Re¢ently

  1. Wired on Weird Al

    jake on 2008.09.30 at 01:50 pm

    Weird AlWho doesn’t love Weird Al? From buying Even Worse from a kid in fourth grade to watching UHF this past Saturday for the millionth time. Al has always been a constant stream of funny.

    Wired has an article about him in this month’s issue. They ponder his ability to stay fresh and recount some of his ups and downs throughout the years.

    “Back in the ’80s, ‘Purple Rain’ would be number one for half a year,” Yankovic says. “You still have Top 40 radio now, but it’s 40 different stations. There aren’t many hits that everybody knows, and there aren’t many real superstars. That makes it more difficult for me.”

    Posted in: Humor · Music

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  2. BBC: Drummers as Fit as Footballers

    brian on 2008.08.04 at 03:01 am

    “Footballers can normally expect to play 40 to 50 games a year – but in one 12 month period, Clem played 90-minute sets at 100 concerts.

    “Footballers find playing a Champions League game once every two weeks a drain, but these guys are doing it every day when they are on tour.

    “It is clear that their fitness levels need to be outstanding – through monitoring Clem’s performance in controlled conditions, we have been able to map the extraordinary stamina required by professional drummers.”

    Well, wonder if this why I’ve always been reasonably fit.

    A hour in concert could burn between 400 and 600 calories, he said.

    People have made a habit of calling drummers a lot of things over the years. But “athlete” is a new one. Through middle and high school, it wouldn’t be unusual for me to play for one or two hours nightly, after school. Sometimes this was after playing a sport, too.

    Dr Marcus Smith, from Chichester University says I was healthy when I was playing often. Clearly I need to get back into that habit.

    Posted in: Music · Sports

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  3. New iPod or Better Playlists?

    brian on 2008.02.03 at 10:22 pm

    I received an email from a good friend down in Brooklyn a couple days ago. She asked for some advice regarding her iPod that I think may be useful for others in her situation. In short, thanks to her love of podcasts she had filled her iPod mini to capacity. She was writing to ask for advice on purchasing a new one. I offered this advice first, so that she might be able to better decide if a new one was truly needed, or whether a few small changes to her settings might serve her equally as well.

    The only thing I might mention before you run out and buy a new iPod is to consider the syncing capabilities of iTunes and playlists for your podcasts. I have had to employ this on my iPhone, since it’s only 8GB. I created a playlist in iTunes with which the iPhone syncs that’s a good sampling of my larger library. Then I left a couple gigs to play with. With that I can load on videos and podcasts.

    What I have done is chosen which podcasts I’m likely to listen to on the iPhone and I sync only those to the phone. I also limit those to only the last three unlistened episodes of each will remain on the phone when I sync next. There are lots of options on how to do this (you can say only un-listened-to podcasts get synced, or have larger or smaller numbers of podcasts that remain on your iPod after a sync (e.g. give me the most recent 5 podcasts). Once you do that, then you have a steady amount of podcast data on your iPod that doesn’t grow after every sync. Back on iTunes you can archive all the old shows, if you think you’d ever listen to them. Also, podcasts you’re not likely to listen to ‘on the go’ you can keep on your iBook. Sudden urge strikes? At any time you can grab a specific episode and drag it on to your iPod without restructuring all of your hard work!

    Once this is all set up, all you have to do is plug the iPod in, perhaps daily, and iTunes does all the hard work for you. In fact, on newer iPods, if you sync and there are partially-listened podcasts, each device (iTunes, your iPod) knows where you stopped listening and if you then continue to listen to the show on either device, it picks up right where you left off. Very cool.

    This method may make your old iPod feel new again! I’m not trying to talk anyone out of a new iPod–I certainly enjoy new toys–but this may be all that’s needed in this case. iTunes has really powerful playlist and smart playlist capabilities that are mostly unknown to the general public.

    That said, if your iPod is in the two-year-old range, then it’s battery is probably starting to decline. New iPods have better batteries and are more power efficient. Also remember, Apple Stores will give you a 10% discount on the purchase of a new iPod when you recycle your old one at the time of purchase.

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  4. Oh, headphones

    brian on 2007.12.27 at 04:55 pm

    Today I received this from a friend,

    Hi, Brian. I have a set of headphones that is supposed to block outside noise, but they’re not working as well as I had hoped. Is there a brand you recommend? I don’t want to blow out my ears on the subway by increasing the volume of my iPod. Thanks for any advice.

    Well, I do have some experience riding the train and subway with headphones and an iPod. I was able to reduce the volume of my iPod by about 15% by using in-ear headphones. There are lots of choices, so here’s the volume I incoherently sent her:

    Read More

    Posted in: Hardware · Music · Technology

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  5. GarageBand now makes iPhone ringtones

    brian on 2007.12.14 at 10:02 pm

    Great news. The 4.1.1 update to GarageBand now allows you to save your work (40 seconds or less!) as a ringtone which GarageBand will save to your Ringtones in iTunes, from which you’ll sync next time you connect your iPhone.

    Official instructions here:

    Apple Knowledgebase: How to create custom ringtones in GarageBand 4.1.1

    Christopher Penn’s Illustrated instructions here.

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Software

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  6. New Term: IMMC

    brian on 2007.11.09 at 04:10 pm

    There’s a new term that you should be familiar with on the Internet.

    IMMC
    Definition: When two or more musicians create music together, while recording remotely and sent across the Internet for mixing and additional layering.

    Example: Pretend Postal Service’s “Give Up.” collaboration occurred with digital files transmitted online, instead of through mailing CDs back and forth. That would have been IMMC. Instead the Postal Service used PMMC – Postal-Mediated Musical Collaboration.*

    Thanks to Jeff for providing the context in which I coined this term over IM. You, too, are now part of history.

    * The Postal Service website is so braindead that it delivers the collaboration-via-post story in a deep-linkless Flash presentation, so I can’t actually link to the second page of the biography section. Lame. If you’re interested, you’ll sadly have to dig yourself.

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  7. (not) A boring rant

    brian on 2007.09.03 at 05:07 pm

    The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: A boring rant Look at the management team at NBC Universal. Look at the GE board of directors. Do these people scare the living shit out of you? They sure scare the hell out of me. They’re all buffed and polished and about a hundred and fourteen years old. They look like cadavers who’ve been done up by the world’s best funeral home makeup artist.”

    Fake Steve Jobs has really hit the nail on the head with this post. I’ve been meaning to write something about the NBC and Universal iTunes breakups since first hearing the news last week that NBC was pulling (or iTunes was ceasing sale of) NBCs television shows from iTunes.

    First of all, think it’s a coincidence that NBC and Universal (same company, essentially) both have taken big shots at iTunes recently? First Universal decides to start selling DRM-free music, like Steve Jobs had suggested, but not through Apple. Second, NBC says “let us jack up our prices or we’ll walk” when it comes to iTunes negotiations; Apple replies “don’t let the door of the world’s leading digital entertainment store hit you on the way out.”

    What’s going on here is the beginning of the end: The networks and record labels have finally begun to see the writing on the wall. They’re dinosaurs looking to the skies and wishing away that incoming meteor. But it won’t change things. They are mostly middlemen. And the middlemen in the entertainment realm are quickly being replaced by the network – the Internet. Apple’s the tip of the iceberg of said Internet. The Wal-Mart of internet digital media retail, with 70% of the market in a strangle hold (a funny comparison considering Wal-Mart is actually in the digital media retail space, as well) These distributors want to have Apple’s dominant position, so they’re trying to play hard ball. But they can’t beat Apple because they simply don’t understand internet distribution. Apple does, and they’re willing to share. The studios shouldn’t reinvent the wheel – just use Apple (and Apple’s competitors) for digital distribution, and spend your time doing whatever else you guys do.

    We’ll continue to see media distributors attempting to fight Apple, tooth and nail, because it’s the only way to stave off their irrelevancy. But any injunction they come to will only be temporary. Apple will win, and thankfully for once, consumers will win because for the first time, consumers have a say: if you don’t give us the media we want, in the way we want it, we’ll go elsewhere to get it the way we want it, when we want it, and you won’t get a dime. We have BitTorrent. iTunes is currently the only seriously good alternative to BitTorrent.

    Free advice to the middlemen: stave off your irrelevance a little longer by flexing your editorial muscle and find really good material to sell – not the mind-melting junk you’ve spit out for years. And then sell it where and when the consumer wants at a reasonable price. Apple knows what consumers want and iTunes is a grand step in the right direction. Once all DRM is dropped (the vast majority of consumers won’t need piracy if they’re given a good product at a good price) we’ll be in the promised land of digital media commerce.

    Otherwise, you’re just fast-tracking yourself to a slow and painful demise.

    You need your customers more than they need you.

    Posted in: Apple · Media · Movies · Music · Television · Web

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  8. Tivoli Internet Radio

    brian on 2007.08.14 at 02:42 am

    We’ve been considering purchasing a Tivoli Model One table radio for our kitchen for a couple months now. We often listen to NPR in the morning as we get ready and I eat breakfast in the kitchen next to an old clock radio that we keep there. Amanda will often pop it on in the afternoon when she comes home from work, while she’s going through the mail or cleaning or what have you. We’ve been thinking that it would be a nice upgrade for us.

    Tivoli's Classy Model One Table Radio

    If you’re uninitiated, the Tivoli table radio is a famous little radio in the home electronics world. It’s intentionally quirky and of unusually high quality – both marks of its creator, Henry Kloss. The model one is Tivoli’s most popular product1 and is simply a mono (one speaker) AM/FM tuner. But it’s one speaker is rich, it’s hand-made quality, hardwood body encloses one of the world’s finest analog tuning circuits (MESFET), with an weighted analog dial for precisely tuning stations.

    The product sparked a renaissance in table radios, including the Bose Wave Radio and the Boston Acoustics Receptor. (Cool note: these are all Boston area companies)

    We were just about to purchase one when they announced a new version, one that incorporates Internet Radio via WiFi!

    Read more to find out the whole scoop!

