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 "mp3"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Music Metadata: It's Here to Stay

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 01:00 PM

On a private mailing list I'm a part of, the issue of music metadata was brought up - specifically, that the Zune desktop and device software relies on metadata for everything, and if you're the kind of person who has a collection of digital music stretching back 10+ years, there's a good chance it's missing proper metadata. Many people have worked around that by organizing and playing back their music like they would a Word document; via the file system. This is a habit that you should seriously consider breaking, and I'll tell you why. Read more...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DRM Problems Plague Some Zune Marketplace Customers

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 03:09 PM

Digital Rights Management, or DRM as it's better know, is an ugly technology that ends up doing far more to alienate legitimate consumers of media content than it does to stop the people who want to take content they didn't pay for. Case in point: here's an email I received from a Zune Thoughts reader last week...

"I just upgraded to Windows 7 from Vista, and it went smoothly. That is until I tried to sync my zune. Apparently many of the songs I purchased long ago from the zune marketplace were DRM protected WMA. Of those songs a number are now available only as MP3. Somehow my songs, which worked fine until I upgraded to Win7, are now useless files that won't play on my PC or sync to my zune. I called zune customer support and they told me that per Microsoft they are not allowed to credit me for songs that were once WMA and are now only available as MP3 because the content provider has changed. I am now stuck having spent money for music that is gone forever...It is incredibly hard to believe that they are refusing to help one of their customers out. I guess I am going to have to switch to using the Amazon MP3 store 100% of the time. The only reason I was purchasing from the zune marketplace to begin with was an effort to support Zune."

Can you believe that? We're not talking here about a DRM-laden store going away - a la MSN Music - we're talking about the Zune Marketplace's back-end music content shifting and burning customers in the process because the DRM-laden WMA files they purchased magically vanished and MP3s appeared in their place. I'm not aware of any simple way - or even a complex way for that matter - for users to export the DRM licenses for their Zune Marketplace-purchased content. So what does the Zune team expect people to do? Never switch computers, and never upgrade to Windows 7?

The good news here is that a few days after this person contacted me, he followed up to inform me that someone from the Zune Team contacted him and offered him song credits to fix this situation. That's great to hear, but it's clear the Zune Marketplace has a very screwed up system if this was allowed to happen in the first place.

DRM is a poison that's best avoided, and until the Zune Marketplace is 100% DRM-free, I'm not going to purchase songs from it. Amazon's MP3 store gets all my money right now. Where do you purchase your music from?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

eMusic Strikes a Deal with Sony

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 AM


"Sony Music and online digital music retailer eMusic announced on Monday that music that is more than two years old from the record label will be added to eMusic's online store. While specifics of the deal were not disclosed, a direct result of it will see eMusic raise its prices slightly and reduce the number of downloads in its monthly plans. The classic recordings from Sony Music labels that include Columbia, RCA, and Jive, as well as artists such as Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Johnny Cash, will be added to eMusic's catalog in the third quarter of the year."

eMusic has garnered a number of fans over the years due to their quality and lack of DRM. If you've stayed away due to a less than stellar selection, then that problem just got a bit smaller. Hopefully, they'll work on getting current hits as part of the deal in the future.

Tags: mp3, sony, emusic

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


"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,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

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

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


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

Friday, October 17, 2008

EU: iPod Users May Be Killing Their Hearing

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


"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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Amazon MP3 and Android, Sitting In a Tree...

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 08:10 AM


"Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that the Amazon MP3 music store will be pre-loaded on the T-Mobile G1, the world's first Android(TM)-powered mobile phone in partnership with Google. T-Mobile G1 users can search, download, buy and play music from Amazon MP3, which offers over 6 million DRM-free MP3 songs from all four major music labels and thousands of independent labels that can be played on virtually any hardware device and managed with any music software. "Amazon wants to make it easy for customers to discover, buy, and play their music wherever they happen to be--whether sitting at their computer or on the go," said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President for Digital Music and Video. "We look forward to the release of the T-Mobile G1, which will put Amazon MP3's vast selection of low-priced DRM-free music at the fingertips of even more customers in more places." The T-Mobile G1 comes pre-loaded with an Amazon MP3 application, giving customers a phone-optimized version of the Amazon MP3 store and the immediate gratification of buying and playing their favorite music. Amazon MP3 has worked to make its DRM-free music available through numerous products and services, such as Pandora MySpace Music, and now Android and T-Mobile G1."

The mobile music downloads market just got a lot more interesting with Amazon.com announcing the availability of the Amazon MP3 music store on the Android-powered T-Mobile G1. Its biggest rival is, of course, the iTunes Store on the iPhone and iPod touch, followed by the Zune Marketplace on the Zune. However, Amazon MP3 trumps one or both in a few areas: (a) all tracks are DRM-free; (b) most content is better-priced; and (c) tracks can be browsed, previewed, and purchased on the T-Mobile network, and later downloaded via Wi-Fi.

What can Microsoft and Apple conjure to match or beat this?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Escape iTunes With the TuneClone Audio Converter

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 11:45 AM


"You are considering buying a Microsoft Zune as you broke your iPod or had your iPod stolen. And you bought a lot of songs from iTunes store because you had money left on your iTunes gift card. You still want to enjoy those purchased songs on your Zune MP3 player. Or you own an iPod while your boyfriend/girlfriend has a Zune. And you hope to share the library of M4P music songs purchased from iTunes store under your account with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Here comes the headache! The M4P music you bought from iTunes is DRM-laden! You cannot transfer the iTunes M4P music to the Zune software, not to mention playing the iTunes M4P music on your Zune player."

So, you want to migrate from the iPod to the Zune but the main reason you haven’t made that jump is because you have your iTunes library. I’m sure that’s a very common reason for not coming over to the Zune world. (Ok, maybe not, but I’ll maintain my delusion.) This is a serious issue though and if you do want to change platforms, then your only options are mostly time consuming and wasteful.

TuneClone Audio Converter has come to the rescue! You can use this to move your library of M4P DRM protected music to the MP3 format that you can use on any player out there worth its salt. This is a useful tool for anyone looking to break their relationship with the iPod. This software does cost $34.95 to register but that price does give you what appears to be a full feature application. The best part is that it maintains all of the music file’s metadata. DigitalMediaOnline has a nice little tutorial that shows how it works.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Free Music Friday: NIN - "The Slip"

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


"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!

Friday, February 9, 2007

EMI Pondering DRM-free Music with MP3s

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Media" @ 05:21 PM


"Music company EMI Group PLC -- home of The Rolling Stones and Coldplay -- has been talking with online retailers about possibly selling its entire digital music catalog in MP3 format without copy protection, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing numerous people familiar with the matter. The MP3 format, which can be freely copied and played on virtually any device, would allow consumers to play music purchased from any online store on any digital music device...According to the people familiar with the matter, London-based EMI asked the retailers to submit proposals by Thursday telling the company what size advance payments they would offer in exchange for the right to sell EMI's music as MP3s, the Journal reported."

Very interesting news, and I hope this puts Steve Jobs' comments into perspective - he may have been among the first to make public comments about DRM-free music, but there were already behind-the-scenes meetings taking place to take steps forward. Don't get me wrong - it's great that Steve Jobs came out and said what he did and hopefully it will put pressure on the music companies - but it's completely inaccurate to give him credit for starting this movement (which is something the fanboys seem to be doing a lot of lately). Will 2007 be the year of DRM free music being sold? I sure hope so. I also hope the MP3s are 256 kbps in quality, and not some 128 kbps junk that will make me keep only buying CDs.

Tags: emi, drm-free, mp3

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Sponsored links