Spotify

Music Diary Notes: Spotify Opens ‘Sign Up For Invite Page’ … U.S. Launch Imminent!

I have written much about Spotify, including this hands-on I did a while back. But the time is fast approaching for everyone to get their own chance to try out the service! Today Spotify opened up a ‘Sign Up for an Invite’ page, touting ‘We’re coming to the U.S.’ and offering a lucky few to be among the first to try out the service! So don’t delay – head to Spotify and register your email address for an invite!


Music Diary Notes: The Fall of Gaga, Spotify in July, Clash Over ‘Friday’?

OK, I called it last week – Lady Gaga has been displaced atop the album charts after leading for only two weeks. This week has also seen Spotify gain Universal Music Group contracts and supposedly be very close to closing on Warner Music Group, the final ‘major’ as they prepare for US launch. Finally, the annoying viral YouTube hit ‘Friday’ has gone from free to rental to gone to ‘director’s cut’ … all in one week! Let’s take a look. Lady Gaga The graph at the top shows the sales of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ in the three weeks…


Music Diary Notes: Suddenly the iTunes vs. Amazon Price Difference Matters!

Until this week I wouldn’t have even thought twice – legendary vibes player Gary Burton just released a new album yesterday, so I headed to Amazon.com to grab the MP3 album. But then I stopped and thought – if I buy this on iTunes I know it will be saved and available for any of my devices, will be stored on iCloud without penalty, and so on. But if I go to Amazon’s MP3 store to buy, I *should* be able to use iTunes Match in the fall which will allow the album to be tracked and not incur a…


Music Diary Notes: Quick Look at iTunes Match & iCloud In Context

At the WWDC Keynote, Apple talked quite a bit about Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud. Of the three, iCloud was the least known and newest reveal. Here is a bit about iCloud: iCloud is so much more than a hard drive in the sky. It’s the effortless way to access just about everything on all your devices. iCloud stores your content so it’s always accessible from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.* It gives you instant access to your music, apps, latest photos, and more. And it keeps your email, contacts, and calendars up to…


Apple Kills an eBookstore, Who’s Next?

Very ominous news from the iOS ebook world today. Teleread has reported that iFlowReader, a small ebook app, announced the 30% cut to Apple was too much for their tight margins and are closing their doors. Now, you might be thinking “I only use Kindle/NOOK/Kobo, why should I care?” Well, if you do any ebook reading at all on an iOS device, you should be extremely angry and concerned. iFlowReader has an open letter on their site explaining the situation, and here’s the most important part: Why Do We Have to Shutdown? The crux of the matter is that Apple…


Music Diary Notes: If Subscriptions Are the Rage, Why is Internet Radio Paying More?

I just wrote a huge article about Rdio and MOG, and have covered Spotify quite a bit. When you look at the 9 million Spotify users in the EU as well as the great interest in the service in the US, you might think that there is a huge amount of money in this rapidly growing sector. You would be wrong. Spotify is doing everything possible to force more than the less-than-10% (i.e. under 1 million) of users who actually pay for the service to abandon the free version, and estimates peg the US subscription market between 1.5 and 2…


Music Diary Reviews: Rdio and MOG are Viable Spotify Alernatives … NOW

I have spoken about just how great I found Spotify during a trial period, but while we wait for the inevitable launch in the US, I have checked out two alternatives: Rdio and MOG. And while I’ll likely share more details as I dig deeper in the coming weeks, let me just say that with a few caveats these excellent services have me saying ‘Spotify Who?’ Common Ground Rdio and MOG, similar to Spotify, are cloud-based music streaming services. Each offers a subscription-based approach that allows you unlimited music streaming for a monthly fee. Each also has a tiered approach…


Music Diary Notes: Will Streaming Music Kill an Already Weak Industry?

OK, I know … how many times can I say that ‘music sales are dismal’? Well, with each newly discovered nugget of information, a pattern emerges: one that we implicitly already know, with a clueless music industry trying to somehow get back to the ‘good old days’ of early 70’s record sales with 100% annual growth, or even the late 1990’s when the CD was king. But the graph shows the reality: the entire music industry is shrinking, and the rise in digital (last year just 5%) and ‘performance rights’ such as internet radio and subscription services, are doing nothing…


Music Diary Notes: Buying ‘Indie’ Music? Chances Are You Got It On iTunes!

Last year a big deal was made when eMusic shifted to focus on the major labels by making concessions in pricing and moving from credits to dollar amounts for purchase, and more importantly changing how royalties and other details were handled in a way that resulted in many major indie labels pulling out of the service. Until then, eMusic was looked upon as the greatest place for indie music. Turns out the best place is actually iTunes. According to a report at Digital Music News: Last week, global independent trade group AIM stumbled upon a stunningly lopsided stat. Namely, that…


Hewlett Packard Elitebook 2540p Laptop Review

Last year I reviewed the Hewlett Packard (HP) Elitebook 8440w Mobile Workstation, declaring it one that I would love to be able to keep and use in my daily life, and as the best business laptop I’d ever used. Well, move over 8440w – because I have a new favorite, the svelte but ultra-powerful Elitebook 2540p! The Hype: Stay connected and productive on the go—without getting weighed down. Starting at just 3.38 lb, the durable HP EliteBook 2540p is HP’s smallest and lightest EliteBook, designed for maximum portability and uncompromised performance. Ultra-portable: • Compact, lightweight design with a 12.1-inch diagonal…


