The end of Digital Noise

All albums eventually come to an end--even super-gonzo triple live CD sets--and the time has come for this blog to end as well.

I've had a great time exploring the intersection of music and technology for the last three-plus years. And even though the music industry is going through some wrenching changes, the public's interest in music has, if anything, gotten stronger.

I was at Coachella this April along with a record sold-out crowd of more than 90,000. Some of them were there for the party, but the musical lineup made the party happen. I've seen … Read more

Grooveshark comes to iPhone

It's been more than a year (!) since I first tested an early alpha version of the Grooveshark app for iPhone, and now the company has finally jumped through the necessary hoops to get it into the App Store.

Grooveshark's Web site has for several years offered on-demand streaming of just about any song in existence, and it remains one of my favorite destinations. The iPhone app is also free, and it gives you a 30-day free trial, after which you'll have to sign up for a VIP subscription. Still, that subscription costs only $3 a month or $… Read more

MOG subscription service comes to iPhone

I've been testing the iPhone version of MOG, a subscription on-demand music service that I blogged about in December, for the last few days. While it performs adequately, I haven't seen anything that really makes it stand out from the other competitors I've looked at recently, like Rhapsody, Thumbplay, and the still-in-beta Rdio.

First, the positives. Sound quality was excellent when streaming over a 3G connection and you can download any song to store in a local cache, so you can play it even when you're offline (like Rhapsody and the BlackBerry version of Thumbplay). You … Read more

Handicapping the mobile music services

I'm a big proponent of cloud-based music services for mobile devices. I struggle figuring out which 500 songs I want on my 8GB iPhone at any given time, and the problem gets worse as as I download more apps. So it's gratifying to see an explosion of mobile music services in the last six months. Start-ups and established companies alike seem to believe that the current model, where users transfer songs from a computer to their phone using a wired connection, is not long for this world. Instead, these companies are coming up with various ways to dispense … Read more

Thumbplay comes to iPhone

Thumbplay Music launched an iPhone version of its music subscription service on Tuesday, making it the first such service available for the top three mobile-phone platforms in the United States: iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.

I gave it a quick run-through on Tuesday morning, and it looks like Thumbplay has dramatically improved its service and desktop app since I tried the beta version on BlackBerry in March. The search engine works perfectly now, and some of the catalog gaps appear to have been filled, such as the full catalog of She and Him. I only had a couple of "misses&… Read more

New tricks for Photoshop, death throes for LimeWire

Photoshop Creative Suite 5 roared out of Adobe's coding lab with a slew of feature changes that spell out actual improvements (unlike the last release's mostly visual overhaul) in this decades-old premium powerhouse of an image processor.

Features that automatically correct your lens and improve the way the editor processes high dynamic range (HDR) are two significant additions. Enhanced 3D image tools and a more effective algorithm for filling in image holes with information taken from neighboring parts of the photo are two others that help make this version of Photoshop a must-have for serious image-manipulators. Get a … Read more

Playlist-centric music service

Thumbplay Music joins an ever-expanding lineup of music services aimed to make listening on your computer or handheld device simple and effortless. It largely succeeds at this mission thanks to an uncluttered interface and an ample catalog of more than 8 million songs. The fee of $9.99 per month for unlimited music is directly in line with the median for subscription services, but a relative unknown like Thumbplay is going to have its work cut out for it convincing potential users that it's more compelling than free offerings such as Pandora.

The service is off to a good … Read more

Thumbplay launches music service for BlackBerry

Thumbplay is set to launch on Thursday the mobile version of its subscription-based music service for BlackBerry devices, with Android and iPhone versions to follow shortly.

Thumbplay is best known for selling ringtones, but as that market dried up, the company shifted strategies and decided to enter the subscription music space, where it will compete against longtime players like Rhapsody, as well as a growing number of new entrants such as MOG and Spotify. So how does it stack up?

The company gave me a 30-day invitation to its beta and loaned me a BlackBerry Bold 9000 to test it … Read more

Apple MobileMe exec chosen as Thumbplay CTO

Apple's MobileMe technology executive has been appointed chief technology officer at Thumbplay, the cloud-based music company said on Monday.

Pablo Calamera was most recently director of Apple's MobileMe, and spent a total of 10 years at the company over the course of his career. In the newly created position of CTO, he will report directly to Evan Schwartz, Thumbplay CEO and co-founder.

Thumbplay said Calamera will oversee all technology initiatives, including its new cloud-based music service. Thumbplay, in private beta in the U.S., offers unlimited, on-demand access to songs. Thumbplay Music is currently available for select BlackBerry … Read more

Thumbplay launches full-service digital music store

Thumplay, a Web site dedicated to your every mobile entertainment desire, announced Tuesday the official launch of a direct-to-mobile (or computer if you choose) MP3 download site. Tracks are 99 cents each or you can pay $9.99 a month for 10 credits with each credit good for one track. Or they can be used for other content on the site.

In general, I don't get too excited about the world having yet another music download site, but since Thumbplay is open to more than just one carrier, works with a ton of mobile devices (basically anything with a … Read more