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Linux · Media · Music · Technology

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  9. Suppot Local FM!

    brian on 2007.06.25 at 10:08 pm

    There’s a bill in Congress to allow low-power FM stations for local broadcasting. If you think that’s a good idea like I do, you can follow the following link to voice your support to your representitives:

    Support Local, Low-Power FM Radio

    Posted in: Media · Music · Politics

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  10. Who Should Fear Apple?

    brian on 2007.06.25 at 03:18 pm

    Riddle me this: Why is Apple’s iTunes server named “Phobos?” Phobos - a Moon of Mars - NASA

    It struck me the other day as I was working on a podcast because I was pasting in our podcast’s iTunes URL to the blog post that it didn’t say what I thought it had said. All this time I thought said “Phonos” not “Phobos.”

    Phono, Phon –
    from Greek phone ‘sound.’
    Phobos –
    named after one of the sons of the Greek war god Ares . The name means literally ‘fear.’
    (source: Oxford American Dictionaries Mac OS X application.)

    So who should fear Apple’s iTunes server?

    Should it be their competition in the music selling space? Should it be the music industry, whose business model has been turned on its head by the iTunes model? Should it be competition in the digital music player market? Should it be whomever pays Apple bandwidth bill?

    Who do you think should fear Apple’s iTunes server?

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  11. Apple Shaking DRM

    brian on 2007.04.03 at 12:19 am

    Today was a great day for all fans of digital music. Apple announced the loss of DRM and the doubling of the quality of the music files it sells.

    I was hoping for lossless, you know, equivalent to CDs which have been around for about 20 years now. But I’m not going to whine about it.

    But I will complain about the people who do whine.

    Cory Doctrow is always the first person to bitch about everything Apple does. He claimed Jobs cried wolf when Jobs wrote his open letter to the record industry. Now is his day to eat crow, but don’t hold your breath. That’s just not his style.

    That also brings Ryan Block, writer at a site that publishes high tech PR announcements. he thinks:

    we can’t help but feel the whole thing is gestural at best, and subterfuge at worst.

    They get what they ask for, and then state that it’s an illusion. It’s incredible that they can keep up the whiny 5-year old just as well as Cory can. The world is a marketplace, if you don’t see something you like, then don’t buy it. Vote with your wallet. It’s the only thing that counts.

    Corporations don’t listen to their customers, just their dollars. And Apple’s betting the money’s where the DRM isn’t. I agree.

    Engadget does bring up one valid point:

    you’d think Jobs would be quick to encourage Disney-owned labels, like Hollywood Records, Lyric Street Records, Mammoth Records, and Walt Disney Records, to “embrace [DRM-free] sales wholeheartedly.”

    But, like most of the curmudgeons on this topic, they ignore that corporations move slowly, and have major political in-fighting. Steve might have a hunk of Disney stock, but he can’t willy-nilly steer the company. Heck, seeing that EMI was ready before Disney, Steve very well might have seen the trip to London for the announcement as leverage for his own intra-Disney political battles…

    Let’s call this what it is: a solid first step.

    And on to a bigger question:

    Which bands are on EMI? How can I figure that out, and when can I start buying those new tracks? I have gift cards to use! Record companies don’t get this point: you’re all but invisible to consumers, and they only notice you when you do something bad… see also: Sony Rootkit.

    [Updates: 1) EMI artist listing hopefully iTunes will make finding them easier. 2) These tracks should surface on iTunes in May. ]

    Posted in: Apple · Media · Music

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  12. John Mayer on NPR

    brian on 2007.03.11 at 12:23 pm

    An excellent and entertaining interview with John Mayer, plus music clips.

    The story’s title is “The Soft Sell,” which sums up Mayer’s thoughts on songs with political leanings for the current pop generation.

    John Mayer, courtesy of NPR

    “Look, demanding somebody do anything in this day and age is not going to fly. Kids don’t even like being talked to like kids anymore, you know. ‘Just give me the option and I’ll think about it.’”

    JM is also a blogger. Oddly enough, you can check out his blog on his website.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  13. DRM: the truth spoken

    brian on 2007.02.07 at 12:39 am

    Brilliant. Notice I didn’t write an exclamation mark. Because what I am about to write about isn’t ground breaking. It’s just common sense. Now, let’s get to the good stuff.

    Thoughts On Music by Steve Jobs

    …if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none. If anything, the technical expertise and overhead required to create, operate and update a DRM system has limited the number of participants selling DRM protected music. If such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players. This can only be seen as a positive by the music companies.

    I think a lot of people will see this as shocking. I do not. I speak from a position of knowing Apple a little better than the average folk, and for the most part the company has a strategy. “Do what’s good for the customer, it’s just good business.” The problem comes when people criticize Apple for doing something they don’t see as “good for the customer.” For example, Apple making the entire widget is good for the customer, because they can control the experience and the support on their own. There’s no one to impede or pass the buck to. But some people prefer to view this as a hinderance. That’s why markets exist. If you don’t like one option, there’s a competitor who does it better. (Except in the wireless telephony market, they all do it the same: bad.)

    One thing that has been repeatedly cited as evidence to Apple “not doing what’s good for the customer” is the usage of the FairPlay DRM by Apple. But if you read Steve’s comments, its clear that DRM was not their choice, but was the only thing that was beneficial to the consumer at the time, seeing that the consumer’s choices were narrow.

    Prior to Apple’s iTunes Store, you could buy un-DRM-ed music in a store on physical media. But after iTunes, you could buy un-DRM-ed music in a store on physical media or have the option of digital delivery of the music in a much more convenient way (in regards to the internet delivery, not needing to encode the music for your portable player, and the ability to buy individual tracks and the ability to preview every song before buying at fair prices.

    Clearly, 2 Billion songs later, iTMS + DRM was a positive choice for the consumer. It added a choice that many people chose to use. No one was forced, and they certainly are not locked in. You can burn your music to CD at any point and run off to any other musical technology ecosystem.

    But frankly, Apple’s take on DRM — the most liberal out there — is only making the best of a bad situation.

    Another realization is becoming clear, and this time, it’s the music industry who is going to have to put up with the inconvenience. They have to deal with piracy themselves, without treating the rest of us like criminals. It’s time to abolish DRM, once and for all.

    I want to download lossless digital music, at a reasonable cost, without the technology I use having to be locked down to help out the industry I’m giving money to. And I want it now.

    The only thing that stands in my way of achieving this goal, is the industry that can make it happen.

    The time is now. Let’s bury DRM.

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  14. HD in Concert (Madonna)

    brian on 2006.12.30 at 04:48 am

    NBC’s Universal HD channel showed a Madonna concert tonight, and I came away very impressed (apparently, it showed on NBC proper on 22 Nov, and actually happened at Wembley Arena, London, in early August.). I should preface review this with the fact that I am not a Madonna fan. I’m more likely to change the station than to listen to a Madonna song if it were to come on the radio. In fact, it would be odd that I would even be listening to a station that would carry Madonna in the first place. But I’ve always respected her as a performer.

    Read on for my extended, somewhat unlikely and possibly surprising review…

    Read More

    Posted in: Music · Television

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  15. Idea for MP3 Car Stereo Listeners

    brian on 2006.12.28 at 08:31 pm

    Something occurred to me tonight, it may be obvious to any one in this situation, but bear with me, I needed a test post from MarsEdit to see if our XMLRPC is finally working.

    Normally, if I’m not listing to my iPod, I do enjoy a number of quality radio stations in the Boston area. WBUR, WGBH, WERS to name a few. However, my ’07 VW Rabbit has an in-dash 6-CD player, which can read mp3 files. Today I tested it for the first time, and it worked as expected. It also has the nice touch of displaying the artist and song names from the MP3’s ID 3 tags. I also loaded in an audio CD. It worked as well, but of course, audio CDs don’t have ID tags.

    So, considering the advantages of ID3 tags, and that you can get considerably more music onto an MP3 CD (between 2 and 10 times more) it would behoove you to burn your favorite CDs to MP3… if you’re into high fidelity, burn your MP3s at 256 or 320kbps. 320 is nearly indistinguishable from CDs to the vast, vast majority of people, and yet a CD track runs 1400kbps… you can see the space savings. Then multiply, in my case, by 6 CD capacity. That’s a lot of music you can hold without ever ejecting a CD.

    The added bonus is that if your in-dash disc changer ever croaks, you’ve only lost CD-R copies of your discs, no big loss. Always head the golden rule, backup, backup, backup.

    Posted in: Auto · Music · Technology

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  16. iPod + Bose for Hi-Fidelity Home Listening

    brian on 2006.08.24 at 05:47 pm

    My Uncle, whose mountain house I just returned from, is a big fan of classical music and has a nice Bose Lifestyle 38 sound system with which to listen to it with. Bose Lifestyle 38 Audio SystemIt has a clever feature where you import CDs onto its internal hard disk, and it has creative ways of organizing your music. The user interface could use a little help, but the key to the system is that it keeps your music at pristine quality, instead of, say converting it to crummy MP3s. However, when it’s full, it’s full. Bose makes no expansion modules. For my uncle, it is full now, about a year after purchasing it. However, there is hope for him.

    I took the time to write up a basic backgrounder on how to use an iPod to expand his system. You might just say, “Duh, Brian. It’s so easy to just import your music and then play it through his system’s line in.” Apple iPod, Docked in a Universal Dock And you’d be right. However, if you keep with all the defaults, and simplest hook ups, it would work (and be great for most people) but an audiophile would be left dissatisfied. That’s why I wrote the following, which includes a quick background on digital compression techniques. Read on for more.

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  17. Live, Lossless, Free and Free

    brian on 2006.01.06 at 06:23 pm

    Phish may be outta business, but they’re not… um, outta business. In fact for a band that no longer plays together, they’re light-years ahead of anyone else in regards to music downloads.

    1. DRM-free music downloads.
    2. Choice of MP3 or Lossless (FLAC) formats

    But then, it got better.

    Now you can download video of their concerts, track by track. Whereas, I don’t know how many people want to be able to purchase a video of a song from a concert on an individual basis, but its nice to have the choice. But wait, it gets better.

    1. DRM-free
    2. MPEG-4 format.

    Excellent. What could be better?

    Free. And until January 15th, you can participate in their noble experiment by downloading an MPEG4 clip for free. Get while the getting’s good.

    (I still maintain that iTMS is the best current option for purchasing non-Phish music, since the vast majority of the industry is still lock-down obsessed.)

