Zune Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

Be sure to register in our forums! Share your opinions, help others, and enter our contests.


Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

Windows Phone Thoughts

Loading feed...

Digital Home Thoughts

Loading feed...





All posts tagged "music"


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ed Bott Compares 6 Music Services: Can They Beat iTunes?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:00 PM

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=862

"Apple’s success in digital music is not for lack of competition, however. Over the past few months, I’ve been sampling all of the major U.S.-based competitors to the iTunes Music Store, as well as a few fascinating minor-league competitors. In this post, I’ll show you how each one stacks up against iTMS in terms of pricing and available features. After my testing was complete, I had a new favorite music service, and after you read my report you might decide it’s right for you too."

Bott compares services from Amazon MP3, Zune Marketplace, Rhapsody, eMusic, Lala, and Amie Street against Apple's iTunes digial music powerhouse in price, selection, and user experience. With three of the seven albums he tested, iTunes had the highest price. Lala.com snagged the lowest price point for each of the six albums it had in its collection. Clearly, there are advantages to each of the services; get a subscription (Napster, Rhapsody, Zune) if you care about listening to tracks before downloading. If indie music a la carte is more your bag, eMusic and Amie Street provide plenty of tracks by lesser-known artists, while Amazon MP3 and iTunes seem to be the more mainstream options for minimal fuss and iPod integration.

Tags: marketplace, music, mp3,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Amazon And Other Online Music Stores Raise Prices...Or Have They?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 02:30 PM

http://www.gottabemobile.com/2009/0...l-music-prices/

"You kind of knew it wasn't going to last and that this would happen. The day after iTunes put its price increase into effect (some songs for as high as $1.29, some as low as $.69), the other big online music retailers followed suit. Amazon, Wal-Mart, Lala, and Rhapsody, have now raised their prices as well. All but Walmart now list prices for hot selling and new stuff at $1.29 per song. Walmart is at $1.24...Somewhere some music industry execs are smiling and smoking cigars over this."

I don't mean to contradict my friends over at GottaBeMobile.com, but I figured I'd check out Amazon before I posted this story - and in the listing of top-selling MP3s, you have to go down to #24 before you see a track for $1.29. In the top 100 songs, only nine of them are more expensive than 99 cents. I also checked the Zune store, and most songs are still 79 points with a handful being 99 points. So hopefully this isn't as wide-spread as the post over at GottaBeMobile would suggest...I gues over the next few weeks we'll see.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Zune Marketplace Freebie: "Magrela Fever" by Curumin

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 02:55 AM

http://social.zune.net/my/ContentRe...933&mtype=Track

This week brings a new Zune Marketplace freebie that you can download, play back, burn to a CD, and sync to your Zune device. You'll need a Zune account to download the free content. Clicking on the link(s) below will automatically launch the Zune software and take you to the artist's page, so please ensure that the software is installed on your PC.

  • Title: Magrela Fever
  • Artist: Curumin
  • Genre: Rock
  • Length: 4:11
  • DRM-free MP3: Yes


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Zune Offers Emerging Artists A Chance to Perform On the Zune Concert Series Stage at the 2009 TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Events" @ 12:39 PM

http://www.zuneconcertseries.ca/en/

"Toronto, ON, March 11, 2009 - Beginning today, Zune Canada will conduct a month-long search to find Canada's hottest undiscovered band or artist to perform at the Zune Concert Series, Canada's biggest free outdoor music festival taking place April 17-26 during the 2009 TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. As part of its commitment to emerging Canadian artists, Zune is supporting musicians working to break out and gain industry exposure with the Zune Concert Series Competition. Bands and artists are invited to upload an original music track at www.zune.ca to enter the competition. Music fans will be able to listen and rate selected tracks from participating bands, and have the chance to win a trip for two to see the selected band play live at the 2009 TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival."

As a former "professional" musician (I got paid for gigs I did when I was in a band, so I can technically say that, hehe) I'm always interested in seeing ways that aspiring bands can make it to the big time - because for all the bluster about the Internet "changing everything", many bands still need the muscle of a record label to get their music out to the general public. I've bought more music from bands I've heard on TV shows than I have of bands that I've discovered purely online. The fact that the winning band gets hooked up with a mentor is also pretty cool! The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Zune Marketplace Freebie: "Falling Faster" by The Love Willows

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 07:40 PM

http://social.zune.net/my/ContentRe...ca-0019b92a3933

Another week and another Zune Marketplace freebie that you can download, play back, burn to a CD, and sync to your Zune device. You'll need a Zune account to download the free content. Clicking on the link(s) below will automatically launch the Zune software and take you to the artist's page, so please ensure that the software is installed on your PC.

  • Title: Falling Faster
  • Artist: The Love Willows
  • Genre: Rock
  • Length: 2:50
  • DRM-free MP3: Yes


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Can Common Give Zune Cool?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 09:45 PM

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap...DJr-JAD94GUNMO3

"Since it first landed two years ago, the Zune has been the butt of many jokes, like how its wireless music sharing feature would be great, if only a second person would buy one. But while Apple Inc. has counted on the sex appeal of its ever-thinner devices to keep consumers turned on, the Zune team has been beefing up its software and courting artists like Common, a dashing MC with mainstream appeal who might just help make Zune — dare we say it? — cool."

Common has been promoting with Zune since he performed on the Los Angeles leg of Summer 2007's Live at the BBQ Concert series. Zune sponsored his most recent tour, which he used to promote his forthcoming album, Universal Mind Control. Perhaps in an attempt to return the favor, the video for the epynonymous lead single, Universal Mind Control, features a Zune in the opening and closing shots. Though both Common and Microsoft deny any monetary compensation for the placement in the video, Common has since appeared in the latest round of Zune ads, alongside hip hop legend Afrika Bambaataa. The spot, which promotes the Zune software's new "Mixview" feature, attempts to show the relationship between the Neptunes-produced Universal Mind Control and similar-sounding tracks made years ago by Bambaataa and his group, the Soulsonic Force. Mixview has been promoted by Microsoft as a music discovery tool which visually showcases relationships between artists, their influences, influencers, and contemporaries, and is at the center of a new multi-million dollar campaign headed by noted ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky, who have previously worked on Microsoft's I am A PC campaign and Burger King's Subservient Chicken viral campaign.

I'm a huge fan of Common's music, and ate up every minute of Cesar's interview with him when he visited the Zune offices in September (my brother had a similar experience with Common when the artist came into the Obama election headquarters to make get-out-the-vote phone calls). And I love the simplicity of the spot itself; it seems for the first time the Zune marketing guys have gotten out of their own heads and actually showcased the product itself. While it's not quite on par with Apple's "This is how you use the App Store" commercials for the iPhone, it's certainly much better than the launch ads. Hopefully Common and CP+B can finally inject some much-needed mass appeal into the Zune marketing campaign. The ad runs this week on most networks that target 18-25 year-olds (MTV, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), and during both the Sunday and Monday Night Football games.


Friday, October 17, 2008

EU: iPod Users May Be Killing Their Hearing

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 AM

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10065031-71.html

"The EU's Scientific Committee on emerging health risks, which is normally concerned with noise in factories and the British Parliament, performed a study of MP3 usage. The committee members' findings left them with a strange ringing feeling. They concluded that an hour's iPod usage a day for five years might make as many as 1 in 10 listeners deaf. The problem, the committee believes, is that many people love to listen to their music too loud. In Europe, MP3 players are limited to a mere 100 decibels. However, these European scientists concluded that anything above 89 decibels listened to with regularity has an effect that is louder than the limits imposed on factories."


(Inset picture via CC Darkpatator on flickr)

Every couple of years we get one of these studies that warn us that listening to music too loudly on our iPods is going to be the death of our eardrums, and year after year, as the author points out, we never run into people who have actually lost their hearing because of iPod volume abuse. While it stands to reason that using any audio device at too high a volume for too long could damage your hearing, does it really need to be studied again and again? What do you guys think? Do we really need the government warning us that using a media player with the volume cranked might be dangerous or do you think their warnings fall on deaf ears?

Sorry. I couldn't resist.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Apple Threatens iTunes Shutdown if Royalty Increase is Pushed Through

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:07 AM

http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/10...days-copyr.html

"Apple has threatened to shut down the iTunes music store if an obscure three-person board appointed by the Librarian of Congress increase the royalties paid to publishers and songwriters by six cents per song. The Copyright Royalty Board is scheduled to hand down its decision on these rates Thursday. As part of their general muscle-flexing of late, music publishers asked the board to increase royalties paid to publishers and songwriters from 9 cents to 15 cents per track. Apple -- which has mightily resisted tampering in any way with its 99 cent price point for tracks -- said that if the rate hike goes through and the labels refuse to absorb the entire resulting increase, the iTunes music store will become unprofitable."

If you put music on your Windows Mobile phone, your MP3 player, or your Zune, and you ever purchase that music from iTunes, this is news you'll want to know about. I'm not personally a big fan of iTunes, but I certainly support their stance in resisting this move. They've sold several billion songs, largely because the 99 cent purchase price of an iTunes song is a reasonable alternative to piracy for most people. If you give people a chance to be honest, they will - iTunes proved that. According to this Wired article, Apple pays artists and labels 65 to 70 cents per song, 9 cents of which the artist or studio is paying to the publishers. It seems to me that if this law were to pass, the increased rates should come from the artist/label end - after all, without the songwriter that created the song in the first place, they'd have nothing in the first place.

It will be interesting to watch how this plays out - the music industry has been undermining Apple and iTunes lately, offering DRM-free MP3s to Amazon while denying them to Apple. Steve Jobs isn't known for compromising (what with that huge ego and all), so this will be interesting to watch. And if this law does pass, what will happen to Amazon's MP3 store? Or Rhapsody's MP3 store? Will we see $1.10 pricing there (you just know they'd round up), or will they too shut down? This could have some dire consequences for online music stores, who all operate at razor-thin profit margins as it is. Could this kill or cripple the entire industry? The music companies would prefer to have us all buying CDs anyway, right?


Monday, September 22, 2008

Music Publishers Preparing to Launch New Physical Music Format: slotMusic

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:00 PM

http://www.dailytech.com/Top+Music+...rticle13026.htm

"For most of recorded music's life, delivery was tied to a physical medium of some sort. Physical formats included the vinyl record, cassette tape and the CD many of us still use today. With the advent of the digital age and digital music, the physical medium for music is a dying breed. The lack of interest in physical media for music has led to sharp declines in profits for music publishers. Most every music publisher sells digital tracks today, but the profit margins on digital music are much slimmer than what music companies see on CDs and other physical mediums."

This is one of the very rare posts that belong on all four Thoughts Media sites, but it's applicable to everyone because it involves music. Looking at the companies involved (Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, EMI) it's easy to see that this is a major initiative. The question is, will it succeed? I think it has a very slim chance of success if they execute the launch flawlessly, and hit a few major issues properly: first, price. If this format is any more expensive than CDs are at retail, it will fail. They also have to add value to the format - pictures and videos are a nice way to do that. If I could buy a slotMusic album of a favourite artist and get their last six music videos included, that would create value for me. And if they encode the MP3s at 320 kbps, higher than the major online music stores, that also creates some value - although only for the people that actually know what the term "bit rate" actually means. Read more...


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Agony & Irony by Alkaline Trio

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 06:09 PM

A little more punk this week with a band that I wasn’t familiar with until this past weekend. Alkaline Trio, which happens to be one of the bands featured on the front page of the Zune Marketplace right now, is a punk rock band out of Chicago, released their new album in June 2008 called Agony & Irony. Coming into the band at this point, you’ll be excused if you think it’s more of a pop band than punk. I really can’t complain since I find that it makes the album pretty easy to listen to from start to finish. (Actually they’re my most listened to artist this month.)

If you’re a fan of the band this one might not get you going as much as some of the older albums. I could definitely hear a difference. If you haven’t hear them before, though, you might want to check them out. I may even see them at the House of Blues in Orlando on the 19th.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Free Music Friday: NIN - "The Slip"

Posted by Tim Williamson in "Digital Home News" @ 01:05 AM

http://dl.nin.com/theslip/signup

"as a thank you to our fans for your continued support, we are giving away the new nine inch nails album one hundred percent free, exclusively via nin.com. the music is available in a variety of formats including high-quality MP3, FLAC or M4A lossless at CD quality and even higher-than-CD quality 24/96 WAVE. your link will include all options - all free. all downloads include a PDF with artwork and credits. for those of you interested in physical products, fear not. we plan to make a version of this release available on CD and vinyl in july. details coming soon."



