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All posts tagged "music"

Sunday, April 29, 2012

SnapCrowd Provides Effective Cloud Storage

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 05:00 PM

"SnapCrowd is the most advanced DAM (Digital Asset Management) platform on the market and we plan to keep it that way. Whether we like it or not our lives are now digital in some way or another, so why not keep it simple and secure. At SnapCrowd a user can store photos, video, documents, audio and even contacts, all in their original form protected behind SSL / TLS and HTTPS protocol layers."

Cloud storage has hit mainstream, and in the past week or two you may have noticed a number of reviews of Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Dropbox, and Apple iCloud. These services offer a number of unique and competitive features, and are worth checking into. I would definitely add SnapCrowd to your list though. It has a some compelling features and very competitive pricing, and may just facilitate your computing and mobile life in ways you might not expect.

The SnapCrowd developers state they allow larger file upload sizes than their competition, like 200 MB for photos, 4 GB for video, audio and documents, and allow RAW files from all the major camera manufactures. Their proprietary user interface allows all user functions even while uploading files. What's more, if for any reason your file gets interrupted in the upload process, you can just log back into your account and queue the file back up and it will continue where it left off.

The SnapCrowd WP7 app looks well designed and is very functional (see the demo on the linked page). The user-interface directly guides you to manage specific file types (like documents, music, photos and video). Meta data about your files is clearly presented, and interactions seem very straight-forward. Hit the Read link for additional information and a demo of how the WP7 app works.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zune Music Pass Launches In Australia

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 05:40 PM

Oh, yes, fellow Aussies. You'd better believe it. The Zune Music Pass has finally launched in Australia, which means 13 million songs and unlimited music video streaming are now at your fingertips on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, PC, and web. You can get started now with a free 14-day trial; then, if it's to your liking, continue your subscription for $11.99 AUD per month, or go all out with an annual pass that nets you twelve months for the price of ten. Happy listening!

Spotify For Windows Phone 7

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 05:00 AM

"The app itself looks incredibly slick, and is ultra snappy to use. Spotify catered the music streaming experience elegantly to Windows Phone's Metro User Interface, and includes all the features you'd expect, plus more."

The Spotify music streaming service is not available to everyone, but if you are able to connect to it then this app for Windows Phone 7 should be on your list. This is a very nicely-designed Windows Phone 7 app. Features include playlists, a news feed, "now playing" indicator, and a "People" screen that helps you pick out a friend and see what he or she is listening to. Well worth checking out.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Sweet Sound of Quality: Win a Set of $399 Audioengine A5+ Speakers

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 09:00 AM

I may be selling these sites and working full time for HTC now, but who says I can't have a little more fun giving away a great prize before I go? Last week I posted about the new Audioengine A5+ powered desktop speakers; the generous folks at Audioengine have offered up a set of these new speakers for a contest. With dual inputs (3.5mm and RCA, the latter of which is easily converted to an addition 3.5mm input with a cable) and a USB charging port, the A5+ speakers are a great companion to an endless variety of devices: desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and yes, even the humble Zune. Ringing in at $399 USD, these are high-quality speakers that I guarantee will blow you away.

How do you win this contest? Simply post a comment to this discussion thread (one entry per person) telling me what your current audio solution for speakers is and how the Audioengine A5+ speakers will be better. One winner will be randomly selected from amongst all the entries and they'll get to chose either a set of black or white A5+ speakers. Due to the size and weight of this prize, it will only be shipped within the continental USA. The contest will remain open until Friday the 28th at 12 PM mountain time (GMT -7).

Best of luck everyone, and I look forward to reading some interesting entries. :-)

UPDATE: The contest is now over, and the winner is ITforSmallBiz. Thanks to everyone for entering!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ultimate Guitar Tabs Comes To WP7

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 09:00 PM

"When the inspiration strikes to pick up your trusty six-string, is making sure you've got the music at your fingertips. Whether sitting in your room at home or traveling across the country, practicing your favorite riffs has never been easier with the latest groundbreaking application created by the wildly popular music site."

Wielding an axe just got easier - Ultimate Guitar Tabs brings the one of the largest collections of guitar tablature to WP7. You also gain access to bass and drum tabs, and a reference for guitar chords. The app is now in the Marketplace for $2.99 (link).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rhapsody App Now Available for WP7

Posted by Danny Simmons in "Windows Phone Software" @ 05:00 PM

"Rhapsody continues strengthening its position as a go-to music streaming service in the U.S. In the wake of offering an extended 60-day trial of its services, Rhapsody has now launched a Windows Phone 7 app."

