iTunes

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

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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).”
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1st generation iPod

A Music Hoarder’s Eulogy for the iPod Classic

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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

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

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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?
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Vintage Radio iDevice Hacks

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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.
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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

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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