Posts Tagged ‘music’

Ayumi Hamasaki releases next album on USB drive

I’ve always liked Ayumi Hamasaki’s music. And to see that her next album, will be released on a USB drive (instead of a CD; do they still release albums on cassette tapes?), is simply great news. You get a diamond-studded two-gigabyte thumb-drive, with the songs only taking up a mere 800MB (for 13 tracks, 6 videos, and the lyrics booklet). Its expected to sell anywhere between 4,000-5,000 Yen (RM156-195, so a lot pricier than a CD, which normally retails for RM40), and no word if the songs are DRM-free, what quality the MP3’s are, and so on. This is the first in Japan, and probably the first in the world!

Now, the newest Honda City isn’t just shipping with a CD Player, but a USB port too. They reckon it’ll be easier to connect and charge your iPod. I reckon, that if more and more artistes start distributing USB thumb-drives, we’ll be seeing more USB ports in cars.

Read more at: Ayu takes digital music to the “Next Level”

Digital Media Consumers

An online survey (500 Malaysians, all online already, and in total, it was 26,000 amongst the countries surveyed) by The Nielsen Company, showed that Malaysians ranked fifth amongst 52 countries for being digital media consumers. The stats (with more from the NST):

  • Malaysians ranked third globally for those that spent more than 20 hours a week watching streamed or downloaded content from the Internet – translation, Malaysians bittorrent a lot, or are in love with YouTube. Video in Malaysia is big, clearly.
  • 53%/41% played(streamed, even)/downloaded video/movie/audio/game content online in December 2008. Translation? The ones with 1mbps broadband lines are streaming YouTube content… How about a local video sharing site, or a local site with content?
  • 85% got on their computers, while only 77% turned on their TV sets – translation, if you’re not advertising online or your media buyers don’t know how to deal with it, its time to find new ones
  • 4% download movies/movie clips more than 30 times in a month – that means about 7.5 TV series that they’re following, or less, but with movies thrown in – eep, no advertising seen
  • 8% download music or other audio files more than 30 times – since there’s no iTunes music store in Malaysia, its probably entirely illegal content

So its skewed. With a broadband penetration rate of about 18% only, they asked the choir, and the results aren’t too surprising. I predict we’ll see more people online in the results of the June/July survey, as we face this economic slowdown, and more people buckle up, stay at home, and still live their lives.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Comes With Music

I was walking around Sungei Wang yesterday, and noticed a bunch of ads, selling the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for about RM1,399 or lower.

I had first read about it, from Suanie and was impressed when she said:

Vlasta Berka, GM of Nokia (M) took the stage to officially launch the Nokia 5800 XPM. He also announced the price — RM1,499 which I think is a real steal. They are also giving away 1,000 DRM-free songs with each unit; song artists include Madonna, Jason Mraz, Kylie Minogue, Norah Jones, Michael Buble… you know, the talented ones.

1,000 DRM-free songs. According to The Star, it comes with a voucher of some sorts, and you have a selection of over 10,000 songs, from big labels like EMI, Warner Music and so on. It comes I believe, with an 8GB microSD card, which stores up to 6,000 tracks!

But, lets go back to the 1,000 DRM-free songs. You’re paying market price – RM1,499, for a device, and you’re getting free music. Back in November 2008, I wrote about looking for devices that comes with music. I revisited the article in The Economist, and noted that handsets in the UK, could cost as little as £130, and it would come with a supply of music!

I wonder what Nokia is paying the music industry for this feature. In fact, I wonder if the music is downloaded over-the-air, which also means, people will want to get unlimited data plans. Budget-conscious owners, will probably do it via a desktop application (I presume), which probably only works on Windows. Discounting Mac users (and even Linux users), is a big mistake, which I hope someone like Russell Beattie would get fixed.

So, what is the true cost of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, without music? A phone store by Nokia, when Apple can’t even muster the iTunes Music Store? Depending on popularity, I wonder if Apple will slowly miss the boat, here in Malaysia. More on this, if/when I try the phone out…

House of Cards

This is a beautiful song. Its on replay through my speakers, a lot recently (you’ll know if you follow me on That is, the single from Radiohead, titled the House of Cards. From the excellent album, In Rainbows (you know, complete download available DRM-free, for any price you want to pay for, even zero dollars.) Beautiful lyrics.

I don’t wanna be your friend
I just wanna be your lover
No matter how it ends
No matter how it starts

Forget about your house of cards
And I’ll do mine

Of course, the video is equally interesting. Because no cameras or lights were used to generate it. Read more about the technology behind it (how to capture, and render 3D data). Joi Ito has a good post summarising the important bits: the data (not the music) used to make the video is under a Creative Commons license, the source code to make it happen is under the Apache license. Good stuff all around.

Goodbye Mixwit, thanks for the online mixtape music revival

Today I found out that Mixwit, a site that allows you to make digital mix tapes, is closing its doors by December 21 2008.

We regret to announce that Mixwit will cease to exist at the end of the year. The website and profiles will be turned off around Dec 21st and all embedded widgets will stop playing before the end of December.

We’ve put a year of work into Mixwit so this choice wasn’t taken lightly. I won’t go into the details of our situation but state simply that we boldly marched into in a position best described as “between rock and a hard place.” We’re very grateful to be have been part of the mixtape revival of ‘08 and are satisfied to be able to to bow out while things are still good.

I’ve had an account since about August, and made two mixes, which have received an OK number of plays (considering the mixes were really just meant for one person). The interface is easy to use, you can customise it with a graphic design of your choice (I’ve used photos), and if you want (or should I say can) to buy the MP3’s, you can do so via the iTunes or Amazon music stores. As long as you have unmetered bandwidth, Mixwit made a lot of sense.

For me, it was bringing me back memories of mix tapes, and why I created them. Mix CDs replaced mixed casette tapes, but seeing Mixwit’s interface brought back that nostalgia. If tapes were the originals, CD’s felt so mixtape 1.5 – Mixwit was mixtape 2.0.

Good bye Mixwit, and thanks for the mixtape revival of ‘08.

Songs to remember: Barry Manilow – Can’t Smile Without You, Michael Buble – Everything, Jet – Look What You’ve Done, Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight, Ronnettes – Be My Baby, Jason Mraz – You and I Both, Oasis – Wonderwall, Wannadies – You & Me Song, Gwen Stefani – Cool, Starship – Sara, Hoobastank – The Reason, Bob Dylan – Sara, Winterpills – Pills for Sara, Eric Gale – Sara Smile, Fleetwood Mac – Sara.

Comes with music

I’m not a big fan of listening to music on my mobile phone (though I guess if I was an iPhone user, this might be different), but it seems like all phone manufacturers are now targeting the masses, to show that their phones are all music devices.

I see adverts bombarding me from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, and more, to tell me that a new phone, will also play music for me just fine. Some go so far as to tell me, I can “make the Web by hand” :)

So it comes as no surprise that in Britain, you can get a handset that “Comes With Music” (CWM) for a year, for free, thanks to Nokia. The music continues to be playable after the year is up too. Unlimited downloads?

I can’t wait for this service to be available outside of Britain.