The Liner Notes

All the music that matters

Posts Tagged ‘Rhapsody

Spotify premiers in U.S.

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It’s the day music lovers have all waited for.

Spotify is available in America. But as it is with all things that seem too good to be true, the streaming music service that was supposed to change the game is already exposing its flaws.

Spotify is a free streaming music service that has been available in limited countries for a number of years now. For some time the record companies here stateside haggled and hemmed and hawed over legal rights.

For the longest time it seemed as if the service would never make it here. In that time competition has grown. Services such as Napster, Rhapsody and MOG have taken chunks out of the streaming service market. Each has their strengths and weaknesses.

Spotify was supposed to come in and crush them all. Or so they would have you believe. The biggest disappointment is for now the only way to use Spotify is to pay or to get a special invite.

The biggest claim by Spotify, as you can see in the video below, is that it is all the music in the world at your fingertips for free. But no, it’s not true here in the U.S.. An impact of the record companies I would guess.

Thus the site makes you enter your e-mail for a special invite. This is frustrating because more than two years ago I gave Spotify my email for updates on its U.S. launch. Not only were there no updates, but they gave no advantage to those who signed up in advance of the launch.

We will see if the site can overcome these initial foul-ups. I would even be willing to pay for the service if it is that much better than current sites, but not without a free trial period.

It’s not looking good for the site to start for Spotify.

In related news, MOG has unveiled a new beta user interface for its site. After using it, I must say it is much better than the previous layout. The new site is cleaner and permits users to have “favorite” songs and albums as well as manage their music in a left-hand tab system.

However, the best improvement is an embedded player that eliminates multiple windows to play a song or album.

Written by David Young

July 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm

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.

Written by David Young

February 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Posted in MP3s, Music

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