The Peter Gabriel-curated <A HREF="http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/display.aspx?infid=3550">B&W Music Club</A> is now providing music downloads in 24-bit FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files. Subscribers now have a choice of three formats for download. The new 24-bit FLAC format, a 16-bit FLAC version and a 16-bit Apple Lossless version. The new file format is also available for people on a free trial, who can download an EP of 24-bit lossless music. Full membership runs $59.95 for a year and $39.95 for six months. You can download one new album a month, which comes to $5 an album with the annual membership. Sometimes there are bonus downloads, making the membership even more valuable.
It may be a crazy download world, but buyers still need to be diligent and know what it is they are buying. Last week, I wrote about all the various mainstream services selling music downloads. Competition is fierce, and the latest fallout is the Yahoo! Music Online Store, which will discontinue operations on September 30.
According to the Nielsen Co.'s year-end figures, music purchases — from all mediums — of entire albums including digital single track downloads and music videos totaled 1.5 billion, up 10.5% over 2007. However, more than 70% of that figure was attributed to digital downloads. Moreover, total album sales were down, as people tend to buy just the tracks they like.
There was a time if you didn't tape (or TiVo) your favorite TV shows, you would have to wait for the re-runs or even syndication to catch that episode you missed. Today, there's an abundance of free websites providing recent and older episodes of your favorite TV shows. Some of these sites offer movies, but most are older flicks. So, pull up a chair and your laptop to check out some TV…on the Internet.
As usual, there are plenty of celebrity Christmas albums you can purchase as a CD or through the various music services. However, I was curious what holiday musical tidbits might be residing on the web that there were outside the mainstream.
Since the introduction of my blog last week, I've received a good deal of information from a variety of sources, both personal and professional, that I want to share with you. The swift response is just an indication of the interest in this topic.
<A HREF=http://www.fearnet.com>FEARnet.com</A> is the perfect online destination for you hardcore horror fans, offering free movies of Halloween classics, and original web shows such as the 30 Days of Night series produced by Sam Raimi. Every Thursday the website swaps out 10 new movies that you can view for free. Of course, its on the small screen and only available as a stream, not a download. For Halloween, FEARNet is premiering Clive Barker's Midnight Meat Train.
I've always been a big fan of Peter Gabriel, so I was intrigued when I heard about a new music service he co-founded called <A HREF "http://www.we7.com">We7.com</A>. The site allows members to listen to songs and albums in their entirety for free. They can create a playlist to share with friends and colleagues. If you like the song well enough, then you can buy and download it.
HDGiants unveiled their new HD MediaStore application during CES. While HD Giants has an online presence accessible to anyone (with Microsoft IE only), this new application was specifically designed for easy integration with top media servers running the Vista Media Center. It allows Media Center customers to purchase and download music in the WMA lossless format directly from their MCE Vista entertainment centers.
If you are at all familiar with "audiophile music," then you've heard of Chesky Records, which was founded by David and Norman Chesky all the way back in the last century. Their philosophy was to capture the spaciousness of "live music" in their recordings. If you want to know more about their history, go to <A HREF="http://www.chesky.com/core/body_about.cfm
">Chesky Records</A>, which is still alive and well.
Is classical music your thing, specifically the works of Norwegian composers and musicians? Then you have to check out <A HREF="http://www.2l.no/2L.htm">2L</A>, a Grammy award-winning Norwegian label that offers recordings in 24-bit/96kHz, mixed in 5.1 surround sound.
I'm currently in Brazil and had the opportunity to attend a HiFi show in So Paulo. It was incredibly small, at least by comparison to the shows I attend in the US. However, it did provide some insight as to what products are being introduced into the Brazilian market and how they compare to the North American equivalents.
I came across a unique website this week called <A HREF="http://www.magnatune.com/">Magnatune</A>. They specialize in musical styles such as ambient, downbeat electronica, and world music. While these are hugely popular genres, especially the sub-genre of electronica known as "chill," there are a limited amount of outlets available for finding this type of music.
Maybe you already know what a mashup is and even if you don't know the proper terminology, you've definitely heard one. A mashup is one or more songs mixed together to create an entirely new song. Technically, these new tracks are bootlegs, as they are not authorized remixes by the artist or sanctioned by the record labels. That said there are hundreds, if not thousands, of these unique hybrid tunes out there.
I just returned from the annual CEDIA Expo in Denver. Media servers and Windows-based media centers are nothing new for this event, but this year it was apparent that the category is growing with more choices than ever before.