Tag Archives | Music

Google Music and Movies: Your Questions Answered

That little green robot must be struggling to catch his breath.

In addition to unveiling two significant updates to its Android operating system on Tuesday — Android 3.1 and the next-generation Android Ice Cream Sandwich — Google took the wraps off its long-discussed Google Music service and launched a new movie service for Android, too. It was all part of Google’s annual I/O conference for developers, taking place this week in San Francisco.

So what are Google’s new music and movie services all about, and how will they work for you? Here are answers to all your burning questions.

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Microsoft’s Skype Buy Creates Conflict for Rdio [Update]

All Things D’s Peter Kafka picked up on an interesting wrinkle in Microsoft’s Skype acquisition: Subscription-based music service Rdio may be in trouble.

Skype has a $6 million investment in Rdio, thanks to some lawsuit madness involving Skype’s founders and several Silicon Valley players. Kafka said he’s “pretty sure” Skype and Rdio were planning to deepen ties and drum up more users for the music service.

But Microsoft has its own music service, Zune Pass, and it seems unlikely that the company will want to manage a competitor. For now, neither Microsoft nor Rdio are commenting. (UPDATE: See the end of the post for Rdio’s statement.)

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Ping May Be Pinging Away At Your Battery Life

Along with a host of other features that came with the release of iOS 4.3 earlier this month was the addition of Apple’s music-based social network to iTunes on iOS devices. Now it appears as if the service may be placing an additional strain on battery life, and users are seemingly not too happy about it.

The issues seem to come from the fact that while listening to music through the iPod application, information is being transmitted to and from the device in order to make the social networking functionality work as intended. Data usage is one of the fastest drains on your smartphone’s battery, so your iPhone or iPad could die a lot quicker than you’re used to.

The problem can be easily fixed though, and anecdotal reports indicate battery life returns to normal after Ping has been turned off. To do so, open up the Settings app, then tap General and then Restrictions. After this tap Enable Restrictions, and tap the slider by the Ping option to set it to off. Ping will then be disabled.

I’m curious to hear if you have seen a decrease in battery life. I’m a heavy data user, so frankly I’ve noticed nothing out of the ordinary — but maybe you’reusing the iPod functionality more than I am. Let us and everyone else know if changing this setting fixes any battery issues you may have had.


Fun with the New Squeezebox Remote Android App

What happens when you install the new Logitech Squeezebox Remote app from the Android Marketplace and proceed to play around with the interface from a remote location? You scare the pants off anybody who’s still at home and wondering why the little radio box is suddenly playing music all by itself*. That’s what happened this afternoon when I decided to test out the new Android app despite not being anywhere near my Squeezebox. The app loaded beautifully, and apparently it had no trouble communicating with my player. Here’s the text message I received from home shortly afterward: “Your squeezebox just came on by itself. #afraidtogodownstairs”

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Some Quick Thoughts on GarageBand for iPad

Don’t tell Apple, but I might’ve upgraded to an iPad 2 if GarageBand didn’t work on the original. As a lapsed musician, I’ve been cobbling together iPad music apps since last year, but I could never find the one that did it all — recording, sampling, looping, synthesizing — at least in an affordable package.

So for me, GarageBand was the highlight of Apple’s iPad 2 event. When the $5 app launched in the iOS App Store today, I grabbed it immediately. Here’s what I think so far:

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Copyright Hits New Low as WMG Silences "Forget You" Sign Language Video [Update: It's Back]

[Update: The audio is back, and WMG’s copyright notice is gone. Original post below.]

Iunderstand that record labels need to protect their copyrights, but sometimes, they ought to make exceptions, as with this sign language adaptation of Cee-Lo’s “Forget You” (as the PG-13 version is known).

The YouTube video, put together by a college student named Anna, has been viewed over 1.3 million times since she uploaded it in December. As the audio track plays in the background, Anna delivers the lyrics with emphatic sign language.

Only now, the audio part is gone, thanks to Warner Music Group. In its place is a notice: “This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled.”

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Sony Dives Into Subscription Music, Misses the Point

Sony’s “Music Unlimited Powered By Qriocity” doesn’t roll off the tongue like MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody or Zune Pass, but it’s essentially the same subscription music service — with one major drawback.

The streaming music service launches today in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and next year in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and New Zealand. For 4 pounds per month, users get ad-free radio with personalized stations and categories, kind of like Pandora. For 10 pounds per month, Music Unlimited Powered By Qriocity (MUPbQ?) adds on-demand access to more than 6 million songs, playlists and all.

Here’s the problem: For now, the service is tied to Sony devices, such as Bravia TVs and Blu-ray players and the Playstation 3. An Android app is supposedly in development, but getting on a smartphone platform doesn’t solve Sony’s problem.

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mSpot for iPhone: A Cool App I Won’t Be Using

Smartphones aren’t always big enough to hold an entire music library, so mSpot hopes to ease the burden by storing your tunes in the cloud.

The mSpot service, previously available for Android phones, now has an iPhone app as well. You can store up to 2 GB of music for free to mSpot’s servers, and get another 40 GB of storage for $4 per month.

I have no major complaints with the mSpot app or service. Installation was painless, and you can filter uploads by artist or existing playlists, so it’s easy to create a 2 GB playlist in iTunes specifically for mSpot. The app is simple to navigate, and I like how you can swipe your finger to switch tracks (iTunes really needs something driver-friendly like this). There’s also a web app for playing your library from any PC.

Yet, I think the idea behind mSpot has limited appeal.

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iPhone Radio Station Apps Not Welcome Anymore

Apple’s become more relaxed about the iOS App Store recently, with policy revisions and the notable admission of Google Voice for iPhone, but that’s not stopping Apple from rejecting app categories that it simply doesn’t like.

The latest victims are single-station radio players, according to a developer who builds and submits these apps to order. Jim Barcus, owner of DJB Radio Apps, claims that Apple recently rejected 10 of his radio apps, on the grounds that they’re essentially spam and are no different than generic fart apps. He even appealed to Steve Jobs, who reportedly wrote back, “Sorry, but we’ve made our decision.”

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