Rhapsody is looking to bring some serious competition to the streaming audio industry. Not only do they offer a $9.99 monthly subscription, they now have a 60-day free trial so you can decide if you like it or not. All of this is now available on Windows Phone 7 in the Zune Marketplace.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Altec Lansing InMotion Air Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"Every year the gadget world is swamped by new buzz words, technological breakthroughs or product types that we simply must buy into. For music fans the must-have gadget is a dock and the buzz word it must now have is 'AirPlay' - Apple's wireless streaming connectivity capable of supporting lossless audio. So can we take a wireless speaker with none of this functionality seriously? Actually yes..."

Bluetooth-based speakers tend to be more on the "suck" side of the spectrum than the "awesome" side, but it seems Altec Lansing has pulled a rabbit out of their hat here and delivered a system that actually allows Bluetooth-transmitted audio to sound good. Go figure! If you've got a Bluetooth device and want to listen to music without having to connect it to a speaker dock, this looks like a good solution.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are We All Digitally OCD Now?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 05:30 PM,00.html

"We are all OCD now. We do these things not just because digital filing gives us the satisfaction of cleaning without the unpleasant feeling of getting up from our chairs. It's because we're constantly confronting the onslaught of information, and our brains are trying to make patterns out of the randomness. We believe that if we just finish a list of every movie we want to see, we can finish that task, despite the fact that Rob Schneider is going to make more films."

Photo Credit: Gizmodo

This is a humour column, but there's some truth to the idea that sometimes we spend more time organizing and fretting away over the details of our digital collections than actually enjoying them. However, unlike the author of this column, I've always been detail-oriented and I appreciate creating digital order from digital's almost soothing to me to see things organized properly. I don't think I could ever embrace digital chaos the way the author is suggesting - could you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nokia Shuts Down "Ovi", Music Streaming Service, in 27 Countries

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Competition" @ 04:06 PM

"Nokia Corp. has announced it will be shutting down its Ovi Music unlimited subscription service in 27 countries. The service - similar to Microsoft Corp.'s Zune Pass - allowed people to pay a set fee to access as much music as they wanted, legally and conveniently. Originally launched with much fanfare in Britain in late 2008, and seen as a major threat to the iTunes dominated market with Nokia securing all four major music publishes [sic], it has seen a sad decline in most markets."

Subscription music is a hard sell, so it's not surprising to see Nokia giving up on it - I have to commend them on getting it all up and running in so many countries in the first's something Microsoft hasn't been able to do with Zune as of yet. Hell, I can't even buy music from the Zune Marketplace in Canada, let alone have a Zune Pass subscription. A key problem with Nokia's Ovi approach was that it locked the music to the handset - I don't think there was a way to get it onto the user's computer. The concept of subscription music is also hard for people to wrap their heads around, even though it's similar to a cable TV subscription.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creative Microsoft Ad Illustrates WP7 As Part Of Ecosystem

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 06:00 AM

"It's one thing to read about utopian use cases for the Windows 7 and Windows Live ecosystem, but nothing beats watching real people putting it into use to create something amazing. From the same director of the recently popular Blu-ray PC vs Mac ad, Keith Rivers also produced and directed this 2:30min spot featuring the entire family of Microsoft's consumer offerings - Windows 7, Windows Live Essentials 2011, Skydrive, Office Web Apps and Windows Phone 7."

Windows 7 Cloud + Andrew Belle from Keith Rivers on Vimeo.

A clever ad for Microsoft's ecosystem of consumer products illustrates how Windows Phone 7 can fit it. Director Keith Rivers portrays the life cycle of Andrew Belle writing a song through to performing it on stage, all the while collaborating and communicating with friends, musicians, and fans along the way. This is nicely done and quite effective. If you have a few spare minutes of time watch the video and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shazam: Now Available For Windows Phone 7

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 04:30 PM

"With Shazam you can identify music immediately when you hear it, buy tracks direct from Zune Marketplace, as well as sort and store your Tags to quickly find and access your tagged music. Launch offer: unlimited tagging - don't miss a music moment - Tag as often as you like!"

If you have never heard of Shazam then you may be surprised to hear such an application exists. In a nutshell, Shazam allows you to identify music anywhere: from the radio, TV, film, or in a store by simply holding your Windows Phone 7 device towards the music and tapping the large Shazam button on the screen. The Shazam software identifies the artist and song, tags it appropriately, and then enables you to buy the music immediately. The Shazam tag includes details which allow you to link directly to Zune to give instant access to the music. Shazam allows you to sort tags by date, artist and track to quickly find and access your tagged music and to store your tagged tracks. It's a handy and most interesting application. For more details, hit the Read link and head over to the Shazam site.

