September 22, 2005
News trickled out recently that record companies have been pestering Steve Jobs and Apple to raise the price of songs on iTunes. While all songs are currently 99 cents, record companies have been pushing Apple to raise prices to $1.49, but to also introduce variable pricing, with hotter tracks going for $1.49 and less desirable tracks going for less than 99 cents.
Wired editor and Long Tail advocate Chris Anderson thinks variable pricing could be a good idea.
But so far Jobs and Apple are sticking to the 99-cent price tag and calling the record companies "greedy," pointing out that record companies already make more by selling songs on iTunes than they do from selling CDs.
September 14, 2005
The new Switchfoot CD Nothing is Sound came out yesterday, though not everybody is happy. Dave Hunt complains about the multiple extra versions available, depending on where you buy the album: extra song if you buy it at Target, different extra song if you buy it at Wal-Mart, accoustic version of a song if you buy it from iTunes. No apparent way to get all three extra songs without buying three albums. Nice way to score extra points with the retailers, lousy way to score extra points with your fans.
But Dave's complaints don't end there. When he tried to rip his CD to put it on his iPod he ran into Sony's copyright protection. From there he gets pretty angry, understandably. I was able to rip my review copy (which looks to be a normal copy of the CD, I just got it a few days earlier) into iTunes without a problem—though the back of the CD has a massive warning about the piracy protection. Dave ended up finding away around the piracy protection on—where else?—the Internet, but in the meantime he's pissed at Sony and he's pissed at Switchfoot.
I doubt Switchfoot has much of anything to do with either decision Dave complains about above, but artists can't just sit back while record companies screw over fans. The artists will get the fallout of fan hatred, and that's not cool.
Sadly, this is just another example of record companies that don't get it. I'm all for stopping piracy. I agree that it's illegal and people should buy their music like they're supposed to. That being said, the record companies can't treat their customers like thieves. If you expect people to steal, they will. Over-complicating life for the few customers who are playing by the rules is a good way to lose those customers.
September 13, 2005
Some have complained about the lack of space in the new 2 and 4 GB iPod Nano and the paltry 100-song limit on the new ROXR iTunes cell Phone, but it may not be a complaint from the masses.
The average music device has only 375 songs, and half of music player owners have less than 100 songs on their players. The average iPod owner does better, but not much with 504 songs.
Frankly, I think the average people are nuts. I'm pushing 7,000 songs on my 40 GB iPod.
While Time talks with Steve Jobs and reports on how the iPod Nano came to the market in record time, others have been putting the Nano to the test. The best part of the review is the stress test, where the seemingly fragile iPod Nano withstood being thrown from a car going 50 mph with only scratches to show for it. While they managed to break the display after dropping it from a height of nine feet, the music kept on playing even after they ran over it with a car. It took tossing the mini music player 40 feet into the air and letting it land on concrete before the music died.
That's one tough iPod.
September 7, 2005
- The iPod Nano: It replaces the iPod Mini but gets even smaller and better. It comes in white or black (no more fun colors?) and 2 or 4 GB sizes, for $199 and $249 respectively. Plus it has a full-color screen and is ridiculously small.
- The Motorola ROKR E1: It's a cell phone with iTunes. Finally. But as cool as it sounds, don't get too excited. For $249 (plus a two-year contract with Cingular) you can put 100 songs on your cell phone. That's right: 100 songs. We're talking baby steps towards the combined PDA/iPod/cell phone. The biggest plus is probably being able to use iTunes with your phone.
On top of that Apple released iTunes 5. It mainly looks like an update to handle the new cell phone, but they've also included some streamlining and new features (it's a jump from 4.x to 5, so there better be some basic new goodies).
August 8, 2005
Wired magazine explores U2's City of Blinding Lights, a look at the technological wonder that is the traveling U2 Vertigo Tour.
May 10, 2005
The newest version of Apple's iTunes music software now plays videos. It's an interesting development for Apple, who already has the digital music market cornered. You can import videos from computer or buy select videos from the iTunes music store. One of the early offerings is a behind the scenes video that comes with the new Dave Matthews Band album and the Shins' Pink Bullets single. (link via kottke.org)