Music Sales Are Booming on Internet – Yahoo! News

Music Sales Are Booming on Internet

The IFPI added that the legitimate music business was gradually gaining ground on digital piracy. It said research showed that in Europe’s two biggest digital markets — Britain and Germany — more music fans are now legally downloading music than illegally file-swapping.

This kind of thing drives me batty. iTMS finally presented a music service that was reasonable to use (or, more accurately, super simple to use with restrictions that are not entirely heinous). Lo and behold, you give your customers what they want at a reasonable price and they actually buy it. People do put value on their time and using the file sharing networks is nowhere near as pleasant an experience as iTMS. I’d still like to see some “youngsters” in the music industry come up and trounce on the big boys (before they get acquired by the big boys, of course).

Favorite songs of 2005

I didn’t want it to get too far into 2006 before I put my latest annual favorite songs list up. This is my third annual list. The first list had 9 songs, the second had 19 and this one has 24. I have no idea what that means. Is the music getting better? Are my standards going down? Who cares? I just know that these 24 songs provided primo enjoyment for my ears this past year.

  • “Get Back” by Ludacris from Red Light District. I don’t know what it is, but certain songs in which the singer is talking tough just make me laugh. This is one of those… I have a feeling Ludacris doesn’t take himself too seriously here, because the video shows him with these crazy oversized arms.
    Get Back
  • “Beautiful”, “Raining Again” by Moby from Hotel. Beautiful: Beautiful . Raining Again: Raining Again
  • “Since U Been Gone”, “Addicted” by Kelly Clarkson from Breakaway. Honorable mention to “Behind The Hazel Eyes” and “Hear Me”. I listened to a lot of Kelly Clarkson this year. These were some excellent tracks. Well written, produced and performed. Some of the best pop of the decade. Since U Been Gone: Since U Been Gone . Addicted: Addicted
  • “No Surprise” by Theory of a Deadman from Gasoline. A good bit of rock from people who, at least on record, hit the right notes and can even harmonize. Good lyrics, too. No Surprise
  • “Lonely No More”, “This Is How A Heart Breaks” by Rob Thomas from Something to Be. More great pop with a unique sound that cut through a lot of the other stuff on the air waves. Unless you were listening to “adult contemporary” stations. In which case, Rob Thomas was apparently all you got to hear this year (in between Kelly Clarkson songs, that is.) Lonely No More: Lonely No More . This Is How A Heart Breaks: This Is How a Heart Breaks
  • “Flashdance” by Deep Dish from the Flashdance EP. Though the music gets a little repetitive (and the entire first verse is repeated again!), the music is at least interesting and the singer sings with a great swagger. The “he’s lucky he just walked on by” lyrics are clever, too. Flashdance (Radio Edit)
  • “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” by the Black Eyed Peas from Monkey Business. Anyone who sounds like a horse in the middle of their song is having a good time. Even releasing a single with the word “phunk” (which was replaced by “mess” for some stations) shows a group that’s out to have a good time. Don't Phunk With My Heart
  • “Sugar (Gimme Some)” by Trick Daddy and a cast of thousands. More well-produced rap-pop. Sugar (Gimme Some)
  • “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani from Love. Angel. Music. Baby.. Hollaback Girl
  • “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)” by Garbage from Beautifulgarbage. Though Garbage had a new album out in 2005, this is from their previous release, but I hadn’t heard it before 2005. I just love the sound of this song, and it’s a real shame that Beautifulgarbage was a relative failure. Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)
  • “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day from American Idiot. Last year’s “Boulevard” is easily the better song, but this is still a solid track. Honorable mention to “Holiday” as well. Wake Me Up When September Ends
  • “Precious”, “Suffer Well”, “A Pain That I’m Used To”, “John The Revelator” by Depeche Mode from Playing the Angel. I’m a big Depeche Mode fan. Overall, Playing the Angel doesn’t stand up as well as Violator or Ultra for me. But, there are some standout tracks, like the lead single “Precious”. Precious: Precious Suffer Well: Suffer Well A Pain That I’m Used to: A Pain That I'm Used To John the Revelator: John the Revelator
  • Confessions on a Dance Floor by Madonna. This is easily Madonna’s best album since Ray of Light. The whole album is quite listenable, but there are still standout tracks. Hung Up: Hung Up Sorry: Sorry Jump: Jump I Love New York: I Love New York
  • “Gold Digger” by Kanye West with Jamie Foxx from Late Registration. Gold Digger (Featuring Jamie Foxx)
  • “We Be Burning” by Sean Paul from The Trinity. We Be Burnin' (Recognize It - Amended Version)

The EFF breaks down DRM so you don’t have to

I’ve been following DRM in music files for a long time now. The EFF does a good job of deconstructing exactly what you’re paying for when you buy songs from the most popular online music services: The Customer Is Always Wrong: A User’s Guide to DRM in Online Music. The EFF does provide a list of services that sell their music in unrestricted MP3 files. Unfortunately, that Kelly Clarkson song that just got stuck in your head is not going to be found on any of those services.

Strangely, they didn’t mention As near as I can tell, it is still legal to import music from another country. And, as far as the folks in Russia have been able to figure so far, AllOfMP3 is legal there. Take advantage of it before the RIAA throws so much money at the problem that it just goes away.

Let’s just hope that the entertainment industry figures out the folly of DRM before the tech companies all bend over and cripple their devices. America as a country will lose out if we let our technical edge be compromised by people who are having trouble adjusting.