    Posted in: Music

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  18. DMB at Fenway Park in 2006?

    brian on 2005.11.21 at 09:03 pm

    Nancies.org reports the Dave Matthews Band may join the elite list of musical acts with the great honor of playing at Fenway Park.

    Very cool. Sign me up.

    Posted in: Music

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  19. Open Letter to Trey

    brian on 2005.11.10 at 07:15 pm

    Album Cover of Trey Ananstasio's 'Shine.'

    Dear Trey, *

    I’m writing you on my blog because you have no contact information at your website. Also, the topic of my letter is one that’s in the public eye at the moment.

    I’m very interested in buying your new solo album, Shine. However, I was very disturbed to learn that it is at the center of the Sony/BMG rootkit scandal.

    Read on to see why Brian won’t be purchasing Trey Anastasio’s lossless digital music when it employs sneaky malware that cripples his fair use rights.

    Read More

    Posted in: Music

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  20. DM's Sustainable Life

    brian on 2005.09.12 at 03:02 pm

    Dave Matthews often takes his musical profits and reinvests in the Earth. One such effort is his organic farm and vineyard, outside of Charlottesville, VA.

    Rocker and gentleman farmer-vintner Dave Matthews is on a mission to promote sustainability, starting with the vegetables, grapes, cattle and chickens on his property in Virginia wine country. – Gerri Hirshey, for foodandwine.com

    Posted in: Music · Nature

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  21. AOL Radio Client for Mac in Beta

    brian on 2005.08.29 at 05:16 pm

    AOL Radio for Mac InterfaceAOL is in transition. Its traditional revenue model was being America’s largest dial-up internet service provider. That is now in decline due to the significant growth of broadband in the United States. Now, they are attempting to become a portal and content provider.

    Read more for a review of the AOL Radio for Mac (Beta) Client…

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  22. Somatic

    brian on 2005.08.17 at 09:10 pm

    Soma FM out of San Francisco is one of my favorite internet radio outfits. Secret Agent may be my all time favorite stream. They offer a ton of different types of feeds (mp3, aacPlus, 3GP, and the format which won’t be named) over their many channel selections. Additionally, I listen to Groove Salad and Indie Pop Rocks! occasionally, as well.

    I mention this because someone has produced a widget for Tiger’s Dashboard for Soma FM fans. Check it out. (via.)

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Software

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  23. Guitar Solos, Storm Harvey, Fictional Critic, How to respond to jerky emails

    jake on 2005.08.04 at 12:44 am

    In this installment of link dumping we have some interesting tid-bits for all you readers out there. I’ll try and give my thoughts on the latest Harry Potter book if I get a chance. I finished reading it today.

    Posted in: Movies · Music · Recent Events · Web

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  24. Live 8, Uwe Boll needs a new job

    jake on 2005.07.05 at 07:24 pm

    There were a couple things I wanted to actually post about, but I’m distracted at work and can’t get my brain around them. I’ll just leave you with a handful of links to peruse.

    • Andy Budd has a Live 8 Funometer – I was busy with my bros’ (yes that’s plural) graduation parties so I missed it on TV. Though from what I understand, MTV really stunk with their coverage, filling it with ads and commentary instead of listening to the music. Hell, they probably sent some group of morons to the show and it’ll be some new reality series in a few weeks.
    • Uwe Boll has been killing movies for a while now, sign this petition to stop him. Too bad it’s not that easy.
    • Jason Kottke really gets around.

    Posted in: Movies · Music · Web

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  25. iPod vs the World

    brian on 2005.07.03 at 04:08 am

    As a follow up to Jake’s post about the Zen Micro I’d like to point our readers to this story by my favorite technology pundit, John Gruber, entitled “Shuffling” If you want to cut to the chase, skip down to the paragraphs that start with the heading “Simplification.”

    I imagine the engineers at Creative banging their heads against whiteboards listing all the features they offer that Apple doesn’t, while Apple’s market share continues to rise. It’s a cop-out to chalk this up to “marketing”, however.

    This is the major reason behind the iPod’s success: not because it has a lot of buttons, but because it only has a few, and they feel good when you press them.

    It’s not the feature set, or the wiz-bang. It’s the experience, it’s the whole, not the parts.

    (Sorry, couldn’t leave this alone ;-)

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  26. Live 8 Lives on via iTunes

    brian on 2005.07.03 at 03:45 am

    Only an hour or so into today’s mammoth Live 8 concert, iTunes was posting the Live 8 concert footage, ready for purchase, track by track with all proceeds going towards the Live 8 causes. [ITMS]

    Excellent.

    This is absolutely incredible. The DVD will be out in November but the songs are ready to download within hours of their performance. Does anyone doubt this is the future of music distribution?

    Anyone else think maybe AOL should have harnessed their Apple + iTunes connections and perhaps but Apple in charge of all the digital media for today’s event? But I digress…

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Politics

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  27. Live 8 is Over.

    brian on 2005.07.03 at 03:25 am

    I worked today so I had to TiVO the event, and from what I hear, MTV made a commercialized mess of things.

    “The World’s economic model is strangling the poor, now here’s a message from Wal-Mart, sponsored by Viacom.”

    That aside, MTV does deserve some credit when it brings important issues to young people, but man, commercials during a charity concert to help solve African debt seems inappropriate and ironic. This says to the world, “Hi, we’re America and we don’t get it.” I’m pretty sure they didn’t interrupt Farm Aid with commercials.

    When I got in late last night, I pulled up the portion of the concert where the Dave Matthews Band played their set and managed to find two songs. One song they were interviewing some teenaged girls instead of listening to the music. Ugh. I suppose MTV hasn’t been about music in years…

    That said, if you missed it, or if you, like me saw/will see the MTV commercialized and filtered version, you’re in luck.

    AOL will be showing the concerts via its AOL Music OnDemand website for the next 6 weeks. CMT and VH1 Classic will air concert highlights the Sunday featuring artists geared to their audiences. Also, a DVD will be made available from the concerts in November tailored to each country. (hat tip)

    Right now, AOL is looping the rebroadcast, so that means you’ll tune into a streaming Windows Media feed, if you can get a feed working at all. This morning I tuned in to a stream using Safari, but later in the day they were saying Safari was “unavailable” but that I should use Firefox. Except Firefox didn’t work either. During my break at work, we had to Apple technicians trying to tune into the feed with no success. If we couldn’t connect, then we’re guessing pretty much no Mac user was using that feed at the time.

    Things are not without hope however. They also state “Enjoy the looping broadcast of the concert. Come back soon to watch the entire show, song by song, on demand.” Which means, if it’s like the current one-song video of Paul McCartney and U2 performing Sgt. Pepper, then we’ll be in luck: that video was presented in stunning high quality QuickTime. The whole damn thing should have been an MPEG4 stream that anyone could have enjoyed without having to hop through Windows Media hoops. Of course, AOL’s Live 8 streaming today was sponsored by… surprise, surprise… Microsoft Windows…

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  28. Live 8 today

    brian on 2005.07.02 at 02:58 pm

    Live 8 is today. You can watch any of the worldwide concerts online at AOLMusic or MTV and VH1 will be broadcasting a mash up from 12noon till 8pm (EST).

    While enjoying the music, please add your name to the list on Live8Live.com and visit the ONE Campaign online and sign the declaration.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  29. Trying iFill on SomaFM

    brian on 2005.06.24 at 02:51 pm

    I’m trying out Griffin Technology’s newest cool product, iFill right now. iFill allows you to record streaming audio from internet radio and drops it on your iPod for later listening, not unlike a TiVO. I’m still trying to understand how it works so far as the timeshifting they talk about at the site, but I’ve only been using it for 10 minutes.

    I’m sampling Secret Agent, from SomaFM, of whom I really need to send a donation to. Here’s hoping Apple will add aacPlus format to iTunes for streaming, because now there’s two stations I listen to who offer it. Luckily, Soma still overs all feeds on their mp3 format as well. But I could be listening to 48k aacPlus instead of 128k mp3, and the sound would be similar, if not better… then we’d just need iFill to understand it and your iPod as well. Maybe when we get iTunes 4.9 with podcasting! If iTunes 4.9 adds that awesome feature (podcasts) I can’t wait to see what 5.0 brings…

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  30. Uberpost (random links and info)

    brian on 2005.06.24 at 01:28 pm

    Things bouncing around my head that you should perhaps know about, in no particular order:

    • Camino 0.9a1 – I’m posting from this latest update, which has a lot of new goodness in it.
    • New music:
      • John Scofield That’s What I Say [ITMS] – Jazz guitar great’s tribute to the late genius Ray Charles, featuring other stars including John Mayer, Warren Hayes, Aaron Neville, Mavis Staples and Dr. John. OUTSTANDING Especially like What’d I Say featuring John Mayer, Hit the Road Jack, and I Don’t Need No Doctor.
      • Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism [ITMS] – To resist Ben Gibbard sticky bubblegum alt-pop rock is futile. Especially enjoying The New Year, Title and Registration, and We Looked Like Giants. Excellent. If you enjoyed The Postal Service, then don’t miss Ben’s regular gig with Death Cab. Not that this album, nor the band are new. In fact I have friends who have listened to Ben’s assorted works for a while, but I’ve just now bought in.
    • MIT Weblog Survey – Do participate if you are of the blogging persuasion. It’s fun, and very well made from a technical standpoint. Cam Marlow sez… “Thanks so much for the respect on the design, I did invest quite a bit of time into getting the AJAX to work” and work it does. Be sure to check thr results as well, when you’re done. Worth the effort. Cam’s behind Blogdex, as well.

    Posted in: Music · Standards · Web

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  31. Bargains in Music

    brian on 2005.06.10 at 05:39 pm

    “I call it a bargain. The best I ever had!”

    Amanda has us on a kick watching CSI and CSI Miami. We generally enjoy CSI, but we find CSI:Miami utterly annoying and we mainly watch it so we can make fun of David Caruso’s character and his acting. Hello, he runs the crime lab, but spends most of his time leading the SWAT team and kicking down doors? Hello, artistic license! And why would a show that basically prays at the alter of science be sponsored by GM SUVs? (HUMMER on Miami, GMC on Vegas) Should people tuning in for their love of science know what these monstrosities are doing to the planet?

