Oh, hi New Year. How ya doin'? More on bass later - I've assembled a decent looping rig and am working on stuff now. Like I said, more later
TechCrunch announced Amazon's AutoRip service today, basically giving you a central storage area for all the songs you ever purchased in any form from Amazon. That means you can now store your music collection in one of three central areas - Apple servers (for a fee with Match), Google (free for their purchases, to a limit for everything else), and Amazon (basically stuff you bought from them).
Meaning that media matters little anymore. Doesn't matter how you bought it, these three will make it convenient for you to get.
Why? Because they want you to buy from them in the future. They want their place to be instinctual for you to visit and to purchase from.
Seems nice, but we've seen people pull right back for this kind of media before (right, Amazon?). So I still plan on syncing my server to Google Play for mobile use that still leaves copies for my own personal satisfaction at home.
I'm more intrigued by seeing exactly what I've purchased from Amazon. And a little creeped that they remember better than I do.
So now that iTunes Match and Google Music are available, I'm thinking that Google might have have come up with the winning service here - if only because it's free (versus $24.99/year for iTunes match). You might have to spend a little more time and effort to upload the tracks, but the mobile version of the site played just fine on my iPhone browser. And that's key - if it's mobile and browser-based, you'll (theoretically) be able to get it on more devices. The interesting thing to me is that both services don't restrict necessarily by size - they restrict by number of songs (25,000 for iTunes Match vs. 20,000 for Google). There might be some file limit size, but cloud storage is evidently cheap enough that they're not worried about it anymore. Toss in Amazon, and all three will hold on to the music you buy for you (unless you're an ubercollector and have too many songs).
But this all sounds a lot like the debut of Best Buy nationwide to me - remember when CDs were loss-leaders to get you to buy more at Best Buy? Music is still a loss-leader for these companies, and only the products have changed. Apple wants to sell hardware, Google wants to sell you as part of their advertising and analytics ventures (as do streaming services like MOG, Spotify, and more), and Amazon wants to sell . . . everything else they sell on Amazon. The convenience and portability of the music is wonderful, but there's actually been precious little shift in the ecosystem for these larger companies. The content drives the purchasing of other goods, and that leaves music in a surprising familiar neighborhood for all of the recent changes.
Hot on the heels of Spotify announcing their US trial run and expanding streaming services, Amazon announced yesterday their $20/year unlimited music storage plan, plus free storage for all tracks purchased on Amazon and an iPad app coming soon. That's $5 cheaper than the iCloud offering from Apple and includes unlimited storage. But you have to upload it all - have fun with that.
And, if you feel like supporting the artists providing this music for you, take into account the information in this graphic and consider maybe a CD or direct donation or something. Click to embiggen, as you'll need a lot of screen real estate to read and see the relationships.
Amazon and Google have cloud-based music lockers, and next week's announcement from Apple surely promises a third option tied to an iTunes account. All of this should sound familiar - it's basically what mp3.com was doing years ago. The difference is that mp3.com used a physical disc to verify ownership, while these cloud services demand either uploading or purchase from a music service. That's a significant difference, but how much easier would everything have been if, instead of suing the service out of existence, the major labels had worked with mp3.com. You'd have a third-party service streaming purchased tracks as a value-added proposition to music sales, which is what everybody seems to want now. It only required a ton of money and lawsuits to hash it out back to the starting point?
And it goes beyond the gratuitous use of clip art in the source article.
40% of UK folks surveyed can't name a legal music download site. The tagline about only knowing about Amazon and iTunes doesn't bother me too much - people have resources to get on those services with little effort, so your recordings can be in the same store as the big boys. But almost have of the surveyed can't even get that far?
If they can't name it, they aren't using it. And that doesn't translate into purchased physical copies, either. Change is inevitable, I suppose, but would a little haste be such a bad thing?
The fans can connect directly with artists now - hell, how hard would it be to just ASK where the music is available for purchase? I'm sure they'd be more than happy to let the fans know?
