Music Diary

After 9 Months of ‘Variable Pricing’ … Music Sales Are Down

Image Courtesy of HardwareZone I think we all recognized the REAL intent last year when Apple finally caved to the music industry to allow for a new price structure in exchange for getting the same DRM-free music they were already giving everyone else: it was to make more money from every type of consumer. Anyone who didn’t get the message that day saw the truth soon enough – like my kids who instantly saw that a $15 iTunes Gift Card was worth about 4 songs less than before. Well, it turns out that folks are none too happy – and…


Mass Effect 2: Video Game Soundtrack Review

I recently reviewed the full soundtrack for Dragon Age: Origins, and a large part of my criticism was that it wasn’t a great value – it released well after the game was out, and suddenly made folks who paid for a ‘deluxe’ version aware that the ‘Soundtrack’ they got was really a sampler. Now the Mass Effect 2 Soundtrack has arrived, how does this one measure up, both musically and as an overall value?


Pat Metheny – Orchestrion (Jazz CD, 2010) Review

A few weeks ago I posted a video of Pat Metheny announcing his Orchestrion project. The video – and all of the machinery – were quite cool, but what really matters is the final product. Well, Orchestrion was released on January 26th, and I’ve had the chance to give it several listenings and separate the coolness of the technical accomplishment from the actual musical results.


Dragon Age Origins: Video Game Soundtrack Review

Back when I wrote about the various packages available for Dragon Age: Origins, one thing I didn’t worry about was the soundtrack. Why? Because on the graphic that accompanied the article it said ‘Digital Soundtrack’. So I assumed it meant we got the whole soundtrack – since most games with samplers are pretty clear and up-front about the whole ‘selections from the soundtrack’ thing (most recent example is Dissidia Final Fantasy). Also, buyers of either the ‘deluxe digital’ or ‘collector’s edition’ got a selection of songs from the soundtrack, effectively half of the 35 songs, although there are some songs…


Common Grounds

I was walking down the hall in my office the other day and found two coworkers engrossed in a discussion about their iPhones. They were comparing apps and enthusiastically discussing Dragon Dictation, Google Maps, and a barcode scanner app. What was really shocking is that while one of them is a big techy, the other one was definitely not. But they both were excitedly talking about their smartphones and comparing the iPhone to the Droid, etc. Afterward, I made an offhand comment that smartphones have become the new “water cooler” topic. My techier coworker responded, “Well, yea. We all DVR…


Vijay Iyer – Historicity (Jazz CD, 2009) Review

Because of – or perhaps in spite of – the fact that my musical tastes fall well outside of the mainstream, I have always been suspicious of something that has become the ‘latest critical darling’, even when it is from an artist I love. In recent years I remember buying ‘River: The Joni Letters’ on release because of the artist making the recording (Herbie Hancock), his guests (Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Roy Hargrove and vocalists Norah Jones, Tina Turner), and of course the subject of the tribute (Joni Mitchell). I played it a few times, since nothing really ‘stuck’ the…


How much is that MP3 Download Worth? How about $80,000?!?

I am a staunch anti-piracy fighter: I engage in forum discussions about it on a regular basis, and also being a hardcore PC gamer I see the direct impact of piracy on that hobby. I see how it has impacted where developers target their games, how many top-level PC games are released, and the increasingly draconian DRM schemes used to try to thwart piracy … most of which simply punish honest customers. I constantly rail against piracy and try to stop folks from doing it when I can. That said, I have absolutely no love for the RIAA , the…