Spotify has officially announced its launch in Canada, as the music service no longer requires an invite for those wishing to try it. Canada’s launch marks the 58th country that now has the music service.
Bob Dylan "Like A Rolling Stone" Official Interactive Video
I didn’t know there wasn’t a music video for Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” already, but apparently not. Today they released the “official” and interactive music video. Use your up and down arrow keys (or the buttons in the video) to change the channel as the video plays. You’ll get it after a bit.
This is something that really is a new take. Pretty friggin’ amazing.
Boil the Frog lets you create a playlist of songs that gradually takes you from one music style to another. It’s like the proverbial frog in the pot of water. If you heat up the pot slowly enough, the frog will never notice that he’s being made into a stew and jump out of the pot. With a Boil the frog playlist you can do the same, but with music. You can generate a playlist that will take the listener from one style of music to the other, without the listener ever noticing that they are being made into a stew.
Spotify to Launch in Canada… exciting news! No dates yet, but it’ll be nice to have. The US folks sometimes forget that a lot of the services they take for granted (Hulu, Spotify, etc) are all not available outside of the good ol’ US-of-A.
STOCKHOLM—Spotify is set to launch its popular music-streaming service in Canada, and has further plans to possibly expand into Asia and South America, according to the Anglo-Swedish company’s recently published annual accounts.
But you guys and gals wouldn’t do that, becuase you aren’t dirty, filthy cheaters, right? Of course not. Let’s go over the actual results. Remember each sample was ranked in a simple web form from 1 to 5, where 1 is worst quality, and 5 is highest quality.
CDs, unlike DVDs or even Blu-Rays, are considered reference quality. That is, the uncompressed digital audio data contained on a CD is a nearly perfect representation of the original studio master, for most reasonable people’s interpretation of “perfect”, at least back in 1980. So if you paid for a CD, you might be worried that ripping it to a compressed digital audio format would result in an inferior listening experience. […]
Sorry folks, bit of a busy day for me, and sadly that makes a slow news day here at UFies.org. However if you're on the road you may want to check out the new HTML5 Music Player that Streams in the Background from Grooveshark. Works great on my iPhone, and any html5 compliant browser. Not goe-restricted either, as I can play it in Canada (unlike spotify and it's friends).
Short story, a google version of the iTunes Music Store, and (currently) only available in the US (but available now). This all sounds wonderful, but sadly as a Canadian, I won't be able to see or experience it (possibly for a very long time, based on the fact that going to Google.com/music sends me to the user not invited page. *sigh*.
There's the About Google Music page you can get more info on it as well. Still haven't heard anything other than "in the US" from the keynote.
Delmar shared this on Facebook and as a fan of Firefly I had to pass it on: Mal's Song. Basically a full version of the Firefly theme song with full lyrics and a well edited video to go along with it. To echo Del's comment, dammit, now I must go out and watch all of Firefly again....
I hate to say it, but this image pretty much sums up my thoughts on the Announcement by Apple that The Beatles are on iTunes. Don't get me wrong, I am a big Beatles fan, but I think that anyone who is a fan will have had their music ripped or in digital format already, and hasn't been waiting for the last 50 years for Apple to make it available. However, it's nice to finally have that loose end tied up :)
Also nice to see that they have put a couple of the concerts online, it's cool to see the boys from Liverpool play.
Looks like there's a chance that the infamous JoCo (Jonathan Coulton) might be coming to Vancouver. According to his JoCo in the Future page he lists Vancouver as "Maybe" and "TBA" for more info. Feel free to flood @jonathancoulton with messages of support for a trip to Vancouver.
JoCo, if you don't know, is the mind behind "Still Alive" from the Portal Video game, "Code Monkey", "Re: Your Brains" and many other great comedy geek music hits.
Ever wanted to check out one of the funky new iTunes LP albums from Apple but not want to pay for it (you cheap bastards!)? Well, now you can get not only a free iTunes LP formatted album, but also 20 tracks of Christmas music in their iTunes Holiday Sampler (itunes link). I'm not a big Christmas Music fan, but hey, free music!
If you were looking at the calendar this morning and thinking "I just know there's something happening today," and when you got into work still couldn't remember? Well, it's the Zune HD release day! Also Microsoft has released new Zune software. Optimized for Windows 7, a smart DJ mix feature similar to the iTunes Genius, mini mode, and more.
