CBS' $280 million darling Last.fm has unveiled a small, somewhat unexciting portion of its services this morning called "Playground." The space will be a new test bed for works-in-progress features that aren't quite ready for prime time and need a little user testing to work out the kinks. While lacking in eye candy, some of the tools are actually quite useful for music discovery.
You know CDs are capable of pristine sound quality, but we've been playing with a digital voice recorder that records audio even higher than CD-quality. Capturing sound in 24-bit 96kHz WAV format with its sensitive stereo microphones, the new Olympus LS-10 allows for serious high-fidelity recordings and we're extremely impressed with it.
In fact, we took it to Pendulum's album launch party last night (no, it won't be on BitTorrent) for "testing" and the results were terrific. The recorder coped with being right at the front of the stage as the amps heaved under … Read more
If you simply can't wait for Anywhere I Lay My Head, the album of Tom Waits covers as sung by sultry actress Scarlett Johansson, you're in luck. Although it isn't in full release until next week, social-media site Imeem is streaming the album live in advance.
You can't actually download it, but you can listen to the whole thing for free, and judge whether she does justice to the Waits classics or just totally botches them. As a Tom Waits fan, I'm curious to find out.
Streaming-music sites have become a hot spot for album … Read more
You've probably heard of eMusic, the online store that sells DRM-free MP3s. If not, well, it's an online store that sells DRM-free MP3s. The service traditionally offers 25 or even 50 free downloads as part of its one-month subscription trial, but right now you can get a whopping 100 tunes absolutely gratis.
eMusic boasts a library of 3.5 million tunes, the bulk of them from indie artists like Sufjan Stevens and Belle and Sebastian, but also a fair share from mainstream names like The Raconteurs, Barenaked Ladies, and Taylor Swift. The service now offers audiobooks as well. … Read more
The problem with the future is that it's, well, the future. Most of make lousy prognosticators, despite our wealth (or poverty) of experience.
Such was the case with the music industry, which stared its digital future in the face and...blinked. The Guardian traces the arc of its unfortunate fall. The problem, as Charles Arthur writes, is that the future often comes far too soon for our liking:All in all, there's a lot of hostility towards the record industry, but if you put yourself in the comfortable position of that record exec - which John Lanchester, at the London Review of Books in 2002 described as being "reluctant to move from this [CD sales] model in the same way, and for the same reason, a python is reluctant to move when it has swallowed a goat" - then you can understand why. Some technical change is overwhelming. You can be rude about the record industry for not reacting fast enough to downloads, but the fact is that that overwhelming change happened years before it expected.
I believe that Software as a Service and open source are doing much the same thing to the traditional software license model.… Read more
It's kind of like this: an indie rock band gets signed to a major label, and after a taste of the high life, the bassist jumps ship.
On Sunday, word got out that Adam D'Angelo, chief technology officer at Facebook and a friend of founder Mark Zuckerberg since high school, had submitted his resignation on Friday. D'Angelo had been one of Facebook's first employees, though he did not have formal "co-founder" status.
Reports swirled that he was at odds with Zuckerberg, or that he was no longer interested in the position; whatever the reason, … Read more
The series consists of interviews with popular and rising bands and artists; among the first artists featured are techno legend Moby, rising alternative-pop singer Santogold, and popular indie band Spoon. Last.fm has also made a selection of live concert footage available on its site to complement the interviews.
Members can sign on to Last.fm Presents as they would with any other group on the social network. The videos … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Jeremy Riney, CEO and founder of Project Playlist is optimistic he will eventually license music from the big four record companies.
He continues to harbor these hopes even after three of the four largest music labels filed a copyright lawsuit against his company last month, he said at the MusicTech Summit on Thursday.
What may be helping Riney keep his cool is that he has hired Jay Berman, the former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to help shepherd Project Playlist past copyright issues, according to a source close to the company.
Berman is co-founder of … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Apparently nobody--not even an artist--gets a pass from the music industry when it comes to copyright laws.
After unwittingly posting an unauthorized music file on his blog, Dave Allen, former bassist for Gang of Four, said he had received a cease-and-desist letter from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the group that represents the music industry worldwide.
"Talk about your irony of ironies," Allen said after participating in a panel discussion at the MusicTech Summit held here on Thursday. "But I understood completely. I was wrong. I removed the music."
Allen, a founding … Read more