14 Nov

Ars Technica – Apple launches iTunes Match: music hoarders need not apply

Apple has quietly released iTunes 10.5.1 to the public, which enables support for its iTunes Match service. The service allows syncing your music library to iCloud for easy remote access from other computers or iOS devices. But don’t get too excited just yet, as iTunes Match’s hard 25,000 track limit means those with extensive collections simply cannot take advantage of the service.

iTunes Match is a subscription-based iTunes library syncing service that works with iCloud. Unlike Amazon Cloud Player or Google Music services, iTunes Match can identify tracks in your library that are already part of the iTunes Store’s extensive library of music. Those tracks are immediately added to a user’s iTunes Match account by connecting to the 256kbps, DRM-free version on Apple’s servers. This is true even if you ripped the album yourself at lower bitrates using older versions of iTunes or other software.

The remaining tracks, up to 25,000 total, are then uploaded to iCloud. Any songs purchased directly from iTunes don’t count toward this limit, but if you have more than 25,000 tracks not purchased from iTunes in your library, the service simply refuses to let you sign up. Apple has yet to make any allowance for users with massive libraries to choose a subset of their music to upload—an unfortunate limitation in our view, since such avid listeners are among the most likely to consider paying the yearly $24.99 fee.

via Ars Technica – Apple launches iTunes Match: music hoarders need not apply. Seems like a great deal if you either have a lot of music that is in cruddy versions or are away from wherever most of your music is a lot. Neither of those is true for me.

19 May

Shawn Blanc – Cloudy With a Chance of Music

I have nothing but good things to say about the quality of Rdio’s service, its price, or its music collection. However, there is something about Rdio that just doesn’t settle for me. And I think it’s the fact that I’m listening to music I don’t own.

A lot of people have been championing for music the trend which began with movies so many years ago: that access is better than ownership. This is Netflix’s bag: rent all the movies you want, whenever you want, for one low monthly fee.

It’s the same idea with Rdio — you are, in a sense, “renting” an album. Though you never have to return it, so long as you keep paying your monthly dues.

However, I have a different attitude towards movies than I do towards music. I will maybe watch my favorite movies once or twice a year, at the most. A great album that I love I will listen to every day for months and months.

Movies are entertaining. Music is personal.

And so I don’t know if the paradigm that access is better than ownership has the same effect on our music library as it does for our DVD collection. The music we listen to, in many ways, is a definition and extension of who we are.

All this to say, that what excites me right now is the idea of access and ownership. I want to own my music, but I want to have it available anywhere and everywhere and on each of the music-playing devices that I own.

via Shawn Blanc – Cloudy With a Chance of Music. Totally agree, that’s exactly why I stopped using Pandora and Rdio for as much as people rave about both services. Ownership and total control over the experience is almost paramount for how I listen to music.

22 Dec

PCMag.com – RIAA Misfires, Grazes PCMag.com

It worries me that the music industry took this action, because it reeks of desperation. The RIAA and other music industry organizations have spent the better part of the decade fighting the digital transition, with only a shrinking business to show for it. In recent years, though, the fist of anger has turned into at least one open hand as the music industry embraces the once shunned digital music industry. Unfortunately, that warm embrace, and the change that comes with it, are not happening fast enough. Clearly the music industry is still losing money to music piracy and even the recalibrated profit margins brought on by legal music sharing services.

It’s time for these music execs to pull their collective heads out of the sand and fully acknowledge and accept all the ways their industry has changed. They also have to understand that nothing will stop technology’s inexorable march forward. Things will continue to change. Music downloads and sharing will never go away. These execs have to find a way to use all that technology allows and make a business that rivals the good old days of vinyl, cassette tape and even CDs.

via PCMag.com – RIAA Misfires, Grazes PCMag.com. Apparently blaming journalists is now how the music industry will fight its battles.