    One of the best parts about CSI is its use of music. Very good. Except the downtempo 2-minute music videos in the middle of each Miami episode. Club Chemistry! (UConn student TV reference).

    The theme music to the CSIs are all songs from hit The Who songs. They mostly get stuck in my head for days and I sing and air guitar along with them. So it was yesterday that I gave in an decided to head to the iTunes Music Store and invest in some classic The Who tracks for my iPod. { ITMS }

    When I was there, I found a bargain, the best I ever had. OK, maybe not the best, but damn good. One of the The Who‘s crowning achievements was the rock opera Tommy. { ITMS } You can buy the soundtrack/album for $7.99 24songs for 1.2hours of music. That’s an excellent deal. An honestly, the only reason I bought the whole album was the value. Otherwise I would have bought maybe four tracks. Instead I bought nearly two times as much (in dollars) because it was such a reasonable price. I was rewarded with the album-only track Underture which is more than 10 minutes long itself.

    I also picked up a few other hits, including the theme tracks to the CSI shows. I did not buy “Bargain”:http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=1008537&selectedItemId=1008217 { ITMS } but I’m debating going back for more.

    On a related note, you can pick up even more music, with longer tracks at an even more impressive price: $0. Perhaps that should be £0. That’s because of a new project the BBC has launched.

    BBC Radio 3 has a new initiative where over the next weeks it will be broadcasting the BBC Philharmonic’s performances of the nine Beethoven symphonies. The radio broadcasts will then be followed by the release of the tracks on the BBCs website for free download. MP3 format, 128kbps quality, no copy protection. Excellent!

    I have downloaded a few of the tracks thus far, and a few more are in progress. Symphony 2 is nearly an hour in length. Each track has an introduction by the host comprised of a three minute background on the piece.

    Go forth and download.

    Posted in: Music

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  32. DMB's Management Still Disrespecting Fans

    brian on 2005.04.25 at 03:57 pm

    In a follow up to my last post about the DMB on iTunes, I decided to go the band’s website and find out more about the album, it’s release date, etc. After enjoying the video selection (but not the site design, navigating the videos was arduous at best. Just heinous layout. Why do some designers feel they have to reinvent the wheel for each site? Your scrollbars and scripts suck and destroy the user experience!), I decided to go check out the pre-order for the new album, “Stand Up.”

    I’ve been a Dave Matthews Band fan since prior to their first album. A kid in high school (1992-1993) who used to give me rides to track practice had tapes his friends had sent him from Charlottesville, VA where Dave had just formed the band and was playing in clubs and bars. Within two minutes of hearing the music in this kid’s car I asked “What is this? It’s incredible” he answered “Dave Matthews Band.”

    Fast forward, I’ve been to dozens of concerts (the best way to enjoy their music) downloaded many, many concerts online (thanks to the band’s liberal non-commercial taping policy) and bought every studio album the day it came out. I’ve bought all but two of the live albums. I was a charter member of the band’s fan club The Warehouse but after two years, I decided the $30 a year fee was exorbitant, when other band’s clubs were free or $5 a year. I did get an exclusive CD (which was excellent) and some stickers.

    The main draw to the club is the chance to order tickets prior to the general public. DMB tix are hard to come by and this is a major plus. I remember the first DMB concert I attended in Hartford. The tickets were $17 (ordered prior to the Warehouse) and not hard to get. It was great. Now you can’t get any decent seat below $50 (before “service fees”).

    As a Warehouse member you get priority to purchase, but have zero say in where the tickets are, and certainly no discounts. The very first time I ordered tickets through the system, I got the worst concert tickets I have ever had. I wasn’t way far away, but I was so far to the side I couldn’t see but Dave’s nose sticking out beyond the speaker stacks. Awful. Those were the only tickets I got that year. So $30 membership plus ~$50 each ticket (for two) and still have to pay the extortionate Ticketmaster additional service charges (why isn’t this illegal? Ticketmaster is perhaps more evil than any oil company, maybe even in Enron-company) I spent well over a hundred dollars to attend one concert that I could hardly see and got one CD. Plus the member website was truly uninspired and devoid of content.

    To balance this, the next year I ordered, I had 7th row center for the same venue and price (I’m sure that went up some, but approximately). Despite all this, I left the club, and I am still sad about that. I feel I was an original fan and should be part of the club, but I refuse to be taken advantage of by DMB’s management.

    This is the basis of my love/hate relationship with the DMB. I love the DMB and their music. I jump up and down and yell and sing at the concerts like a high school girl. Carter Beauford is the single greatest influence on me as a drummer. If i could meet anyone in the entire world, honestly, it’d be Carter.

    However, I despise their management. Redlight Management/Music Today is as close to evil as anything I’ve ever seen. As proof, a friend told me that various business schools discuss their management tactics as classroom material. They absolutely extort the DMB’s incredibly devoted fans. They could not be any more the antithesis of the actual band who are phenomenally friendly and charitable.

    Take my experience today as one example. I decide that following tradition, I should order the new studio album. I go to their pre-order page, where they have several package deals in addition to the basic album. I was surprised that the prices were actually reasonable. $13.99 for the album on CD plus a bonus CD that has 5 more songs. I expected this to be at least $18. “Wow.” I thought. “Maybe they’ve changed their tactics!” There is also a special CD/DVD hybrid format called Dual-Disc which is CD on one side and DVD on the other. On the DVD side is not only some video content, but also the full album at 24bit 5.1 surround sound. Awesome. And it’s only a dollar more at $14.99. Without a doubt this is what I’m interested in.

    Scrolling down the page, I see the other combos which are the album plus different shirts, etc. At the bottom there’s a package that really interests me. The dual-disc album plus the three “Live Trax” CDs which are live albums only available direct from the band. Three concerts plus the new album for $59.99. A little steep, but a lot of music. I decide to invest in this.

    So I sign up for the MusicToday website so that I can check out. I’m moving merrily along until I get to the shipping and rates. There’s a note at the top of the page.

    Stand Up will be released nationally on Tuesday, May 10, 2005. All orders received before Friday, May 6, 2005 at 3pm will be shipped on that day. If you selected the 3-4 Business Days shipping option, Musictoday guarantees that your order will be delivered to you on the release date. You must select the 3-4 Business Days shipping option to receive the album on its release date. If you select our Standard shipping option, your order will take between 7 and 10 business days from Friday, May 6, 2005 to arrive.”

    Surprise! if you want to pre-order the album (good for DMB) and actually get the album by the release date (good for you, plus, isn’t that the point of pre-ordering?) you have to pay for special shipping! The rates are below…

    Standard shipping (Arrival after the release date)
    $10.74
    Express shipping (Guaranteed for arrival on release date)
    $15.99

    Even standard shipping is about twice what it should cost to ship a CD (or even four, like I was ordering!) Additionally, most places nowadays ship free on orders over $50 (unless the order is very heavy, CDs clearly are not). Amazon ships orders over $25 for free.

    This put me over the edge. I was about to send them $60 directly (without them having to sell wholesale to a retailer) and then they go and try to play this crap to their core fan base, who are of course, the ones who a) want to pre-order the album and b) get it at the earliest possible date!

    They are up to their old tricks again!

    I promptly ended my order and went to Amazon. I ordered the same dual disc album for $0.50 less, plus picked up a Trey Anastasio album I had wanted anyhow (to tap it over the free $25 shipping threshold) and the DMB got a significantly smaller amount of money from me. If the shipping on the site was even $7 I think I still would have ordered directly. But no. And this isn’t about money. It’s about respect. I may not get the CD on the release date, but I trust Amazon not to gouge me.

    RLM still considers DMB’s fan base it’s personal punching bag. Unscrupulous. Disgusting. Very sour taste in my mouth. I’m sad I won’t get those three concerts. One is even a Hartford show that I’m reasonably sure I was at. But I cannot stand nor will I support these ruthless tactics.

    Message to Dave and the guys: love the music, can the management. I’ve had to put up with them for 15 years, please do your fans a favor and dump RLM. You certainly don’t need them.

    Posted in: Music

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  33. DMB finally on iTunes

    brian on 2005.04.25 at 12:34 pm

    'American Baby' Cover ArtThe Dave Matthews Band has finally made it on to the iTunes Music Store. Their pre-release single, “American Baby” off of their upcoming studio release “Stand Up” is now available for download.

    Excellent.

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  34. Why Shuffle When you can Saunter?

    brian on 2005.04.23 at 02:34 am

    Reading Matt’s post on why he sometimes prefers his iPod Shuffle to his original style iPod made me wonder to myself, “Self, why do you use the Shuffle sometimes, and the regular iPod other times?”

    The answer I decided laid in usage patterns. I use the Shuffle in two distinct situations. One, when I run up the street for a bottle of lemonade or a burrito grande. I throw it in my pocket. Instead of deciding what to listen to, I embrace uncertainty.

    Two, on the train. I hop the T and I like the Shuffle in my front pants pocket. Should I be lucky enough to have a seat, should I want to change tracks or the volume, it’s easy. Despite a lack of visual interface, the Shuffle sports a cognitive–tactile interface. Here’s my home grown manual:

    Find the big circle: Play/Pause. Next track? Push to the left of big circle (assumes your headphone jack is pointing up in your pocket: orientation is key). More volume? Press above big circle… and so on. I don’t use the hold function (which deactivates the buttons, enabled by holding the play/pause for 3 seconds and confirmed by a orange LED flash) because since acquiring said Shuffle, I’ve mistakenly hit the buttons only once.

    Go forth and enjoy. Give Chance a Chance.

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  35. Nintendo A Cappella

    jake on 2005.04.14 at 06:37 pm

    Wow, The University of Wisconsin Redefineds’ have brought together two of my loves. Classic Video Games and A Cappella music.

    On Screenhead they pass you through to a video of the group singing a medly of old game music, mostly Nintendo.

    Posted in: Music

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  36. Why isn't MTV hip anymore?

    jake on 2005.04.06 at 12:15 pm

    I used to watch MTV when I was a kid. It was cool and showed music videos. The handful of regular shows revolved around music or were things like Beavis and Butthead that no one else would show. Hell, Beavis and Butthead got MTV blocked in my house.

