Jay-Z: Tidal Streaming Service

Tidal offers two price tiers: For $9.99 a month, Tidal Premium boasts standard quality sound along with high definition music videos. Tidal HiFi will cost $19.99 a month and features the Lossless High Fidelity sound quality that its competitors can't offer...

Oh Jay-Z...

$20 a month for music that I won't even own when I decide to cancel my service? I know, these are the days where streaming is king, but I have a hard time switching over and sticking with this trend. I currently have SiriusXM that came with my car and I only keep my it because when I try to cancel; they offer me another 6 months for $20. Then I realize when a song comes on that I like and I turn it up that the signal is so compressed and crappy sounding, that I really need to say no thank you the next time around.

I honestly don't understand offering the two tiers of streaming. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I am going to guess that the majority of the people who do subscribe are going to pay for the $9.99 standard streaming service. If the quality is anything less than 320 kbps for the standard streaming then he is really ripping people off.

I also love the end of the above quote

...sound quality that its competitors can't offer...

Apple knows a thing or two about quality when it comes to music. It will be intersting to see how the streaming space will end up, when they relaunch Beats and integrate it into all of their devices.

iOS 8 Music Recognition: Shazam or Apple's Own

There have been rumors that Apple will partner with Shazam to bring music recognition to iOS by using Siri. The user would ask Siri something along the lines of "What song is playing?" and Siri will pull in the results using Shazam's technology for recognizing music.

I have used Shazam since it came out and would love to be able to have the ability to find out what song is playing quicker. There are times that I am at the tail end of a song and by the time I get to Shazam the song is over.

The rumor that Apple and Shazam are partnering I think is plausible, but then I got an email from a service that I am a member of. There is an app by the name of Soundtracking. Their tagline is Share the Share the soundtrack to your life™. In a nutshell you have an app on your phone that will identify music either buy automatically identifying what song is currently playing from your music app, or if there is a song that is in your heard and you want to share your interest in you can search for the song, and finally if there is a song on the radio you can use their song recognition ability within the app to identify what song is playing.

Once you have used one of these three methods the app will bring up a picture of the album cover and if it is available a preview of the song. You can then write anything about the song, how it makes you feel or if you chose you can just post the song. While posting to Soundtracking you can also connect your account to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram.

Your posts show up in a twitter like feed, and you can follow other peoples feeds much like twitter as well.

This past week I recieved an email from them stating that thier Terms of Service had been updated. I usually don't read TOS changes, even though I should, but for once decided to read it. A paragraph in particular caught my eye.

THIRD PARTY SERVICES AND BUSINESS TRANSFER SoundTracking uses a variety of third party contractors, vendors, social networking services, and music content delivery providers to perform services such as application and website management and hosting, user account creation, out-sourced music audio features, and email marketing. In such instances, your personal information may be shared with these third-party services, providers, vendors, and contractors for the purpose of performing services and enhancing the user experience on behalf of SoundTracking, and in accordance with our privacy policy and the privacy policy with those third parties. These third parties may have a privacy policy that applies to you if it is a social networking service such as, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare or music content delivery service, such as, but not limited to, iTunes, Spotify, or RDIO, with which you also have a user account and have authorized to be connected to your SoundTracking user account. In addition, if SoundTracking or any of its services get acquired by another company, your personal information may be shared and transferred to that company.

The last line is what jumped out at me, and I immediatley thought of the rumors of iOS 8 having music recognition. Not only would they be getting the song recognition, but they would also be getting a social network. Apple tried to start their own social service withing iTunes, called Ping which was a huge failure. However it would make complete sense for Apple to take over an existing social network with an established user base.

Another feature of Soundtracking is the ability to listen to a song preview which is powered by iTunes with the ability to purchase the song from iTunes.

In their FAQ it is stated:

> What are the sources of music audio found on the SoundTracking service?

The music on SoundTracking is powered by iTunes, the digital music service owned and operated by Apple, Inc. SoundTracking is an official iTunes Affiliate service and allows users to stream 30-second previews directly from iTunes servers and purchase digital downloads of those songs. In addition to iTunes, users can also connect their Spotify and RDIO paid subscriber accounts using the SoundTracking iOS app, which is enabled by a direct integration with Spotify and RDIO under their Terms of Service.

I'm not sure that Apple is going to have the music recognition feature built into iOS at all, but think that it is something that is useful and could be included. I am interested to see what they do impliment and if they are going to give social networking a stab again. After all, Phil Schiller and Eddie Cue are already members. They both were earlier adapters, although Schiller's last post was 37 months ago, and Cue has never posted.