13 Dec

TorrentFreak – Author Slams eBook Piracy, Son Outs Her As a Music Pirate

As part of an article investigating the growing phenomenon of eBook piracy, a Scandinavian news outlet interviewed a 19 year-old self-confessed pirate who bragged about his activities. To counter his viewpoint a well known author contributed to the piece, stating that she abhors book piracy since it costs her huge amounts of money. However, her moral stance took a bit of a beating when her son let an embarrassing fact slip out.

via TorrentFreak – Author Slams eBook Piracy, Son Outs Her As a Music Pirate. Turns out she pirated 1800 songs and purchased knock off Prada bags. The bags were purchased because real Prada bags “have such an inflated price”. Possibly the most absurd part of this is that her main complaint about piracy is it takes money out of her pocket, but the record labels and Prada well that’s a different story. She is now blaming the music piracy on her son, though the knock-off bags she freely admitted in the interview as purchasing them.

05 Dec

Wired – The Age of Music Piracy Is Officially Over

Mark down the date: The age of stealing music via the Internet is officially over. It’s time for everybody to go legit. The reason: We won. And all you audiophiles and copyfighters, you know who fixed our problems? The record labels and online stores we loved to hate.

via Wired – The Age of Music Piracy Is Officially Over. Totally agree, stealing music is only for the people who are being stupidly cheap.

16 Nov

Electronic Frontier Foundation – Legal Attack on Internet Music Storage Threatens ‘Safe Harbor’ Rules for Online Businesses

MP3Tunes offers a locker service where users can sync their personal digital music and video up to "the cloud" to access from any web browser or many mobile and home entertainment devices. Recording giant EMI claims that MP3Tunes should be held responsible for infringing content stored in the lockers of some of its users. MP3Tunes contends that it is immune from liability because it does not engage in, encourage or benefit from copyright infringement and it quickly removes material identified in a copyright holder’s complaint against its users, as required by the "safe harbor" provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In the amicus brief filed Tuesday, EFF and its co-amici argue that EMI is trying to rewrite the "safe harbor" provisions and hold service providers liable for the actions of their users.

via Electronic Frontier Foundation – Legal Attack on Internet Music Storage Threatens ‘Safe Harbor’ Rules for Online Businesses. Sounds to me like a totally legal and awesome business. Even better the service isn’t all that expensive compared to buying the same amount of storage through something like Dropbox.

03 Sep

Cthulhu and other crazies – Apple’s Ping is a big pile of steaming dung

A few days ago Apple released a social network. Gee, how bloody creative of them and they used to be so cool. There are enough social networks, too many actually. But I digress.

via Cthulhu and other crazies – Apple’s Ping is a big pile of steaming dung. A nice list of all the ways Ping fails as a usable and interesting social networking system or even a social music recommendation system.

12 Aug

TechCrunch – Nicholas Negroponte: The Physical Book Is Dead In 5 Years

The physical book is dead, according to Negroponte. He said he realizes that’s going to be hard for a lot of people to accept. But you just have to think about film and music. In the 1980s, the writing was on the wall that physical film was going to die, even though companies like Kodak were in denial. He then asked people to think about their youth with music. It was all physical then. Now everything has changed.

via Nicholas Negroponte: The Physical Book Is Dead In 5 Years. I’m right there in the camp of eliminating physical copies of everything as fast as possible. I absolutely love ebooks.

03 Feb

With momentum in Europe, Spotify has Apple’s iTunes in its sights – Los Angeles Times

Spotify, the Swedish music streaming software that&s rocking Europe, has huge ambitions. Though still limited to six countries and yet to launch in the U.S., Spotify founder Daniel Ek is setting his sights on America&s top music retailer and digital jukebox — Apple&s iTunes.

Spotify used the same invitation concept to spread in Sweden. The hotly anticipated service will do the same when it launches in the U.S. before the middle of this year, Ek said after his speech in a private interview in the Henry Fonda Theater’s green room.

via With momentum in Europe, Spotify has Apple’s iTunes in its sights | Pop & Hiss | Los Angeles Times. I’m waiting on Spotify to launch in the US to have so much fun with it.