The Japan Times reports that Japanese music on Sony labels is not available on the new Japanese iTunes Music Store. “We are in talks with Apple, but we have not reached an agreement at this time,” a Sony spokeswoman said.
Digital Music News reports on iTunes song pricing: “Labels have been pushing Apple to increase its current fixed a-la-carte pricing structure in the US, Canada and Europe. And a two-tiered pricing model in Japan will add fuel to that effort, with Apple unexpectedly breaking its uniform pricing approach.”
In an article entitled “Podcast: David vs. Goliath,” BusinessWeek’s Heather Green looks at how media giants are beating out indie/amateur podcasters in the iTunes directory.
The Spoilers Podcast is a new podcast for movie fans that offers alternate commentary tracks for DVDs—you push play on the podcast and play on the DVD at the same time to hear the podcaster’s comments and trivia.
Real Networks unsuccessfully disputes Apple’s claim to be the first digital music store to offer the Rolling Stones’ complete back catalog.
It’s here - the fourth iLounge Week in Review podcast. As explained in the new edition’s introduction - yes, we know - iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz has yet again filled in for the panel, offering commentary on the top news headlines and iLounge features of the week.
This week’s topics: The launch of iTunes Music Store Japan, the addition of three new auto makers to the Apple partnership for iPod-to-auto integration, continued analyst speculation over next-generation iPods, HP’s decision to end sales of the iPod, and new iPod accessories released or reviewed this week.
UK iPod accessory maker PodGear has announced the HouseParty, a portable speaker system for the entire iPod range—iPod, iPod mini and iPod shuffle. The HouseParty comes with separate adaptor cradles so that any iPod with a bottom port can be connected to the system.
“The PodGear HouseParty turns your iPod into a mini stereo system, pumping out 2x6W of crisp stereo sound,” says PodGear. “Beautifully designed and compact, HouseParty is equally at home in the living room, kitchen, bedroom or by your computer. HouseParty offers a total solution for any recent iPod. As well as great sound, it will charge your iPod™, iPod mini or iPod Shuffle, and even enables synchronization with your computer over USB.”
The PodGear HouseParty sells for £49.99 and will be available next month.
Incase has designed a limited edition iPod case for the grand opening of Tokyo’s second Apple Store, which opens its doors on Saturday in the city’s Shibuya district.
“The case is a tribute to the well-known bronze statue in Tokyo that honors the dog Hachiko, who was the faithful pet of Dr. Eisaburo Ueno (a professor at Tokyo University),” explains the company. “After years of commuting to the university from the railroad station where Hachiko would wait for him, Dr. Ueno died from a stroke while at work in May 1925. For the next 9 years, the dog would loyally return to the station and wait for the return of his owner.”
Incase said a select number of people will receive one of the Shibuya cases for free case on Saturday and then it will be sold for $39.99 at the Shibuya Apple Store location only.
Thought Out has announced the FlexPed, a new flexible mounting device that lets you mount your iPod “virtually anywhere including cars, boats, and walls etc.”
The company said that the FlexPed uses the same PedHead mechanism that it uses on its Ped2 iPod stand. The adjustable device lets you mount your iPod with or without cases or skins.
Thought Out said FlexPed will be available in September for under $50.
Amazon.com is apparently preparing an online music store, according to a job listing for a “content acquisition manager” for the company’s “forthcoming digital music service.”
USA Today’s Michelle Kessle has written a piece on podcasters running into music licensing problems over fears of piracy from record companies.
Chicago’s WKQX (Q101) has announced “My Shuffle” weekends—the radio station’s “answer to an all-request weekend in the iPod Age.” Listeners will be able to create playlists online from the Q101 music library and submit their selections.
A version of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights has been posted online for download in iPod note format.
Earth VideoWorks has announced the release of iCandy, a new product for color screen iPods that offers more than 40 slideshows with over 1200 unique pictures of sunsets, wildflowers, forests, beaches, contemporary art, and more. iCandy also comes with 500 kaleidoscope images.
