|Music & MP3 Information|
MP3 Music Subscription Services. A Good Deal?
There's a reason Apple Computer dominates the legal 99-cents-a-download digital music scene: It does it right. Apple's iPods set the style and ease-of-use standards that other portable music players must try (so far unsuccessfully) to match. Its iTunes Music Store and iTunes software are equally unparalleled.
Still, as I wrote in a column on the Napster To Go subscription service, Apple's path isn't the only one that makes sense.
I remain an unabashed iTunes junkie. But an alternative model - the "portable" music subscription - is growing on me. Now, with the addition of RealNetworks Rhapsody To Go service - and especially with the debut this month of Yahoo Music Unlimited - I imagine it'll grow on others, too.
I did encounter some sour notes with the two services. Yahoo Music is still in "beta" testing, though the more serious snags actually occurred inside Rhapsody. But overall, both Yahoo and Real left a melodious impression. Each claims more than 1 million songs in its catalogs - though they're light on classical. (Apple says iTunes exceeds 1.5 million tracks.)
I'm guessing that Apple will eventually introduce a subscription service of its own.
Why? Under a subscription or rent-a-tune model, you can listen to a boatload of music for a lot less loot than on a buy-only download site. And you can carry those tunes in your pocket, via compatible portable digital music players. Buying 2,000 songs on iTunes would cost nearly 2 grand.
Under Yahoo, you could rent those same tracks for a fraction of that sum. And you can't beat Yahoo's introductory price of $59.88 a year, equal to $4.99 a month. If you prefer to go month to month, you'll fork over $6.99. Subscribers who wish to buy, instead of rent, certain tracks will pay 79 cents each, non-subscribers 99 cents.
At $14.99 a month, Rhapsody To Go is costlier than Yahoo but still a bargain, on a per-song rental basis, compared with iTunes. RealNetworks subscribers can buy downloadable songs for 89 cents a pop. Nice touch: Those who don't subscribe can still listen to 25 full-length "streams" and 25 radio stations a month.
(Napster To Go fetches $14.95 a month and 99 cents a track.)
As with Napster, there's a catch to Real's and Yahoo's rental plans: You must remain a paying subscriber, or the songs you've rented will no longer be playable.
And forget about transferring Yahoo or Real rental tracks to an iPod. (You can still transfer to an iPod songs ripped from CDs and, in Real's case, songs you buy.)
Why rent when you can buy? Aside from the cost savings, you may want to listen to something on a whim. Maybe you're just curious about an emerging artist.
Renting can be complex, though, reflecting conflicts over digital rights. You'll have to buy tunes to burn them to a CD. But some songs can't be bought. Others can be streamed but not downloaded. Some can be downloaded but must stay tethered to a PC. And some can be downloaded and moved to a portable device. Got it?
I prefer Yahoo to Real, and not just because of the lower prices. Yahoo jukebox software (called Yahoo Music Engine) also worked more seamlessly than its Real counterpart. Using both services, I synchronized music with iRiver H10 and RCA Lyra RD2762 devices, though not all tracks ended up on the Lyra. That's because, for now, this model can receive only purchased music, not rented tracks.
When I downloaded or transferred tracks to a portable device, Yahoo displayed a helpful status bar on the Music Engine screen to show the download progress. On Rhapsody, you must visit a separate screen.
Yahoo boasts other sweet touches. Yahoo Music is integrated with Yahoo Messenger. So you can see the music your IM pals are listening to and legally listen along.
You can also search for members who have similar tastes. Members can control who gets to see their collections. People you follow are called "influencers"; their highly rated songs will play on your personalized "LAUNCHcast" radio station. Those who seek your recommendations are deemed "followers."
There were a few annoyances. Yahoo lets you search by album, artist, song or member, though not all at the same time. When I searched Yahoo for certain albums - the soundtrack to the movie Fever Pitch, for example - Yahoo showed a picture of the album cover and listed the songs. But there was no way to stream any of the album tracks. It happens that Yahoo lacks the rights to play those songs or to make them available for sale. Still, I felt teased.
I ran into bigger trouble with Rhapsody, at least at first. Real's software kept freezing and crashing on an HP Pavilion notebook computer. I called Real for help. Disabling a feature in which Rhapsody is supposed to automatically search for and import new tracks into your music library fixed the problem. But that feature is one that many users will want. Real says a fix will be included in the next release.
What's more, if you decide to buy a track as a Rhapsody subscriber, good luck figuring out how. I had to call the company to determine one way: I right-clicked on a song title and then clicked on the menu item "buy track(s)."
Though Rhapsody doesn't have an instant-messaging component as Yahoo does, there are ways to share and discover free MP3 music. You can press a share button to publish a playlist on Rhapsody, e-mail that list to friends or write a blog about the contents. Rhapsody can show an instant playlist based on songs you've been listening to.
Microsoft's digital rights software underpins both Rhapsody and Yahoo Music. So when something goes wrong with the software, it affects all the music services at once. When "licenses" on my machine somehow became corrupted, rental tracks on Rhapsody and Yahoo failed to play. I had to reinstall Microsoft's software.
I don't expect Apple to slip off the online music throne anytime soon. But Yahoo and Real are at least giving digital music fans plenty to think about.
Mary works in US for a media company, occasionally writing for the biggest MP3 music news portal, and drinking too much coffee.
