The Liner Notes

All the music that matters

Archive for February 2011

The Music Cloud

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For years now music has been moving toward the cloud.

The days of buying music or even downloading music are fading fast. In a not too distant future majority of people will access music via a subscription service that grants them the ability to listen to any song they like from their computer or phone.

This is already a reality; however no one has quite mastered it yet. Technology is still lagging, 4G will help, and record executives still think people should pay $15 for a physical CD.

I have tried a number of these subscription servers from Napster to Rhapsody and have found flaws with all of them. Napster doesn’t offer full versions of a lot of their songs, only 30 second samples and Rhapsody’s format is horrible not to mention their phone apps are slow and sporadic.

Lala by far had the best format. It was a simple interface that let users share their musical interests and tastes with others. It also was tailored to the user so that you don’t have to sift through Billboards top 50 to find what you want.

Best of all it was free, but alas it was too good to be true. Apple bought up the service and thus far has only offered Ping in return, which is an afterthought at best.

Most recently I tried MOG, which offers unlimited streaming for $5 a month. I thought it was a great deal and found the iPhone app worked great so I could stream any album I wanted virtually anywhere. In addition their “artist radio” feature is great. It allows the user to manage via a sliding scale how similar they want the station to be to any given artist.

The format, while not great, is one of the better that I have tried. It is clean and simple. The profile options are limited and sharing capabilities leave a lot to be desired, however there is potential.

My main complaint came when my free trial period ran out. I was more than happy to start paying, however I discovered the $5 offer only pertains to computers. If I want to keep my iPhone app it costs me an additional $5 a month. Not that that is a lot, it is just not stated upfront, or if it was I missed it.

The other main drawback is that only one computer can log into the account at one time and there is no way to add users. If I want to add an additional user I would have to start a whole new account.

With the loss of access to music on my phone I was left with Pandora and a handful of albums I had loaded. I went in search of a solution and found it, ironically enough, with one of the trailblazers in file sharing: Audiogalaxy.

Audiogalaxy started in the 90s as a file sharing site for music similar to Napster that drew the ire of the RIAA and led to legal issues. Long story short the site has re-launched as a placeshifting service meaning users can upload their library to Audiogalaxy servers and then can listen to it from other computers or a smartphone.

Audiogalaxy has an app for the iPhone so I have been able to take my entire iTunes collection with me anywhere I go and listen on my phone. Thus far it has worked pretty well and is a great substitute until Spotify can crack the U.S. market.

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Written by David Young

February 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Posted in MP3s, Music

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New Radiohead album available today for download

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Radiohead made available its new album – “The King of Limbs” – today online.

Unlike its previous endeavor into the digital album with “In Rainbows,” this album is not a pay what you want model. King of Limbs is $9 for MP3 files or $14 for WAV.

There will be a physical release called the “Newspaper Album” at a later date. It is available for preorder at $48 (with MPS) or $53 (with WAV).

The Newspaper Album includes:

  • Two clear 10″ vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
  • A compact disc.
  • Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
  • The Newspaper Album comes with a digital download that is compatible with all good digital media players.
  • The Newspaper Album will be shipped on Monday 9th May 2011. You can, however, enjoy the download now.
  • Shipping is included in the prices shown.
  • One lucky owner of the digital version of The King Of Limbs, purchased from this website, will receive a signed 2 track 12″ vinyl.

The new music is exactly what you would expect from such a seminal band: innovative, provocative, subtle, sweet and basically phenomenal.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it out now and let us know what you think.

Written by David Young

February 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm

White Stripes call it quits

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Sad news today in the music world, the seminal band The White Stripes announced they have broken up.

The reason for the breakup is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way, according to a statement on the band’s website.

Meg and Jack White created some amazing music over the more than 13 years they were together melding rock with blues in a manner hardly seen before.

From their debut “The White Stripes,” to their latest live release “Under Great White Northern Lights” the band leaves an epic catalog.

Jack White has gone on to break musical ground with his other projects like The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. Third Man records, Jack White’s Record Company, will continue on as well and release studio and live recordings.

Statement from the band:

“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong
to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is
that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your
involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”

Written by David Young

February 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Posted in Music

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