Customers of new UK ISP get to share all Sony music on P2P

I’ve been following the sales of music online for years now. I’ve been fairly okay with iTunes Music Service, because the restrictions on the files have not yet caused me grief and I’m certain they are breakable, should I ever find that the restrictions are causing me grief. I have also used from time to time.

Here’s an exciting scoop from Boing Boing: Customers of new UK ISP get to share all Sony music on P2P

Here’s the deal. PlayLouder MSP DSL costs about the same as comparable DSL offerings in the UK (though right now, PlayLouder MSP’s one-meg speeds don’t compare to the high-end offerings from ISPs like Bulldog, who are offering 8-meg DSL). For their money, PlayLouder MSP customers get their regualr DSL lines, as well as:

  • The right to share any song in the Sony-BMG catalog
  • Even if it’s out of print
  • In any file-format
  • Using any file-sharing software
  • At any bitrate

This is some truly amazing news. While I understand the arguments against a scheme like this (everyone is paying, even those who don’t use the service is the primary complaint), the freedom you get with this is fantastic.

Personally, though, I don’t think going this far is absolutely necessary. If Sony is willing to sign a deal like this, they should really just revise their deal with Apple so that Apple can sell unencumbered MP3s or at least unencumbered AAC files. The sad thing is that even if Sony were willing to sign a deal like that right now, Apple might not want to do it because the FairPlay protected AAC files only play back on iPods… and we all know that’s where the money is.

One ironic thing about this deal with PlayLouder is that it was Sony Music that was crippling Sony’s MP3 players, which didn’t even play MP3 files because of piracy fears.

Boing Boing’s article sounds more positive than the Guardian article they’re linking to. I do hope that the Boing Boing version of the story comes to pass and we start to get over the copy protection nonsense that Hollywood has been foisting on us.

iTunes adds podcasts

As rumored, iTunes 4.9 dropped today, with podcasts in tow. I’m not a podcast person (yet), because I just haven’t had the time to devote to listening. The integrated podcast support in iTunes is very easy. They’ve added a whole section to the music store for finding podcasts, and you can also subscribe to any podcast you know the URL for. In the Podcasts part of iTunes, you see one podcast per line. What about the multiple items that can appear in a podcast? They’ve added a new widget for selecting between the items in a podcast.

On the one hand, podcast subscriptions is an RSS thing that you’d think belongs in your feed reader. On the other hand, podcasts generally need to hook up with your music player so that they can be conveniently downloaded to your portable player (and there’s a 70% chance that’s an iPod). Since both types of programs have a hand in this, I think the podcast support in iTunes is a logical step, and it looks nicely done.

Warnings and Promises: an eloquent statement of music biz problems

Glenn McDonald explains in Warnings and Promises why he (someone who buys in excess of 100 CDs per year) has finally given in and “stolen” music online. Someone who buys more than 100 CDs a year is what is known in most industries as a “great customer”. His article is a clear story on how the music industry is failing. (Via 43 Folders)

Hillary Rosen doesn’t like lying in the bed she made

It sounds like Hillary Rosen is not happy with the world she’s created.

Most agree [the iPod] is the best quality player on the market even if the cheapest one costs a few hundred dollars [except the Shuffle, which is $99 – kevin]. The problem is that the iPod only works with either songs that you buy from the on-line Apple iTunes store or songs that you rip from your own CD’s. But those other music sites have lots of music that you can’t get at the iTunes store. So, if you have an iPod, you are out of luck. If you are really a geek, you can figure out how to strip the songs you might have bought from another on-line store of all identifying information so that they will go into the iPod. But then you have also degraded the sound quality. How cruel.

Hillary took the post of RIAA president after the DMCA was passed, as far as I can tell. But, I’d imagine that she was involved in the RIAA prior to becoming president and that she lobbied for the DMCA in some capacity. That geek that she’s referring to just broke the law. A law the RIAA lobbied for.
The solution to this problem does not lie with Apple. The solution to this problem lies with the RIAA first: let Apple and the other stores sell MP3s.

Most every player device works at every one of these “stores” and it is pretty easy to keep all the songs, no matter where you got them, in a single folder or “jukebox” on your computer.

You could just go to AllOfMP3 and get the tracks you want in whatever format you want, and those can play on every player but the iPod. Hillary comment about “most every player” neglects the fact that 90% of the players sold are iPods and those stores don’t work with iPods.

There are two monopolies at work in online music: Apple (70% of the online music market) and Microsoft (probably the rest). Actually, no, there’s three monopolies at work: the RIAA is the third, and they’re the ones that can really turn things around once they get passed their unsubstantiated belief that DRM is a good thing.

This stuff just gets to me. (In this case, it got to me via Boing Boing).

So that’s where Doug FM came from!

A couple weeks ago, one of the Detroit pop stations mysteriously switched formats and started calling itself “Doug FM”. They described their new format, if I recall correctly, as being like you “dropped your iPod in a can of paint”. What it boils down to is that they don’t have a 25 song playlist of current music in some format. They play a variety of things from the 70s, 80s and early 90s (I haven’t heard more recent than that on there).

It turns out that Doug is part of a new breed that also includes Bob, Jack, Dave and other radio stations.

MusicBrainz: acoustic fingerprint-based metadata

I’m not exactly sure how it is that I’ve never heard of this before. Maybe I have, but it didn’t make enough impression on me back then. MusicBrainz provides audio file metadata (somewhat like the CDDB), but it does it based on an acoustic fingerprint. The artist/song name/album name tags on my music tend to be of good quality already, but it wouldn’t hurt to do a run-through and cleanup. For the Mac, there’s IEatBrainz to clean up your iTunes library.

All this talk of brains is making me hungry. 🙂