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.
If you love world music, you need to head on over to <A HREF="http://www.mp3.mondomix.com/">MondoMix</A> for a touch of Cuban rhythms, Jamaican reggae, Indian Vedic chants, or beats from the Balkins. Explore the world of music in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Delve into the different genres that include Pop/Rock, Jazz, Sacred, and Hip-Hop along with the traditional sounds of the region.
You probably haven't heard of <A HREF="http://www.susanlaurenzi.com/">Susan Laurenzi</A> before but that's not surprising since this is her first CD. I don't usually use this blog to review or promote new music, however, this album is a breath of fresh air among the morass of digitized, heavily compressed, overly produced, and lyrically insignificant tunes that is the staple of today's music industry. And I admit it's a shameless plug because Susan is a close, personal friend and I have watched what she has gone through the last several years in an effort to deliver this baby. Indy artists need a lot more than good songs and talent, they have to have serious perseverance and sacrifice, especially of the monetary kind.
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.
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.
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.
Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox that lets you watch your home TV from any internet-connected computer in the world, has now become a content provider. This week they rolled out a "beta" version of their very own video-streaming site, <A HREF = http:/www.sling.com>Sling.com</A>.
It may be awhile before feature length films in HD are downloadable from the Internet, however at <A HREF = http://www.vuze.com>Vuze.com</A>, you can download or stream high definition movie trailers, hot new music videos, and Showtime episodes like Dexter, Weeds, the Tudors, and more.
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.
<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.
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'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.
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.
What really stood out at this year's CEDIA in Denver was the number of companies showing media servers. They have certainly grown in popularity, especially within the custom-installation world. Not that many years ago, media servers were the exception, and now they are the norm for those ultra-high-end, multi-zone, music/video systems. As high-resolution downloadable media (audio and video) become more available, then media servers are likely to be our main, if not our only, source device.
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.