    Everyone knows that now the channel is just a bunch of generic television like all the other channels. Occasionally you’ll laugh at Punk’d or see a new video that’s good, but mostly you’re just getting TRL crap and lots of filler that’s pretty boring.

    Now just to prove how old and stodgy they’ve become, MTV is releasing music videos and other “short-form” content on a “service” called Overdrive. They are touting the amazing features of watching it all the way through (like normal TV) or jumping to various parts (like a DVD). Of course we all know that most streamed video can do this if constructed right. It’s not new.

    Plus they’re using Windows DRM to screw up distribution. Music videos have been free forever. They’re not for making money, they’re a form of advertising to sell more CD’s. And the news? Why does that need to be locked up? All their doing is acruing more load on their servers by trying to force people to download directly from them. I assume they’ll have banner adds all over the place, so maybe they are just looking for traffic.

    And of course, because they’re using good old Monopoly Microsoft exclusively it’s locking out both Macs and web browsers outside of Internet Explorer. That’s a good method of driving traffic to your web site, lock out a whole bunch of people for no reason.

    From: Boing Boing

    Posted in: Music · Software

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  37. Copy Protection Sucks.

    jake on 2005.03.18 at 12:40 pm

    Green Day - American Idiot CoverFor the first and hopefully not the last post of the day I have a little story about copy protection and how it fails. I’ve read many remarks on Techdirt about how Copy Protection (not just music cds) does nothing but inconvenience people who would normally be honest customers. And now I have a personal experience which shows that.

    My brother owns the latest Green Day album and needed to make a copy of it. Now he ended up just ripping the CD into mp3’s and re-burning it. Not the quickest way, but still effective in making a copy. I got curious and had him bring it home so I could try with my off the shelf software. I made a perfect copy without flinching.

    Now you may ask, well who cares, you made a copy, maybe there wasn’t even copy protection to begin with. Well there is, and I hit it head on, when I tried to play it. I played both my copy and the original in my PB but it would not play in my PC. Hell it didn’t even show up as an audio CD, or as a CD at all. According to my brother it did that to him too.

    The scarier part is that since I did not hold down the shift key on first insert I may have unwllingly let it install sotware in the background on my machine. And as I understand it, this stuff can be a bitch to get off. Fuck you Warner Brothers. You have joined the ranks of spyware/malware ass holes. It’s nice to know you have no problem upsetting my Mom when she wants to play a CD, but the real pirates don’t even notice a hiccup…

    Posted in: Music · Rant · Technology

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  38. Boston Radio

    brian on 2005.02.24 at 02:23 pm

    Dear GBH,

    You’re a great organization. I admire your work greatly. TV, radio, internet, educational. I’ve applied to work there, even, in the past. Top notch. However, I have a few requests.

    One, for a town as rich in musical culture as Boston, I find it hard to believe that there’s no full-time Jazz radio station. Maybe you have market data that says that offering it only at night is best, but it makes me sad. I consider its absence a nick in our area’s cultural standing.

    One and a half, have you checked out Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current? It’s mostly modern and eclectic music. 24hrs. I really enjoy listening to it over the web (via great sounding aacPlus format) and am considering making a donation to MPR.

    Two, I’d love to see downloadable shows (aka “podcasts”) so I can listen to public radio when I don’t have a radio near me (almost never) but when I have an iPod (almost always). Note, streaming audio does not count. I then have to be attached to a computer and internet connection. The idea behind downloads is mobility. I’d certainly donate a respectable sum to GBH if they made their programming available in a time-shiftable, easy to obtain and listen to way. Right now, I cannot listen to enough GBH to make a donation worth while on my budget. Quality downloads would change that.

    Now granted, GBH doesn’t produce all the programs I enjoy on public radio, but here’s a list of public radio programs I would listen to (and in return pour donations into my local stations) if I had the chance:

    • Car Talk
    • A Prairie Home Companion
    • Motley Fool
    • Marketplace
    • Says You
    • Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me

    Looking through the lists of shows on various public radio sites, there are several that sound good, but I’ve never heard before. Downloads would allow me to sample them.

    I would suggest the AAC format, since it sounds best for the size, but for full compatibility I’d offer an MP3 download as well.

    It’s once again time for GBH to blaze the trail in public broadcasting.

    Posted in: Music

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  39. MPR's The Current a Keeper

    brian on 2005.02.04 at 06:00 pm

    Been listening all day to MPR’s The Current.
    It’s a keeper.
    Yes, MPR means Minnesota Public Radio. The Current is a station they’ve just started up with current music. Lot’s of genres, and no commercials. Occasional mention of what’s going on around St. Paul. No DJs talking over music, and only intelligent commentary. A great station to tune into for the working hours.

    Side note: the internet feed runs the new aacPlus format, that currently is only supported in VLC. That’s a gutsy choice, but it sounds awesome and the network overhead is tiny. Can’t wait to see this format adopted in more mainstream players, like iTunes. Proof once again MPEG-4 is the future of audio and video.

    Posted in: Music

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  40. Warner and Verizon look to fleece customers more.

    jake on 2005.02.01 at 01:23 pm

    Engadget is letting us know about a new arrangement between Verizon Wireless and the Warner Music Group. The basic premise doesn’t sound too bad. Using their new VCast service you can download video clips for $15 bucks more a month.

    The real kicker is that that’s only for basic content. $15 bucks just to get some news clips. To get the “premium content” you have to pay more. Now $3.99 might not kill you to download a game, but they actually expect you to pay that much for a music video. A music video? I realize that MTV doesn’t show them anymore ;) but you can download music videos all over the place for free. The whole thing about MTV is that it’s publicity. Your video is shown in heavy rotation and just like on the radio you hope that it increases record sales. Who in their right mind would pay $3.99 just to put a music video on their cell phone?

    I’d much rather just make the clips myself and put them on my phone, though I often wonder how much fun watching The Daily Show would be on a 1.5” screen, Verizon has already proven they just want money. In fact I may jump ship when my account is up this year…

    Posted in: Music · Rant · Technology

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  41. Donationware Music

    brian on 2005.01.31 at 02:06 pm

    I’ve just become aware of the existence of the donation-ware Chemical Brothers Remixed , where you can torrent a full remixed album (unavailable elsewhere) for free and it’s sanctioned OK by the band. The ask that you donate a CD’s worth of money (but leave it up to you) to their suggested charity.

    The group that made the remix, Always Outsiders, Never Outdone also had a similar effort with The Prodigy .

    Posted in: Music

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  42. Random Links

    jake on 2005.01.10 at 05:21 pm

    • I noticed on the Superficial a funny spoof of The Ashley Simpson Show.
    • The site that linked to that originally also had a link to a video of the 4-year old drummer. His fills could use a little work, but in general he plays very well for someone his age. He could be cool when he’s older if he doesn’t get full of himself. Otherwise I’ll have to start referring to him as “The Mediocre 34 Year Old Drummer.”
    • Gizmodo relays us to some interesting features on Hacking Netflix about adding profiles to user accounts. It has many benefits but I wonder if they thought about pushing movies up the queue if multiple profiles (family members perhaps) request a movie. I’m kinda excited to switch over from my Blockbuster account which I got while trying to barter referrals for my Free Camera
    • Unleashed is a new movie starring Jet Li, Bob Hoskins, and Morgan Freeman, looks pretty cool. Too bad Li spends the movie trying not to kill people. ;)

    Posted in: Movies · Music · Rant · Technology

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  43. Grey Album for the Eyes

    brian on 2004.11.17 at 01:09 pm

    Can I get an encore?

    Someone has taken the time to create a music video for DJ Danger Mouse's Beatles White Album / Jay-Z's Black Album mashup.

    Beautiful. See it before the man shuts the art down.

    The Grey Video

    Posted in: Media · Music · Web

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  44. Mosh: Eminem's Not-Your-Average PSA

    brian on 2004.10.28 at 11:29 am

    Eminem has released "Mosh" and song and video about the upcoming election, and choices our country faces. Very good. Here's a torrent to the QuickTime video.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

    Talk Bubble 3 Comments

  45. The big 5 are now the Big 4

    jake on 2004.07.21 at 05:33 pm

    I'm surprised this is going through the system. With the RIAA being huge assholes to the public you'd think people would think twice about extending their monopoly.

    Those poor independant labels.

    I'm surprised an initiative hasn't come about to join forces against them. Get a bunch of high profile acts, who make loads of money in other ways, to build and work with a new label to build up distribution and other usual overheads creating a new company that offers better rates for CD compensation. Join up with Apple and other download services to give customers what they want. Profit. Only instead of the shrugs of the underpants gnomes you'd have a sound business model.

    The big problem would be building support so that the Big 4 couldn't push around the people you're trying to do business with. Of course if you document all happenings you could produce a large lawsuit and then use the money to run them into the ground.

    I imagine this must be much more difficult than I can fathom, but it's not impossible and with a few huge acts moving over after contracts cease with their current labels you'd be huge right from the get go.

    Too bad no one who has the means to do this cares about the public and smaller artists. Maybe some of the many losing ther jobs can come up with something.

    From: Metafilter

    Posted in: Music · Service Announcement

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  46. DMB enters right race, but bets on a lame horse

    brian on 2004.07.15 at 10:46 pm

    As a follow up to a previous story, today, the Dave Matthews Band announced an exclusive online music downloads deal with Napster.

    Previously, the DMB had only sold limited music via its own website. Is it possible for their downloads to go from bad, to worse?

    Why? First of all, file format: Napster uses the Windows Media Format. Problem one, proprietary format. Problem two, poor musical quality. Problem three: draconian DRM. Problem four: requires Windows (2000/XP) and the dangerously insecure Internet Explorer. Problem five, requires a player blessed by Microsoft. Problem six: the tracks you download will not work on the world's most popular and iconic digital music player, the Apple iPod. Problem seven, the tracks will not play on computers that were likely actually used to make the music, and I'm willing to bet are used by some of the band members: the Macintosh.

    "So, Brian," you say. "You're a bit biased."

    I agree. But facts are facts. AAC is an open-format, one of the highest audio quality formats, that works on any platform (granted, the FairPlay DRM-enabled AAC tracks only play on Windows and Macintosh.) Oh, and sold on what is by far and away the world's most popular online music service. Which by the way, happens to work on the world's most popular music player... yeah, you know which one.

