There's a war going on among music critics of a certain age. A few months ago, San Francisco Chronicle critic Joel Selvin mourned the loss of concern for sound quality in the MP3 era. Since then, writers for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times have thrown down the gauntlet for the other side, arguing not only that MP3s and other forms of compressed digital music are sufficient, but that audiophiles are delusional--especially older audiophiles, whose hearing has probably decayed to the point where they couldn't even hear all the things that MP3s take out. Slate columnist … Read more
Are you ready for the holidays? We realize that for some people that's a heavy-duty question. Of course, many find Christmastime to be the jolly, feel-good season of sharing and caring so many of us read about in storybooks and maybe even experienced during childhood. (And to those who do, we raise a toast.) For others, however, the mere mention of words like "Santa," "sleigh," "snow," and "drummer boy" just might cause a stroke.… Read more
Two interesting pieces of news highlight the trouble online stores will face as the price of legal song downloads approaches the price of illegal downloads (which is zero).
On Monday, Amazon.com announced an extremely generous revenue-sharing program for affiliate sites to resell MP3s from the Amazon MP3 store. Amazon will give them 20 percent of the revenue from all sales until January 1, 2008, after which it will drop to 10 percent. Since Amazon sells some downloads for as low as 89 cents, this means it'll have only 71 cents left to pay to the copyright owners. I … Read more
Power Downloader's life is not always spent catching criminals and traveling the world. Every once in awhile, Power has to do tedious tasks like processing documents, adding content to a database, and organizing files. When repetitive work needs to get done on his computer, Power likes to listen to his favorite music to pass the time.
There are several good music applications to choose from, but some are stronger at certain things than others, and Power knows that not everyone uses the same program. Most people's music applications change over time and according to specific needs (like iTunes for managing music on an iPod for example), but one classic program has always been high on Power Downloader's list of favorite music applications: Winamp.… Read more
I've often said no matter how good a piece of software is, there's someone out there who can make it better. Sometimes a third-party add-on can be so simple that I can't figure out why the developer didn't think of it in the original program. Then, of course, I wonder why I didn't think of it myself. As the great inventor Thomas Edison once said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Well, here's to an idea for which I should have donned the proverbial overalls.… Read more
Owl Music Search is a cool tool that was spotlighted at a Creative Commons Salon last night. The potentially endangered Pandora and Last.fm recommend which music you'll like by matching text descriptions of albums, artists and songs. But Owl analyzes the actual waveforms of music files and matches them to similar tunes, many of which have Creative Commons licenses.
When I uploaded Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," Owl dug up 44 tracks by Loretta Lynn, Outkast, the Rolling Stones, Marilyn Manson and others, highlighting snippets of their songs that resembled parts of "Hallelujah." Owl has … Read more
The Russian government has agreed to shut down Web site AllofMP3, which offers downloadable MP3 songs for a significant discount--20 cents per song or less--compared with stores such as Apple's iTunes.
The site was controversial because it paid royalties to a Russian organization that was not recognized by the record industry. In 2005, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) filed suit in Russian court to shut the site down, but its request was denied by Russian prosecutors. Now, apparently under pressure from U.S. trade representatives, who are pressing for stricter copyright enforcement before agreeing to admit … Read more
A few months ago, JimmyR-dot-com (aka Jimmy Ruska) posted a YouTube video that showed users how to conduct a Google search for free, unprotected music files. Essentially, by modifying search terms with a few extra key words, a user can limit results to underlying directory pages rather than user-facing Web pages. The video proved quite popular, garnering more than 300,000 views.
Recently, he went one step further and created a Web page that modifies the search for you--all you have to do is enter the song title, and you'll receive a Google search page with links to directories … Read more
The crew at Download Music is always on the prowl for great new music--we do the heavy lifting so you don't have to--and as usual we've dug up some cool and groovy stuff to get you through the weekend and beyond. For starters, we've got a brand new track from R&B hero Jill Scott; a couple of laid-back French-pop-styled songs from Dean & Britta, former members of Galaxie 500 and Luna; and the first pop album from hot electronic DJ and techno artist Matthew Dear.
You can catch quick reviews and song samples from each … Read more
What are the cool kids spinning? Not that we at Download.com Music are all that "cool." OK, well, maybe we are a little. Whatever you want to call us, you can't deny the music in our latest Download.com crew video report--produced by our good friends at CNET TV--is rather tasty. Bjork chimes in wth a brand-new track, along with former Pulp maestro Jarvis Cocker, rising hip-hop star Phat Kat, and the crazy dance rhythms of Bonde Do Role.