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Posts Tagged ‘ music ’

Apple iPod Touch review: first look

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012


Apple iPod Touch 5th gen

The attention is all on the iPhone 5, but the new iPods deserve some love too. The new iPod Touch is lengthened just like the iPhone, and in fact uses the exact same screen, which means it’s 4in across and has a resolution of 1,136 x 640. And it’s bright. Very bright.

The Touch is thin and very light, with a curvier look and feel than the iPhone 5. (more…)

Spotify: what’s gone wrong with your mobile apps?

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

spotifyI’m a massive fan of Spotify and gladly pay my monthly £10 to access music on my mobile, but I can’t be alone in despairing every time I open up the app on my Android phone.

Take a look at the desktop software: a range of apps, handy for discovering new music, the radio, and easy access to thousands of public playlists.

The mobile app – at least on Android and iPhone – seems stagnant. I’ve been using Spotify for about a year, and I can’t remember the last time a useful feature was implemented during an update. Instead, it’s easy to put together a list of stuff it’s missing. Those three features I listed in the second paragraph, for instance.

Other omissions are more basic. Take the starred list: on desktop, like virtually every media playback application in existence, I can organise by a number of factors, including the name of the track, the artist, when the song was added and the track’s length. On mobile, meanwhile, the list is presented in the order in which it was made, with no other options available. (more…)

Android App of the Week: we7 Music

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Last.fm used to be one of the best streaming music apps but, since the firm’s decision to switch to subscription-only access, we’ve been hunting for a replacement. Luckily, with we7’s radio tool hitting the market this week, it looks like we’ve found a worthy successor.
Previous Last.fm users will be right at home with the free we7 app, which is still in beta. You can create your own station by searching we7’s database for artists or genres of music – both options will result in a station that riffs off your first keyword to find songs to your liking – and these choices can then be saved for later consumption.
There’s also a list of popular searches from around we7’s community – handy for looking up top artists – and a selection of preset stations centre around popular themes, too. At the time of writing there are Ultimate Working and Best Driving Anthems themes alongside selections based around the lineups for this year’s Glastonbury and V festivals, for instance.
we7’s player is easy to use, too. Album art is automatically hunted down to sit in the centre of the screen and, like Last.fm, highlighting a track as a particular favourite will see your station skewed towards other similar songs.
While this app is free, more options are available if you choose we7’s £10 monthly subscription, with playlist creation and the option to search for individual songs and albums available for premium customers. It’s also a shame that there just isn’t the range of options offered by Last.fm, which allowed you to connec to other users by tracking and observing the music that they played.
Still, if you’re looking for a way to listen to music on the move then this is worth a look – we7’s broad catalogue ensures you’ll get plenty of variety, it’s easy to use, and it’s currently free in the Android market.

we7 Radio

Last.fm used to be one of the best streaming music apps but, since the firm’s decision to switch to subscription-only access, we’ve been hunting for a replacement. Luckily, with we7’s radio tool hitting the market, it looks like we’ve found a worthy successor.

Previous Last.fm users will be right at home with the free we7 app, which is still in beta. You can create your own station by searching we7’s database for artists or genres of music – both options will result in a station that riffs off your first keyword to find songs to your liking – and these choices can then be saved for later consumption.

There’s also a list of popular searches from around we7’s community – handy for looking up top artists – and a selection of preset stations centred around popular themes, too. At the time of writing there are Ultimate Working and Best Driving Anthems themes, alongside selections based around the lineups for this year’s Glastonbury and V festivals. (more…)

Is Google really doing enough to thwart music piracy?

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Lady gaga

If there’s one thing I despise about my job, it’s what I call the PR ambulance chasers. The second a flake of snow falls on London, there’ll be six press releases in my inbox warning about how many billions it’ll cost British industry – all, conveniently, from remote-desktop firms. Likewise, the minute a Government laptop goes missing, there’ll be a flurry of comment from publicity-seeking security firms, wondering why oh why the civil servant wasn’t running Spods Security Encryption 9.

So it came as little surprise yesterday evening, shortly after Google announced new measures to tackle copyright infringement in its search results, that the BPI decided to darken my inbox.

“It is encouraging that Google is beginning to respond to our calls to act more responsibly with regard to illegal content,” the music industry body declared.  “However this package of measures, while welcome, still ignores the heart of the problem – that Google search overwhelmingly directs consumers looking for music and other digital entertainment to illegal sites.”