    "But, Brian," you say. "FairPlay DRM AAC is just restrictive as WMP."

    Yes, and no. First off, iTunes software and its legal agreements allow you to use your music on seven machines, Mac or WinPC. Napster? Three PCs. Also, iTunes let's you use your music elsewhere, without tethers: you can write a downloaded track to CD an unlimited number of times, which then you can use anywhere you want.

    So, do I sound like sour grapes? Maybe. But, I understand that DMB's management make TicketMaster look friendly. For example, many bands have a fan club. Most are free. Some who offer more charge a menial $5 or $10 a year. DMB's "The Warehouse" cost $30/year. I was one of the very first subscribers. Without question, I thought I'd get a lot for my money. What did I get that first year? A sticker, a five-track live CD, and access to a members' only site with very little content and rarely updated. I also had the chance to buy tickets for any concert before they went on sale to the general public.

    About those tickets, did my membership get a discount? Nope, full price-gouged. How about great seats? Ha! I was entered into a lottery! Someone in the general public who got tickets over the phone could easily get better seats than me. The first time I used the lottery, I got stuck so far off to the side at Foxboro, that I could only see Dave's nose around the stack of speakers! I was very pissed. I had better luck in other lotteries (my best being 7th row center), but that's not the point. Fan clubs are meant to treat a band's greatest fans with extra special treatment since they are the bands' best supporters, both financial and otherwise. But the DMB used the Warehouse as a way to keep their fans close as to keep them within gouging distance. Needless to say I haven't been a member since that first year (or was it two, I think I gave them one more chance to underwealm me). They disrespected me.

    This brings me back to my point: once again, the management is doing something good for them, not the fan. More of their fans use iTunes and iPods than likely all the other players and services combined. But because the management doesn't want to trust the fans to buy the whole album (iTunes only sells your album if you allow someone to buy the individual tracks from your album), don't expect DMB's management to do the right thing for its fans. By the way, at least 40% bought on the iTMS is bought as full-album. With the DMB's album being traditionally designed as such (versus say, a Brittney Spears album which may have one popular song, and a collection of unrelated ones), it's full-album percentage would likely be much higher.

    So what do I do as an iPod using, DMB devotee? Same as always: by the CD, and rip it. And then condemn it to a life as a high-fidelity backup. What would I do if tomorrow DMB released its music on iTunes? Same. Why?

    Well, as great as I feel iTunes is for me, I feel its much better for your average music fan. I buy a large percentage of my music on iTunes. But for certain music, I buy a CD. Why do that? Audio fidelity. I listen to my music at a higher bit rate than iTunes Music Store currently provides. Most people can't tell the difference, so iTunes is perfect for them: good prices, fast downloads.

    Where as I prefer to get my music via the internet, the only lossless place I can do that at the moment is LivePhish.com, which I do use regularly. Until iTunes provides a lossless download option, I will continue to buy lossless music (currently mostly CDs) from my most-favorite artists, like Dave Matthews Band (and other DM stuff) Phish studio stuff, Soulive, etc. I rip it to a high-quality AAC. Should audio trends change (say, like last year when I switched wholesale from MP3 to AAC) I have the original lossless files to reimport. With the switch from MP3 to AAC, I got better sounding music, and 20% more space to store it. I expect that to happen again. Perhaps soon.

    What would I do, if I were in charge of DMB's audio download strategy? First, I'd sign up for iTunes. Right now. No brainer. Second, provide for lossless non-proprietary downloads from our site (FLAC or SHN) for our album work, like they do now for their live downloads. If Apple ever came around to lossless, I would then switch that to their servers, and save our bandwidth. Personally, I would also not bother with the cost of DRM... all it takes is one person to crack it, and your music is everywhere. So to cripple all your music is useless. IMO, iTunes uses reasonable DRM to satiate the music industry, until they can learn that protection is lose-lose game. If you can make your music worth its price tag, then people will support you by buying. Respect is a two way street, artist and music industry should respect their fans' fair use, and then fans can respect their artists by monetarily supporting them.

    Respect starts at $0.99 a song.

    Posted in: Music · Web

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  47. Van Wilder Star to Fight Vampires

    jake on 2004.07.02 at 06:45 pm

    Hannibal KingSo I forgot to mention a weird thing I saw at the Spider-Man 2 showing a few days ago. They are releasing a third Blade movie. While not a huge surprise by itself, they added a couple of extra characters to the mix. One of them just so happens to be Ryan Reynolds. That's the guy from "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" and one of my favorite funny movies, Van Wilder. He's playing a guy called Hannibal King and it's kinda weird to see him toting guns and stuff.

    Also he recently became engaged to Alanis Morissette. He seems pretty busy.

    Posted in: Movies · Music

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  48. Dave Going Digital?

    brian on 2004.06.25 at 02:43 pm

    This rumor at Digital Music News says Dave Matthews Band will soon release its catalog in digital format to digital music stores.

    The rumor says the roll out will make the downloads album-only, which theorhetically excludes the only store to get downloads done right: iTunes. It also mentions "involve a tie-in with a major electronics retailer." Strike two for iTunes.

    I would hope for two things: 1) iTunes, obviously. I feel its best for most music fans. 2) High-quality downloads (lossless: FLAC, SHN, AL) like Phish does via Live Phish, for audiophiles. And people, like myself, who just think they are.

    Posted in: Music · Web

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  49. BMW (Mini) and the iPod

    jake on 2004.06.22 at 01:18 pm

    Mini Cooper ConvertibleI know Brian's the Apple guy but I had to make note of this because of my affinity for Mini. BMW/Mini and Apple are releasing a method for attaching an iPod to some of BMW's cars to listen to your music collection. I have to agree with Engadget with their view of its shortcomings. Hopefully by the time I can afford one of these cars it'll have some of the problems ironed out. I'll keep my fingers crossed they take this all into account when they work on the next audio system for the vehicles.

    Maybe if Apple integrates Bluetooth into the iPod directly, instead of a third party attachment, it can be used with the future implementation of the Mini. That would be friggin' sweet.

    Posted in: Apple · Art · Music

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  50. Copy-protected CD hits #1. Fallacies ensue and slow record execs cheer.

    jake on 2004.06.18 at 05:25 pm

    I can't believe that just because a copy protected cd has hit number one everyone is jumping to conclusions. The CD is already available on P2P networks and it's pointed out that the DRM is easy to get around. I was waiting for Techdirt to get in on it. I was having a nice relaxed day, and then the RIAA had to come along and ruin it by screwing consumers. Maybe my next couple posts will calm me down.

    I'd just like to add to the previous post. Cory, you're my hero.

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  51. New Music Tuesdays

    brian on 2004.06.16 at 12:14 am

    No this isn't an advertisement for the iTunes Music Store. Although, it was introduced to Europe today, rolling out in the UK, France and Germany. Enjoy all.

    No, I'm talking new Beastie Boys, and new Phish. (However, since you asked, both are available. Have iTunes? Follow these links to launch and listen: To the 5 Boroughs, Undermind)

    First, The Beastie Boys' newest To the Five Boroughs, is their first release in five years. A lot has happened in the last five years. The least of which is that their own record label, Grand Royal, went out of business. I don't think they had any trouble being signed for their latest album, though. In other terms, much hasn't happened in five years. For example, their sound hasn't changed a bit. So if you're a BB's fan, you'll enjoy this album. On the other hand, if you were looking for their sound and art to grow, and expand, perhaps experiment… you will be sorely disappointed. No growth, but well made hip-hop. Without expecting too much, I give it three out of five stars.

    Undermind from Phish is also a new release. Unfortunely, it will also be their final release. It's a real shame, too. This is a great album, and shows the strength of their song writing to have grown. American music will be than much lessened for their loss. Known mostly for their live shows, and advanced improvisational "jams," many people discount that their write complex, thought-provoking compositions and each member is a skilled technical performer.

    Additionally, if you order the CD from Phish directly, (or get one of the first x of those produced and sold at retail) you get an excellent DVD-Video documentary on the making of the album at "The Barn" in their home state of Vermont. (You also get a free sticker.) You will see a 23" Cinema Display several times, right in the middle of the studio. Rating: 4.45. out of 5.

    Interestingly enough, days before I received my copy in the mail from my direct pre-order, and days before it was available via retail outlets, I saw it on an iPod I was troubleshooting. Sad.

    Posted in: Music

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  52. Good-bye Ray Charles

    jake on 2004.06.11 at 01:33 am

    Ray CharlesI'd have to say my first experience with Ray Charles was watching the original Blues Brothers movie way back in 3rd Grade or so. He was an amazing musician.

    Posted in: Music

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  53. All Phished Out

    brian on 2004.05.26 at 02:07 pm

    Today I note the close of an era in American music. Yesterday, Vermont's Phinest band, and one of the world's all-time most successful touring bands, Phish announced that they were calling it quits after 21 years of good times. I am saddened by the news. They had become one of my favorites in the last few years, and it looks as if I will never get the opportunity to experience them live in the flesh.

    Recently, I've been digging Trey Anastasio's solo project very much. So the silver lining is that I should be able to get more of that. And here's to a reunion tour soon!

    Posted in: Music

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  54. RIAA Continues to Lie with Statistics

    brian on 2004.05.14 at 04:17 pm

    RIAA cooks the books to make a false case against file sharing. Again. Not that it's OK to steal music. But a billion dollar industry lying to make their case look worse than it is certainly doesn't make a great appeal to anyone's conscious. I prefer to buy my music online, whenever possible.

    Posted in: Music

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  55. Tabs... Begone!!

    jake on 2004.05.06 at 05:53 pm

    That is all for now. Enjoy.

    Posted in: Music · Politics · Web

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  56. New iTunes

    brian on 2004.04.28 at 07:22 pm

    Hey, iTunes 4.5 has a load of new features, but the best one for me is that I can now listen to my live music without the gaps between tracks. I listen to a majority of live music, and this is a godsend. Wish I'd brought my equipment to work so I could download and update!!

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  57. Bluetooth Stereo Adapter

    jake on 2004.04.14 at 01:47 am

    More from the realm of Bluetooth. D-Link has released some adapters. They allow wireless streaming of content to your audio equipment.

