Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Available in the U.S.

spotify usa interface premium

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have access to Spotify for a couple years now and for the past several months have been paying for the premium service. Now… I can FINALLY stop biting my tongue (or making friends jealous): Spotify opened for business in the U.S. last week! Hit me up with an email if you’d like an invite for the free, ad-supported version. Or go ahead and sign up here if you’re ready to dive in (can’t go wrong trying it out for a month) at $4.99 or $9.99/month for the fully featured desktop streaming or fully-featured mobile syncing respectively.

Read more below — a republishing of the article I wrote for LAist on July 13, the eve of Spotify’s U.S. launch — or read any of my previous posts on the service.

Continue reading “Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Available in the U.S.”

Apple to Shut Down Lala.com, Continue Sucking the Fun out of Music Discovery

Why must Apple crap on everything I love. First – the mp3 player gets abolished by big bro iPod. Now, Lala.com – which I’ve participated in since Beta – is on a respirator for one more month before Apple officially pulls the plug.

lala.com original logo apple eats
Apple’s acquisition of Lala.com in late 2009, led to speculation that an online store — independent of the iTunes application platform — would take over the space. An iTunes.com — or iTunes in the cloud — if you will.

Lala’s humble beginning in 2006 was based on a business model involving the actual physical swapping of CDs through the mail. Or as they not-so-humbly declared at launch, “The Largest Record Store on Earth.” The site would be full of album covers and users would check “have” or “want” and then arrange to send and receive via Lala’s Netflix-like shipping envelopes, for $1 each.

As the tide turned decidedly away from CDs and toward digital music purchases, along with pressure and legal action from artists and labels, Lala launched 2.0 by 2008. The new Lala was a music “community” from which you could play, share, and discover music. Essentially taking the ultimate music store and putting it in the cloud with licenses for unlimited listens of songs and album at a fraction of what iTunes and Amazon charged – about 10 cents.

Lala.com’s valuation jumped to over $100 million by the end of 2009, aided by a $20 million investment by Warner Music Group. Warner dumped both Lala and iMeem in May 2009 citing losses of $33 million. Lala was acquired for an alleged $80-85 million by Apple in December 2009 (or as low as $17 million and even $3 million if you ask some).

Today Lala is integral to the music industry and serves up one of Billboard’s few weekly charts based on Web-plays and purchases.

On May 31th the service will be put down and customers who’ve enjoyed the fast rise and faster fall of the service are not too happy about it and now have until June 14th to apply for iTunes credits.

I wonder how many or the services that I listed on my September 2008 Socializing the Music Industry Guide even still exist. Here’s a list of alternatives posted at RWW today. I’m fortunate to be an early user of Spotify.

Personally, I’m still happy to buy CDs directly from the bands at their shows or from the labels. Otherwise I buy mp3’s at Amazon. Apple is evil.

Official note from LaLa.com posted below:

Continue reading “Apple to Shut Down Lala.com, Continue Sucking the Fun out of Music Discovery”

Radiohead Says: ‘Remix Me’

Flip over a new page in Radiohead’s innovative In Rainbows adventure. Welcome the Radiohead Remix Web site, where anyone and everyone is invited to mashup, remix, and geek out “Nude,” the second single from the album.

It’s not exactly a Creative Commons take me and rape me scenario, like the fully remixable tracks on Nine Inch Nails’ Ghost but it is cool…. even if it involves an elaborate partnership with Apple:

If you purchase all five ‘stems’ from iTunes during the first week they’re available, you’ll be sent an access code to a GarageBand file ready to open in GarageBand or Logic. However, you don’t need GarageBand to do a remix, all the stems are in iTunes Plus format and compatible with several music software platforms.

Fans vote for their favorite remixes but I can’t seem to listen successfully in Firefox. Interesting promotion Radiohead… or is it… Apple?

UPDATE: Lx7 gives further analysis of the restrictive Terms underlying this “contest.” Ouch.

h/t LAT Soundboard

New Radiohead: Pay What You Want

Another stroke of brilliance from Radiohead is on the way… and in possibly their most genius move yet, it is being released independently by the band — that’s right, sans label, and one would assume sans DRM as well. The download can be pre-ordered for _.__ — or whatever you decide you want to pay! More genius, the CD will not be available until December, but the digital download releases October 10 — in ten days!


Radiohead — In Rainbows.

Hypocritical Media Hogs and Their Digital Hang-ups

The other day I blogged about Edgar Bronfman’s disclosure that he spanked his kids (or something) for all the music they illegally downloaded.

Now Reuters’ MediaFile blog details the iPod obsessions of the media moguls who attended last week’s Reuters Media Summit.

The follow-up questions aren’t printed, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that these big-timers took advantage of much of this digital media free-of-charge, and most likely with comped iPods as well. Plus, they’re all hooked on TiVo and/or satellite radio, wisely avoiding the endless spew of lame adverts for, uh, TiVo and iPod (and Chevy). Check these excerpts and ask yourself if these cats have ever dropped a dime on a rhyme:

Richard Parsons, CEO / Chairman, Time Warner: “I like music. I have iPods everywhere. I had the whole bunch of (the Warner music collection) files put on before we sold it….”

Dick Cook, Chairman, Walt Disney Studios: “…For fun, I have a little iTunes and that kind of stuff. The only time I get to read books is when I listen to it so I have a lot of books on iTunes.”

JEAN-MARIE DRU, CEO, TBWA/CHIAT/DAY WORLDWIDE: “…I have five kids, so we are 7 at home and we have more than 15 or 16 iPods in the family.”

Ah, behold the aristocrats pirates of megalomediahackland.

Originally posted in the Set-Top Cop blog on December 3, 2006