Nine Inch Nails (NIN) has released their latest album for free download from their web site, with the official CD release coming up in July. This release comes in a variety of digital formats (MP3, FLAC, M4A, and WAVE) and is DRM-free (whoo hoo!). Our source (Steve The Yaz) wonders if this could start a trend of promoting album releases in the future. This trend would definitely be great for consumers, but I'm not sure how this would benefit the band. Now that I've downloaded the album, I don't know how inclined I'd be to go out and purchase the CD. Would you pay for a CD if you could get the album for free? For a band that makes their money from CD sales, I don't know if offering your album for free download is a good thing, but for a band that makes their money from concerts, then this could be a really great way of promoting the band. So if you're into industrial rock (or even if it's not really your thing) head over the NIN's site and check out their latest free album!


Monday, March 31, 2008

What's Rockin' Your Day?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 07:45 AM

Well, Zune news has been kind of slow lately! I’ve looked through my emails and feeds and I have to be honest, there’s just not much that’s catching my eye. I think this is a good time to mention something that I had on my mind last week though. It’s really more of a question than anything else. In my real job, I’m actually a developer. The Zune is great for me because when I’m working, sometimes I just want to tune out everything around me and focus. The music is what gets me there. And let’s not forget that the Zune, above all else, is about the music. Which got me thinking: what do people listen to at certain times? Last week was a pretty rough week for me and when I need to really focus, I have a special playlist on my Zune that I listen to. For some reason, I can program really well when I have the various soundtracks from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex playing. Don’t ask me why. It’s just the way it is!

So what about all of you? Do you have any particular music you listen to?

Tags: music

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

High School/College A Capella: The Best Musical Style You've Probably Never Heard Of

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 06:00 PM

This is post I've re-published from my personal blog. We tend to focus mostly on the technical aspects of MP3 players on this site, so I thought it might be fun to talk about something we all listen to on our digital audio players, regardless of brand: music.

Nearly a decade ago, in January 1999, I went to visit a friend from my childhood (Brock Harris) in Los Angeles. Brock was teaching a group of high school students something called "A Capella". I knew that A Capella meant voices only, but it never occurred to me that someone could take modern pop songs and perform them purely with vocals (at age 24 my musical horizons were more limited then they are now). What I saw blew me away - a bunch of young adults, not that much younger than me (most were 18 or so), blending their voices into amazing sounds. The group was called No Strings Attached, and I still listen to their album to this day. Sadly, that seemed to be the only CD the group put out.

Fast forward nine years later, and I enjoy A Capella more than ever. I think it's partially because it's nothing but the human voice - no technology beyond a microphone, no vocal auto-tuning (listen to the before and after) for sloppy vocalists, no layering of the same vocalist over and over so they sound fuller...it's pure vocals, pure music. I tend to gravitate toward college and high school A Capella because they pick cool songs, and have great energy. I recently stumbled across A Capella videos on YouTube, and not surprisingly, there are a lot of them (especially from this guy). This video caught my eye today, and spurred me to finally post about this topic. Check it out:

Read more...


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Digital Music - One Day More Than Music

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 06:20 PM

http://www.switched.com/2008/01/03/digital-music-to-get-more-extras-in-2008/

"A common complaint concerning MP3s is their lack of interesting extras – the types of things you typically find inside the cases of compact discs, such as lyrics, liner notes, images and even keepsakes. That may change this year, as competition among the digital music purveyors heats up and third-party creators tap into the interest of music fans for more information." - Switched

I guess I don’t care as much about that stuff as most people. To be perfectly honest, I enjoy listening to music but I’m probably not ‘into’ it like many people. However! I do know that many people like this sort of thing and I’m glad to see that they’re finally going to add more of a consumer experience into buying digital music.

