Tag: Music

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Will Taylor Swift’s Apple Admonishment Strike a Chord?

“This is not about me”, singer Taylor Swift writes in a Tumblr post that is viral news everywhere today. She explains why her newest album, “1989”, will not be available on Apple Music when the service starts on June 30.

“This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field—but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs”. 

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Apple Music Takes from Artists to Give to Subscribers

For a company that generates more profits than any other ($18 billion during fiscal first quarter 2015), sits on a cash horde of nearly $200 billion, and has the gall to charge $150 for a watchband, stinginess is an unbecoming trait. Scratch that. Greediness. Putting profits before people, particularly devoted customers, when corporate advertising is all about how they matter more, is simply stupid public relations. In business, perception is everything.

So Apple’s reported decision to give away music for three months, without compensating artists, is cheapskates behavior that demands criticism, particularly about a company claiming that music means so much. Speaking to developers last week, CEO Tim Cook: “We love music, and music is such an important part of our lives and our culture”. Oh yeah? If it’s so important, why diminish its value? To zero. “We’ve had a long relationship with music at Apple”. For how much longer without artists’ cooperation? You don’t own the content, Mr. Cook. 

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Apple Music Will Surely Succeed

Seven days ago, CEO of the most valuable, publicly-traded technology company on the planet unveiled a potentially category-changing online streaming service. In 15 more, you will be able to subscribe—three months for free. Pundits wave the Spotify flag and spit out diatribes of disgust, much as they did when Apple launched iPhone eight years ago or iPad in 2010. Wrong again is their destiny. Will they ever learn?

Many of the doomsayers forget, or maybe just ignore, the fruit-logo company’s success disrupting category after category. They also start out from a misguided premise: That Apple is a latecomer who cannot catch up with competitors like Spotify. How ridiculous. iTunes debuted in January 2001, iPod nine months later, and iTunes Music Store in April 2003. By longevity and reach, which includes exclusives (like The Beatles) and large catalog, Apple is the status quo. On June 30, the giant awakes, and the smidgens shake as it walks. 

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WWDC 2015: My Story in Tweets

As the week closes, I reflect on Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference, which commenced on June 8, 2015. I watched the keynote on Apple TV and live-tweeted from my comfy couch. Fittingly from Chromebook Pixel LS.

I find iOS 9 interesting enough to test. Today, I signed up for an Apple Developer account; my old one expired years ago. The process took a phone call, because Apple claimed my bank declined to pay. How strange. So I tried another card. Then a third. Hey, my accounts are good! I called the bitten-fruit for assistance, and someone senior in developer support manually processed the $99 fee, because of the glitch. How fraked is that? 

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Tidal fixes Android App Bug

On June 3rd, music streaming service Tidal updated its Android aop, which in my extensive testing over the weekend resolves a catastrophic bug that skips songs. The previous version jumped tracks before they finished playing on my Nexus 6 or 9. Last week, the lossless listening provider acknowledged the problem. The fix is in, and I am satisfied.

Tidal delivers HiFi streaming—1411kbps Free Lossless Audio Codec—at the premium price of $19.99 per month. For a music streaming charging more, about double other paid service competitors, the glitch was inexcusable. I first reported the erratic behavior nearly a month ago. 

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Coachella 2016 Presales Success

My daughter can attend Coachella for the third time, but Weekend Two. I snagged Weekend One tickets for this year and last but not next. Pass presales for the 2016 music festival commenced at 11 AM PDT today. The advantage of buying now is making monthly payments rather than one sum up front.

Timing and luck make the difference securing any pass, particularly the earlier (April 15-17). Last round, I got in three minutes before official start time. Ironically, or not, at 10:57 the Coachella app on my Nexus 6 popped up a notification that sales had started. But every time I clicked the purchase button for Weekend One, Coachella redirected to the sales start at 11 page. 

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Tidal gets My Reprieve

My third month as a Tidal subscriber started yesterday, but nearly not at all. Last week I prepared to cancel the pricey, streaming service after encountering a disastrous functional flaw listening on either Nexus 6 or 9. Songs skip to the next track part way through playing, which is unacceptable behavior—made more so because of expectations that higher pricing and loftier monthly subscription fee set.

I would have stopped subscribing on May 31st, at the billing cycle’s end, if not for Tidal offering a free month of service. Whether or not our paying relationship continues depends much on the music streamer resolving an app problem. “There is a bug with Nexus and Sony phones with Android 5 unfortunately”, according to a tech support specialist, “We are working on fixing this. Mostly after 26 megabytes have been streamed, it skips. So for now we do not have a solution yet”, 

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Google Music tempts Me from Tidal

My love affair with Tidal nears dissolution. The second month’s renewal is five days away, and divorce is nearly certain now. Mid-month I asked: “What Good is Tidal HiFi if Content won’t Play?” Matters are better and worse since. I no longer have the song stalls in the webapp running from Chrome OS. But track jumping behavior now afflicts Nexus 6—not just its tablet sibling.

On the phablet late this morning, I switched over to Google Music for a quick refresher comparison between identical tracks. I most certainly can hear the difference between 320kbps MP3 and Tidal’s 1411kbps Free Lossless Audio Codec. But the aural benefits are valueless if I can’t listen. Google Music invited me to resubscribe, with half a year free; it’s some kind of promotion for Nexus 6 buyers. How could I refuse no billing until after Thanksgiving? November feels forever away. 

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What Good is Tidal HiFi if Content won’t Play?

Editor’s Note: Tidal resolved the problems long ago; I continue to subscribe a year later.

On May 1st, Tidal billed my credit card for the first month of music streaming. Yesterday, my subscription to Google Music ended. I should be satisfied with the switch, given how much more I enjoy 1411kbps lossless listening over the more typical 320kbps compressed streaming music. But recent, recurring service problems put my customer continuation into question.

Quality of content, or available selection of it, isn’t the problem. I find plenty of music to enjoy, and the default playlists are smartly curated. The high-fidelity is just that. But slow starts, drop-offs, and song skips disrupt the listening experience—and for a service costing twice as much as major competitors, like Beats, Rdio, or Spotify, I expect more but get less. There is no customer support option that I can find, either. 

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Harman/Kardon Nova Review

M daughter’s cat Cali loves to chew cords—a habit we will eventually break. Meanwhile, it’s good excuse to invest in new wireless speakers that diminish some of the cord clutter. Our 20 year-old also is moving home for the summer, putting more wires at risk and necessitating some speaker swaps. She takes my Harman/Kardon SoundSticks, which subwoofer meets her requirement for thumping bass; I don’t need it and switched to a space-saving, cord-reducing duo set.

Spectacular sound is my description for Harman/Kardon Nova, which delivers rich treble, magnificent highs, fine detail, and more-than-adequate bass for the kind of kit. Separation and soundstage are bold—dynamic! The speakers are best appreciated when matched to the right source. I stream from lossless leader Tidal on Chromebook Pixel LS, connected via Bluetooth. The combination is immensely enjoyable and makes me happy while working, which boosts the quality and speed of my productivity.