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

Xbox Music taps into Gracenote to tag your tunes

Xbox Music users now can identify their music and listen to it across different PCs and mobile devices courtesy of Gracenote.

Buying a $10-per-month Xbox Music Pass entitles you to tap into the new service, which can identify albums and songs you already own and unlock your music online. All of your music can be unlocked, including songs bought through Amazon or Apple as well as those ripped from your CDs.

Gracenote, which is owned by Sony, also lets you edit the metadata for your Xbox Music collection and add missing album art. Finally, you can stream your tunes to … Read more

Your automotive DJ: Five cars that play requests

Voice-command systems in cars let you make phone calls, enter an address into navigation, and even request music by an artist or album name, all without taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel. Voice command over music usually works with an iPhone or iPod cabled to the car, or a thumbdrive plugged into the USB port. Most of the cars below rely on Gracenote's music database to translate artist and album names into phonetics understandable by a voice recognition system. This database includes nicknames, so instead of saying "play Bruce Springsteen," you can say "play The Boss."

Here are five cars waiting to take your musical requests. … Read more

Path updated to include Nike+ integration, music matching, camera enhancements

Are you a fan of Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Shazam? Nike+?

Would you be interested in a service that essentially combines the functionality of all these mobile apps into one sleek and simple-to-use program? Then perhaps you should give Path a try.

After its most recent update (see my colleague, Paul Sloan's take here), Path could become a major player in the social networking game, expanding its existing 2 million user base. All these enhancements take the brain-child of former Facebook platform manager, angel investor Dave Morin, to a whole new level.

The major integration win for Path comes in … Read more

Shazam for your TV: Hands-on with Gracenote

One of the most impressive smartphone/tablet apps is Shazam, which can identify seemingly any song played within the range of your phone's microphone. Now the same functionality is available on Sony's 2011 Internet connected TVs, and we took it for a spin on the KDL-46EX720.

The service, which Sony is branded TrackID, relies on a "fingerprinting" technology powered by Gracenote--a company formerly known as CDDB and bought by Sony in 2008. The way it works is simple: anytime you hear a song or snippet of music on your TV, you can hit the "TrackID&… Read more

Gracenote hints at CES announcements

Today at San Francisco's annual Music Tech Summit, Gracenote Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Ty Roberts hinted at a few announcements the company will make at CES 2011.

Speaking on a panel that tackled the subject of "connected devices," Ty mentioned that Gracenote (a division of Sony) is gearing up to unveil a service for delivering streaming mood-based music playlists to connected devices such as TVs, along with accompanying artist photos and album art.

Apart from the "mood-based" angle, the combination of streaming music and artist images sounds similar to Microsoft's Zune … Read more

iTunes 9.0.2: CD tracks not importing on first try (Fixed with iTunes 9.1?)

The issue of CD tracks not importing into iTunes properly on the first try may have been fixed by the latest update to iTunes (version 9.1). This is according to the first to post on the original Apple Support Discussions thread since the update. Several users had expressed their frustrations with the initial attempt at importing tracks from their discs failing, despite the fact that subsequent attempts seemed to work just fine. Have you experienced this issue since the iTunes 9.1 update? Let us know in the comments!… Read more

Gracenote enhances music search for Mitsubishi

LAS VEGAS--A 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander anchored one corner of Gracenote's booth at CES, serving to demonstrate the car's new Fuse media gateway. Similar to Ford's Sync, Fuse lets users hook up an MP3 player or USB drive and ask the car to play music by saying an artist or album name. Unlike Sync, which is based on Microsoft's automotive platform, Fuse comes from Johnson Controls, giving automakers another option when offering this type of voice command capability.

Gracenote's part in this system is its phonetic database of artists and albums, which makes the voice recognition … Read more

Visteon makes the connected car a reality

LAS VEGAS--OEM automotive supplier Visteon, the power behind many carmakers' dashboard infotainment systems, demonstrated the next generation of audio and information services that will become available to drivers. The demonstration head units on display showed off connected applications that will change the way we drive.

Visteon showed off head units using a GENIVI alliance Linux-based operating system, a Flash-based interface, and one based on the Microsoft embedded operating system. Each demonstration showed what automakers could use in future models.

The GENIVI alliance, of which Visteon is a part, aims to provide a standard Linux automotive infotainment platform, so developers can … Read more

Sony beefs up Blu-ray strategy

SAN FRANCISCO--Even as Blu-ray Disc and Blu-ray player sales are growing, Sony is looking to build out its larger strategy surrounding the company's high-definition disc products.

At a small press event here Thursday, the company introduced a new feature of BD-Live and a new piece of Blu-ray hardware.

MovieIQ will be included on some high-profile releases from Sony starting in September. It's essentially IMDb live--while a movie is playing, facts about casting, directors, production, and actors' filmographies pop up onscreen. It's powered not by IMDb, but by Gracenote, creators of CDDB, which Sony purchased just over a year ago.

It's the kind of feature intended to keep people from pausing a movie and hopping online to ask questions like, "I totally recognize that actress, but from what movie?" It's also meant to build on the inherent capability of Blu-ray players that have Internet access. Sony has tried to do this by allowing BD-Live access to exclusive trailers and some trivia games, but MovieIQ seems like something that users would engage with repeatedly, not something they'd just use once and forget about.

A senior Sony exec at the event, Tracy Garvin, called MovieIQ the "first killer-app for BD-Live." That sounded like an admission that none of the BD-Live features thus far have been all that compelling.

It's clear Sony is still in the process of fine-tuning its BD-Live strategy.… Read more