Are people more obsessed with reducing clutter now than they were in times past? A mastering and recording engineer friend recently told me he was selling off all of his CDs and LPs, and from now on Spotify would be his only music source. I was taken aback by that remark; this man has spent his entire working life making the best-sounding music he could, but from now on he'll be streaming tunes. So I asked if he heard something new on Spotify he really liked, would he buy it? He just smiled and said, "Why?" So … Read more
I know, times being what they are for the music business, it seems like a crazy, even contrarian thing to do. But Rough Trade just opened a 15,000-square-foot record store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York. The store only sells new CDs and LPs, no used stuff, along with various music-related merch like books and magazines.
Rough Trade NYC is a big, wide-open, converted warehouse space -- it feels like it's been there for a long, long time. Rough Trade has a similar, but much smaller, shop in London, which opened in 2007, and it's doing fine. … Read more
Great-sounding albums are becoming increasingly rare, so when I find noteworthy efforts I'm happy to share the news. The goal is highlighting new stuff -- or at least newly recorded/remastered music, and this time I'm going to make separate digital and analog lists. This one covers digital standouts on CD and SACD; next weekend I'll cover LPs.
The list is based on music that I played at home, so I'm sure I've missed some great albums. Share your finds in the comments section.
Bluesman MacLeod … Read more
Forget about 3D TV -- this year's Consumer Electronics Show was all about 4K.
Sony got the ball rolling with the unveiling of new 55-inch and 65-inch 4K TVs, as well as the world's first 4K video distribution service, which offers native 4K movies from Sony Pictures and other 4K content creators. Additionally, the company also said it would be selling "4K mastered" Blu-ray discs this summer; they'll be standard 1080p resolution (not 4K), but supposedly look better than traditional Blu-rays.
The electronics giant unveiled a prototype 4K OLED TV at 56 inches, although little … Read more
As expected, Amazon has launched a service called AutoRip designed to store consumers' CD music tracks in the cloud.
The AutoRip service debuted this morning. When consumers buy an AutoRip-enabled CD, they automatically get the MP3 version for free, and those MP3 versions will be available for streaming or downloading from Amazon's Cloud Player. The MP3 tracks are available immediately, even before the buyer receives the CD.
I remember just before the CD was introduced 30 years ago thinking that digital audio would be a giant leap forward in fidelity, but as soon as I heard a few CDs I knew digital wouldn't do a thing to make music sound more realistic. The CD was vastly better than LPs and cassettes in terms of noise and distortion, but voices still didn't sound like they do in real life, and pianos didn't sound as big and powerful as they do in Carnegie Hall. That mystified me; those early digital recordings were compression-free, and I was … Read more
The Compact Disc format changed the way we listened to music in the 1980s. Sony's first player, the CDP-101, went on sale on October 1, 1982, in Japan, and six months later here in the U.S. At $1,000 it was pretty expensive, but supplies were limited, so every one sold for full price. Before the CD arrived, the mainstream music market was split between vinyl albums/singles and cassettes, and strangely enough, it wasn't just CD's sound that won over the masses, it was digital audio's no-wear durability and noise-free sound that drew raves. … Read more
Kick the iTunes habit and stop streaming, it's time to get physical with music you can touch!
Record Store Day is a celebration of the joys of buying music in the real world, and brick and mortar stores all over the country are participating in the event on Saturday, April 21.
The first Record Store Day was in 2007, and every year more and more stores get involved. The Record Store Day Web site has this quote from author Nick Hornby:"Yes, yes, I know. It's easier to download music, and probably cheaper. But what's playing … Read more
Amazon today added used CDs to its trade-in program, which means that those old copies of Boyz II Men's "Cooleyhighharmony" or that first CD by the Strokes are finally almost as good as cash.
Don't have enough funds to get Mom something for Mother's Day? Better dig up your old Four Non Blondes and Spin Doctors collection if you know what's good for you. (Younger readers, please substitute Pink and Panic at the Disco for the artists in the previous sentence.)… Read more
I have around 3,000 CDs, and I don't plan on getting rid of them anytime soon, but I'm seeing more and more CDs in the garbage, and it makes me sad.
I remember the same sort of mass purging of LPs, back in CDs' golden age. Back then people were buying CDs as fast as they could, and luckily for me I had my pick of their LP collections. Back then it was clear (to me) that LPs sounded better than CDs, especially those first- and second-generation digital monstrosities. So it's like deja vu now that … Read more