Shadows Fall guitarist guitar lessons

Jon Donais the lead guitarist for Shadows Fall and now Anthrax, has launched a website that is a typical bio site but will also includes learning content for guitar players.

In this site you'll find current news on Jon's projects and appearances as well as archived footage, pictures and some guitar tips for beginner and experienced guitarists. Click here to learn more about him and his musical journey so far.

Currently the site's lesson section has only one lesson about guitar warm ups, but there are a couple of lessons that are coming soon.

Will have to keep my eye on this. It's always interesting to get insight from skilled musicians.

Metal Blade Records $7.99 sale on iTunes

Image: Screenshot from the iTunes Store

Image: Screenshot from the iTunes Store

There are some really good albums here. They will most likely be on sale through Tuesday January 28, 2014.

Amon Amarth
"Deciever of the Gods" iTunes

"Whitechapel" iTunes

Between the Burried and Me
"The Parallax II: Future Sequence" iTunes

The Black Dahlia Murder
"Everblack" iTunes

"Opus Eponymous" iTunes

Cannibal Corpse
"Torture" iTunes

"War of Will" iTunes

Cattle Decapitation
"Monolith of Inhumanity" iTunes

"Valkyrja" iTunes

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats
"Mind Control" iTunes

"Battle Maximus" iTunes

Shai Hulud
"Reach Beyond the Sun" iTunes

Six Feet Under
"Unborn" iTunes

"Symbiosis" iTunes

Rivers of Nihil
"The Conscious Seed of Light" iTunes

In Solitude
"Sister"** iTunes

Hail of Bullets
"Ill the Rommel Chronicles" iTunes

"Raging Death" iTunes

"Legions" iTunes

"Final Scrifice" iTunes

Black Label Society: New Album Coming in April

Black Label Society has a new album coming out on April 7, 2014 Called The Catacombs of the Black Vatican

The album is available for pre-order on iTunes. If you pre-order the album you will be able to download "My Dying Time" now.

"Catacombs Of The Black Vatican" track listing:

  1. Fields of Unforgiveness
  2. My Dying Time
  3. Believe
  4. Angel of Mercy
  5. Heart of Darkness
  6. Beyond the Down
  7. Scars
  8. Damn the Flood
  9. I've Gone Away
  10. Empty Promises
  11. Shades of Gray
  12. Dark Side of the Sun (Bonus track)
  13. The Nomad (Bonus track)

I can't wait for this record to come out!

Metallica to enter the studio in a couple of weeks

"Hammett tells Billboard that the quartet will start working on the follow-up to 2008's "Death Magnetic" "in a couple of weeks."

Really anxious to see what these guys follow up Death Magnetic with.

"We're a band that never has a shortage of ideas," he notes. "You hear about these bands that are sitting in the studio and they don't have any songs, what are they gonna do? That's not Metallica. Metallica's problem is the total opposite. We have too many ideas. James (Hetfield) has, like, 800 ideas. I have 400. Those number alone are just crazy. That's formidable."

Finally using iTunes Match

Two nights ago I decided that it was time to give iTunes Match a chance. Since it’s debut my only hesitation to sign up; was the fact that there is a song limit of 25,000 songs. I am swiftly heading towards the 70,000 song mark I am over qualified for iTunes Match.

Besides the song limit, I wanted to at least wait and see what the initial reaction and what the limitations, if any to the service there were. Before Apple came out with the service I was already running essentially the same thing with the help of an app called AudioTap. AudioTap is a great little app; however it does not receive that much attention from it’s developer and has a limiting fact that your computer has to be running for you to be able to stream your library to yourself. After much deliberation[1], have decided to take a dive and test drive iTunes Match.

In order to get around the song limit of iTunes Match I created a new iTunes Library that resides in my Music folder named iTunes Match (I know; not very creative). For a little background; my regular library lives on my iMac but only contains the database file, and the artwork folder. All of the media that is associated with the database is loaded onto an external drive. In order to create an iTunes Match library I held down the option key while opening iTunes, which in turn brings up a dialog window that asks if you would like to create a new library or open an existing library. [2] After selecting create a new library and selecting the location for the library; the very next step that I took was to go into preferences under the advanced tab and make sure that copy songs into library was unchecked as this eliminates creating duplicate files.

From this point I go to the music folder located in my iTunes Music folder on my external drive and selectively click and drag the artists and albums that I want to be included in my Match Library. This way I can manage exactly what I want available to me on all of my devices. My main library has both my wife’s and my music, and there are definitely items that I do not want to come up in a shuffle that she owns.