    From Engadget

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  58. Weird Al's parents die from carbon monoxide poisoning

    jake on 2004.04.12 at 12:03 pm

    My condolences go out to “Weird Al” Yankovic on the loss of his parents. I’ve always loved his music. One of my first albums (on cassette tape) was his “Even Worse“ album which I purchased from a fellow classmate in 3rd or 4th grade.

    More news from Google.

    Posted in: Music

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  59. "I love death" stick figure animation

    jake on 2004.03.04 at 12:15 pm

    A bit crude but "I Love Death" is a well done Flash animation. I didn't have a problem, but it might not be work safe for you.

    Posted in: Art · Music · Web

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  60. EFF Suggests Legit P2P Music Sharing for $5

    brian on 2004.02.27 at 06:39 pm

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has produced a brilliant white paper (admission: I only read the "executive summary") on how the music industry can finally halt their barrage of costly litigation, in exchange for a phenomenal opt-in revenue stream, and the legitimization of music downloads over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

    Their idea stems from history: when the music industry thought radio was the pirate du jour, and set up a mechanism for getting paid from that industry, and excluding any necessary legislative acts.

    Best parts:

    • US$5 per month for unlimited P2P use.
    • Opt in: if you don't download, you're not penalised: other ideas have included taxes on blank CDs... which penalize people who may not be downloading music... making everyone foot the bill for someone else's collection habits.
    • No new laws, no new lawsuits.
    • Lifting murky legal issues would allow the downloading technologies to really refine themselves.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  61. Grey Tuesday is Today

    brian on 2004.02.24 at 02:59 am

    It's Grey Tuesday. Kottke for example, is participating. I wrote this up a few days ago.

    Today, and everyday this site is grey. I don't care whether you think that's a coincidence or not. ;-)

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  62. Grey Tuesday

    brian on 2004.02.20 at 01:08 am

    If you haven't heard, the biggest thing in Hip Hop right now is "The Grey Album," a remix of Jay-Z's "The Black Album" a cappella vocals over top of DJ Danger Mouse's amazing remix of The Beatles (yes, The Beatles) "The White Album." I finally found the work last night and downloaded it. Very interesting, even if Hip Hop isn't your main genre.

    Now, you'll notice that I downloaded it, and didn't buy it. That's because I can't buy it, it's not for sale. It's a free work of art. That works like this: Jay-Z and his producers decided to release a version of his final album, with out any of the instrumentals, allowing others to remix the work. Since that, there have been a few notable releases, for example, "The Brown Album," which remixes Jay over top of jazz samples. I hear its very good (its next on my find list).

    DJ DangerMouse wanted to remix Jay-Z, using nothing but samples derived from perhaps the most famous album of all time. What you may not know is that now a days, you must pay a royalty to anyone you sample in a remix or Hip Hop tune. A far cry from the early, ground breaking work of the Beastie Boys in "Paul's Boutique." Such an album simply could not be made today, as the licensing fees would be astronomical. This is why "The Grey Album" was released on the Internet, without any direct benefit to DJ DM. He couldn't possibly afford to license those samples, so he didn't attempt to make a profit from it. It's not unlike a band playing a cover tune. An example, if the Dave Matthews Band plays "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan in concert, they don't have to pay a royalty (in my understanding) since they're not advertising that they're playing someone else's music, and are only covering one of his songs. This isn't the sole reason, or even a major fact as to why someone would buy a ticket to see them play. Hence, they don't owe a royalty. However, if they want to include that same song on their latest live album, the same song would need to have royalties since the album is selling his song as part of the advertised product.

    Now in this case, DJ DM isn't making any money (he's certainly upping his recognition, though, but he could have done that by covering Ricky Martin in an American Idol audition, too, while not paying a royalty) on the work of The Beatles. He is doing a few other things, that have positive economic benefits. First of all, I don't know of many Hip Hop fans who regularly listen to the Beatles. This promotes their work in a less penetrated market, makes them current to a younger generation. Secondly, it spreads the work of Jay-Z to people who might not have even bought (or even listened to) any Jay-Z album, who simply can't believe, and must listen for themselves to, a Hip Hop album built masterfully upon a rock 'n' roll standard.

    I find myself in the second group. I've always felt that Jay Z was a talented lyricist, although I don't necessarily care much for boastfulness, so I never invested much in him as an artist, per se. I had respect for him as a performer. Now, having listened to his words, I now know he has something to say (along side the token "bitches" and "ho's" "playas" "coca" "hustlers" etc.) , and I very well may invest in some of his work, most of all, ""The Black Album," since I now want to hear the original. I want to know what the hell HOVA stands for (yeah, I've heard the song, but I never listened closely enough to know that it serves as an AKA for him).

    Why do we still listen to the music of the 1600's, 1800's? Because the music of Beethoven, Bach, Holst lives on because its constantly replayed and reinterpreted by modern orchestras and conductors. "Borrowing from another artwork--as jazz musicians did in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators did in 1940s--will now land you in court." (quote from Illegal Art's site) However, most things in the 1900s will not receive the same immortality. They will perish due to the fatal repression of today's constrictive copyright. Most artists get their inspiration from other artists. A classic quote is "Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal."

    The Grey Album is great art.

    EMI is cracking down on the free distribution of this work. Grey Tuesday is a day of civil disobedience, February 24, 2004, where many websites will ban together to distribute the album in a sign of solidarity against short-sighted, artistically-asphyxiating copyrights. Join in. Get your copy at (aptly named) Illegal Art. Enjoy. Support art. Support artistic freedom.

    Posted in: Media · Music

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  63. ESPN Reporter Goes GaGa in interview of Stefan Lessard

    brian on 2004.01.28 at 02:32 pm

    ESPN (uh, EXPN, for eXtreme! sports! EXTREME!!) reporter Mary Buckheit goes crazy when she meets Stefan Lessard, bassist for the Dave Matthews Band at the Winter X-Games. Not a bad article once you sort through they 'teenaged-girl-meets-hunky-hero-star' junk.

    [PS- Stefan loves his iPod and the iTunes Music Store...]

    Posted in: Media · Music · Web

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  64. Don't Cry For Scott Blum

    brian on 2003.12.15 at 10:40 pm

    You'll have to excuse me for not crying for Scott Blum, CEO of "BuyMusic." You may remember their claims of being music for the rest of us (referencing the mythical "97%" of non-Apple users)

    "If you don't support Windows, you cut off 97% of the market," Blum said.

    Well Apple's iTunes and iPod has fully compatibility with Windoze boxes and today he's back with a different tune,

    "We're not achieving [Apple's numbers] at all," says BuyMusic CEO Scott Blum. "I've spoken with my competitors, and we're nowhere near [Apple's] numbers."

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  65. Recommended: Don't Buy Music

    brian on 2003.08.03 at 02:05 am

    Enjoyed today at work (hat tip, R021 Genii),

    Don't Buy Music

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  66. Weak copy: BuyMusic? Buyer beware...

    brian on 2003.07.25 at 01:52 am

    As with every good Apple idea, there will be a poor knock-off within the Wintel realm. That latest attempt is called BuyMusic.com. Instead of personally deconstructing their poor attempt myself (even though their weak attempt at satire in their commercials really gets to me because I think its more grounds for a lawsuit than anything else), I'll simply link to some reviews of it from Windows users who have used it themselves. Here and here. Wink.

    Posted in: Music · Web

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  67. PBS: Lessig v. RIAA, interpretations

    brian on 2003.06.14 at 02:55 am

    PBS Online has an excellent piece with Prof. Lawrence Lessig and the RIAA's Matt Oppenheim going to back and forth to answer tough questions on copyright, DCMA, fair-use, P2P, and the like. Very informative. The RIAA, while still obviously more interested in profit versus progress, sounds the most level headed I've ever heard it.

    Posted in: Media · Music · Politics · Technology · Web

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  68. iPod sure beats Musak

    brian on 2003.06.14 at 12:41 am

    Adam Porter knows music. He's a DJ. He owns a record shop. He runs a music design service. The latter means he'll pick out music to play at your business: (restaurants, clubs, retail, etc.) which best compliments your image. Here he's innovating. For a fee, he'll layout a music design for you business and then place it on a iPod. He'll hook it to your audio system, and then refresh it monthly. Songs and arranged playlists. These businesses already pay royalties to play music in their store, which covers the use of his music. That's pretty slick.
    (via MacMinute.)

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Technology

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  69. University powered music service?

    brian on 2003.05.30 at 03:04 pm

    In an attempt to stem colleges from being a hub for entertainment piracy, some colleges are considering running their own download services, which may even be paid for under a student's tuition.

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  70. Apple Music, part 2

    brian on 2003.05.03 at 12:18 am

    I guess you can say it's been a successful launch for the first week of Apple's iTunes Music Store and the new line of iPods

    At the Apple Store "LIVE!" launch party Friday night, fans were lined up hundreds deep to get their hands on the new iPods. At least four registers were non-stop iPod customers for two straight hours after the store re-opened at 6pm. Many bought more than one. Also available was this hot new accessory from Timbuk2 which I'll be picking up tomorrow.

    In other news, Billboard is reporting...

    The service, which went live Monday, sold an estimated 275,000 tracks at 99 cents apiece in its first 18 hours, according to major-label sources.

    Our friends at As the Apple Turns (who have magically resurfaced this week) are ciphering that...

    Figure first of all that the iTunes Music Store was maybe ten times more active at its launch... an average day...27,500 songs sold in 18 hours, or 36,667 a day... conservatively estimate that Windows support will increase Apple's customer base, say, eightfold, and international support will double it. That comes out to roughly 586,000 songs sold per day (@ 99¢ each)

    While Crazy Apple Rumors is reporting on the rumored iTunes for Windows...

    ...based on strict adherence to Windows interface guidelines it will be required to suck 43.5% more than the Macintosh version.

    Posted in: Music · Software · Technology

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  71. Apple Music!

    brian on 2003.04.29 at 01:34 am

    Well, could I not write up my impressions of the new Apple announcements (1, 2) today?

