We have a schizophrenic Playlist this time, with rappers and beach bums, with soul singers and pop bands. 50 Cent is back, as is Jack Johnson, both trying to improve over their last successful releases. Sage Francis furthers the cause of underground hip-hop, and Sam Cooke is our collection essential, putting a little soul in this dreary winter. Enjoy the Playlist, and let me know what you think in our forums or by emailing me.
XM has announced a price increase for their satellite radio service effective April 2, 2005. The increase will raise the now current rate for their basic service of $9.95, to $12.95 per month. They are also going to include two premium services free of charge. Those two premium services are XM’s online radio access, and the show “High Voltage”. These two services are currently offered at a price of $3.95 and $1.95 respectively. What seems to be a good deal deserves a second look. Sirius, XM’s competitor, offers online satellite radio free of charge on its basic plan of $12.95 and states it will allow subscribers to listen to Howard Stern free of charge when his program launches next year. If you are a current subscriber, you may lock in the rate of $9.95 for the next 5 years. Now that these two services will be the same price, the decision on what service to purchase will be based on what truly matters – hardware price and quality. Expect to see hardware price cuts in the coming months.
Read More | Reuters
You know, I have been playing around with Napster To Go for about a day or so, and I must say it is growing on me. The interface could use a little work, but the fact that I can pull up and listen to just about any song at any time is the real draw (and, the point actually) of Napster To Go. You can queue music up to play tracks one after another, or download the music to be transferred to a portable audio device. The price here is very minimal as well - you pay less for Napster To Go than you would buying one CD per month. I am going to continue messing around with it, and let you know what I think after the trial is over.
Well, we knew it was inevitable. It appears that one of my personal favorites sites on the internet, AllOfMP3.com, may finally be in a position to be shut down. While many figured what they were doing was okay by Russian standards, our friends in the Russian police force felt otherwise. Now they are under criminal copyright investigation due to their pay-per-megabyte music model. Say it ain’t so! Hey, as long as they leave MP3Search alone, I’m good.
Read More | CNet
I know structured wiring and home automation aren’t exactly at the tip of your tongue. All I can say is that it will be. If you want to be able to integrate all of your high tech audio and video toys with your home entertainment systems, and build them into multi room designs, you will need both home automation and structured wiring. The reason I mention this is that Leviton has announced that it is releasing the LE&AP, a multimedia hard drive distribution unit for its structured wiring enclosures. With a Linux based operating system, the LE&AP allows you to distribute your digital music and videos across multiple platforms. Send your MP3’s to your stereo and your digital videos and digital camera images to the televisions. The distribution unit will also share out your broadband connection. I’m an MCSE and I’m going to be looking at this way before I look at mounting a computer with windows media system loaded on it.
This is an 8-zone commercial grade gateway and firewall, with 4 USB expansion ports, and a 120 GB internal drive. It can be upgraded to larger storage capacity as well as software upgrades. From the looks of the system eventually it will integrate with your security and home control devices as well.
With basic audio and video connections as well as advanced digital connections, the unit connects to your TV or stereo and uses your home network for communications. With the remote and some easy to use menus on the TV homeowners can browse and select all of their audio, video and photo storage.
Read More | Leviton
DJ’s have converted from vinyl to CDs, and Pioneer aims to make their jobs even easier. The original CDJ-100 played CDR/RWs and had excellent jog wheel control. The new CDJ-200 adds many welcome features. With cue/loop memory, MP3 support, digital outputs and new loop editing features, this player has become its own mobile club. I think this should make for some interesting changes in the local club music scene as well as future re-mixes.
Read More | Pioneer
It’s nice to have a change from the regular listing of albums and singles Billboard is normally known for. USA Today reports that the company has actually been tabulating downloads, using Nielsen SoundScan, since 2003. Now that they’ve ironed out all the kinks and feel more comfortable they’ve begun publishing the lists. They are only tracking songs that have been legally purchased though, for obvious reasons. For top song swaps, you might want to check out BigChampagne.
Read More | USA Today
Following last weeks singer-songwriter fest, I promised more testosterone this week, and here is my attempt to deliver. A debut by rap music’s newest golden boy and the all out rock of Death From Above 1979 and Rage Against the Machine give this Playlist some aggression and anger…Throw in a little R&B and indie rock, and you have this week’s Playlist.
Last month we told you about Napster’s newest idea for renting music instead of paying 99 cents a track. We informed you that the service, at $14.99, was being beta tested. The service is now available on Napster’s To Go website. The only drawback is that only a few portable MP3 players work with the service. The current list of To Go compatible players include the iriver H10, Creative Zen Micro, SMT5600 Smart Phone, Zen Portable Media Center, Gateway GCM-4 Photo Jukebox, iriver H320, iriver PMC-120, and the Samsung YH-999 Portable Media Center. More compatible players are sure to be released, just look for the “Works with Napster To Go” logo. Of course, the Apple iPod is not supported. Will that make it harder for Napster to compete with iTunes? This seems to be a good service since you are able to have unlimited downloads for $15 a month. Say you download 1,000 songs, instead of paying $1,000 using iTunes, you only spend $15 a month. A very completive price, however, could the incompatibility of the iPod be this service’s downfall?
Read More | Napster To Go
By now you must know of our love for sites like MP3Search.ru and AllofMP3.com. It feels good to pay what feels to be a reasonable amount for music, doesn’t it? What about the legalities of it? The Wall Street Journal takes a look at just that in a recent article. Will it deter anyone from using the sites? Highly unlikely.
Read More | WSJ
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