Sony drops music streaming service Gracenote

Sony has sold its ownership of Gracenote, a service that matches and streams music across multiple devices, the electronics company announced Monday.

The company sold all of its shares to the Tribune Co. for $170 million. The sale should close before March 31, according to a press release. The purchase could help the Tribune Co. strength its stance against digital entertainment rival Rovi.

The sale comes shortly after Xbox Music announced it was using Gracenote to compliment its service. Xbox Music subscribers can listen to their music across multiple platforms and edit metadata for albums via Gracenote. Gracenote also has … Read more

Winamp look lives on in Spotify's Spotiamp tribute app

The Winamp media player is facing extinction -- or maybe not -- but the software's style lives on at least for now in a tribute app from Spotify called Spotiamp

Version 0.1 of the software brings what is now a retro look to Spotify's music-streaming service, at least for Windows users who have a premium Spotify account. According to the company:

Spotiamp is a Windows program that lets you login to your Spotify account and play your playlists. You can also search for tracks to play, and there's a radio feature. Spotiamp borrows the design of … Read more

Winamp may live to play another day

Don't play taps for Winamp just yet. The program may yet get another lease on life.

Last month, Winamp maker Nullsoft announced that parent AOL was going to pull the plug on the software come Friday, December 20, after which point it would no longer be available for download. But blog site TechCrunch, which is also owned by AOL, said that a suitor may swoop in to save the program.

Citing information from "a source with knowledge of the discussions," TechCrunch said on Thursday that AOL has been chatting with a potential buyer about purchasing Winamp and … Read more

Spotify's mobile users skyrocket since free streaming launch

It's been one week since Spotify announced it would allow anyone on an iOS or Android tablet or smartphone to use its music streaming app free of charge. And, it appears this was a good move for the company as far as growing its listener base.

The streaming music service said Thursday that downloads of the app have increased by four times in the last week; this means four times as many people are downloading the app today compared with a week ago. While Spotify would not release specific numbers, it's likely a hefty amount of people are … Read more

Target hack hits 40M accounts

CNET Update follows the bouncing ball:

In this episode of CNET Update:

- Watch your credit and bank statements if you shopped at a Target store recently. Hackers stole detailed credit card info for 40 million customers.

- Don't worry too much about the annoyance of in-flight phone chatter. Some airlines are dismissing the idea.

- Windows Phone users can stream between devices with new Xbox video and music apps.

- Google's Search app helps you go caroling. If you're not the sing-along type, there's plenty of free holiday music to stream.

CNET Update delivers the … Read more

Get a GoGroove BlueGate Bluetooth receiver for $24.99 shipped

A long time ago, I decried Bluetooth as a useless technology. Short-range wireless? What good could that possibly be? Turns out Bluetooth proved its awesomeness once smartphones and tablets arrived on the scene, as it allowed for audio to stream wirelessly from those devices to compatible speakers.

Ah, but what if you have a speaker dock, home stereo, or car radio that lacks built-in Bluetooth? No awesomeness for you. [Cue audience: "Awwwwww."]

Thankfully, you can add Bluetooth to nearly any audio device; all you need is a receiver. Like this one: For the next few days, and while … Read more

'The Hobbit' stars read 'The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins'

First released as a single, "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" by Charles Randolph Grean pays homage to Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and was sung by Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy. It became a folk hit in the late '60s, and was rediscovered decades later by fans on YouTube.

In this IGN video, the stars of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" perform a dramatic reading of Nimoy's famous song. The video proves once again that actor Benedict Cumberbatch can make even a campy song sound like a Shakespearean sonnet.

And here's the original … Read more

Download's merriest music apps

Your in-laws are criticizing your carving skills, Grandma Edith's guzzling the port, and the tree's catching fire. Yes, Christmas can feel so predictable. Take a break from the melodrama with Download's favorite festive music apps.

Bjork: Solstice ( iOS)

Bjork is far out, and that's why we love her. Based on the track "Solstice" from the Icelandic singer's "Biophilia" album, this free app allows you to pull rays out of a sun to create harp strings that are then plucked by orbiting planets. With a tilting motion, your creation morphs into a … Read more

The 10 best Christmas songs of the last 40 years

It'll be more of a blue Christmas than a holly jolly holiday if you're stuck suffering through the same old songs that your parents have been playing on the gramophone for as long as you can remember. So spice up your next holiday get-together with's list of our 10 all-time favorite holiday hits from the last 40 years.

Some of our picks, such as "Frosty the Snowman" and "We Three Kings," are perennial classics that have been reinvented in interesting ways by some of our favorite artists. Others, like "Christmas … Read more

The 404 1,401: Where we get in the groove with Steve Guttenberg (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- U-Turn Orbit: An audiophile-quality turntable for $179.

- Steven's Koss Pro4AA Titanium review.

- MDR SA5000: Sony's classic, audiophile-grade, full-size headphone.

- Why open a huge new record store in 2013?

- New Spotify report debunks "per stream" payments for artists.

- Check out Fuse's awesome video series about obsessive record collectors.

- The Wrecking Crew: The best-selling band you've never heard of.… Read more