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Posts tagged with Digital Music

Apple Music: all the best reactions, information and stats

Are you excited by Apple Music? I think I’m excited by Apple Music. Let’s discuss whether this is a valid opinion or not.

One of the first subjects I really got my teeth into on the blog two years ago was digital music, both in its streaming and downloadable formats. 

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18 sensational online sound and music experiences

What's that noise?

When so much attention is paid to the visual art of web design and the wonderful possibilities that HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery affords, often sound design is forgotten or overlooked. 

Then again, there are few more annoying things in the online world than obtrusive sound effects or autoplaying music blaring out when you least expect it, especially when you’re likely to be listening to your own choice of music anyway.

Much like in filmmaking, the mark of good sound or scoring in web design is that you don’t necessarily notice it. The sound should complement or enhance the visual, but never upstage it.

What of those sites that make the sound as integral a part of the experience as the visual? What about the sites that say loudly and proudly “put on your headphones and turn it up loud”? Well they demand your listening pleasure.

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Why Neil Young’s PonoMusic might actually be amazing

Yes it’s all very easy to mock the ageing rock-star for thinking he can enter the world of digital music entrepreneurship at the age of 68, but he may just be on to something.

PonoMusic was founded by Neil Young in 2011. It’s both a purpose-built portable digital music player and download service. Its goal is to provide the best listening experience possible when it comes to digital music.

This may seem like the mission statement of every manufacturer of MP3 players or music download services that has ever been but Pono has some fairly major unique selling points that may mean this is more than just a Howard Hughes style folly.

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itunes

Fight Club! Death to iTunes special: Google Play, Amazon, Spotify and more

Let’s put this to bed.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to find a decent replacement for iTunes. 

The reasons why I want to abandon the world’s most popular music download service are many and varied.

iTunes is a deeply flawed experience. It's impersonal and slow, with lack of support for different file formats. It has a stubbornly rigid pricing model and no browser access whatsoever.

In fact I rarely use the platform to download. Instead I use a collection of different digital download sites to purchase MP3s online. 

Yet I still use iTunes almost exclusively to organise and access my songs on both desktop and smartphone.

Surely there’s an easier way. Well I’m going to try and find one. For the good of you, me and the music loving public of the world.

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spotify logo

Stats and soundbites from Spotify

Spotify might still be loss making, despite revenues of $435m in 2012, but the service is incredibly popular and many think it might be gearing up to IPO.

These rumours have started since Spotify in December secured some $200m in credit lines and recently acquired a music algorithm company, Echo Nest.

If this does mean Spotify is about to get serious about profit, it comes at a time when competitors are more easily found – from Beats Music to Milk, Samsung’s new service.

I listened to Spotify’s Chris Maples (VP, Europe) at last week’s Digital Media Strategies 2014. There were some interesting titbits, from stats to Spotify’s approach to iteration and mobile, that I thought would be worth sharing here.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on Spotify’s future or its approach to subscriptions and product development.

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google play logo

Google Play: a very poor alternative to iTunes

As of July 2013, the Google Play store officially reached over 1m apps published and over 50bn downloads.

As of the same date, iTunes achieved 575m registered users and it’s adding 500,000 new accounts every day.

There is no denying the power and ubiquity of Apple’s digital music service, after all it has transformed the way that everyone on the planet consumes music.

iTunes is a deeply flawed experience though. It's impersonal and slow, with lack of support for different file formats, a stubbornly rigid price model and no browser access.

In an ongoing series I’ve been checking out the competition to see if I can find a digital music platform that can finally trump iTunes.

So far, 7digital and Amazon MP3 have both shown many surprising wins over the Goliath of iTunes. I saved Google Play till later as I expected this to be where the true battle lies. 

I was wrong.

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amazon mp3 logo

Finding an alternative to iTunes: Amazon MP3

As of February 2013, more than 25bn songs had been downloaded from the iTunes store, averaging over 15,000 songs per minute.

There is no denying the power and ubiquity of Apple’s digital music service, after all it has transformed the way that everyone on the planet consumes music. 

Unfortunately iTunes is a deeply flawed experience. It's impersonal and slow, with lack of support for different file formats, a stubbornly rigid price model and no browser access.

In this ongoing series I’ll be checking out the competition to see if we can find a digital music platform that can finally trump iTunes.

Previously I looked at 7digital, this time I’ll be taking a look at Amazon MP3.

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7digital logo

Finding an alternative to iTunes: 7digital

As of June 2013, iTunes achieved 575m registered users and it’s adding 500,000 new accounts every day.

There is no denying the power and ubiquity of Apple’s digital music service, after all it has transformed the way that everyone on the planet consumes music.

It’s by no means a flawless experience however...

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spotify logo

Seven reasons why I love Spotify and 17 why I don't

I love Spotify, I’ll just make that clear from the start. Spotify has completely changed the way I listen to music.

In fact, while I briefly linger in this positive mood, here are some more reasons why I love Spotify: 

As a part-time music journalist, I couldn’t function properly without its unlimited access to 20m songs. Also, new album releases for any given Monday seem to appear not long after midnight on the Sunday before. This is terrific for my Monday morning commute.

I can also use Spotify on as many devices as I like (desktop, laptop, phone, work computer) with up to 3,333 songs able to be synced for offline listening on up to three devices at a time.

Just in case Thom Yorke is reading, I will also add that far as I’m concerned, using Spotify has led to me spending more money on music through other channels (mainly independent record stores), purely because of the access I now have to music that I wouldn’t normally listen to

As a final bonus, in the free version of Spotify, it has jettisoned the limits to how many times you can listen to a song and how many hours a month you can use it. I would however suggest that £10 a month is a small price to pay not to have to put up with some of the most irritating adverts ever hosted on a platform.

And this is where we arrive at the major thrust of this article.

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chk chk chk logo

The 'unGoogleable' band name is dead

I began writing an ‘amusing’ article last night, it was to combine my twin passions for music and search marketing. It was to be entitled ’20 band or artist names that are impossible to Google’.

I figured this would be ripe for hilarity and also an interesting look into what new bands and artists need to consider when trying to market themselves online. 

After all we live in a ‘digital first’ world where bands like Chvrches specifically spell their name wrong so they can be searched more easily and Owen Pallet dropped his Final Fantasy pseudonym in order to drive more traffic to his site instead of the computer game franchise.

I was wrong.

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google music timeline

Google reveals the history of popular music, sort of

Google has launched a brand new feature called Music Timeline.

The timeline charts the rise of different music genres over time, highlighting specific album releases and key artists specific to that time and musical styling.

This visual representation of music history uses data from Google’s own music download service Google Play, delving into the many preferences and downloads of its users.

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arctic monkeys am cover

Online music streaming doubled in 2013 - stats

In 2013, 7.4bn songs were streamed in the UK, doubling the previous year's total of 3.7bn. 

This figure comes from the latest report by the Official Charts Company and the British Phonographic Industry, or BPI as it wishes to be known as nobody since the turn of last century knows what a phonograph is.

2013 saw an even bigger shift towards digital technology being the primary way that listeners discover and enjoy new music, helped with the continued increase of tablet and smartphone ownership, and the improvement of music streaming apps on mobile devices.

Here are some more digital music related stats from the report, which may feature names of artists you’ll have to ask your kids about or consult your nearest NME reader.

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