Microsoft will launch a music streaming service this month, in an attempt to get some of Spotify’s market share. Spotify allows users to stream music for free with intermittant advertising, and the option purchase downloads. Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN, told The Telegraph:
“Music is an important area for Microsoft. We are looking at launching a music streaming service imminently. It will be a similar principle to Spotify but we are still examining how the business model will work.”
Microsoft will touchdown in the U.K. later this month with a new music-streaming service to rival sites like Spotify.
The music service from Microsoft, according to a report today in the UK Telegraph, will offer users the chance to stream music for free and also download to own. The service would be operated and owned by Microsoft, while being promoted through MSN and other parts of the Microsoft network.
The touch-screen conversation just got a whole lot more interesting. Well, at least for a little while. Yes, Microsoft has announced a new Zune HD portable, touch-screen media player designed to play rival against Apple’s iPod Touch, but it’s going to be a tough road knowing their new toy is up against Apple’s behemoth marketing machine and ubiquitous ‘cool’ factor.
A new PC vs. Mac mêlée makes things more interesting anyway.
Penny Arcade is usually a gaming webcomic, but today, music is the focus after Microsoft aired a new commercial for the Zune Pass, which gives you unlimited music for fifteen dollars a month. The catch? If you stop subscribing to the service, all of your music gets erased. Penny Arcade says it best in today’s comic: “It’d be like you murdered all of your favorite artists.”
Granted, since a few major deals in Nov. 2008 (press release), the Zune Pass lets you choose ten songs to keep every month for your collection, but if you stop paying, the “obliteration” of the remainder holds true. Penny Arcade writer Jerry Holkinsowns a Zune, and said that the new marketing campaign is “dumb”, while the rest of the internet is more intent on bashing the new face of Microsoft’s Zune, Wes Moss, and his lack of musical credentials. Watch the infamous advertisement after the jump:
After getting repeatedly sued by major labels, music search engine Seeqpod filed for bankruptcy in early April 2009. But now CEO Kasian Franks says Seeqpod will avoid shutting down because a large company is going to buy it. He told Wired that Seeqpod is now in “final acquisition talks” with a partner that “is in the [same] position” as Apple, Google or Live Nation.
Seeqpod was supposed to be protected by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), which lets search engines link to any content, so long as they take down allegedly infringing links at the copyright holder’s request. But the recording industry seems to be oblivious to the Act, and has continued to pummel music search engines like Seeqpod, Muxtape and MP3Tunes with lawsuits.
Songsmith, the newest music production tool from Microsoft, is designed to create automatic compositions from your recorded vocals. You record your singing onto the PC, and the program generates a song to accompany you. The results, while hilarious, are a bit scary.
Now that the software has reached the public, Songsmith’ed remakes of The Police, The Beatles, and Notorious B.I.G.have cast some doubt on the quality of the computer generated music. The produced tracks are childish and repetitive, making it difficult to classify the new technology as anything other than a toy. Continue Reading
Pandora now has ads, Guitar Hero gets slammed, and Microsoft competes with iTunes, all in today’s round up!
The popular free music site Pandora is now adding 15 second invasive advertisements, interrupting the music, and repeating every 20 songs. This action isn’t entirely unexpected, as online music sites must pay higher royalties than other music providers. It still is probably going to irritate users though. [Slashdot]
Two interesting theories denouncing Guitar Hero have popped up. Nick Carr writes about our age of advertising, subversion, and sacrificed attention spans; and Rob Horning’s essay on how Guitar Hero is a symptom of a generational aversion to actual challenge. Read up, and decide whether the popular game is as great as the hype says. [S. Elliot]
Microsoft has launched a mobile music download service in the UK offering tracks and videos from the major labels. The pay-per-song pricing ($2.07) is more expensive than other mobile platforms like iTunes, and MSN Mobile tracks are not DRM-free. Which means you can’t transfer tracks to other devices. [Moconews]
The universal Leap Year failure of the Zune 30GB on New Year’s eve became nationwide headline news. Now the leaked source code has been diagnosed. The examination is pretty enlightening, as it explains exactly why the crash happened.
The driver with the defective code is common to all Windows CE devices, and for those who are inclined toward coding, here’s an excerpt from the analysis: