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All posts tagged "MP3"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Amazon Offers 25 Days of Free Christmas Music

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM


"Every day through December 25, we're unveiling a new holiday song available to download free for a limited time. Check back daily to see what's next."

Tis the season, to pick up some free holiday themed MP3's. You can pick them us as you go or you can probably just pop in nearer to the 25th and grabl them all at once. My fingers are crossed for some Trans-Siberian Orchestra before the offer is over.

Tags: Amazon, Free, MP3

Monday, September 15, 2008

Napster to be Part of Best Buy Family

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 PM


"Best Buy Inc. has agreed to buy Napster Inc. for $121 million, a deal that the consumer-electronics giant said it will use to reach new customers. The deal, which includes $67 million of cash and short-term investments on Napster's books, values the provider of digital music at $2.65 a share, nearly double Friday's closing price of $1.36. The acquisition, which is set to close in the fourth quarter, includes Napster's 700,000 digital entertainment subscribers, Web-based customer-service platform and mobile capabilities. "Best Buy intends to use Napster's capabilities and digital subscriber base to reach new customers with an enhanced experience for exploring and selecting music and other digital entertainment products over an increasing array of devices," said Best Buy President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Dunn."

Poor Napster. First the the man shuts you down for illegal activities. Then you reinvent yourself as a legal, albeit less popular alternative. Now you've resorted to selling out to Best Buy. I'm sorry!

Tags: MP3, Napster, Best Buy

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Zune Marketplace and MP3 Demand

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 12:30 PM

I'd like to suggest that the Zune Marketplace team add a new feature to track the demand for MP3 files. Why? Today I discovered a new band I'm really digging (Superchick) by listening to the song samples, and I want to pick up a few of their albums. 800 points works out to a bit over $12 CAD, so that's not a bad price for a whole album. It's a lot less expensive than the $22.99 CAD that Amazon.ca wants to charge me for their newest album on CD. What's the problem then? The Zune Marketplace only offers up poisoned DRM tracks for their 2006 album, and there's no way to say "Hey, I want this in MP3 instead!". If they had a little button near the "Buy" button that a person could click to indicate they'd buy it if it was in MP3 format, I think that would give the Zune team valuable leverage to go back to the record labels and say "Look, you guys could have sold an extra 1000 copies of this album if you had it in MP3 format."

I consider myself hugely lucky that of their five albums in the Zune Marketplace, four of them are available in MP3 format. But the 2006 album sounds great, and it sucks that I can't get it in MP3 format. I'm going to buy the four albums...as soon as a friend goes into a US store and buys me some Xbox Live points. That's right, because the Zune Marketplace isn't launched in Canada, I can't use my Xbox Live points to buy anything.

Loving the Amazon MP3...

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 AM

For me, Amazon's MP3 store represented a chance to finally get into purchasing MP3's. Prior to this, a majority of my collection came from ripped CD's, but over say the last 5 years, I've hardly purchased any CD's because frankly there was not much out there that I liked well enough to buy an entire CD. When Amazon's store first opened, I purchased a couple of tracks just to try it out and then kind of put it on the back burner. Well in the last few weeks, I've rediscovered their store and wanted to pass on some of the great deals that they run. First off, as you know their tracks DRM free, and run mostly around $0.99 each (with some of the more popular songs at $0.89). I find myself just buying tracks of songs I like from the radio without giving the price a second thought. Of course that is old news for those of you that have been buying from iTunes for years. What I'm really liking is that Amazon runs daily specials on entire albums for really cheap prices. For example a few days back I picked up Beck's “Odelay” for $3.99 and today I picked up “The Best of John Mellencamp: 20th Century Masters” for just $1.99. Additionally, on Friday's they offer 5 albums for $5 each. Sure, they might be taking a loss on some of these, but they are getting me in the habit of checking in daily to see what they have to offer, and of course as long as I'm there, I may end up picking up a song or too. Overall, I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad that Amazon has come up with yet another way to separate me from my money, but you live in a territory that offers it, be sure to give Amazon's MP3 store a second look.

