Radiohead King of Limbs in 24-bit FLAC; How to Listen Lossless on Any OS, Device

Why shouldn’t a digital download be better, not worse, than a CD release? Sit in a studio as most of your favorite albums are recorded, mixed, and mastered, and odds are the digital material is being recorded at higher bit depths and sample rates. And while the perceptual record is more mixed, there’s also no question that, in terms of data, lossy compression schemes like MP3 do demand some loss in audio information. (Lossless schemes like FLAC, by contrast, use less data but do so without sacrificing sound information.) All of this means that it’s news that you can get …

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$10 a Month, Open Access? Topspin Web Artist Stores Could Get Huge Quick; Artist Examples

Strap in – this may be one heck of a ride. Photo (CC-BY) François Rejeté, of Coney Island’s Topspin (perhaps part inspiration)? Like the aspiring artists themselves, there’s an abundance of Web services with big dreams of stardom. Most will fall into obscurity, and wading through them is a big chore. And then, love them or hate them, there are the huge pop hits, raking in cash and making kids swoon. So, here’s a bet. Topspin, already one of a handful of genuinely-promising services for artists and managers to make the music business work, is about to get bigger. Think …

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mbpside

With Mobility Rising, MacBooks Looming, Don’t Assume Optical Discs for Distribution

Endangered species? Maybe. Worth double-checking you can do online distribution, if you haven’t already? Definitely. Photo (CC-BY) Adam Jackson. Memo to music software developers, artists and labels distributing music, and anyone else who uses optical drives: stop assuming they’ll always be there, because they won’t. Talking points: Netbooks and tablets already lack optical drives. With more mobile devices, they’re unlikely to be alone. Next up: laptops. Many laptops over the years have put optical drives in removable drive bays or shipped as external options to shed weight and bulk. HP Envy models recently came with external drives. And now, it’s …

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rbdrums

Music Gaming Franchises Face Difficulties, But Here’s Why It’s Not Game Over Yet

These drums need a new hit. Photo (CC-BY) Nathan Forget. There’s no more brutal opponent than elevated expectations. At least, that’s one explanation for the recent meltdown of the triple-A music gaming franchises. Harmonix, company that gave birth to the modern instrument genre saw both of its creations hit hard times in recent weeks. Activision gave Guitar Hero the axe [Wired], terminating the division, its employees, and a future game in the franchise Harmonix originally created. Harmonix got an extra life, at least, but it wasn’t pretty: the LA Times reports that Viacom unloaded the company – and some $100 …

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Why iOS' Problems with Free Video Won't Spread to Android, Most Other Platforms

Free as in beer is a great concept, too. Photo (CC-BY-SA) The Art Gallery of Knoxville. While on the topic of the conflict between the GPL-licensed free VLC video tool (and GPL software in general) and Apple’s App Store, I can’t help but be slightly amused at the common reaction. It goes like this: “hey, isn’t this all in conflict with the spirit of open source?” Of course, that’s the point. The GPL protects certain rights a developer wants the user to have. Apple’s store imposes specific restrictions. Each party is entirely free to do so; they own the code …

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Why iOS’ Problems with Free Video Won’t Spread to Android, Most Other Platforms

Free as in beer is a great concept, too. Photo (CC-BY-SA) The Art Gallery of Knoxville. While on the topic of the conflict between the GPL-licensed free VLC video tool (and GPL software in general) and Apple’s App Store, I can’t help but be slightly amused at the common reaction. It goes like this: “hey, isn’t this all in conflict with the spirit of open source?” Of course, that’s the point. The GPL protects certain rights a developer wants the user to have. Apple’s store imposes specific restrictions. Each party is entirely free to do so; they own the code …

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Last Days of Compact Disco: Album Lovers Hand-Make Musical Objects

While Mac blog TUAW calls on Apple to kill optical drives (does Apple need that kind of encouragement?), the shiny digital compact disc and the album in general still have their devotees. Sure, album sales are down. Sure, digital downloads are in. But look beyond business or practicality for a moment at these exotic hand-constructed musical objects, and what you see is sheer love. A hand-constructed CD or vinyl album is a gesture of making music for someone, not for the ether. I raised the issue early last month, and readers responded with lots of examples of handmade records, which …

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Interactive Art in Your Browser, Mozilla’s Open Web Apps Vision, and Your Butt

iOS has proven some of the appeal of on-demand interactive artwork and audiovisual toys. But even the iPad is limited to a 10″ screen; these days, the biggest screen in the house that isn’t a TV is often attached to a computer. (In fact, I regularly run across people who use a large computer monitor as their TV.) App stores are, indeed, spreading like a virus; on Create Digital Music, we contend with some of the challenges posed by Apple’s upcoming Mac App Store. The major obstacle: far from simplifying access to applications, a proliferation of different stores threatens to …

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Interactive Art in Your Browser, Mozilla's Open Web Apps Vision, and Your Butt

iOS has proven some of the appeal of on-demand interactive artwork and audiovisual toys. But even the iPad is limited to a 10″ screen; these days, the biggest screen in the house that isn’t a TV is often attached to a computer. (In fact, I regularly run across people who use a large computer monitor as their TV.) App stores are, indeed, spreading like a virus; on Create Digital Music, we contend with some of the challenges posed by Apple’s upcoming Mac App Store. The major obstacle: far from simplifying access to applications, a proliferation of different stores threatens to …

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appstoremacbook

Apple’s App Store May Not Work for Audio Devs; Developers Respond

Music software development includes some of the most sophisticated, expressive software out there. But it has long faced serious challenges in sales – audio software still appeals, generally, to a small slice of people, made smaller by factors ranging from piracy to the sheer complexity of available audio tools. As computing’s distribution model for software shifts, audio developers are undoubtedly watching. Love it or hate it, what’s unique about Apple’s App Store for iOS is that it’s a one-stop shop for everything. With App Store fever spreading – new stores for mobile and desktop are either available or planned from …

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