At a press conference in Amsterdam this weekend, Nokia launched a new service dubbed "Comes With Music." As the name suggests, it's all about music. The promise is that customers buying a compatible handset from Nokia get a year of unlimited downloads from a huge catalog of tunes. More interesting still is that the music is yours to keep even after the year-long subscription ends.
Okay, let me clarify that headline a bit. For starters, the "new" album in question, Frank, is actually Winehouse's debut album from 2003, newly released in the U.S. Second, there's no actual shipping involved: The album gets delivered to you electronically. Finally, what the heck does this have to do with cheap tech? In this case, the medium is the message: I'm using the album to point you to Amazon MP3, where you can save money (and time) on music purchases.
The store sells DRM-free MP3s for 89-99 cents apiece; most albums sell for $… Read more
Today, Toshiba announced an 80GB hard drive for automotive applications, doubling the capacity of current automotive hard drive offerings. Over the last year, we've seen an increasing number of cars with hard drive-based navigation and music servers, but the capacity topped out at 40GB, in the 2008 Cadillac CTS. An 80GB internal drive would likely reserve 10GB for map storage, leaving 70GB for music, video, and photos. The new 80GB automotive drive is 2.5 inches, similar in size to a laptop hard drive. Laptops have had drives well in excess of 100GB for some time now, but automotive … Read more
Starting Thursday at the Eyebeam Gallery in Chelsea, the four-day Blip Festival celebrates the new(ish) musical genre "chiptune" and its associated fat-pixel video aesthetic. Brooklynites, run down there, would you, and report back on the "40 artists adopting and repurposing familiar but forgotten hardware--such as the Commodore 64, the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Atari game console and home computer line, and the Nintendo Game Boy."
Read the full story at The New York Times .
This month's Wired feature on Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris--which was posted online--has received a lot of commentary, most of it damning Morris as representative of a clueless and mortally wounded industry. The following quote, in which Morris talks about the dawn of the MP3 era, has drawn particular interest:
"There's no one in the record company that's a technologist. That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do." He goes on to explain that he … Read more
Earlier this month I spotlighted Nexus Radio, a free Internet radio app that streams music from 38 genres and also lets you capture, edit, and save tunes.
Not being able to drag and drop music files from the desktop to the playlist was one quibble I had with a previous version of Nexus Radio, reviewed in a First Look video. Instead, users had to waste clicks going though the app interface to add songs.
This version hops the hurtle, and playlist-building is easy-peasy once again. It's a little upgrade that makes a big difference in user-friendliness, and it's … Read more
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but try telling that to The Romantics.
The new-wave rock band has filed a lawsuit against Guitar Hero game publisher Activision for its use of a sound-alike recording of What I Like About You in Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. The band is also seeking an injunction against the game, which could result in the game being pulled from store shelves.
The band isn't claiming Activision infringed on its copyright of the song; indeed the game publisher had permission to use … Read more
This week in the New York Times, op-ed columnist David Brooks mourns the passing of what I'd call the classic rock age. This was the era in which everybody learned about a musical act at the same time--the fabled Beatles-on-Ed-Sullivan moment--and it wasn't uncommon for active bands consisting of young people to sell out 20,000-seat arenas. (John Bonham and Robert Plant weren't even 30 when Led Zeppelin sold out the 60,000-seat Kingdome in Seattle in 1977. When's the last time a young, non-nostalgia-act rock and roll band had that many fans?) Brooks argues the … Read more
DanceJam is a well-thought-through Web site about dance and dancing, surrounded by what looks to be a solid business plan. I tried out the still-closed beta and then got a run-through of the site and the business by the exec team, CEO Geoffrey Arone and CTO Anthony Young (co-founders of Flock), and Chief Strategy Officer MC Hammer (blog). That added a bit of novelty to the meeting.
The first pass on DanceJam is this: It's a site where people can upload videos of themselves dancing and see other dance videos as well. The site will host contests in various … Read more
Earlier this year, I expressed skepticism that the iPhone would be able to break the convergence rule: historically, consumers have preferred devices that do one thing well over devices that combine multiple equally important functions. (The big exception being the personal computer.)
Some figures released today by retail researcher NPD suggest I may be wrong. Of the 38 million phones shipped to U.S. consumers last quarter, 50% of them were able to play music. That's up from 25% in the previous year.
Doing some quick math, it appears that the iPhone made up about 6% of all music-capable … Read more