Well, the music offerings at South by Southwest are heating up, and we'll keep you posted on the good ones. I mentioned BurnLounge in a Hoooka, which is a start-up that lets you sell music through a MySpace widget. BurnLounge, which has been around for a while longer, has a similar model: create your own music store, choose the music in it (WMA format), add your own reviews and recommendations, and (optimally) profit. But until this point, it had been just that--standalone personalized music stores, lacking additional functionality that most people think of when they think of new Web … Read more
Ah, the digital age. It's brought us so much, and without it, I'd be jobless. So for obvious reasons, I'm very appreciative of the existence of digital music. One of its perhaps lesser-known benefits is that with it, any Tom, Dick, or Harry with a sense of rhythm can be a musician. And that's not a bad thing, although certain traditional musicians may beg to differ. Personally, I think anything that adds variety to the creative landscape is positive, although there are certainly exceptions (William Hung? Seriously?) Anyway, if tinkering with audio and making your own … Read more
What do you get when you take the ex-CEOs of Musicmatch, Rio, and iRiver America and lock them in a room with a stack of data about the digital-music landscape? How about a revolutionary new music service and a portable device to go along with it?
Enter Slacker, a company chock full of digital music experts (mostly transplants from Musicmatch and Rio), and its two babies: Slacker.com (an online music service) and the Slacker portable device. That's quite a few Slackers, and it's also the point. As it turns out, about 70 percent of music enthusiasts don't want to spend hours creating the perfect playlists, which means most of you are slackers just like me. (Ha!) To break it down even further, 51 percent of MP3 player users update their content only once a month or less, and 46 percent don't update more often because they don't have time. Several services have aimed to address this issue, such as MTV Urge with its Auto-Mix feature and Rhapsody with Channels. … Read more
March Madness finds a way into offices, schools, and between friends faster than most of us can imagine. Nearly everybody knows someone who is either running or a part of a betting pool. Download.com has put together a handy set of March Madness software tools to help you create your own pool or keep track of all the data that will be flowing in during the coming weeks. But what about Web services that can do the same thing? We've put together a roundup of some of the handiest services to keep track of all the money you'… Read more
Virb is a new social network launched yesterday by the same people who created indie-band publicity site PureVolume. Virb has been in private beta since late last year and is now open for anyone to join. Similar to most new social networks these days, Virb has a clean and slick look, quite contrary to social networking juggernaut MySpace. Virb is gunning to be the do-it-all network. Where MySpace focuses on music, Virb does that, but tacks on group sections for photography, fashion, sports, and writing too. The problem is that both the site and the content aren't there yet.
Similar to Trig, which I wrote about in January, Virb promises to provide everything to everyone without fulfilling a way to do it. It's the "if you build it, they will come" mentality that's not necessarily a bad thing to have with a social network, just disparaging when you click on a link with no content on the other end. As it stands, clicking on many of Virb's group areas takes you to a placeholder page. The two sections that are up as of me writing this are music and videos. Both of these sections work well and have some really great content--music in particular, which has themed band pages with downloadable tracks that look more like something on the iTunes Store than a social network. The team definitely pulled some design cues from Purevolume, but that's a good thing.… Read more
There's no denying it. Hoooka has a killer name. Its motto ("Take a hit, pass it on") is pretty good too. But this new side project of the Indie 911 social network, which launched in beta earlier this week, isn't particularly momentous. The central concept behind Hoooka, according to the company, is enabling "both artists and fans to play, share, promote and sell their favorite digital media."
Searchles, the social network that launched last June, has rolled out a new feature called Searchles TV, which lets you combine multiple clips from multiple services to share elsewhere in an embeddable player. Similar to SplashCast (see previous coverage), you can jog back and forth between clips without leaving the player. Searchles works with videos from YouTube, MySpace, Google Video, Grouper and Blip.tv, and plans to add more partners in the future.
What's neat about Searchles TV is that embedded players will reflect any changes you make to the master feed. SplashCast does this too, and it works … Read more
Amazon Unbox on TiVo launched yesterday, which means TiVo subscribers will be able to download selected Amazon Unbox videos straight to their TiVo box. We were pretty excited about the announcement, because at first glance Amazon Unbox on TiVo looks to be a possible replacement for a DVD renting service like Netflix, or Pay-Per-View services available on cable or satellite. The service works on any broadband connected Series2 or Series3 TiVo, and we took it for a spin on our Series2 TiVo.
We had absolutely no trouble linking our TiVo with our Amazon account, and we were selecting movies in just a couple of clicks. The interface to select movies will be familiar to anyone who has used Amazon, which is to say it's pretty painless. The only knock we had is that Amazon doesn't seem 100-percent ready for TiVo fans, as the method of filtering TiVo-transferable files from other Amazon Unbox files is just using the search term "tivo" in the Unbox section. A separate section of Amazon Unbox would be preferable.
We found the initial selection to be a little meager. Not all Amazon Unbox videos are available to be transferred to TiVos, presumably because of the need to convert the files to a TiVo-friendly format. As of press time, 1,433 videos were labeled "TiVo", which is a combination of TV shows and movies. Sure, that's a lot of videos for any one person to watch, but it's not much of a library. However, Amazon claims it will be adding new titles every week, so you can expect this library to grow. In terms of cost, most movies we saw were $15 to buy and $4 to rent, while TV shows were $2 to buy.… Read more
Note: This post has been updated from it's original publishing. It now contains a hands-on video overview of Remix.
Adobe's Remix is a new Web-based video editing tool that will be provided free to all Photobucket members in the coming weeks. Remix allows you to string together and edit short video clips. We covered the announcement of the online video editor last week, but got our hands on it this morning.