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BusinessWeek: Why iTunes Has Bands on the Run

Byte of the Apple columnist Charles Haddad writes how iTunes has shifted control from artist to consumer when buying music.

“DISTANT WAILS. In the hands of listeners such as McGinley, Apple’s iTunes is a tool of liberation. It gives them the freedom to pick and choose, and, in essence, make their own compilations from favorite tracks. And that’s just what many of those who wrote in told me they were using iTunes to do. In fact, the opportunity to compile personalized play lists and track selections may be one of the service’s biggest draws.

Fans of iTunes represent an unstoppable force. Who wants to keep all those CDs if you can carry around 1,000 songs on an iPod and easily expand that library through the Internet? Not many I suspect. Nor is this growing army of Internet-savvy users going to stop at music. Not too far in the future an iVideo and perhaps an iTome, for downloading literature and audiobooks, respectively, will be available”

Apple 20GB iPod for $279

Dealmac: Small Dog Electronics offers dealmac readers the Apple 20GB iPod for Windows for $279. That’s $50 off and well below the next-best price we could find. Offer ends tomorrow. (These are new, factory-sealed units that can easily be converted to work with Macs.)

Next generation iPod does TiVo?

  • July 29, 2003
  • iPod

Michael Sippey of ‘stating the obvious’ weblog has posted an excerpt from a concept document proposing several new features to be added to next generation iPods.

“The iPod and Tivo share more than a few characteristics: they both enable the user to manage and experience entertainment content, they both are made possible by the ever-decreasing costs of local storage, and they both share a similar interface metaphor.  But to date we’ve missed out on an opportunity that Tivo takes advantage of brilliantly:  the ability to provide rotating promotional content and messaging as a component of the menuing system.”

Jason Kottke’s weblog, Kotte.org Undesign has posted a rebuttal to the concept proposals, and said, “If Apple is pushing me advertisements and marketing which I can’t opt out of and are draining *my* battery while I look at them and taking up *my* hard drive space, is my iPod really mine or is it Apple’s?”

30GB iPod $419 and 15GB iPod $329 - Today Only

Deals on the Web: Dell is offering the 30GB iPod for $499, an instant 10% discount drops the price down to $449.10. TODAY only, take an additional $30 off with coupon code “50C322C30D4” for a final price of $419.10. With Free ground shipping, it’s the lowest current price we’ve seen. Offer ends tonight at 11 PM CST

Deals on the Web: Dell is offering the 15GB iPod at $399, less an automatic 10% off to bring the price down to $359.10. TODAY only, use coupon code “50C322C30D4” to save an additional $30 for a final price of $329.10. You’ll need to add something with a cost of $1 or more to your cart to use the $30 off coupon. Searc for “media” and add some cheap CD-R discs to your order. With Free ground shipping, it’s the best current price we’ve seen at $70 below the retail price. Offer ends 7/29 at 11 PM CST.

Windows iTunes “on track to launch by the end of this year”

At the 2003 Jupiter Plug.IN Conference & Expo, Peter Lowe, Apple’s Director of Marketing for Applications and Services addressed attendees at the keynote address, and mentioned several items in regards to iTunes.

“We fundamentally believe subscriptions are the wrong path…that’s not what consumers are doing offline…they want to buy downloads.
If digital distribution is about one thing, it is about being simple…as simple as a CD player…and it needs to be consistent….take the “but” out of it.
We believe Web is not the best interface to enjoy music…
Apple for Windows is on track to launch by the end of this year…Usage rules for Windows version of iTunes: certainly it is our intention to have the broad music rights…
Out of all our iTunes sales, 46 percent has been sold as albums..the disintegration of the album has not happened, contrary to what people are saying…”

iPod sound quality and AAC encoding tests

iLounge reader, Marc Heijligers has posted the results of his encoding tests for AAC using iTunes and QuickTime. You’ll also find reviews of several headphones and a comparison of the iPod’s sound quality to other audio digital devices.

“Although the AAC 224bit/sec shows some artifact, you have to compare it with the original and critical source material in order to recognize those artifacts. The AAC 320 kbit/sec encoding results in much larger files, for just a little bit more quality, which was my reason not to select it. For less critical material, I use the 192kbit/sec AAC encoding, just to save some space on my iPod.”

Action Jacket $25 for iLounge readers

picThe Think Different Store has announced a special price of $24.99 on the DLO Action Jacket case for iLounge readers. The Jacket for 3G iPods features a belt clip, armband, and comes in red, black, graphite, and blue.

MadsonLine Releases iPod Jogging Pack

MadsonLine has released a Neoprene waist pack for joggers/bikers and fits all iPod models. The Jogging Pack is on sale at an introductory price of $28.

Compatible with all model iPods
Lightweight neoprene construction
Comfortable & sturdy design
Velcro strap to hold iPod securely in place
Designed & manufactured in Germany

Hack for removing volume cap on European iPods

  • July 28, 2003
  • iPod

Update: The page has been removed due to a cease and desist order from Apple.

A reader has posted information and a how-to for removing the volume cap on iPods sold in Europe. EU iPods have a volume cap due to health regulations, therefore having significantly lower decibels than U.S. versions. It’s been a sore spot for many EU iPod owners and has been discussed at length in our forums. (Disclaimer: iLounge is not responsible for anything that happens to your iPod after performing this hack. Hack at your own risk.)