“Earth VideoWorks has been publishing fine art and nature DVDs for over three years, and has an extensive digital photo library of over 25,000 images,” says the company. “These same images are now available in slideshows for iPod Photo owners!”
The iCandy package sells for $14.95 and works with both Macs and PCs.
Copy-protected albums from Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band and others continue to sell well despite complaints about their incompatibility with iPods.
“Aiming to curb piracy, labels like Sony BMG, which released both records, are rolling out copy-protected albums in the United States, which let users make three exact duplicates of a CD, and store files on a PC in Microsoft Corp.‘s Windows Media format,” reports Reuters. “But the copy-protection bars users from importing music onto iPods since Apple’s Fairplay software is incompatible with Windows.”
The news agency notes that about a third of the 252 customer reviews of the new Foo Fighter CD this week on Amazon complained about the protection. “This CD has a copy protection scheme that makes it totally useless to 30 million iPod owners,” wrote one reviewer. “How could a band be so stupid as to alienate such a huge percentage of their fans?”
Record executives are continuing talks with Apple to make the CDs compatible with iPods, and point out that they have released versions of the albums on Apple’s iTunes Music Store for iPod owners. “That appeased some iPod users, but others are still angry because they like to physically own a disc before importing it to iPods,” said Reuters.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said that both Apple and the record companies would benefit if they reach an agreement on the copy protection. “Apple’s the leader in digital music. It doesn’t make sense to release too many copy-protected CDs if they’re incompatible with iPods. But Apple could also be at risk if these CDs keep selling well,” he said.
Speck Products has announced its new SkinTight Armband for the iPod Shuffle. The $24.95 armband features an adjustable velcro strap and a shatter-proof ABS plastic cradle that works with an included rubberized skin. It also has earphone cable clips to keep excess cord out of your way.
“The SkinTight Armband and included SkinTight Rubberized Skin provide you with the freedom to run, bike, walk, or work-out with your Shuffle iPod,” says Speck. “Slip your iPod into the SkinTight Skin and snap it into the armband for a secure, comfy and hands-free way to enjoy your iPod and favorite music.”
Tracy Futhey, CIO and VP for Information Technology at Duke University, discusses Duke’s iPod project: “Over the past year, the iPod project has made clear to many of our faculty and in many of our courses, the value of digital audio in a whole host of domains,” she said. “And those who have started to use the iPods have said, in a large number of cases, that this has been an important enough experiment that they absolutely need and want to continue it.”
Yahoo has launched a new search engine that lets users search through millions of songs offered by popular music services such as iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.
Forbes reports: “Last quarter Napster lost $19.9 million—that is,the company lost nearly a dollar for every dollar it took in. Nor is Napster’s loss an aberration: From April 2003 through the end of March 2005, the company lost $97.8 million selling digital music.”
PlayLyrix is a Mac OS X application that “searches the user’s iTunes collection and automatically creates a new playlist of all the songs whose lyrics contain specified words or phrases.”
“PlayLyrix can be used to create playlists of songs with lyrics that reinforce a wide range of moods or themes,” explains the developer. “As an example, for a birthday party one might wish to make a playlist of all one’s songs that have the word ‘birthday’ in the lyrics.
PlayLyrix costs $5 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and iTunes 4.5 or later.
A higher capacity iPod shuffle and color screen iPod mini are both likely to be introduced this year, though a video iPod isn’t expected before the end of 2005, according to one Wall Street analyst. In a research note obtained by iLounge, Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster offered an overview of potential new Apple products, including his speculation on the future iPod line.
Munster said he expects a higher capacity iPod shuffle to debut before the end of 2005, noting that Apple Expo in Paris at the end of September will likely be the venue for its introduction. “Comments from iPod supplier PortalPlayer seem to indicate that there will be some form of new flash-based device in the market toward the end of the Sep-05 quarter,” Munster said. “We believe this is likely a high capacity shuffle or another new flash-based iPod.”
