Teenage writer, coder, and hacker Aaron Swartz has published a technical article on the behind-the-scenes look at the iTunes Music Store, including how Apple implements the FairPlay DRM (Digital Rights Management). “This document explains how the iTunes Music Store works. This information is useful to computer science researchers, cryptographers, and politicians, who may be curious to understand the largest deployed DRM system to date.”
“Teaming up to offer the leading collection of digital music for kids, teens and families, Apple and Walt Disney Records today announced that the catalog of Walt Disney Records, including soundtracks from Disney’s classic animated films and Disney/Pixar’s computer-animated films, is now available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store through September 30th.
A new “Disney” genre page within the iTunes Music Store will feature a wide range of family entertainment including the soundtracks from animated films such as Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Snow White and The Little Mermaid; Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo; plus, Disney audio storytellers, theatrical cast recordings and music from up-and-coming stars Raven and Jesse McCartney.”
MacMinute reports Apple’s iTunes Music Store is up for three Webby Awards this year. Presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the awards are given to the world’s best Web sites for 2004. The iTunes Music Store is nominated in the Commerce, Music, and Services categories.
Ben & Jerry’s is making ice cream lovers an offer they can’t refuse - free ice cream, free music, and the opportunity to have a voice in the next presidential election. On Tuesday, April 27th, from noon to 8:00 p.m., in Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops across the country and around the world, ice cream lovers can enjoy a free cup or cone of their favorite flavor all day long!
And as if getting free ice cream wasn’t cool enough, this year Ben & Jerry’s is adding a new twist to Free Cone Day that they’re calling “ETOV - Turn it around!” Through a partnership with Rock the Vote, ice cream lovers can register to vote in their local Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops. Still want more? Ben & Jerry’s is also offering an exciting sweepstakes and free song download offer, and encouraging voters to take an online “Oath to Vote” at www.benjerry.com
“‘When we launch in Europe, we want to do it well. There can be no compromise on the ease of use, the depth of the catalog or the responsiveness (of the Web site),’ Apple’s European chief Pascal Cagni told Reuters in a telephone interview.
He added that a delay of a few months was acceptable because the store was going to be an important outlet for many years.
‘This is going to be so important for the future that a few months’ delay is not essential,’ he said. ‘But it will come. Absolutely,’ he added, when asked if he was sticking to the launch target year of 2004.”
Tilt. Twist. Redeem. A USC freshman takes the iTunes-Pepsi tilt to heart. “As a USC freshman, I am forced to have a meal plan. This plan gives me $2500 “dining dollars” to spend over the semester. Given that it is incredibly difficult to purchase $2500 worth of food in such a short time, I realized I could turn this “money” into free songs on iTunes by purchasing Pepsi.” This person may hold the record for most iTunes-Pepsi bottles purchased at one time for a chance to win music.
The PlayFair project, which removes fair-use restrictions from music purchased through Apple’s [iTunes] online store, has become the latest victim of offshoring. Actually, that’s not quite true: only the hosting provider has moved to India. Not surprisingly, Apple has used the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to ask SourceForge to remove the project. SourceForge declined to use the Safe Harbor provisions of the Act. [...] The new location for PlayFair is at Sarovar, a hosting company for software libre projects based in Trivandrum, India.
SiteLink Network recently launched “Tune-Watch”, an advanced web portal to the iTunes Music Store, implementing an easy-to-use interface that allows users to browse the Store’s latest additions, new releases, and top songs and albums without actually launching Apple’s iTunes software. Tune-Watch also provides direct links to the Store through iTunes for purchase or more detailed browsing.
“The Digital Media Project’s Green Paper, iTunes: How Copyright, Contract, and Technology Shape the Business of Digital Media, provides an in-depth look at this service from the perspective of comparative law. Members of the Digital Media Team
MacRumors is reporting that “according to the meta-description embedded in the HP Music Site, HP should start shipping iTunes pre-installed HPs by the end of this month.”
“Apple today announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded over 50 million songs from Apple
On www.macilife.com, Macworld columnist and iLife book author Jim Heid describes the five-step process used by the iPod Selection playlist. This playlist debuted in iTunes 4.2 and is designed to automate the process of copying music to an iPod that doesn’t have enough space to hold your music library. But what criteria does it use to choose music? Heid found out, and he describes his findings on his site.
HP has launched its own HP Music website to promote iTunes and the iTunes Music Store. “HP and Apple have partnered to bring the award-winning iTunes music jukebox software onto your PC and into your digital world,” reads a section of the new site. “Now you can enjoy the revolutionary digital music experience that’s changing the way the world listens, all in the comfort of a Windows-based environment.” Clicking the “Download iTunes” link takes you to a new Apple.com web page to downoad iTunes for HP and Compaq customers. “Available for Windows XP, and Windows 2000, iTunes 4.2 allows you to sign in and buy music from the iTunes Music Store with your AOL or Apple Account.”
In a recent poll, Macworld UK readers were asked what features should be added to iTunes.
“The most popular choice was a means of automatically identifying and deleting duplicated songs (26 per cent). One reader suggested Apple could add a “flag duplicates” option.
Close behind (21 per cent) was the ability to mix tracks like a DJ
“‘Napster is a Windows Media Audio house designed around that digital rights management,’ Gorog [Napster CEO] says. ‘We are a believer in the technology and we believe it’s going to be, and basically is, the ubiquitous platform. Companies pushing a propriety agenda are consumer-unfriendly experiences because they’re cloistering them in an experience that they can’t leave and eliminating choice.’
Gorog believes pressure from iPod owners will force Apple to reconsider its stance: ‘The iPod is great if you’re happy to only shop at one record store. It’s like buying a car and finding you can only drive down one road. I think consumers, when they understand that, will be kind of pissed off,’ he says.”
“Specially marked bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist offer free download codes in bottle caps. But they arrived in New York last week, four weeks after 90 million viewers saw the Super Bowl ad. The bottles have yet to show up in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest media market, and won’t get there until mid-March, Pepsi says.
‘You can’t spike sales in February if the bottles aren’t there,’ says Charles Wolf, an analyst with Wall Street research firm Needham & Co. ‘My guess is there’s going to be a sales increase, but a month later than expected.’”
“Over the past two weeks, a second round of AAC listening tests was carried out across five different AAC codecs at Rarewares.
“It was a breakthrough deal that would have put the Napster kitty on millions of Hewlett-Packard computers.
But in the days leading up to Napster’s re-launch in late October, HP suddenly—and without explanation—returned Napster’s $250,000 check and canceled the agreement to install a link to Napster’s online music service on its computers. Worse, in January HP announced a surprise partnership with Napster rival Apple Computer to feature the iTunes Music store on HP computers and sell Hewlett-Packard branded iPod music players.”
The iTunes Music Store now features a “Tell a Friend” link for sharing with others. Simply click the link, fill out the form and tell a friend about your new discovery. “‘Tell a Friend’ links let you send email (that includes an album cover and a link back to the iTunes Music Store) to all your friends. You can even include a personal message. Try it today.”