Battle of the (broad)bands: Online music's Grammy picks

The man-versus-machine debate is never-ending. But how well does raw data assess something as whimsically human as musical expression?

Online music services, which use data to decipher your preferences, would say: very well, thank you. And for the Grammy Awards, they put their data to the test.

Spotify, the on-demand streaming music service, applied the number of streams for each nominee to come up with its list.

"We are truly data driven," said Steve Savoca, Spotify's head of content. "That's just raw data. We're not's really just reflecting the interests of … Read more

Review: Myst III Music Player plays the OST from Myst III: Exile

Myst III Music Player for Mac links with your Myst III: Exile install directory and allows you to play the game's original soundtrack. It's very focused, enabling you to play only the tracks included with the game and nothing else -- not even standard MP3s.

After launching Myst III Music Player for Mac, you will be asked to locate your game directory in order for the app to load the OST tracks. You can either load a local copy of the game files or use a shared Windows folder across the local network. Once Myst III Music Player … Read more

Buggy Beats Music stops adding new members

Bugs in the Beats Music app, and an initial surge of new members, are forcing the recently launched paid-subscription music service to stop signing up additional subscribers.

Beats Music CEO Ian C. Rogers said in a blog post Wednesday that because of "extremely high volume of interest...some users are experiencing issues" and the company is going to "hold off on letting more people in" while it works to fix them.

Most people are unaffected but our priority is to give everyone a great experience. We prepared for issues like these, have a plan, and are … Read more

Get an iLoud Bluetooth speaker for $234 shipped

Calling all musicians (and music lovers): today's deal is for you.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, StackSocial has the IK Multimedia iLoud Bluetooth speaker for $239 shipped. And when you apply coupon code cheapskate5 at checkout, your price drops to just $234. It lists for $299.99 and sells elsewhere in the $290 range.

So, yeah, $234 is still a lot for a speaker. But this is about as premium as they get, a great choice for a den or family room where you want rich, full sound from a fairly compact package. Or for your … Read more

Beats Music service debuts for iPhone, Android

Can't get your fill of streaming music with the likes of Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio? There's a new music service in town.

Debuting for the iPhone and Android devices on Tuesday, the Beats Music app works more or less like its rivals. It acts as an online radio station to serve you tunes from your favorite artists and genres.

The service claims access to more than 20 million songs, which you can listen to online or download to your device to listen offline.

But unlike Pandora and similar services, Beats Music doesn't offer a free, ad-supported version. … Read more

Mastering engineer says the LP is the most accessible high-resolution music format

The timing of my visit was perfect, I strolled into Alex DeTurk's studio at Masterdisk just as he was cutting an LP. DeTurk was moving to the music, totally engaged with the sound as the big record mastering lathe was literally cutting the groove into the disc. After the side was complete he examined the grooves with a microscope. DeTurk then said, "Vinyl is the most consumer-friendly high-resolution format around." Right, more people are buying LPs than true high-resolution 24 bit/192 kHz files, the ones that can sound better than CD-quality FLAC or Apple Lossless files. … Read more

Rdio lifts listening time limits on free Web music streaming

Rdio is getting in tune with other online music services by offering free unlimited listening.

The online subscription music service said Thursday it had lifted its restrictions on Web listening, a day after rival music service Spotify announced a similar move. Like Spotify and Pandora before it, Rdio had offered its listeners a limited amount of online streaming, both those services have removed the caps.

While the ads aren't going away for free streaming, Rdio promises that they will be "short and sweet."

"Free listeners will hear a mix of new feature announcements, messages from partner … Read more

Write a tune, get it 3D-printed with Music Drop

Though they only allow simple tunes, there's something rather fascinating about music boxes and turning their handles and watching their pin-and-comb mechanisms produce their clear, chiming notes, like a tiny piano. The first music boxes started arriving toward the latter half of the 18th century, but a company called Left Field Labs has offered a modern -- and personal -- twist.

A new project called Music Drops asks you to compose your own 16-note tune using a grid. Clicking the squares indicates which notes are to be played (as far as we can ascertain, the scale starts at A at the top of the grid, and descends nearly two octaves), and you can create chords.

Then the company converts the music to a 3D-printable file using WebGL, and you can order a 3D-printed, drop-shaped music box that plays your tune when you turn the little handle. … Read more

Spotify lifts time limits -- letting users listen on and on

Spotify upped the ante in the music streaming game on Wednesday by getting rid of all time restrictions on Web listening. Now, users in all countries where Spotify operates can stream music for free on the Web endlessly.

"In the past, we had to restrict your listening time to some hours a month once a 6-month unlimited grace period had passed," Spotify spokesman Diego Planas Rego wrote in a blog post. "But now, if you haven't noticed, there's no more time limit if you are using Spotify for free. We have removed these caps completely … Read more

Get the sounds you deserve with DJ Audio Editor

Most of us have a deep connection to our favorite music. While some are more laid back and take songs as they are, others like to tinker with their sounds. Not all of us can afford a professional recording studio, but now we can get all the tools we need in a quality mixer with DJ Audio Editor. This easy-to-use and well-organized music editing program will let you enjoy your favorite songs in ways, which you would never have imagined.

Manipulate audio files with tools that allow you to cut, join, trim, split, and mix audio files with a couple … Read more