Yahoo tool eases music playback from personal Web pages

If you often link to music files from your personal Web page or blog, and have some control over the code on that page, Yahoo's got an interesting tool for you. With a few lines of very simple Javascript code, you can add small "play" buttons that link to specific songs. When users click those buttons, the Yahoo Media Player launches, letting visitors play the song without leaving your page. There was a previous iteration of the Player, but it worked only on Yahoo Music and linked only to music files from Yahoo's own site.

How does it work? Judge for yourself--these are two songs from old bands on which I played bass (so I have at least a plausible claim to partial copyright). I simply followed the instructions here and here (to insert album covers). Click on the small arrows (after the page break) and they'll play right within the Yahoo Media Player at the bottom left of the page. (Worked for me on Firefox on Windows XP, your mileage may vary!)

Click the 'Read More' button below to listen to the tracks.… Read more

Sony BMG signs onto Amazon's DRM-free music store

It's a full hand of cards for Amazon: the Web's mega-retailer announced Thursday that it will be selling music from Sony BMG Music Entertainment in its Amazon MP3 store. This means that Amazon MP3, which only sells "naked" tracks without any digital rights management (DRM) protection, now has deals with all four major music labels. Because of the lack of copy protection, any song from Amazon MP3 can play on virtually any media-playing device, from PCs to music players to cell phones and PDAs.

The DRM-free songs from Sony BMG will be available for purchase on … Read more

LionsGate: Piracy a major deciding factor for Blu-ray support

At CES on Monday, I was invited over to the Blu-ray booth to speak with top executives at the major Hollywood studios supporting Blu-ray. And while I didn't have the chance to speak with every studio, I did get to speak with the president and chief operating officer at LionsGate, Steve Beeks.

And while Beeks seemed like he had solid command over the finer points of the movie industry, I was interested to see why his studio chose Blu-ray over the alternative.

Expecting the canned answer like, "Well, we thought it was the superior format and I'm happy to say that we were right," you could imagine my surprise when the very first reason he gave was Blu-ray's piracy controls.

For those of you who don't know, Blu-ray's piracy controls--largely based on AACS, BD+, and BD-ROM Mark--are easily the most stringent format to date and have only partially been circumvented to this point.

Regardless, I was utterly appalled at the thought that with all of its benefits--high-capacity, interesting new features to employ while playing movies, major industry backing--Beeks chose piracy as the first talking point.

Of course, I had to find out more.… Read more

It's adapt or die for record industry, execs say

Correction 5:35 p.m. PST: This blog gave an incorrect last name for the head of EMI Music's digital business. He is Barney Wragg.

Because I had to leave Las Vegas on Wednesday, I was only able to catch the first two sessions of the one-day Digital Music Live conference, a conference about technology and the music industry co-sponsored by Billboard and the Consumer Electronics Association (who's behind CES). Nonetheless, the morning speakers had some interesting thoughts.

First up was Gregg Latterman, president of Aware Records, whose company manages multimillion-selling artists The Fray (which had already been … Read more

No more waiting for Bittorrent files to download; listen right away with Westream

Not to be confused with UStream, a new technology put together by the folks at BitLet (coverage) called Westream lets you listen to music files that are being distributed via Bittorrent. Up until now there hasn't been an easy way to listen to Bittorrent files without downloading the entire file, or group of files. In the case of Bitlet's system, all you have to do is drop in the URL link to a Bittorrent file, and the system will pull up the tracks, complete with a player that lets you pause, skip songs, and increase and decrease the … Read more

What every Taser needs: a music-playing holster

If washing machines and George Foreman Grills can be used to play MP3s, then why can't the Taser? Everyone's favorite stun-gun maker has found a way to do just that, with a new "music player holster."

The accessory comes with 1GB of memory so you can blast away while blaring The Ride of the Valkyries or whatever else you choose for your theme song, according to Audio Junkies. The black leather case would be the perfect complement to the new Taser C2 "self-defense electronic control device," which can zap a perp up to 15 … Read more

Zap to roll out 'Made for iPod' electric car

Having already capitalized on the green movement, electric car maker Zap is hitching its star to another unstoppable trend: the iPod. The company, which has made headlines in the last year for expanding its lines to include higher-end models such as sports cars and SUVs, reportedly plans to unveil a "Made for iPod" auto at next week's Macworld extravaganza in San Francisco.

The model will feature a head unit that will accommodate the music player and pipe its tunes directly through its speakers, according to iLounge, using its new "iZap" power system made specifically for … Read more

Music industry urged to drop download prices

The music industry needs to drastically cut the price it charges for downloads if it wants to survive the Internet revolution, according to CEO of one of the world's most successful independent labels.

Terry McBride, CEO of the Nettwerk Music Group, which manages such best-selling acts as Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies and Dido, told the CES conference today that the music industry needs to "let go it's control and let consumers own their music" in order to survive.

The industry, McBride says, has been "hitting a glass ceiling" in terms of sales. It won'… Read more

iPhone Accessories: Sounds like... a blimp? B&W and THX offer some new speakers to plugin your iPod/iPhone

So yes, there are iPhone-related products at CES 2008 primarily focused covers and protective skins and audio speakers. Two products that really caught my eye in terms of form and function are B&W's Zepplin (yes, a Zeplin, like the Hindenpeter of Family Guy fame - hope this one doesn't burst into flames) and THX/Razer's Mako speakers. Both are definitely against the grain from a Bose or a Altec Lansing iPod docking audio system. I've never liked the Bose docks - the sound is too grainy or metallic, and the Altec Lansing product at … Read more

Napster kicks it old school with MP3

For my money, one of the most exciting pieces of news coming out of CES this year is Napster's announcement that the service will be offering up its entire download catalog in the DRM-free MP3 format. It may not be free, but it still hearkens back to the olden days of Napster. Of course,'s digital music store has been selling MP3 files for months now (and eMusic much longer than that), but having another major online music service push for the most universal of digital music formats is just one more step in the right direction--it … Read more