Tags: Amazon, MP3

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Do All MP3 Players Sound Alike?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:45 AM


"Recently I read a review of an mp3 player where the author purposely chose not to discuss sound quality because, in the author’s words, 'The chosen player has a great deal to do with how you access your music, but very little to do with how it sounds…' That got me thinking. Do all mp3 players sound alike? They are all digital, so it’s the same 1’s and 0’s playing the music, so how can there be a difference in sound quality? I have tested some mp3 players myself and have noticed drastic differences. I have trouble believing that mp3 players don’t influence sound quality that much. They have different components, circuitry, software and build tolerances, so how can there not be a difference?"

Mobility Site's Steve Laser writes on a very important topic in the portable media player discussion. I seem to recall that in 2001 when the iPod came out, other players on the market were focusing on more faithfully recreating their digital sound and used higher-quality audio parts and software decoders. The iPod on the other hand, was more focused on affordability and battery life, and went the "walkman" route in supporting a technology that was "good enough" for most people. Laser poses the question to audiophiles and tech reviewers from around the net, with surprising variance in their responses.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bumpy Start for Napster MP3 Store

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 AM


"Outside of the above-listed annoyances, Napster MP3 worked as expected, and the music sounded clear to my untrained ears. The DRM-free selection (no matter how difficult it is to get to) is indeed very wide—even if we're misled into thinking it's even wider than it actually is. Napster claims that it has the largest major-label MP3 catalog in addition to the largest library of independent music, so those who are committed to never buying a DRMed track ever again may indeed find Napster's offering compelling. From our perspective, though, Amazon MP3 offers a better shopping and downloading experience than Napster currently does. Napster will likely need to tweak its system to make it more user-friendly if it wants to appeal to a mass audience."

Hopefully Amazon will be able to expand their catalog to compete. I think Amazon has a few things going for it. First off, they have a ton of customers that already have accounts with them and trust Amazon. This will be important in getting mainstream users purchasing digital tracks. Second, for their current customers, they have a ton of purchasing data which should help them make better recommendations. Finally, since they have lots of other lines of business, there is a lot of room for synergy. Buy an MP3 player from them, get 10 downloads or buy the physical CD, get discounted, or free immediate downloads.

Tags: MP3, Napster

Friday, May 9, 2008

iTunes - Pay More Get Less

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 09:00 PM


"For example, Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 on 256-bit DRM-free MP3 is just $9.99 from Amazon. The same album is also $9.99 from Apple, but you get DRM. And there are tons of tracks on Amazon that are actually less expensive than on iTMS, so you get better music for less money without the DRM hassle. So is Apple screwing the customers? In a word, no. The reason you can find more music on Amazon at a lower price is that the Record Labels want it that way. Do you think they charge Apple and Amazon the same price for each track and Apple simply charges you more and pockets the difference as a higher markup? The labels would like you to think that, but they actually charge Amazon less for each track, and that’s how Amazon can charge you less."

There is some interesting logic to this article. There were no references, so I have no idea if the labels actually sell to Amazon for less than Apple. I certainly follow that the record companies want Amazon in the game to keep Apple in check. However, I disagree that this will let the record labels take back control AND allow them to keep DRM. I think at this point they have to choose either/or. If they want to keep DRM in place, then they are stuck with Apple calling the shots. If they are willing to go DRM free, then competition can at least keep Apple in check .

Tags: Apple, Amazon, MP3

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Zune Marketplace Feature Request: An MP3 Filter

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 08:00 AM

I don't own that many Zune Marketplace tracks, perhaps a dozen in total, because I loathe DRM. I really, really dislike it and I'll do almost anything to avoid having to deal with the hassle of authorization because there's always something that goes wrong. As I was browsing through the Zune Marketplace the other way, looking up an artist so I could add her CD to my Amazon.ca wish list, it occurred to me that the Zune Marketplace could add a feature for people like me: an MP3 filter. Meaning, a software toggle that would filter out all the DRM'd music, showing me only the tracks in the Zune Marketplace that are in DRM-free MP3 format. Sure, the catalog would be incredibly small at first, but I'd really enjoy browsing the marketplace and only see music offered that I don't have to think twice about buying. Right now when I see a song I want, and it's not tagged with the little "MP3" icon shown above, I always have a little internal struggle as to how badly I really want the song - and it's never about the cost in points, it's always about the hassles of the DRM.

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