Music Diary Songs of Note: If Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery …

I really hadn’t planned on editorializing this early, but this weekend my wife and kids and I were discussing the new Lady Gaga song ‘Born This Way’ and the similarity to the old Madonna song ‘Express Yourself’. So we queued up both on Spotify and listened. They aren’t identical as some claim, but it is pretty clear that everything about Born This Way is derived directly from Madonna’s song. They are laid out the same, the ratio of ‘rapping’ to singing is nearly identical, the harmonic structure is basically identical, and many melodic fragments are shared. Some have also said…


Music Diary Notes: Spotify Signs With Sony; the Economics of ‘Music Monetization’ and Their Likely US Move

I recently wrote about my hands-on time with music streaming service Spotify, and had previously written about the contract wrangling that has so far kept the service EU-only. Now we have some news that points to the possibility of a US launch sooner than later … and also some sobering reality about the financial aspects of streaming media in general. Spotify Edging Closer to US Launch On the ‘good news’ side, Spotify has just signed a deal with Sony to allow Spotify to work in the US. How big a deal is this? Well, all you have to do is…


Music Diary Notes: Spotify Hands-On … Yeah, It IS That Good!

Last week I got an invite to Spotify, allowing me to join the service that so many across Europe are so excited about using. Of course, getting from ‘invite’ to ‘account’ required doing stuff that while not illegal, was nonetheless not something I would regularly choose to do. Basically I acquired a British ‘accent’ for a little bit in order to get my account created. My initial impression was completely positive. The desktop client installed quickly, launched instantly and quickly logged in my account and pulled in my local iTunes info. From there I was encouraged to search for stuff…


Music Diary Notes: ‘Shocking’ Poll Alert – Most Music Fans Want Apple to Price-Match Amazon!

OK, every now and then I see a poll that has me not so much looking at the results as thinking ‘what did the OTHER bunch of people think’? Over at MusicMagazineUK there is a new article with poll results to questions posed last week. There were three questions, and all were Yes/No. Here are the results: 86% of people want a price match with Amazon’s services. 71% of people want Apple to reduce the restrictions on variable song and album pricing. 57% of people are unconcerned about easier integration with third party services. Note that the last result was…


Music Diary Notes: Spotify Gives Up US Launch for 2010 … Will Anyone Care When it DOES Arrive?

In case you haven’t heard of it, Spotify is a free-or-paid subscription music service that works differently than something like Slacker or Pandora in a few ways. First off, you can immediately stream whatever song you want from their massive library of publisher material. Next, the service integrates with your existing music to form an extended library available for immediate listening online even when you’re away from your home PC. But one of the biggest things about the service is the social aspect – sharing playlists of stuff you love with others is a form of music discovery that has…


Music Diary Review: eMusic Changes Pricing Structure in Face of Fourth Year with No Subscriber Growth

I have to admit – I USED eMusic more than once. And by ‘used’ I don’t just mean ‘make use of the service’ … I mean that I grabbed one of those ‘get 50 tracks free’ offers, canceled after the first month, and wait for the next email with another offer or 50 or 75 tracks for free. But a few months ago I had used up all of my free tracks, and had more I wanted to grab … so I let my membership charge persist. And again, and again this past month. Then a week or so ago…


Music Diary Notes: So iTunes Gets The Beatles … Do You Care?

It now seems oddly prescient that just last week I walked through the Beatles catalog, as today we find the meaning of the teaser announcement “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget.” The question is … do we care? In terms of what is there, you can get all of the 12 original recordings, the 1973 collections ‘1962-1966’ and ‘1967-1970’, as well as the more recent ‘Past Masters Vol 1 & 2’. All are basically the same 2009 remasters I reviewed, in ‘high quality’ iTunes AAC format. There is also a ‘complete collection’, which has everything except the…


What a Recording Artist Needs to Sell to Make Minimum Wage

Image Courtesy Kevin Dayhoff’s Blog I had seen this image a month or so ago, but had lost the link – but it remains stunning to think of what is required for a musician to simply make minimum wage, let alone scrape by a reasonable living! The graph below shows how many of their recordings an artist would need to sell to make a mere $1,160 per month. Of course, that is gross earnings, not counting any taxes or other niceties paid to the various federal state and local governments we feed … First off, that number of $1,160 per…


Why Music Subscriptions Make Less Sense Than Ever…

As Larry just posted, Apple actually approved the Rhapsody app for streaming music if you have a RhapsodyTo Go account. So now we have RhapsodyToGo available in the US and Spotify available in much of Europe. That’s awesome, and a bit of a surprise but still… I don’t quite get it. Rhapsody to Go is $15 a month. That comes down to $180 a year or $360 over the contract-life of the iPhone. (As if iPhone ownership weren’t costly enough already.) Worst of all at the end of that year you own NOTHING! Contrast that to the Simplify Music app…