The biggest rumour of the day is that Apple will start offering music from all the major labels DRM free. Lots of sites are claiming this will start today, but Greg Sandoval of Cnet says the claims are bogus. That’s a shame, as the Amazon MP3 store has recently opened in the UK offering DRM free MP3 singles from 59p and albums from £3. I bought one for Mrs Basshead at the weekend and used Amazon’s download software to get a chart album in under a minute. This was one of the £3 albums in 256kbps MP3 format. Nice to see the download software is available for Mac and Linux as well as Windows.
Looks like Apple need to get their store in order pretty quick or Amazon and others are going to start clawing back part of the music download market.
Paidcontent:UK is reporting that a major UK ISP is planning to monitor it’s customers illegal music downloads and reimburse record companies. The article suggests Virgin Media will be using ‘deep packet inspection’ technology from Playlouder to monitor what songs are downloaded, and customers who pay an additional fee will be allowed to download as much as they want from P2P sources.
The story raises a lot more questions than it answers, but that may be the point. I will certainly be interested to hear how this will work, as it would be an interesting alternative to criminalisation of a large slice of the UK’s internet users.
For the past three years I’ve used an Xbox running the Xbox Media Centre software, to play video stored on my network through a TV. For a games system that’s several years old the interface and playback are very smooth, as long as you stick to standard definition video. HD is beyond the processor power available unfortunately, but that won’t become an issue until I finally upgrade to an LCD TV. Read more…
Open Source operating systems and software have been around for a long time and continue to gain popularity. The Open Source ideology seems to be spreading to new and varied areas, including sound effect units. The Open Stomp Coyote 1 is an Open Source design based on the Parallax Propellor processor, and uses the free software development tools from Parallax to write its effects programs. The developer is currently waiting manufacturing quotes for an initial release, so it’s worth signing onto the mailing list if you have an interest in seeing this one go to production.
Looks like that pillar of integrity and customer care, Virgin Media, is determined to screw its cusomers for everything it can. I’ve previously written about Virgin Media’s plans to send warning letters to its customers whom the BPI accuse of illegal file sharing. It now looks like Virgin Media have agreed to the BPI’s plans with some hints that there’s more at stake than complying with the law. Arstechnica have the full story, suggesting co-operative ISP’s can become ‘significant distributors of digital media’ . Which basically means can make lots of money.
Bill Thompson at the BBC has an interesting comment on this, agreeing with many other analysts that clinging to old business models and prosecuting anyone who doesn’t play ball will eventually fail. Bittorrent rose from the ashes of other content sharing systems that were thwarted, so when Bittorrent becomes demonised and unusable something else will take its place. And the next system will be anonymous, encrypted and untracable.
In associated news, Arstechnica has the news that young P2P users are willing to pay for music, if it’s on their terms. Which means unlimited legal downloads for a set monthly fee. This idea has been around for a while and while it seems to be gaining popularity, is no closer to realisation. My thought is that it’s far too radical for an industry desperately clinging to its outdated business models. It would be nice to be proved wrong though.
I had a chance to play with these at the London International Music Show yesterday, and they look like a useful tool for the performing or writing musician.
Comprising a two octave mini keyboard, a bank of trigger pads and a mini mixer they connect via USB. No word yet on UK pricing.
UPDATE The Korg UK site has a page for these with a lot of info but no release date, stating only ‘COMING LATER IN 2008′
UPDATE DV247 is listing these as due October 2008 with a price of £59 for Nanopad and Nanokontrol, and £49 for Nanokey