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...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Zune HD vs. Kin Two: A Comparison

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Software" @ 04:08 PM

Adam Lien from pocketnow has put together an interesting video that will interest anyone in the Zune or Windows Phone camp; how exactly does the Kin - which is a precursor to the Zune experience on Windows Phone 7. All in all, there aren't that many big differences between the two - but it's interesting to see the way the Zune experience evolves when you have an always-connected device.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Instinctiv for Mac Does What iTunes Doesn't

Posted by Darius Wey in "Windows Phone Software" @ 01:15 PM

Hey, Mac users. There's a new kid on the block and his name is Instinctiv. The app does what iTunes doesn't and that's syncing with Windows Mobile as well as a bunch of other mobile platforms. In addition, Instinctiv features mood-based smart shuffling, smart search, and extensive library management tools that allow you to fetch cover art and play 50+ audio formats. If you're intrigued, head over to the Instinctiv web site and grab yourself a copy. It's compatible with Leopard (10.5) and Snow Leopard (10.6).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Windows phone 7 Zune Software Walkthrough

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Software" @ 06:30 PM

Curious about the Zune software experience in Windows phone 7? This video shows how it's going to work - I can't wait! Windows Media Player Mobile has been a useless piece of software in need of a complete re-write for years, so I'm happy to see it completely going away. Zune FTW! :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Apple Threatens iTunes Shutdown if Royalty Increase is Pushed Through

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:07 AM

"Apple has threatened to shut down the iTunes music store if an obscure three-person board appointed by the Librarian of Congress increase the royalties paid to publishers and songwriters by six cents per song. The Copyright Royalty Board is scheduled to hand down its decision on these rates Thursday. As part of their general muscle-flexing of late, music publishers asked the board to increase royalties paid to publishers and songwriters from 9 cents to 15 cents per track. Apple -- which has mightily resisted tampering in any way with its 99 cent price point for tracks -- said that if the rate hike goes through and the labels refuse to absorb the entire resulting increase, the iTunes music store will become unprofitable."

If you put music on your Windows Mobile phone, your MP3 player, or your Zune, and you ever purchase that music from iTunes, this is news you'll want to know about. I'm not personally a big fan of iTunes, but I certainly support their stance in resisting this move. They've sold several billion songs, largely because the 99 cent purchase price of an iTunes song is a reasonable alternative to piracy for most people. If you give people a chance to be honest, they will - iTunes proved that. According to this Wired article, Apple pays artists and labels 65 to 70 cents per song, 9 cents of which the artist or studio is paying to the publishers. It seems to me that if this law were to pass, the increased rates should come from the artist/label end - after all, without the songwriter that created the song in the first place, they'd have nothing in the first place.

It will be interesting to watch how this plays out - the music industry has been undermining Apple and iTunes lately, offering DRM-free MP3s to Amazon while denying them to Apple. Steve Jobs isn't known for compromising (what with that huge ego and all), so this will be interesting to watch. And if this law does pass, what will happen to Amazon's MP3 store? Or Rhapsody's MP3 store? Will we see $1.10 pricing there (you just know they'd round up), or will they too shut down? This could have some dire consequences for online music stores, who all operate at razor-thin profit margins as it is. Could this kill or cripple the entire industry? The music companies would prefer to have us all buying CDs anyway, right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Music Publishers Preparing to Launch New Physical Music Format: slotMusic

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:00 PM

"For most of recorded music's life, delivery was tied to a physical medium of some sort. Physical formats included the vinyl record, cassette tape and the CD many of us still use today. With the advent of the digital age and digital music, the physical medium for music is a dying breed. The lack of interest in physical media for music has led to sharp declines in profits for music publishers. Most every music publisher sells digital tracks today, but the profit margins on digital music are much slimmer than what music companies see on CDs and other physical mediums."

This is one of the very rare posts that belong on all four Thoughts Media sites, but it's applicable to everyone because it involves music. Looking at the companies involved (Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, EMI) it's easy to see that this is a major initiative. The question is, will it succeed? I think it has a very slim chance of success if they execute the launch flawlessly, and hit a few major issues properly: first, price. If this format is any more expensive than CDs are at retail, it will fail. They also have to add value to the format - pictures and videos are a nice way to do that. If I could buy a slotMusic album of a favourite artist and get their last six music videos included, that would create value for me. And if they encode the MP3s at 320 kbps, higher than the major online music stores, that also creates some value - although only for the people that actually know what the term "bit rate" actually means. Read more...

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