Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2007

Tenori-On: Tenori-On Set for September Launch

tenorion_440.jpgThe Tenori-On is a musical sequencer from Yamaha—basically a grid of LED-lit rubber buttons that lets you create musical loops and melodies. It may look like a prop from a 1970s sci-fi series, but it's actually a really intuitive and capable instrument that looks simply amazing. Have a look at it in action after the jump.


Sequencers are used all the time by bands and producers, but this is a really impressive design. There are also all sorts of other possibilities for this hardware, and I can't wait to see what hacks come out for it. It's being released in the UK next month, and if sales go well, then Yamaha will consider launching it elsewhere too. No word yet on pricing, but it won't be cheap. [Yamaha]


Thursday, August 23, 2007

SpiralFrog: Free Music Alive And Hopping

Remember SpiralFrog that free music download service that announced itself nearly a year ago? Well, after slowly releasing invites to Canadians, we received a private beta invitation.

SpiralFrog originally made a splash when they sealed a deal with Universal BMG to give away free downloads of some of their songs in exchange for a share of on-site ad revenue. Later they closed a deal with EMI and have since added a bunch of smaller labels totaling over 700,000 songs. However, now we know a little more about how their free system works.

spiralfrogsmall.pngSongs on SpiralFrog are not ad-supported through interstitial advertising or free in the sense that you can bring them anywhere. Instead, you get DRMed songs (WMA) leased to you for a free 30 day membership (or you can buy on Amazon). You can renew your membership, and the lease to play your songs, by answering survey questions (# concerts per year, how you discover music, etc). All that data helps SpiralFrog know what kind of ads to serve on the site.

To keep the whole system secure, they’ve locked down the download process end to end DRM controls. First you have to get a download manager, and then ensure you have Windows Media Player 9.0 or up. The system is kind of annoying and only works on Windows machines since it uses Microsoft DRM. Although, Microsoft DRM has already been cracked. The DRM requirement also means the songs only play through Windows Media Player, making them unportable. Unlike other DRM setups, though, there doesn’t appear to be a limit to the number of computers you can download to as long as you set SpiralFrog up on them.

Once the system is in place, you can search for artists and download their songs/videos individually. The songs are queued in a download manager and stored locally by artist and album in your SpiralFrog folder. The system seems to have intentionally been crippled so you view more advertising, with downloads happening one at a time and only while on the site. Using the site, I was able to download a bunch of songs and play them with no problem, but other early beta user have had trouble.

I don’t know if SpiralFrog will be able to sustain their business off of on-site advertising and affiliate music sales. A lot of other services are simply going DRM free, not download free. Blogmusik also recently went legit in France, but the US courts and music industry are a lot harder to sway. However, limiting the lease time on the songs means they can continuously tweak what hoops their users need to hop through to keep playing the music they download. For now it may be a simple option if you want a (legal) source of free tunes.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

BlogMusik To Go Legit; Launches Free & Legal Music On Demand

Back in September last year Michael suggested everyone check out BlogMusik quickly before it was shut down. BlogMusik is a service born in France that lets you search for mp3 files on the web and listen to them in streaming mode for free. At the time the service was young and had no particular licensing agreements. A few months later, the SACEM, the organization in charge of collecting payments for artists’ rights sent them a cease and desist letter with a view to stop the service. A lot has happened since (beyond a rather nice site redesign and addition of sharing features).

BlogMusik will announce tomorrow that they came to an agreement with the SACEM, clearing the service of copyright infrigement accusations. The details of this agreement are not are not being disclosed, but other deals suggest it is based on a revenue sharing mode. BlogMusik’s business model is relying on advertising and affiliate revenue coming from the sales of songs on iTunes and Amazon. This agreement should cover BlogMusik for any music they host wherever the music is listened from. However they still have to come to an agreement with organizations representing majors and labels (Pandora had to face new webradio rates imposed by the RIAA). This is being taken care of according to the CEO of the company and new agreements should be announced soon.

All in all this is a good news for BlogMusik The company now has an opportunity to become a true free legal alternative to listen to music on the internet. Unlike Pandora this is a music on demand service where you choose the titles you want to listen to (although you have a smart playlist option to generate automatically radios out of a song or an artist). will also change name and become This is a good thing i had a hard time getting the UR/nameL right with this “k” in the middle (not mentionning the .net). RadioBlogClub, another popular french service was forced a few months ago to change hosting provider following a complaint sent by the same SACEM. The service was interupted a few days and opened again as fresh as new. To date no official licensing agreement was made with the company.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Apple passes Amazon to become the #3 US music retailer

Things must seem pretty rosy in Cupertino -- just a week before the mega-hyped launch of you-know-what, market research group NPD's quarterly survey shows Apple has passed Amazon to become the third biggest music retailer in the US. This isn't the biggest of surprises, since Steve himself predicted that the iTunes Store would overtake Amazon at the Showtime event back in September, but the leap to #3 is a little unexpected, since Apple also outpaced Target last quarter. iTunes is now rocking a 10% market share, just behind Wal-Mart at 16% and Best Buy at 14%, and while we don't expect to see it pass those two giants anytime soon, we'd bet that uptick in DRM-free sales has got the iTMS crew at Apple licking their chops.