The initial setting up iTunes Match was done with 2,472 songs. I was a little surprised that it took almost two whole days for the whole process to complete matching the songs, and uploading cover artwork for items that it didn’t have. I assumed that it would breeze through all of the tracks that were already available in the iTunes Store, but that really was not the case.

Before I add anymore songs to the library I have to run through and check out their iCloud Status and see what was matched vs. what was purchased. I am slightly confused, because there are items within the very same album that say they were matched and others say that they were uploaded. I need to determine why that is and see if there is a way that I can fix the tracks that say uploaded to have a matched status. I am using a couple of Smart Playlists [3]that Merlin Mann has created that give me a very quick way to analyze the status of the tracks in iTunes Match. I am going to use this playlist to try and figure out if I can alter the songs and get iTunes to recognize and match the songs that say uploaded.

My overall first impression is that I am pretty satisfied with iTunes Match. I don’t have to waste space on my phone to access my music, and I also don’t have to keep my home computer running to access the music like I do with AudioTap. After using it for a couple of weeks, and once I get a chance to tweak the unmatched songs I will have to sit down and write up any thoughts about how my opinion is after putting it through it’s paces.

  1. and a $25 iTunes gift card, making it free for the first year!  ↩

  2. For more on creating a seperate iTunes Library  ↩

  3. Merlin’s first Smart Playlist uses the Any condition. In this case it is if Any of the following are true. In order to get this option you must press the option key and the + button will turn into three dots (…). When you click the three dots you will have the option to pick Any.  ↩

Metallica adds it's video library to iTunes

For those of you who like to take your video with you, we are excited to announce that six of our titles are now available on iTunes for digital download for the first time ever.  Visit iTunes to download Français Pour une Nuit (Live from Nimes, France), Orgullo, Pasión, y Gloria: Tres Noches en la Ciudad de México (Live from Mexico City), Cunning Stunts, S&M, Live Shit: Binge & Purge, and A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica. Currently these titles are available in North America... keep your eyes peeled here for news about the rest of the world coming soon.

Nice to see this come to the iTunes store. I wish that some of the older recordings were released in HD though, but I will take what I can get.

Metallica continuing their evolution

No sound samples yet, but as can be expected, Metallica's next album will be a departure from their last album. Well this can't be said for the loads, but they were originally slated to be released as a two disc set. Even with the early albums Metallica changed their sound, and that's what I love about them. Can't wait to hear the first of the hundreds of riffs Hetfield has stockpiled in iTunes. 

James Hetfield: "I only have 846 riffs."

Rolling Stone: Is that an exact figure?

James Hetfield: "In iTunes, you can see how many things you've got. And that does not include the soundchecks, the stuff we goof around with here. You plug in an amp. Suddenly it makes you feel good — you come up with a riff. 'Dude, did you get that?' You can't get away from being recorded here.

Dave Lombardo out of Slayer?

"I spent the Christmas and New Year holidays realizing I had toured all over the world in 2012, but yet had not been paid (except a small advance) or provided a proper accounting for a full year's sweat and blood. On top of this, I was told that I would not be paid until I signed a longform contract which gave me no written assurance of how much or on what basis management would deduct commissions, nor did it provide me access to the financial budgets or records for review."

I surprised that a band that has been together this long is so disconnected. You would think that they would have more respect for each other than that.

If He wasn't out before, after taking this public I am sure he has been fired already.

Metallica Comes to Spotify

Via: Metallica.com

Metallica on Spotify December 6, 2012

We're beyond excited to announce that music from every single Metallica album is now streaming on Spotify! In our never ending quest for total control of the way our music is presented, we always make it a point to be sure that we are offering you the very best service by partnering with ground-breaking technology companies. So with that said, we are extremely proud to be a part of Spotify, who not only has a proven track record, but is by far the best streaming service.

Spotify was launched in Sweden in 2008 and has grown into a massive world-wide service with on-demand access to over 20 million songs. You can create and manage all your play-lists, share them with your friends and add to them by importing MP3's you already own. Now you can also take Spotify with you through their new mobile app.

We're always looking for more ways to get our music out to you, whether it's streaming live videos through our tour page on this site or offering downloads of live shows through LiveMetallica.com. Connecting with Spotify was the next logical step and we can't wait to see what the future brings!

Sounds awesome! I have read a couple articles on this subject, and of course Napster is brought up. (How can it not since the cofounder of Napster, Sean Parker is associated with Spotify?) However these people who are acting like Metallica destroyed their free for all on music need to move on. It's getting old, it has been old for that matter. Love them or hate them, there is no other band that can claim to have accomplished as much as they have. Looking forward to see where their own label takes them, and being fans of music themselves what new artists they introduce to the world!