Recently, Power Downloader received an e-mail from a contact in Spain who worked as a well-liked bellhop for a large hotel in the coastal city of Valencia. What the hotel management didn't know was that their trusted bellhop was secretly highly skilled in wiretapping and the use of parabolic microphones, which is why Power Downloader kept him in his list of contacts. Immediately interested, Power turned off his MP3 player and read further.… Read more
There's a fascinating story in the upcoming Business Week about a new business idea being floated by Universal Music chief Doug Morris. Universal would offer some portion of its catalog under a new service tentatively named Total Music. Users would buy Total Music-enabled devices, and get access to this music for free. No per-download charges, no monthly subscription fee, no advertising. Apparently, Sony and Warner have signed on to the idea, which would give Total Music access to the catalogs of three out of four majors.
The labels and artists and copyright holders have to make money somehow, right? … Read more
UPDATE (12:15 p.m. PDT Friday): CNET News.com interviewed Snocap CEO Rusty Rueff after this story was published. He says the company's music stores just weren't catching on fast enough and its time to sell the company. You can read what he has to say in this story.
Snocap, the music-licensing company best known for being the follow-up act of Napster founder Shawn Fanning, has cut its staff by 60 percent, a spokeswoman for the company said Thursday evening.
LetsTalk has launched a new service this morning called ToneMine that lets you build your own ringtones. The service uses a multitrack composer that lets you drag and drop short, prerecorded sound clips onto an editing canvas. There are eight themed "packs" to choose from ranging from hip-hop and salsa, all the way to heavy metal. You also get some shared sound clips that will show up no matter what pack you've chosen.
The eventual goal is a takeaway ringtone you'll be able to use on your phone. You can get it sent directly to your handset via your carrier (which is configured when you sign up for the service), or download it as an MP3 ringtone to transfer on your own. You can also share it with other ToneMine users in a massive pool. There you can preview other people's ringtones and go in to remix them if you'd like to change something. It also keeps track of how many times it's been listened to and downloaded by other users.
Despite the selection of eight packs, there's really not that much to play with, although the editor is quite snappy. As an occasional user of Apple's Garageband application, I felt like the one thing it's missing is the capability to extend a looping sound clip. Instead, you're often dragging more clips together as well as you can. The service is also missing some of the commercial tie-in you'll find on competitors like Razz and Ringblender--the latter of which actually lets you go in and remix bits of commercial songs. It also reminded me a little bit of MusicShake, which demoed at last month's TechCrunch40 conference, although with a little less extensibility.
Is the Asia phone market getting too unpleasantly crowded for the likes of Samsung? In its latest mobile launch outing, the Korean chaebol has bypassed its Asian neighbors including even its own backyard, to court Europe. While we are awaiting word from the consumer electronics giant on the availability of the devices in our region, here's what Samsung fans in Asia are missing out.
Two of the models, the SGH-F330 (slim HSDPA slider) and the SGH-F210 (swivel stick), are already out in Germany for 260 euros ($368) and 280 euros ($396), respectively. The third model which resembles the Nokia N95 … Read more
When I walked into midtown Manhattan's flashy Arena nightclub on Tuesday evening for an event celebrating the introduction of RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service on TiVo, a waiter approached me with a tray full of tumblers containing a clear liquid accompanied by slices of lime.
I was thirsty. "Is this water?" I asked him.
"No, it's an HD Crystal Clear Cosmo," he replied matter-of-factly, "so, no, it's not water."
A little bit of journalistic digging--i.e. finding a sign detailing the evening's signature drinks--yielded that that the HD Crystal Clear Cosmo … Read more
I love my Archos Gmini 220. It doesn't play movies, make phone calls, or take snapshots, but it provides me 20GB of digital music and files that I can take anywhere and transfer to any computer. It also only cost me $150 two years ago and is still going strong (with the help of one critical rubber band). It's also very solid as a lo-fi recording device for live shows.
While I don't need a portable music player that massages my back or sorts my laundry, I do need one that can shuffle my tracks randomly. Unfortunately, … Read more
If all robots were musicians, the best instrument for them to play would be the theremin. This is because it creates delightful scenarios in which the robot can play its own space-age soundtrack music.
Take Lev, for example. The theremin-shredding bot, built by Ranjit Bhatnagar at Moonmilk Laboratories, is featured in a couple of mesmerizing videos below. Both are "Crazy"--one by Patsy Cline, and one by Gnarls Barkley in which Lev is accompanied by a robot drummer called Thumpbot.
Lev's been playing the theremin for a while; according to the Moonmilk site, the robot played a … Read more