iTunes

U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ iTunes Release Was About Relevance, Not Altruism

In 2014, it takes Apple and U2 to pull off a musical monoculture that rivals both Beyoncé’s 2013 sneak attack and Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want In Rainbows launch. The tech giants and the world-dominating rockers continued their decade-long business collaboration in a big way yesterday during the launch of Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and two different versions of the iPhone 6. Unbeknownst to the masses, Apple released U2’s unannounced but highly anticipated new album, Songs of Innocence, straight into the music library of every iTunes user worldwide. “This will be the largest album release in history. Over a half-billion people own it. Right now,” Apple CEO Tim Cook announced, before Bono and co. closed out the presentation at Apple’s Cupertino, California campus with the album’s opening track, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone).” … Read More

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A Music Hoarder’s Eulogy for the iPod Classic

So there was an Apple event this week. Didja hear? There was a bit of coverage. Most of it focused on the zippy new iPhone 6, or the totally logical and necessary iWatch (seriously, I stopped wearing watches because of my iPhone, the snake is eating its own tail here), or the surprise free album by U2. But it also marked the official end of the “iPod Classic” — which, like Coca-Cola Classic, used to just be the damn iPod — and nobody seems to care all that much. Am I the only one who mourns for the… Read More

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Why Are Those “Now!” CDs Still So Successful?

It’s another day, and yet another Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation album is available for consumption. Not to make anyone feel old or anything, but we’re at volume #41! (In the UK, where the series began in 1983, they’re at #80). Artists featured this time around include LMFAO, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and, for those who prefer to rock, Nickelback.

If the past is any indicator of the future, this album is bound to be a hit. In a recent press release, the Now! team states that “every album in the numeric US series has reached Billboard’s Top 10, and 15 Now! releases have reached #1, second only to The Beatles in chart history.” Indeed, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, every Now! album has achieved either Gold or Platinum status, with only a few exceptions. In 2006, Slate music critic, Jody Rosen, wondered if Now! could save the music business, calling the franchise “one of the great success stories in the record business over the last decade.”

So, in our age of digital downloading and cloud computing, of Pandora and Sirius and Spotify and even YouTube, how are these records comprised of jams found everywhere still so successful? … Read More

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Vintage Radio iDevice Hacks

Yesterday we shared an iPhone add-on that turned your cell into a vintage camera. While you’re still busy drooling over that, check out Devin Ward’s vintage radio hacks. The Los Angeles electrician takes tube-amp radios and replaces the original wiring with new electronics and a speaker — basically leaving you with a swanky-looking shell that you can plug your iPod, iPhone, or other iDevice into. You can read more about the technical fine print on his Etsy page, where he sells the rehabbed radios for around 200 bucks each. Whet your vintage whistle, below. … Read More

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So, What Do Bands Earn for Digital Sales and Streaming Services?

There’s never been a better time to be a music fan. Love obscure Swedish pop music? There’s someone writing about it, easy ways to discover your next favorite band, a variety of services that let you listen to those tunes, and your computer can hold way more albums than a wall of shelves ever could.… Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. The British royal family has confirmed that Prince William is finally engaged to Kate Middleton. They have been dating since 2003. [via CNN]
2. Baz Luhrmann has confirmed that Carey Mulligan will play Daisy Buchanan in his adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Leonardo DiCaprio will play Jay Gatsby, and Tobey Maguire… Read More

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Reader PSA: Gird Your iTunes Accounts

This just in from Gawker via TechCrunch: There has been yet another security breach involving Apple. According to Ryan Tate, “If you’ve got an iTunes account linked to a PayPal account, you should be on guard; users with that setup are reporting mass purchases of software, videos and music through the… Read More

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Visualizing the Best-Selling iTunes Songs of All Time

Apple iTunes is closing in on the titanic milestone of 10 billion songs sold, and they’ve just announced their best-selling songs of all-time. Looking at the titles listed is hard enough (nothing about “TiK ToK” will ever seem okay), but our masochistic tendencies inspired us to create word clouds for every one of the top 12 songs. (Thank you, Wordle.)

These clouds weigh the appearance of certain lyrics within the songs and create charts assigning size status based on word frequency. If you’ve ever bemoaned the state of modern commercial music, the inanity of looking at these consolidated lyrics will do nothing to ease your pain. But it is kind of funny. Commiserate with us after the jump. … Read More

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MusicDNA, A New Music Backbone in Transit

When you whip out your iPod on the subway to scroll your volume to the left, surreptitiously making sure no one is peering over at your guilty pleasure, you’re probably not aware of a new medium that the creators of the MP3 and MP3 player have been devising. An alternative to the widely accepted and almighty MP3, MusicDNA will be a constantly updating stream of band-specific multimedia for your… Read More

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