed only under water? We don't think so either.
Just as aquatic products send soundwaves directly through the cranium for swimmers, Thanko Japan's "Vonia" headband gives runners a similar experience while on terra firma. (It's supposedly waterproof too but doesn't look like it was meant for swimming, especially with a Shuffle tucked in the side.)
The "bone conduction" device works like its seagoing counterparts, tickling the auditory nerves with melodious vibrations. That, according to Newlaunches, means you can blast your tunes without blowing out your eardrums and … Read more
Could a teenage girl undo what Microsoft hoped would be the Zune's iPod-killing feature?
Microsoft has long hoped that its MP3 player's wireless music-sharing abilities would help it gain precious ground on Apple's market leader, though that notion has hardly yielded any magic bullets. And now Kristyn Heath, a 16-year-old from the San Francisco Bay Area, has reportedly come up with the concept behind a device called "SnoopTunes" that lets iPods beam their music as well.
Moreover, unlike the Zune, "this one doesn't limit you to three days or three plays," according … Read more
Well, the music offerings at South by Southwest are heating up, and we'll keep you posted on the good ones. I mentioned BurnLounge in a Hoooka, which is a start-up that lets you sell music through a MySpace widget. BurnLounge, which has been around for a while longer, has a similar model: create your own music store, choose the music in it (WMA format), add your own reviews and recommendations, and (optimally) profit. But until this point, it had been just that--standalone personalized music stores, lacking additional functionality that most people think of when they think of new Web … Read more
Ah, the digital age. It's brought us so much, and without it, I'd be jobless. So for obvious reasons, I'm very appreciative of the existence of digital music. One of its perhaps lesser-known benefits is that with it, any Tom, Dick, or Harry with a sense of rhythm can be a musician. And that's not a bad thing, although certain traditional musicians may beg to differ. Personally, I think anything that adds variety to the creative landscape is positive, although there are certainly exceptions (William Hung? Seriously?) Anyway, if tinkering with audio and making your own … Read more
What do you get when you take the ex-CEOs of Musicmatch, Rio, and iRiver America and lock them in a room with a stack of data about the digital-music landscape? How about a revolutionary new music service and a portable device to go along with it?
Enter Slacker, a company chock full of digital music experts (mostly transplants from Musicmatch and Rio), and its two babies: Slacker.com (an online music service) and the Slacker portable device. That's quite a few Slackers, and it's also the point. As it turns out, about 70 percent of music enthusiasts don't want to spend hours creating the perfect playlists, which means most of you are slackers just like me. (Ha!) To break it down even further, 51 percent of MP3 player users update their content only once a month or less, and 46 percent don't update more often because they don't have time. Several services have aimed to address this issue, such as MTV Urge with its Auto-Mix feature and Rhapsody with Channels. … Read more
Toshio Iwai, the designer of beloved Nintendo DS music game Electroplankton, has been showing a prototype of his jaw-dropping Tenori-On instrument since 2005. Last week, Yamaha announced plans to turn this Star Trek-worthy digital sound toy into an actual shipping product, retailing with an estimated price tag of around $1,000. For most consumers, that is an insane price for a beautiful sound toy, but electronic musicians and artists are falling all over themselves for this thing. The Tenori-On is a touch screen grid of white LEDs that allows you to compose music by activating little squares that trigger built-in … Read more
Virb is a new social network launched yesterday by the same people who created indie-band publicity site PureVolume. Virb has been in private beta since late last year and is now open for anyone to join. Similar to most new social networks these days, Virb has a clean and slick look, quite contrary to social networking juggernaut MySpace. Virb is gunning to be the do-it-all network. Where MySpace focuses on music, Virb does that, but tacks on group sections for photography, fashion, sports, and writing too. The problem is that both the site and the content aren't there yet.
Similar to Trig, which I wrote about in January, Virb promises to provide everything to everyone without fulfilling a way to do it. It's the "if you build it, they will come" mentality that's not necessarily a bad thing to have with a social network, just disparaging when you click on a link with no content on the other end. As it stands, clicking on many of Virb's group areas takes you to a placeholder page. The two sections that are up as of me writing this are music and videos. Both of these sections work well and have some really great content--music in particular, which has themed band pages with downloadable tracks that look more like something on the iTunes Store than a social network. The team definitely pulled some design cues from Purevolume, but that's a good thing.… Read more