    First comes the Apple iTunes Music Store. I played with this on and off today, and I'm very impressed. Very visually appealing, pretty usable. Best feature: every song has a 30 sec. full-quality (AAC) preview. Other points: there's a lot of great music. 200,000 tracks as of today, thousands more weekly. However, there are some notable absences. Most glaring to me was Dave Matthews Band. Word is that some music is missing because it simply hasn't been ripped yet. Others, Apple is actually going back to the master recordings to get the best possible quality out of classic recordings. Lastly, some are holding out due to contractual issues, where they are individually negotiating with artists who control the digital rights personally. Some big artists notable for that have already signed on, like The Eagles. Some artists, like U2, have given exclusive rights to sell some rare tracks. U2's Bono also appeared in the promotional video, speaking from the heart about the importance of the iPod and the new service.

    iTunes 4 is new, and the only way to access the iTunes Music Store. Yes, that means no Windows. Yet. Steve has promised that by year's end. I played with iTunes today as well. Notable features: AAC encoding is optimized for the G4. I saw a CD track ripping to AAC at 16x speed. Awesome. The buttons have been redesigned slightly. Rendezvous sharing works amazingly well. Super simple.

    Question of the week: Does iTunes 4/Music Store use WebCore??

    iPods: new, and due in stores Friday. New dock allows you to hook up to computers, yes. But it's most understated feature is that it has audio out as well, which means you can use it to interface with your home stereo. Buy an extra to put anywhere you want to drop in your iPod. They're sold separately (and don't ship with the entry 10GB). Also, the iPod's interface: how long until other companies allow you to drop an iPod into their machine for interface?

    Slimmer, smoother shape. Backlighting, cool. New extra games, cool. Customizable menus, awesome. On the fly playlists... finally!!! USB 2.0: unimpressed. Same crappy belt clip. It can't all be roses, I suppose.

    Question of the day: how did Apple make the same iPod work for both Windows and Macs? Is it a pick-one deal, or may you forever go back and forth?

    All in all, a very happy day in Apple land. Check out the event, Friday night!

    Posted in: Music · Software · Technology

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  72. Record labels try squeezing stone.

    jake on 2003.04.23 at 03:51 pm

    Like in horror movies, two record labels are poking Napster with a stick to make sure it’s dead. Universal Music Group and EMI Recorded Music are going after Hummer Winblad in a lawsuit.

    The 23-page complaint charges that the Napster system, as conceived and implemented, “provided a safe haven for the rampant piracy of copyrighted works on an epic and unprecedented scale…Hummer Winblad knowingly facilitated infringement of plaintiff’s copyrights for its direct financial benefit.”

    Someone should do some market research and figure out that crappy music results in crappy sales. I still buy CD’s, when I like the band a lot, or I like the album a lot. Tha average person will not buy an entire album for $17.99 at the mall when they want one song. Sometimes buying a CD single is an option. But when an album has sixteen tracks, and they release only two, that’s fourteen tracks I might like. If someone wants only one of those fourteen, they’ll just download the song.

    That’s where the online music services can fill in. Too bad they’re just starting to get off the ground and instead of spending effort promoting the services heavily the industry is too busy with lawsuits. So all the public sees is a greedy conglomerate that rips off everyone. Consumers don’t like to deal with greedy conglomerates.

    To add to all the fun stuff going on, the plaintiffs are asking for the maximum $150,000 per infringement. So let me get this straight, I have U2’s One on my computer, I let my friend download the song from me. Wow, U2 just made $150,000. Oh wait, no they didn’t, the rest of the recording industry did.

    If you figure twelve tracks at $13.99 then the record industry as a whole, including the artists, makes about a $1.17 per song. That’s a lot less than $150,000.

    Posted in: Music · Rant

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  73. Babatunde Olatunji dies at 76

    jake on 2003.04.11 at 03:34 pm

    For being a drummer I'm not up on a lot of various music styles, well at least not on the people involved in them. Brian would probably be a much better candidate to deliver this post. But he's at work right now, so I will be default. I would have seen it earlier but Boing Boing's RSS feed has errors in it...

    Boing Boing reports that Babatunde Olatunji, the Nigerian drummer, died of complications from diabetes. He basically started the "world music" revolution. Though I have to agree with Xeni (from Boing Boing) who said, "Olatunji didn't make "world music," he played Nigerian music."

    Boing Boing post. (links to other sources too)

    Posted in: Music

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  74. DMB + The Nature Conservancy

    brian on 2003.04.10 at 02:32 am

    The Dave Matthews Band is teaming up with the Nature Conservancy:

    Dave Matthews Band will partner with The Nature Conservancy and others to offset the carbon dioxide emitted from the band's 21 trucks and buses, plane trips, 67 concert venues, and hotel stays during its 2002 tours.

    Got to love personal responsibility. Having the bucks to do this kind of thing helps, too. In short, they're (pay-rolling the) planting trees and backing Native American winds farms in South Dakota. Very cool.

    Posted in: Music · Science

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  75. Digital Music Files

    brian on 2003.04.08 at 05:25 pm

    iPod Lounge has an article defining and reviewing the different formats vying to be the heir to the MP3 "digital-music-on-personal-computers-etc." throne. MP3 is nearing 20 years old, and is limited by its age. Formats like AAC (AAC on Apple), Ogg and others vie to be the next generation de facto standard. Personally, I'm hoping for both AAC (licensed) and Ogg (open source) to succeed.

    Posted in: Music · Technology

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  76. March of Death

    brian on 2003.03.24 at 01:30 pm

    Not to be one upped by the Beastie Boys, Zach de la Rocha has risen from his self-imposed exile to post a free, downloadable track protesting the war. de la Rocha, late of Rage Against the Machine, has hooked up with DJ Shadow on a new project. The downloadable song is entitled "March of Death."

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  77. File trading may fund terrorism?

    jake on 2003.03.17 at 03:25 pm

    Next? Parking in handicapped spaces funds terrorism.

    According to an idg.net article I found via Yahoo! file sharing could be a contributer to terrorism. While it could be possible that actual software piracy accomplishes this, where a copy is made of a piece of software and sold on the black market, there is no way to say that downloading mp3's off of Kazaa promotes terrorism. There seems to be a distinction, but as pointed out on Kur5hin it is lost on the congressmen involved.

    But when subcommittee chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, asked Malcolm for examples of cases where file trading was connected to terrorism, Malcolm said he couldn't give concrete examples. "It would surprise me greatly if the number were not large," Malcolm added. "This is an easy enterprise to get into; the barriers of entry are very small, and the profits are huge."

    I'm not even sure this came outta left field. More like behind the concessions stand, next to that little pile of goo that someone just stepped in.

    Malcolm also called the creators of "warez" file-trading networks organized criminals, although he admitted warez fans aren't motivated by money. Many warez groups, who distribute pirated commercial software over the Internet, operate in a very organized fashion, Malcolm said, with a hierarchy based on how much individual members contribute to the group. Much of the pirated material on the Internet comes from warez groups, Malcolm suggested.

    Of course people involved with warez groups aren't interested in money. The whole friggin' idea is to get something for free.

    I am at a loss as to what the deal is here. How is crashing a plane into an office building and downloading WindowsXP for nothing synonymous? The simple fact that stealing a piece of software can be compared to stealing a person's life is disgusting to me. Until there is solid proof that a warez group is giving money to terrorists, copyright issues should be left out of this whole discussion...

    Posted in: Rant · Music · Politics

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  78. Natalie Merchant going it alone

    jake on 2003.03.14 at 06:45 pm

    I saw over at Boing Boing that Natalie Merchant has decided to not renew her major recording contract (actually, she got rid of it last August.) Her new CD, "The House Carpenter's Daughter," will be out soon. :)

    Ms. Merchant paid for recording and packaging "The House Carpenter's Daughter," including the $3.50 manufacturing cost of an elaborate box for the first 30,000 copies. (The CD will sell for $16.95.) The special package "was printed in America for three times the price in Hong Kong," Ms. Merchant said.

    "It's just not in keeping with American business practice right now," she added.

    Even so, "The House Carpenter's Daughter" needs to sell only 50,000 copies to break even, less than 15 percent of what "Motherland," her last album for Elektra, sold.

    Although I like some of her songs I may just buy this CD purely to "stick it to the man." Even if I enjoyed one song on the album, it would be worth it for that. ;)

    NYTimes (registration required)

    Natalie's web site

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  79. Speaking out

    brian on 2003.03.11 at 07:45 pm

    The Beastie Boys have released a single today, available from their website, for free, protesting the pending war on Iraq.

    "This song is not an anti-American or pro-Saddam Hussein statement. This is a statement against an unjustified war."

    This is their first publicly released recording in 5 years, according to MTVnews. (Guess they don't count "Alive" via their "Anthology." )

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  80. Michael Jackson Interview Thoughts

    jake on 2003.02.07 at 12:30 pm

    Well in my daily reading I came across something interesting over at kuro5hin.org. A little editorial on the interview last night with Michael Jackson.

    It was definitely an odd interview. And I tend to agree with the article over on kuro5hin. While it is pretty odd, and scary to boot, as long as his intentions are pure, there is nothing blatantly wrong with him hanging out with kids. He's obviously psychologically still acting like a 13 year old kid.

    I don't think he's technically a good role model for kids, but there are a lot of problems with our society today and it stems from terrible parenting. Acting like teachers are babysitters and then not giving teachers any respect or authority. No one wants to believe their kids are screwed up. Even though many of them are in fact very screwed up.

    I can relate a story. When I was eighteen I quit my job at Walgreens. I had an opportunity to get a job at Wal-Mart in the electronics dept. I got there and they offered me a position as a cashier till a new position opened up (so much for my tip.)

    Well I decided I would get a job somewhere I could have fun. Always being a Disney fan, and having a brother who at the time was six. I figured why not the Disney store? Sure I would have had to where purple, but I could get discounts, and I'd have fun goofing off there.

    Upon review of my application I was told that if I was to get the position I'd have to stay in the front of the store. I would not be able to go near the toys in the back, unless I kept right on walking into the break room. While I understand the concern, I wasn't trying to get the job so I could hang out and greet people as they walked in.

    I naturally went to Wal-Mart.

    That's just a random story where I was looked down upon because of my gender. Apparently because I'm male, I'm automatically a pedophile because I have a sensitive side.

    Sorry Mike, you need a little more charisma, you may not be doing anything physically wrong, but you're also not defending yourself very well.

    Posted in: Rant · Music

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