NIN|JA 2009 is a place where you can get a free sampler pack of music from NiN, Jane's Addiction and Street Sweeper (who I've never heard of). Like the last couple of NiN projects, this is free, DRM free music from MP3 to FLAC to uncompressed WAV files. Pretty awesome, great to see that they "get it".
Article on Qtrax from ZDNet. Qtrax is a new music download service... "free and legal" music downloads. Sounds like the real story isn't quite as rosy. Google for Qtrax news and I'm sure you'll find lots of other info on it. Doesn't sound like it'll replace my bittorrent music acquisition system any time soon....
Personally they are a miss for me. I honestly zone out because there's no focus or anything to draw me in or make me watch all the way to the money shot. Most of the commercials really have nothing to do with the player or any advantages it has. The first three basically are random shots of people socializing in a park, with some of them listening to generic looking mp3 players as a complete aside (to my eyes). The features that the Zune has that set it apart (large screen for video, wifi, landscape mode, comes in black, xbox integration, "social networking", etc) aren't mentioned, or highlighted. In fact, in watching the five spots, other than it's use for listening to music, I saw only one quick reference to watching videos (I think, it was a quick shot of someone turning it sideways, perhaps a reference to the landscape video mode) and perhaps a reference to the filesharing abilities by showing two zunes sitting beside each other.
The videos are very... "amateur looking". Not as if they weren't done professionally of course, but that stylized look. Definately focusing on the social aspects rather than the technology itself (maybe on purpose?).
Compare this to the iPod ads. They are a lot simpler, concentrating on the hardware itself and the enjoyment of music, or at least that's how I interpret it. Following the Apple simplistic style I particularily think that this U2 Video iPod ad is well done. A simple music video, and it just pulls out to show it's playing on an iPod, saying a lot.
Of course, I have a feeling most of the Zune marketing has been the grassroots kind that's over at ZuneInsider.
Anyway, I'm interested to hear what others think about the Zune marketing so far.
The boys over at Songbirdsnest have released Songbird 0.2 onto the world. This is not the 0.02 release from last month.... nope, we dropped a whole zero! Songbird is a Firefox based music player/library/everything. From their page:
"It’s like taking iTunes, ripping out the music store, and replacing it with the rest of the internet."
Some would of course argue that the iTunes store is the best part of iTunes, and taking it out would be like saying "it's like a car, but you take out the engine and put in the whole rainforest!" (ok, so coming up with analogies on the fly isn't one of my strong suits :) Hit their screencast for a nice explanation of what's going on.
Speaking of the iTunes store, if the GNOME Music player Banshee has a plugin to allow you to access the iTunes music store, I'm sure that can be plugged into this app.
One thing that I'd like to know is can I sync podcasts to an iPod (or other music player) with it? I presume something like that will show up before release though, this is version 0.2 only of course. As far as the idea it's pretty cool, scraping for media, etc etc. Anyone using this yet?
Discovering Music You Like
Found out about Discover Music - Pandora through Lifehacker (new must read blog I just discovered). I'm not sure exactly how it works, but basically you tell it a song or artist you like and it finds and then plays a song by that artist. You give a thumbs up or down as to if this is the type of music you like, and if plays music similar to that.
In my case I started with typing in "Blue Rodeo" as the band, it played "Bad Timing" as the example tune, and then from there played "I'm Over You" by Keith Whitley. Not exactly the same genre, but the same "sound". From there it went to "You Woke Up My Neighborhood" by Billy Bragg, who I've never heard of, but again, had the same sound.
iTunes Music Store Comes To Canada
Oh great, the iTunes Music Store (where you can buy legal (DRMed music online) is now available for canada. Glad to see we're no longer left out, which is good, but now I can spend money there, which is bad. Evil I say, Evil!
NickleBack Songs Re-hashed?
Interesting... Fark pointed to this site which compares songs from Nickleback (a Canadian band, for those of you who've never heard of them) to see how close of a sound they have. You listen and decide.
