Chinese hackers have figured out a way to generate iTunes gift card keycode numbers and help themselves to songs from Apple's music store. The hackers have been selling pirated $200 iTunes gift cards on Taobao for as little as 17.9 RMB, or just $2.60--a savings of almost 99 percent!… Read more
Earlier on Friday, Mufin launched its music player, which analyzes the songs in your music collection based on their audio content, rather than on human analysis or genre.
Human analysis, naturally, is subjective, and genre labeling is totally arbitrary and unreliable--I particularly hate the meaningless label "Alternative," which can apply to everything from dead-slow acoustic to fast punk; it's more about the hairstyles of the artists than the content of the music.
Once Mufin has analyzed your tunes, it can recommend similar-sounding songs from your collection. It also catalogs songs in its online database and can recommend … Read more
EMI unveiled a new feature on iTunes Tuesday called iTunes Pass, which allows Depeche Mode fans access to the band's upcoming album and other selected goodies.
Apple chose to let EMI make the announcement for iTunes Pass, a new service that will gradually release tracks until the middle of June from the album Sounds of the Universe along with exclusive remixes and videos for $18.99. This is a separate offering from the album itself, which is scheduled to be released on April 21 and can be preordered for $9.99.
At the moment, it appears EMI and Depeche … Read more
Cheap tools to help independent musicians sell their music online are proliferating like mushrooms after a rainstorm: last month I wrote about Audiolife, which gives bands an online store to sell CDs and merchandise with absolutely no up-front costs (they take a cut of sales as you make them). Since then, Audiolife was kind enough to send me a sample CD and t-shirts, and they look and sound adequately professional--certainly fine for independent musicians on a limited budget, although nobody's going to confuse them with the deluxe version of the latest U2 album.
But Audiolife's download store is … Read more
Eliot Van Buskirk over at Wired has an interesting post today about Seattle band Presidents of the United States of America.
In addition to selling its songs on iTunes in the normal fashion, PUSA has just released a $2.99 application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that will let you stream songs from four albums (the ones whose rights are owned by the band), plus assorted other flotsam (live tracks, demos, whatever).
The application was built by Melodeo, whose vice president of business development is none other than PUSA's Dave Dederer.
The songs are streamed, not downloaded, which … Read more
One of Apple's most persistent European critics regarding the use of digital-rights management technology on the iTunes Store has dropped its complaint following the company announcement that iTunes music would soon be DRM-free.
Norway's consumer ombudsman, Bjoern Erik Thon, said Wednesday that he would drop his complaint against iTunes before Norway's Market Council, telling Agence France Presse "we have no reason to pursue them anymore." Norway has been particularly vocal among European critics regarding the way Apple had used DRM technologies on the iTunes store to limit the use of purchased iTunes songs to iPods.… Read more
Steve Jobs is a Bob Dylan fan because the folk singer is, in the words of Apple's CEO, a "clear thinker."
Jobs' own lucid and careful contemplation of the music industry is apparent in a 2003 interview he gave to Rolling Stone magazine's Jeff Goodell. My colleague Tom Krazit pointed me to the story after stumbling on to it recently. We were bowled over by the preciseness of Jobs' assessment of what the future held for digital rights management, music subscription services, the four largest recording companies, and Apple. The interview in retrospect is a fascinating … Read more
Not a bad accomplishment for a smartphone with a completely new operating system, from a company written off as dead not long ago.
I wrote something like this about RIM's BlackBerry Storm and got some heat for it, but still...where's the music?
I don't mean that the Pre won't play music--of course it will. Palm even announced a deal with Amazon.com to let users buy music downloads without any intervention (cooperation? … Read more
Apple Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller also announced that beginning Tuesday iPhone users will be able sample and wirelessly download iTunes tracks over AT&T's 3G network or EDGE. Previously, iTunes song downloads, unlike apps, were available only over a Wi-Fi connection.
The process works relatively well, though we encountered a couple of hiccups. Like with the iTunes Apps store, you must use Wi-Fi or a wired connection to your computer … Read more
CNET News' Greg Sandoval is already covering the story, so I won't belabor it, but kudos to Apple and the three holdout record labels--Sony, Universal, and Warner--for reaching an agreement that will result in more than 8 million songs being available on iTunes with no digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. (EMI has made DRM-free songs available on iTunes since last spring, but only 10 percent of the music sold in the U.S. comes from EMI.) As Greg reports, Apple will also let users with existing DRM-encrusted downloads upgrade to a DRM-free version at a higher bitrate--256kbps--for an extra … Read more