(more…)

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Posted in: Newsdesk

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A graphic illustration of music industry madness

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Earlier this week, Pure unveiled a new music download service, letting anyone with a Flow-branded radio buy music directly from the device.

Alongside systems such as Spotify and Last.FM, FlowMusic is hoping to encourage listeners to keep it legal by making it as easy as possible to buy tracks – which I’d say is the right tactic to discouraging music piracy. Make it easy, keep it cheap.

However, there’s one area constantly throwing a wrench in the works: sorting out the rights.

(more…)

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Low prices can break the illegal download habit

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Appetite For Self-Destruction

Last month I came across one of the most interesting books I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time: Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age by Steve Knopper.

As well as a riveting account of changes in the music industry over the past several decades, it tells the story of the birth of Napster, the rise of peer-to-peer downloading, and the terrible choices the industry has made that have directly led to the situation we find ourselves in today.

The sheer scale of the head-into-sand plunging that evidently went on in industry boardrooms until very recently – and still does in some – is astounding, and it’s hard to feel sympathy for the fat cats who are now seeing their bottom lines being squeezed by punters with more technological nous than they. The plight of the artists themselves, and the music they make and we enjoy, is a different matter entirely – one which the book seeks to address.

But Knopper’s not looking at ways of preventing illegal downloads. He’s more interested in how the industry can make legally downloading a song a better experience than taking the free alternative route. It’s an obvious point, but in my opinion Apple’s recent stranglehold over the digital music market and its rigid pricing (not to mention the appalling design of iTunes) were standing firmly in the way of that ever happening. To this end, even though I use my iPhone as my primary music player, I’ve never purchased a track from Apple.

(more…)

Time for a truce with the music industry

Monday, December 21st, 2009

CDsThe record labels aren’t an easy bunch to love. If they’re not trying (and, brilliantly, failing) to fill the Christmas charts with an endless stream of mass-produced pap, they’re pursuing alleged file-sharers with an almost unhealthy zeal.

“The [music] industry has been extremely slow to listen to the demands of its customers, and has had something of an abusive relationship with them, seeking to punish them before thinking of how to serve them better,” Lord Lucas told the House of Lords recently, when debating whether to cut-off file-sharers or not. He’s not wrong.

Yet, there is a small part of me that’s tinged with sympathy for the music overlords. Perhaps I’m being overwhelmed with Christmas good spirit (although that sounds ridiculously out of character), but I can’t help thinking BPI chief Geoff Taylor had a point when he commented recently that: “There are now more than 35 legal digital music services in the UK, offering music fans a great choice of ways to get music legally. It’s disappointing that levels of illegal P2P use remain high despite this.”

(more…)

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Spotify for iPhone: the verdict

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Spotify

I’ve had my week reviewing Spotify’s Premium account and the iPhone app, I’ve listened to an uneclectic mix of playlists that mostly consisted of the song Africa by Toto, and I’ve used it in central London and out in Kent, with all the public transport in between.

And the verdict? I almost, nearly, don’t quite want to pay for it.

It’s not that it’s not brilliant. It is. (more…)

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Posted in: Software

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Spotify for iPhone: first look

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Spotify playbackThe eagerly awaited music-streaming service Spotify has today arrived on both the iPhone App Store and on Android’s Marketplace, and I’ve been granted a seven-day guest pass to see if it’s really worth that £10-a-month premium account.

Over the course of a year that does seem like a lot of money – particularly as most users will already have huge music collections of their own – but the promise of millions of tracks available on the move is certainly tempting.

Starting up

Once logged in, you’ll be delighted to see all of your desktop playlists seamlessly synced with Spotify on your phone, and if that’s what you’re after you can just dive straight in. (more…)

The PC Pro Spotify playlist: the results

Friday, May 15th, 2009

You know it’s Friday afternoon when a hastily-written blog post asking for inspiration for PC Pro’s Spotify account gets nearly 20 responses before four in the afternoon. The result is a barkingly-mad list of music which takes in artists from The Beastie Boys to Tina Turner, and from Styx to Korn.

A quick reminder of the rules: all the songs had to have some connection to computers and they had to be found in the Spotify library. 

The winners are:

(more…)

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