The types of things you can have as part of the digital experience are much different than what buying a jewel case would get you. I think it has the potential to be more valuable to more people in the long run. Personally, I’d love to see the ability to play lyrics on the screen as the music plays. Not that I sing along or anything…

Tags: music, digital

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Big Wigs Talk DRM, Pass the Buck Around Some More

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 07:00 PM

http://www.appscout.com/2007/02/digital_music_forum_more_suits.php

"Day 2 of the Digital Music Forum kicked off with an interesting panel discussion on "Device and Format Wars." Which basically means DRM, right? So, as you can guess, the conversation had a lot in common with yesterday's DRM discussion. Today, eMusic CEO David Pakman played the "why-not-just-drop-DRM?" guy, and execs from Microsoft's Zune team, MusicGremlin, Zing, Click and Buy, and Sonific represented various points along the DRM spectrum... The panel is moderated by Jupiter VP and Senior Analyst David Card, who starts us off with some stats to chew on: Legal music downloads in 2006 brought in around $800 million. Subscription music services generated between $150 million and $180 million. So all told, digital music in the US is just under a billion dollars as a market. That's a heckuva lot of Fergie, people."

An interesting panelled conversation, even if it doesn't conclude or resolve anything and pretty much goes nowhere. For the umpteenth time, companies trying to make money from the sales of digital music (whether piecemeal or via subscription model) blame Apple for having set the tone for music sales. I can't say agree. I really believe DRM would still be around even if there never was an iPod. I also don't believe the subscription model is something everyone's dying for. It might be great of those top-40 listeners who are always picking up the latest hits, but for those of us that have had a set music-listening pattern for some time, it's not very viable. So what do you think? Is it all Apple's fault? Would you opt for a subscription from iTunes if they offered it? And would it change the face of digital music sales? I'll start off by answering no to all three questions...


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Zune Marketplace: Weekly Freebies

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 06:25 PM

http://live.zune.net/ViewZuneRecommendation.aspx?type=playlistID&id=16842448

Another week, and another Zune Marketplace freebie that you can download, play back, burn to a CD, and most importantly, sync to your Zune device. A Zune account is required in order to download the free content. Clicking the link below will automatically launch the Zune software and take you to the artist's page, so ensure that the software is installed on your PC.



"War Hero" by Antibalas
Genre: Rock/Metal
Length:
5:26

To learn more about the Brooklyn-based Antibalas, visit the Zune Marketplace.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Zune Marketplace: Weekly Freebies

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 07:30 PM

http://live.zune.net/ViewZuneRecommendation.aspx?type=playlistID&id=16842373

Another week, and another Zune Marketplace freebie that you can download, play back, burn to a CD, and most importantly, sync to your Zune device. A Zune account is required in order to download the free content. Clicking the link below will automatically launch the Zune software and take you to the artist's page, so ensure that the software is installed on your PC.



"Ankle Injuries" by Fujiya & Miyagi
Genre: Electronic/Dance
Length:
5:04

To learn more about Fujiya & Miyagi, visit the Zune Marketplace.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Zune Marketplace: Weekly Freebies

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 08:30 PM

http://live.zune.net/ViewZuneRecommendation.aspx?type=playlistID&id=16842233

Another week, and another Zune Marketplace freebie that you can download, play back, burn to a CD, and most importantly, sync to your Zune device. A Zune account is required in order to download the free content. Clicking the link below will automatically launch the Zune software and take you to the artist's page, so ensure that the software is installed on your PC.



"Save Yourself (Chris Lord-Algé Mix)" by The Colour
Genre: Rock/Metal
Length:
3:52

To learn more about The Colour, visit the group's profile page at Zune.net.


Thursday, February 1, 2007

Zune Marketplace: Weekly Freebies

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 10:00 AM

http://live.zune.net/ViewZuneRecommendation.aspx?type=playlistID&id=16842159

Another week, and another Zune Marketplace freebie that you can download, play back, burn to a CD, and most importantly, sync to your Zune device. A Zune account is required in order to download the free content. Clicking the link below will automatically launch the Zune software and take you to the artist's page, so ensure that the software is installed on your PC.



"So Sick" by Natasha feat. Clipse
Genre: Pop
Length: 4:27

To learn more about Natasha, visit her profile page at Zune.net.


Friday, January 5, 2007

Zune Marketplace: Weekly Freebies

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 02:00 PM

http://live.zune.net/ViewZuneRecommendation.aspx?type=albumID&id=1411106

Another week, and another Zune Marketplace freebie that you can download, play back, burn to a CD, and most importantly, sync to your Zune device. A Zune account is required in order to download the free content. Clicking the link below will automatically launch the Zune software and take you to the artist's page, so ensure that the software is installed on your PC.



"Stephen Stephen" by The Apples in Stereo
Genre: Rock/Metal
Length: 1:50


Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Sponsored links