Munster said a much anticipated color screen iPod mini is likely to be introduced this year and could also debut at Apple Expo in Paris. “We believe that this is a natural extension of the existing 4GB/6GB mini and given Apple’s move to color on the 20GB iPod, we would not be surprised to see the company add a color screen to the mini,” he said. “In our view, a color screen iPod mini would be a home-run product for Apple in the upcoming holiday season.”
Finally, Munster said that a video iPod is unlikely anytime soon. “While speculation regarding the launch of a video iPod within the next 2-3 quarters is growing, we do not expect a video iPod within the next 12 months,” Munster said. “Based on comments from the company regarding the portable media center market and the current lack of significant consumer interest for feature film downloading, we believe Apple will wait at least 12 months—until the market is ready for such a product.”
Marc Ecko Enterprises and Monster Cable have officially announced “A Case For A Cause,” a new iPod case designed by Marc Ecko to promote awareness and raise funds for the FTBC (Fashion Targets Breast Cancer) initiative.
First shown in May, the light blue leather case comes in three sizes to fit full-size iPods and iPod mini. It features FTBC’s signature bull’s-eye logo (created by the organization’s founder, Ralph Lauren) and are packaged in a box with information about breast cancer awareness.
The two companies said the case is available now at Apple retail stores and online for $29.95.
Alongside the Japanese iTunes Music Store and Abkco announcements, Apple today also said that Nissan, Mazda and Daihatsu have joined other car makers in Japan to add iPod integration to their 2006 model lines. The new companies join BMW, MINI, smart and Alfa Romeo and others.
“We’re delighted to have such a wide variety of car companies in Japan offering iPod integration,
In addition to the Japanese iTunes Music Store, Apple also today announced the worldwide availability of early Abkco Records catalog titles from classic artists such as Sam Cooke and The Animals, as well as the Rolling Stones. The company said the iTunes Music Store is “the only online music service in the world to feature the complete digital music catalog of the Rolling Stones.” Apple is also accepting pre-orders for a special version of the new Rolling Stones album “A Bigger Bang
As expected, Apple today launched the iTunes Music Store in Japan, “giving music fans the same innovative features, breakthrough pricing, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world.” The Japanese store offers more than one million songs priced at ¥150 and ¥200 per song.
“iTunes and iPod are leading the digital music revolution,
Onkyo has announced that its DS-A1 Remote Interactive Dock for the iPod is now available in stores and online. The company said the $99 accessory can be found at retailers such as Circuit City, Fry’s Electronics, Crutchfield, J&R Music World, 6th Avenue Electronics, PC Mall, B&H Photo and Abt.
Originally announced in February, DS-A1 dock links an iPod with the Onkyo’s receivers and audio-video systems using the company’s proprietary RI (“Remote Interactive”) connection. In addition to letting you listen to music on your iPod, it also charges an iPod and has an S-video output so color iPods can display photos on a TV using the dock.
Netwerch, “a young enterprise specializing within the broad field of design on architecture and product design which are practical for everyday life,” is selling a unique $20 synthetic felt iPod case.
The Powerschutzmini sleeve is made from thick, charcoal-colored felt with an imprinted “.ch” on the front. It has access to the headphone port and hold switch and is available with a cable winder for excess cord.
The folks behind the popular iPod My Photo service have launched iPod My Baby, a new online store that offers iPod-themed baby onesies.
The high quality 100% cotton Hanes onesies feature a screenprinted white Click Wheel and come in three colors—original white, mini pink and mini blue. They’re available in three sizes—6, 12 and 18 months—for $15.95 each.
The BBC Radio 1 breakfast show hosted by Chris Moyles is the No. 1 podcast in the UK, according to Apple’s iTunes charts.
New Zealand Apple distributor Renaissance more than doubled its profit to $1.93 million in the first half of 2005 and sees further growth as it rides the iPod boom.
Troy Wolverton of TheStreet.com says that Apple’s chain of retail stores has as much or more to do with the company’s recent successes than the iPod.
BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows has written an article on why it makes sense for Hewlett-Packard to end its iPod partnership with Apple.