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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

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.ht..._rd_i=163856011

"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

Friday, October 17, 2008

I've Got CPU Cores to Spare...Why Won't Somebody Use 'Em Smarter?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 03:39 PM

I was synchronizing music over to my SanDisk Sansa Clip today, and I configured Windows Media Player 11 to transcode the music to 128 kbps WMA files from the original 256 to 320 kbps music files. 128 kbps WMA files still sound pretty good for rock/pop music, and at the gym sound fidelity isn't quite as critical as is it at home. What surprised me was how poorly the Windows Media Encoder used my multiple cores. It did better than some programs because it was using two cores to transcode a single MP3 file, but what it should have been doing is multi-threaded encoding, where one core is assigned the task of transcoding one file, and have all four CPU cores transcoding the audio. Just like using FTP to download a bunch of files, even if you have restricted bandwidth or CPU cycles, efficiencies can be gained by processing multiple files in parallel.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Napster to be Part of Best Buy Family

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

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122...hoo_hs&ru=yahoo

"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

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dell Brings Zing to the Music Player Market

Posted by Suhit Gupta in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technol...yer_market.html

"Dell is unmatched as a high-volume supplier, but its business model doesn't work as well when it can only achieve low sales volumes. It therefore waited until portable MP3 players had become a substantial market before launching its own system in 2003, then dropped out in 2006, when it failed to get more than 3% or so of the US market. This time, it looks as though its approach will be based on Zing, a music site it bought last year. And it will go beyond music players, according to Michael Tatelman, Dell's vice president of consumer sales. Dell no longer focuses on the lowest price: it has "value" lines such as Vostro, consumer lines such as the Studio range, a high end performance line (XPS), and lots of business lines. It sells direct and via retail stores, and has a big services business that does things like manage fleets of corporate PCs. And while most of its sales are based on openly available market standards -- they are platform sales -- Zing shows it adding an experience-based integrated approach."

I remember buying Dell's old MP3 player, called the Dell DJ if I recall correctly, and being less than satisfied with it (cheap look and feel, very limited in terms of functionality, all kinds of DRM issues), so I was obviously a little skeptical when I read this article. But we'll have to wait and see exactly what kind of integrated service Dell offers. The commentary at the end of the article on a potential partnership with Microsoft's Zune is interesting because I started to think along the exact same lines because it doesn't look like (at least from this article that) Dell is planning any hardware so they will probably need to create partnerships with one or more device makers in order to really be successful.

Tags: Dell, MP3, Zing

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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

http://mobilitysite.com/2008/07/do-...ers-sound-alike

"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.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Newman MP3 Player is a Blast from the Past

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 PM

http://www.pmptoday.com/2008/06/04/...ill-samsung-s2/

"Perhaps the most interesting thing about the COOL MAN is that you can clip it on using a safety pin. Yep, it’s probably not so much an S2 clone as an adaptation of the generic button pin. Too bad the COOL MAN didn’t make it to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but Obama and McCain could still have a go at this MP3 player. The “Button MP3″ plays WMA and MP3. It has cute buttons below the monochrome screen. It’ll probably come in 1GB at least and should be as cheap as a button."



Man, this would have been great on the denim jacket I wore back in 1980's!

Tags: MP3, Newman

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bumpy Start for Napster MP3 Store

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

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/pos...f-the-gate.html

"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

http://weblog.raganwald.com/2008/05...han-amazon.html

"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

Friday, January 25, 2008

Yahoo To Join the DRM-free MP3 Party

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

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/pos...-mp3-store.html

"Yahoo Music general manager Ian Rogers has long been lobbying the music industry to drop DRM. Yahoo was one of the first to begin testing sales of DRM-free MP3s in December of 2006, when it started selling unprotected tracks from EMI. Since then, the DRM-free music biz has exploded, with DRM-free offerings found through iTunes, Amie Street, Amazon, eMusic, magnatune, PureTracks, and 7digital. But none of them (save Amazon) have DRM-free music available from nearly all major artists, leaving Amazon as the place to go for the widest selection of unprotected music. Until Yahoo joins the party, that is. Yahoo has the potential to wrangle the Big Four into a deal and become the second major music store to offer DRM-free music from them all (plus, undoubtedly, a smattering of independent labels as the others already do). Why Yahoo and not the others? Because, save for iTunes, the other music stores are either not very interested in big music, or just plain aren't very big (eMusic is a decent size, but focuses mostly on indie labels). The music labels are also still holding out on iTunes a bit to get back at Apple for holding the keys to the castle for so long. So who's left? Yahoo and Amazon."

I'm happy about the level of competition that Yahoo will bring to the game even though I think Amazon has the advantage. Why you may ask? First off Amazon is a retailer first and foremost. Sure Yahoo has shopping but I bet nearly every visitor to this site already has an account with Amazon, while I bet less than half have ever bought anything through Yahoo shopping. Second, Amazon already sells LOTS of CDs. I'm sure this gives them clout with the labels. Plus it gives them the ability to leverage their sizable customer database for recommendations and such.

Tags: Amazon, Yahoo, MP3

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