Looks like iTunes and Amazon have the Wup Bup tracks available for download, so feel free to download them at your leisure. Also, the CD can still be purchased at Indy CD and Vinyl and Luna Music here in Indianapolis.
We're still working out the live aspects of the show, but it's looking like Reason is going to be playing a large part of providing the sounds and loops for the show (including, hopefully, my bass). Since I love the program personally, then, I'm a little geeked out about the company (Propellerheads) releasing an audio recording program to work in tandem with the soft synth and sequencing capabilities of Reason. It's going to be a little hard to wait until September for the final product, but it does make my decision to choose a new audio recording software a little more complicated. At least on my laptop, Pro Tools and Logic have another competitor.
I have no idea if the "world's largest bass guitar" is a Photoshopped work of trickery. I have no idea of the scale on it or the notes. Would it even make an audible tone, or does it just rumble quietly to itself when plucked, the soundwaves passing below our ability to hear? What the hell is up with the flame job anyway? So many imponderables.
What is being heard it Last.fm's response to Techcrunch's allegations that the service turned over its data on what its Scrobble users listen to over to the RIAA, specifically the folks who gave a listen to leaked U2 tracks. Last.fm is claiming they only collect aggregate data to share with labels and artists, and the private stuff never makes it out of their servers. Techcrunch is backtracking somewhat on the claims, but the implications are already out and the debate is underway. If anything, this is as much of a warning to make sure exactly what data is being collected from your system before you use a service (and maybe turn off the service that broadcasts the music you're enjoying to the world, even if it hasn't technically been released yet). Given that your information is already being tracked, though, whether by Amazon's purchases or iTunes' Genius feature or another feature, this kind of becomes a non-issue.
Google's new Android system means Amazon's mp3 store has a direct link to new phones. The iPhone already has that link to iTunes. It's not just physical media that's becoming obsolete - now you don't even need a personal computer if the craving gets to be too much.
Theoretically speaking, of course. For God's sakes, please back up your media purchases on a home computer. One lost phone and you're out for the whole thing.
I'd still love to see the DRM go away on iTunes (Amazon can do it, you can too) and the fidelity of the files to increase (can't fit the whole collection, but it still sounds better), but this sure beats an SD card.
According to this article, the last major label holdout is renouncing digital rights management and will soon offer at least a portion of their catalog without encumbrance. Which is pretty damn cool, as it allows consumers to move their files to devices and back without hindrance. My only question at this point is whether or not these files will be available to all download services. Amazon is a natural choice, but will they allow these files to be sold through iTunes or eMusic as well? One would think that it makes sense to be distributed as much as possible in order to get the maximum amount of customers, but the Internet means you don't have to drive to a store to get it - you can just browse to the next site. I can see the labels trying to set up their own site to maximize their profits in addition to using Amazon to try and extract Apple from their top spot.
Meanwhile, Tunecore gets your songs on these services and more without the need for a label. Something to think about . . .
The podcasting book is on the presses and should be out quite soon (they may even have my name up on Amazon soon), and IMN just put up a new podcast episode as well. Finally, I'm loading up the iPod with a bunch of new episodes for the Thanksgiving traveling season. It's fun audio time all around. It's kind of hard to get into the flow of "This American Life" unless you're in the car for a good long time, so this might work out well.
I also just bought William Gibson's "Spook Country" - tried waiting for the paperback, but I just couldn't make it. Couldn't wait for the Kindle, either. The addition of WiFi and the stature of Amazon to back this new device are intriguing developments, but I'm not sure the consumer adoption of the iPod has opened the door wide enough for a better, faster eReader. Hell, I was trying to dodge $10 for a hardcover. The $400 price tag is a bit much to justify, especially when I deal with folks every day who print off e-mail and PowerPoint presentation because they'd rather read them on paper.
This is another device that may take a generation to integrate, as folks get more used to reading off of a screen. And dealing with it when your book's battery dies.