Think Different Store and eXo iSkin info

The Think Different Store wanted to clear up some rumors that have been floating around about the shipping of the eXo iSkins. Currently they are shipping the following colors (Click ‘Read more’) without the screen protectors. The screen protectors will be shipped separately sometime in August. New colors will be shipping each week.

Stereophile: Downloading Increases

“Downloading audio files, whether through a paid music service or not, continues to grow as a means to accumulate music in the US.  According to a recent Ipsos-Insight study, as of April 2003, nearly one-third of the general US population aged 12 or older has downloaded a music or MP3 file from the Internet.  This translates into roughly 65 million downloaders.

The survey also notes that enthusiasm for downloading audio files has increased significantly in the past several months, with the proportion of Americans who have downloaded a music or MP3 file growing from 26% in December 2002 to 30% in April 2003.”

The Register UK: MusicMatch to offer subscription free downloads

“MusicMatch, which already offers a subscription-based service, the $7-a-month MusicMatch MX, said it has struck deals with nine big-name labels to offer a casual purchase-oriented download service for Windows PCs.

Among the labels are ‘big five’ players EMI, Universal and BMG, but both Warner and Sony are notable by their absence, which automatically puts MusicMatch’s service at a disadvantage to both Apple and BuyMusic.”

Solution to unresponsive iPod Software Updater

Some of you have experienced this: The recently released Windows iPod Software Updater launches and is completely unresponsive (while CPU usage maxes out at 100%!) - leaving you unable to do anything with your freshly formatted iPod. What a dead end! After some ‘Googling’ I found an app written for exactly this problem: WinniePod will restore or update your iPod regardless.

Editor’s note: URL link has been corrected.

O’Reilly: Unsung Heros and Other iTunes Tips

Derrick Story has written a tip on how to create a smart playlist for those songs that don’t get played often on i iTunes/iPod.

“So I created a new smart playlist titled “Unsung Heros.” In the parameters for the list I set Last Played -> is not in the last -> 30 days, and then I set up a couple more limiters such as Album -> does not contain -> Christmas so Bing Crosby doesn’t constantly appear at the top of my list. One other parameter I set is Limit to 50 songs -> selected by song name.”

iPod voted ‘Best Gadget’ in InfoWorld’s Reader Choice Awards

  • July 26, 2003
  • iPod

Macminute reports that InfoWorld has released its 2003 InfoWorld Readers Choice Awards results and the iPod took top spot as ‘Best Gadget’, sweeping the competiton with 40% of the votes.

“Pushing RIM’s Blackberry out of the way, Apple’s popular digital music player beat out last year’s Best Gadget in one of the this year’s biggest upsets.”

Cringely: One Possible Future for a Music Business

“I call my idea Son of Napster, or Snapster for short.

Napster failed because it was determined by the courts to violate intellectual property rights and because it did not have a successful business model, or any business model for that matter. Any successor to Napster must be both legal (if barely) and profitable. [...]

Snapster is all about ownership. Snapster will be a company that buys at retail one copy of every CD on the market. Figure 100,000 CDs at $14 each requires $1.4 million. Snapster will also be a download service with central servers capable of millions of transactions per day. Figure $100,000 for the download system and bandwidth for one year. Throw in $100,000 for marketing and $400,000 for legal fees and the startup capital required for the business is $2 million.”

‘iPod: The Missing Manual’ book released

  • July 25, 2003
  • iPod

O’Reilly and Associates has released a new book for iPods titled, ‘iPod: The Missing Manual.’ “In this book, New York Times tech columnist J. D. Biersdorfer blows open the secret doors of this gleaming, chrome-and-white beauty. With humor and authority, she lays bare an astonishing collection of useful tips, tricks, and shortcuts…” The book covers all Mac and Windows iPod models, iTunes, MusicMatch, iTunes Music Store and retails for $24.95.

“BuyMusic.com blocks Mac access”

Macminute reports that BuyMusic.com has blocked access to Mac users. The page starts to load then it’s redirected to the following message; “Thank you for visiting BuyMusic.com. In order to take full advantage of BuyMusic.com’s offerings you must be on a Windows Operating System using Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher.”

Also noted is a tutorial by MacMerc.com to enable the Safari browser to act like Windows MSIE6.

Dr. Mac: BuyMusic isn’t .com-parable to Mac’s iTunes

“BuyMusic.com’s big marketing push is songs for 79 cents. But it’s a bogus claim. For example, only one song in its Top 100 Downloads section cost 79 cents; all the others had prices from 99 cents to $1.29. [...]

Here’s another example: BuyMusic.com sets strict limits on what you can do with the songs you buy. Most are bound to a single PC, so you’re only allowed to listen on one computer, while every song you buy at iTMS can be played on up to three Macs. [...]

I can’t recommend BuyMusic.com to anyone on any platform. Mac users should avoid it. And Windows users will be better off waiting for iTunes for Windows, available later this year.”

Griffin Announces iTrip Station Finder Software

Griffin Technology has released a free OS X application for finding clear FM stations within the U.S. for use with the iTrip FM transmitter.

“This small free application assists iTrip owners in finding clear frequencies in over 200 cities and towns in the United States. [...] The new iTrip Station Finder application makes this process much easier and faster by suggesting the frequencies that have the least interference near them. [...]

The iTrip Station Finder’s city-based frequency list has been compiled by analyzing extensive data about a given metropolitan area and its current radio station offerings. Frequencies were then selected that were not only empty, but also contained adjacent clear channels. For example in Dallas, TX 102.5 is suggested for use with the iTrip. That means that not only 102.5 is clear, but 102.3 and 102.7 are clear as well.”

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