CD Clubs: How to Get the Best Deals Online
(1) The BMG Music Service offers the best deal you'll find -- 11 CDs for the price of shipping ($2.79 each) when you buy one CD at full club price, which is typically about $15 plus shipping. That works out to about $4 per CD. Its chief competitor, Columbia House, has an offer that works out to about $8 per CD.
Buying A Guitar - Do You Know What To Look For?
Buying a guitar is an important decision that my students have often asked me about. They want to know what they should be looking for. This is an important question because no two are ever exactly alike. There is a wide variety of types, styles, colors, makes, and models to choose from. The question is, which one is right for you? If you don't know what to look for when you're buying a guitar, you could end up spending a lot more money than you really need to. On the other hand, getting a "deal" may also get you a lemon. Following are some important questions to consider.
Make Money with Your Music ? the Top 5 Ways
Songwriters dream of making their living by writing, and sometimes performing, their songs. But until that day comes they've got to make a living somehow! Sound familiar?
Breathing Space in Music
While most students want to know when to play certain notes and chords, it's equally important to know when not to play. For example, I had a student who knew how to improvise and play in the New Age style. What he didn't know how to do was to allow for breathing space. I tried to teach him that you don't have to play note upon note but allow for some pauses.
Flaming Guitars! Minarik Fuels The Excitement of a New Generation of Musicians
From the Telecaster to the Flying V to the Iceman to the Warlock, some guitar designs are forever branded on our consciousness, and now there's a new one: the Minarik Inferno X-treme. The body shape erupts in furious fingers of flame. If ever there was a guitar design destined to ignite the imagination of young players, especially boys and girls who want to rawk, this is it.
The Top 10 Reasons Why You Suck At Playing Guitar
You don't 'need' to play guitar enough.
Rickenbacker 4003 Electric Bass Guitar
The Rickenbacker 4003 electric bass guitar is oneof the few electric basses to have earned the accolade"classic" as a title for itself. The Rickenbacker 4000Series guitar is attributed for creating new dimensionsof bass playing capabilities. Basses by Rickenbackerare made by hand in America, using traditional methodsrefined and honed.
Right Hand Guitar Playing Tip
This lesson can open for you a secret of high-speed guitar playing. If take the given technique for 2-3 weeks you'll feel progress in high-speed playing of complex passages.
Five Great Practice Ideas I Learned From My Piano Students!
Sometimes the teacher learns more from the student than the student does from the teacher. Hopefully, not too often, but today I would like to share with you some great practicing ideas that have come from my piano students over the years:
Flaming Guitars! Minarik Fuels The Excitement Of A New Generation Of Musicians
Celebrating an endorsement between G-Man Music and the fiery axe-makers known as Minarik Guitars, Scott G (The G-Man) reviews the Minarik Inferno X-treme.
Avoiding Injuries When Playing Guitar
To avoid any sort of injuries when playing guitar a common sense approach is recommended. Just what do I mean by that?
Spectral Muses Revisited: The Channeled Melodies of Rosemary Brown
Rosemary Brown (1916-2001) was a middle-aged South London widow, making ends meet as a grade school kitchen assistant, who rocketed to international fame in 1968 through a BBC broadcast recounting her purported collaborations with long-dead composers. These included Liszt, J.S. Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert (who of course no longer needs spectacles), Monteverdi, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Brahms, Robert and Clara Schumann, Mozart, Grieg, and Poulenc. And after he died in 1971, Igor Stravinsky joined them.
Is Your Child Capable of Composing Music? Maybe the Next Mozart?
We've all heard of them. Child prodigies who begin composing music at some ridiculously young age. For instance, history reports that Mozart was writing minuets by the time he was five years old. Amazing. At five years of age, I'm not sure that I knew the difference between my finger and my thumb and I certainly wasn't composing music.
The Life and Music of Beatle George Harrison
Propelled into fame as one of the Beatles, along with Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr, George Harrison was known as the "quiet one" of the group, and also as the "spiritual one." He was the lead guitarist.
How Has Eminem Risen to the Top?
How is it that a little white boy from Kansas City has becomethe most well known rapper in the world? Starting from nothingand eventually moving up to a multi-millionaire, Eminem over thepast seven years has been in the eye of the public everywhereyou look. He has essentially entered a black man's business andgone to the top over the course of a few years, but how?
What is Music?
That's a fair question!
The Time Machine Exist!
We call it music, ever noticed how vividly music triggers memory?
Composing George Winston Style
If you're a fan of New Age piano, no doubt you've listened to some of George Winston's music. What I find fascinating about his songs is how he creates them. Most improvisers/composers start with the melody, usually because it's the easiest way to begin.
Guitar Buying - The Pros and Cons of Vintage vs. Reissue
To most people, owning the "genuine article" is the only thing that will suffice. As a guitar player, and one who appreciates classic "vintage" instruments, I can fully understand this point of view. I can't think of a single guitarist who wouldn't absolutely adore playing a real 50's Les Paul or Stratocaster. However, becoming the proud owner of a true vintage instrument does have its drawbacks.
The Ostinato - What It is and How to Use It
Ostinato means "repeating pattern" and is used frequently in all types of music. For New Age piano players, it provides a great way to lay down the background of the piece while the right-hand improvises a melody!
|home | site map|
|Copyright © 2005 www.mymusicfiles.com|