Spotify

Frank Zappa Now on iTunes, and Coming Soon to Streaming Services!

I have had an affinity for the music of Frank Zappa for as long as I can remember. The combination of humor, advanced compositional techniques, extreme musicianship, apathy towards genre boundaries and more has always caught my ear. I own about 30 CDs of Zappa’s music from the Mothers of Invention right up through some of his final releases. This past week we got word that more than 50 Zappa albums had been added to iTunes, with several of them remastered versions. This goes along with an earlier report of a great remastering effort including a list of the first…


CROON Audio’s Original Sound System Looks Great, Promises to Sound Just as Good

I went into the office today after a few weeks of vacation. While returning email I decided to listen to some tunes. My set up at work looks like this- I have an excellent Altec Lansing Speaker that Judie gave me for Hanukkah a few years ago connected to an Airport Express which, in turn, is plugged into the wireless ethernet post that comes into my study. It was that Airport Express that provided WiFi in that part of the building. More than that, however, it also takes the standard, docking stereo and turns it into an Airplay-enabled speaker. I…


Spotify Brings Free Radio to Android!

Last month Spotify launched a free radio service for iOS devices, marking a departure for the company as previously only Premium users ($9.99/month) had access to the service on mobile devices. Today Spotify has launched the free radio for Android devices as well. Here are the details: Play everywhere ? Tap into millions of songs wherever. Just like the desktop, mobile radio has the entire Spotify catalog to choose from. Just create stations ? Create stations based on any artist, album or playlist, and Spotify brings users one great song after another. They can skip a song if they don’t…


MOG Music Service Aquired By Beats

I used MOG as my subscription music service for a time but have settled in on Spotify and am quite happy with the decision. I have, as a result, been wondering what would happen when these various music services began to shake out. Who would survive? Who would close? Who would be acquired. Well it turns out MOG is the first to go. They have been acquired by Beats and, while they will continue to operate as an independent company, it clearly means we will see some changes coming. As the acquisition notice states Fellow Music Lovers, My first love has…


a-JAYS ONE+ Headphones Review

In recent years we have seen an increasing number of headphones that use tangle-free, flat cords. They really do help you avoid having to deal with the tangled mess that is wired headphones. Plus, they look and feel neat. That’s why I was excited to review the a-JAYS One+ headset when it was offered to me. After all, not everyone can afford $150 for in-ear headphones, and that’s what I’ve been reviewing lately. At $59.99, the a-JAYS ONE+ look like a bargain. I was even more excited when I saw the box. It is unusually done in oval-shaped plastic., and…


iWOW-U Universal Audio Adapter Review

Back in April we took a look at SRS’ MyTunes Pro app for iPhone, iPod touch and MyTunes Pro HD for the iPad. The apps do wonders to transform the music coming from your iOS device. The app is free to try and just $10 to unlock the full features. It works well, but itbhas two main limitations. First, it only uses the music in the native music app. That’s an issue for someone like me who is increasingly using Spotify or Rdio as my main source for music. Second, whenever you change your music library the app has to rebuild…


The Brave New World of Music DRM

We all know the law of conservation of matter, in which it only changes forms. Well, apparently that rule applies to music DRM – just when we thought it was going away someone reminds us that it is still there … just in different form. As the graphic above shows, some of the biggest sources of non-owned music – YouTube, Spotify, Rhapsody, etc – all have exclusive DRM that restricts use. Even on iTunes there is DRM wrapped around almost everything except music. It is easy to say ‘well, Spotify and similar services HAVE to use DRM to protect their…


Spotify (Finally) Launches iPad App!

Spotify today announced and released their app for the iPad. And it is pretty much what you would expect – the same core functionality, but optimized for the larger screen. But based on my limited playing around I find that – as is true with many apps – the user experience provided by the larger screen opens up already existing functionality to entirely new possibilities. Here is the press release: Today we’re extremely proud to present our native iPad app in all its green-hued glory. Features include: • Retina graphics for iPad – dazzling display, razor sharp images, richer colours…


DEEP BASS Active Control Headphone Amplifier for iOS Devices Review

Last week we took a look at the latest iOS app from SRS labs. The app takes the audio coming from the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and enhances it in remarkable ways. The main downside with the app is that in order to get the audio enhancement you need to use the app for your music. Try to listen to music from any other source, for example Spotify, and you are out of luck. There is, however, a way to enhance ANY audio coming from your iOS device and it comes in the form of a new audio adapter…


Madonna Finds an (Unfortunate) Way To Prove She is Better than Gaga in All Ways!

Lady Gaga has made quite a career as a Madonna clone, something that the Queen of Pop was fine to tolerate until she decided it was time to kick-start her music career again this year. At that point, emboldened by a general opinion that Gaga was a similar but lesser product than her, Madonna earlier this year referred to Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ as ‘reductive’ – an accurate but nonetheless scathing term … especially in an age where computers with sophisticated software can dissect songs so easily to show their origins and similarities. Now, just one week after claiming the…


Rumors of MOG Sale Highlight Coming Streaming Music Consolidation

The rumor on CNET that MOG is shopping itself around for possible sale is making news and intrigue with non-denial denials from MOG only increasing the rumblings of truthiness to the tale. But whether or not MOG is for sale is only a small part of a larger story. MOG is considered a ‘small player’ in the on-demand music streaming industry with around 500,000 subscribers paying either $5 or $10 a month. Direct competitors include Rdio with a similar user base – though both of these are estimates and I have no clue if they are remotely accurate. They both…


Nuance’s Dragon Go! for iOS and Android

When Thomas picked Nuance’s Dragon Go! as his Android “App of the Week” on Gear Chat last week he didn’t know just how right he was. The app, available for both iOS and Android, just got a notable update that turns the app into a travel assistant thanks to it featuring “travel search powered by Expedia”. As the company shared, Dragon Go! app for iOS and Android now lets people truly go anywhere with the ability to speak and quickly find and book flights, hotels, and more with direct access to Expedia. Dragon Go!’s all new travel search capability allows…


Digital Innovations Speaker Dock for Android Review

For many years, Android lovers have suffered. Apple’s iPhone and iPod had these wonderful speaker docks that allowed their owners to enjoy music without ear buds; plus many of those docks also included a remote that could be used to control the music from across the room. Finally Android users can breathe a sigh of relief, thanks to Digital Innovation’s new Speaker Dock for Android.  I was lucky enough not just to receive one to review, but to also give feedback through its early development stage. Is it as good as some of the better iPhone docks?  Let’s find out.


Music Smasher Searches Across Streaming Music Services

If you are contemplating signing up for a streaming music service, or are unhappy with the one you are using, chances are one major consideration is the music library. While ‘music discovery’ is all well and good, ultimately we all want to just want to listen to music. Now we hear of a new service developed by Matt Montag called ‘Music Smasher’. As the screen at top shows, you simply enter some terms and the site searches across all of the major streaming services. According to Montag: “I developed it to simplify the task of searching across Spotify, Rdio, Grooveshark,…


Reflections on the Music Industry in 2011

Over the last couple of weeks details about the music industry results for 2011 have been trickling in, and at this point I figured it was time to share a few interesting (to me, anyway) tidbits … and then discuss them in more detail. Here’s one of the points that I think is really important that also really makes me smile: I am enjoying watching the industry rush to get behind Adele (or more to the point, jump on her bandwagon), while in reality they were never rooting for her. Her album didn’t have huge marketing, and took off thanks…


MusicPlayr Will Help You Discover Music

Late last year I heard about the MidemLab competition for promising music startups, which had finalists in the ‘music discovery’ category as follows: Music Discovery, Recommendation & Creation ChartsNow.mobi (UK) – mass market mobile music service MPme by Apsmart (UK) – curated internet radio musicplayr (Germany) – music discovery & blogging Navegas (Germany) – connecting the world of music tool Rexly (USA) – social discovery & recommendation Songs2See by Fraunhofer (Germany) – music game development SoshiGames (UK) – game-based social music discovery Twusic by LemonLab (Belgium) – Twitter music application Watzatsong (France) – crowdsourced music search engine WhoSampled (UK) –…


Secret On-Demand Music Deal Details Show Struggles for Profitability

Image courtesy DeviantArt Wow … just wow. We have known that the music labels and artists were skeptical of on-demand services and have made onerous demands on Spotify before allowing catalog access (and also on Apple for ‘iTunes Match’). But never before have we know the details of those demands. Now we have a full report from Michael Roberston, the founder MP3.com and founder and CEO CEO of MP3tunes and DAR.fm that details all of the stuff in those contracts that should cause some serious concern. Here are the gory details: 1.General deal structure: Pay the largest of A) Pro-rata…


Music Diary Notes: Billboard Revamps Rules in Attempt to Stop Lady Gaga-esque ‘Gaming’ of Charts

Earlier this year Lady Gaga released an album that sold over a million copies in the first week, then plummeted by a historic 84% in the second week before fading into nowheresville. As I noted, nearly HALF of her first week sales were generated by the ‘giveaway’ at Amazon (99 cent full album) and other freebie pack-in deals that were counted as sales. It was a rather obvious ploy set up to falsely generate an impression of a larger event than happened – and considering how terrible the album is, perhaps that was the ONLY way to get people to…


Music Diary Notes: Facebook Music Sharing is a Success for Customers and Businesses Alike

Less than two months ago Facebook had its big f8 event where they launched their music integration amongst other things. At that event Spotify was heavily features alongside MOG, Rdio and others. I think that everyone expected some degree of success – I mean, folks already share EVERYTHING (often WAY too much) on Facebook … so why not this?!? And the results have been phenominal, with a report at Mashable saying: Facebook users have shared their listening activity more than 1.5 billion times with their friends, says Facebook’s Casey Maloney Rosales Muller in a blog post published Tuesday. “Developers have…


Music Diary Notes: Spotify Lands on Windows Phone 7!

While the first reaction to this news might be ‘so what?’, it is worth noting because the on-demand services have been slow in arriving on Windows Phone 7, and their offerings have been generally anemic when they DID appear. I am thinking specifically of Slacker, whose initial app was both unreliable and a battery drainer, and also Rdio, who supported the platform but the offering definitely paled compared to their iOS and Android apps. That was then, this is now – Slacker fully supports background playback, Live Tiles, instant resume, and more. And Rdio’s Mango update includes background play and…


HP TouchPad – Beware the (non) Deals

Just over two months ago HP created market hysteria by killing off the TouchPad tablet and then dropping the price for quick sell-off to $99 for the 16GB and $149 for the 32GB version. In a dazzling internet-breaking weekend, a variety of sites posted and quickly sold out of the TouchPad at those prices. All of which is nice history, but it is relevant because now we are starting to see some stock of the TouchPad trickling out to a few deals sites, Amazon.com and HP itself. All of this before the anticipated final rush of TouchPad inventory made to…