Boing Boing pointed to a site called Music Plasma, which is a nifty little flash app which creates a visual relationship between the artist of your choosing and others that are related. No idea where they are getting their information, but it's very similar to what AudioGalaxy (if you remember them) had, as well as various other services which have a "others who have listened to this music also enjoyed...." link. Seems like a great way of searching for new artists to listen to though! Now this just needs to get integrated into MusicBrainz :)
Check Your MP3 Quality EncSpot by GuerillaSoft is a nifty little windows app that will check the quality of a folder of mp3s and report back to you. Sounds like a good way to do spot checking for dups, select the higher quality file, etc.
Nelly Furtado's New Album Online In Full
Maybe Nelly Furtado gets it as well. Her new album, Folklore is available online for your listening pleasure, before it's released. I'm sure it's out there in other forms as well, but they have struck a deal with the MTV folks and it's there for the world in Real format. I really enjoyed her first album, looking forward to listening to this one.
New MusicBrainz Tagger (0.10.0) Released
A new version of the MusicBrainz tagger is available for download (win32 version). This version fixes some bugs and adds a bunch of new features (a "saved" tab, ability to have a different filename mask for music by Various Artists...).
MusicBrainz is a tool that allows you to identify and tag mp3 and ogg files based on a generated ID, not relying on existing ID3 tags. So all that music you have that has tags that aren't necissarily accurate, pop them into the mb-tagger and let it go and figure out the correct tags for them, then let it save them into a nice directory structure for you.
On Filesharing and ArtistsDownhill Battle is a site dedicated to makeing people aware that when you buy a CD legitimately you are indirectly hurting the artists by supporting the RIAA, and so on and so forth. An interesting site, with some interesting flyers. I'm not sure if this is conspiracy theory or good sense. Is the push to "be legit" the RIAA trying to guilt people into giving them even more money and perpetuate their monopoly or the desire for honest people to get their music from legitimate sources, and not be pirates? What do you think?
She isn�t turning to the internet as a backup vehicle, but as the vehicle to promote herself and sell her music. Where, I should add, she could easily earn just as much in revenue by selling a quarter (or even less) of the units she moved while under a commercial contract. The profit margin is that much better, if you have the know-how, the technology, and the drive.
Apparently she is also the first successful recording artist to deliberatly leave. Good for her, I've been a huge fan ever since Iambe introduced me to "Tiger Lily" ages ago.
My uncle doesn't agree that if you reduced the cost of CDs, you'd reduce the piracy. I say maybe yes, maybe no. You might not reduce the piracy, but you'd turn more profit from CDs I think. Right now I'm working for myself, doing the contract programming gig... money is tight. The decision on whether to buy (for example) the new Elvis CD (the 30 #1 hits one) would be a lot easier if the price wasn't over $20 (Canadian). See, if it cost, $3.00, or even $6, that's almost pocket change, and combined with what you can find in the couch, it's affordable. But with CD prices what they are, going in and buying more than two or three CDs is going to be a major purchase. When I filled in my collection of U2 CDs a while back I paid over $100 before I walked out of the store!
Anyway, I think that the opportunity to have consumers do impulse purchases would dramatically go up if CD costs went down. Then it would be worth it to them to just grab a CD instead of downloading from Kazaa or whatever. Of course, this leaves out the issue of buying a 12 track CD with two songs on it you want to hear, and the rest "filler" :)
Erhmm... anyway, Tom's got some good stuff to say about this, how he won't charge over $65 for a ticket to a concert (when he's being told he could charge $150), radio, and lots of other stuff. Kudos to Tig for pointing it all out.
There is a great article on k5 about Audiogalaxy and their little stint with the RIAA. I didn't realize that to comply with the 3000lb gorilla^w^wRIAA they have to block all songs, even the ones that have no copywrite violation, such as geeks in space, and pretty much anyone who is sharing their own music. So basically here is a great example of the RIAA fucking over everyone. Hope I don't sound too bitter :) AG is/was a great system.
High Quality Digital Music Collections
I've had a fairly large mp3 collection for a while now, and it has been an interesting learning experience finding the tools that are needed to do quality checking, renaming, methods of file naming, and the whole works... in fact, I plan to write a little mini-howto someday about this all. What I'm wondering is how would one go about starting a digital music collection? Not collecting from the net, but from CD. Some fundamental choices have to be made right from the start, and I don't know the answers. IE: mp3 vs. ogg, high bitrate vs VBR, what encoder to use, etc etc. Any audiophiles out there that can throw advice out to the community?