Spotify Revisited . . . and just got rocked.

UPDATED – Just noticed that it’s a 48 hour deal . . . then, can expand to 30 days.

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Man, I love those moments when something comes along that just . . . well, blows your mind. If you read my previous post about Spotify, you know I was pretty keen on the service. Well, I’m ending month number two of LOVING the steady stream of anything-I-want-at-any-time-for-free music. And, guess what? My mind just got blown even bigger.

Spotify is now open to the public (no longer invitation only) for US users. This is the point where you pause your reading, open a new window, and go sign up . . . seriously, NOW. I’ll wait.

OK, here’s where the next 6 months get really nice . . . then, it’s decision time. From what I hear, free users of Spotify can get the offline sync mode functionality in their smartphone app. So, this means you can get the Spotify app on your phone, log in, then it is seen by Spotify on your computer. You can then sync ANYTHING to your phone for as much space as you have.

Did I mention that this is done WIRELESSLY. And, it’s about the most flawless execution I’ve seen. I literally opened the app on my phone and a “sync playlists to iPhone” popped up on my computer screen. I selected the playlists I wanted to include and it started chugging away – pretty swiftly, I might add.

So, here I am excited all over again – six months should be plenty of time to see if I want to chunk down $9.99/month for all-you-can-eat music.

This is just plain awesome.

http://www.spotify.com

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Spotify Experience

OK, so I’m done lamenting over my long, lost LaLa service . . . it let me listen to all sorts of new music and decide if I like it (then, I’d go grab it to purchase and actually felt gooood about it). So, then Apple comes along and gobbles them up . . . thanks alot.

So, I heard news of our friends across the pond having this super-fantastic service called Spotify. There, they could pay a fee and get all-you-can-eat service . . . still, something about the “rental” model just didn’t seem to thrill this “old-school” music consumer (even if I have adopted MP3 downloads pretty heavily lately).

Then, yesterday, I get my invite to spotify (it was hidden in my spam filter – woohoo!). Now, you might ask, “did he just jump into the paid model of service?”. Nope. Ready for this? So far, the free version is every bit as good as LaLa’s old service . . . AND, I can play the files again! LaLa would limit to 30 seconds after the first full listen. Right now, I’m jamming out to the Marty Stuart Ghost Train Sessions with wreckless abandon (pretty good, btw, BTrain).

So, looks like happy days are here again . . . if you work at your computer all day – I can leave this humming through my speakers as I work. Now, the paid version ($9.99/month) would let me dump any and all music to my iPhone, but I’m gonna stick right here for a while . . . this is pretty dad blame sweet.

www.spotify.com

LM

iPod Car Integration

If you’re like me, then you like cars. At the same time, you like the tech that goes into cars (go to cars.cnet.com for a good lesson). For years, I have been looking for a good way to integrate my iPod/iPhone with our minivan (2002 Mazda). I looked at FM modulators, but they just plain stink at getting the sound through. I looked at changing the head unit of the stereo, but it would look horrible . . . so, I was sunk.

Until this Christmas. I finally found what I was looking for. The website I used, icarkits.com, has the Neo brand iPod car kit. No FM modulator at all . . . it overrides your car’s CD changer controls to give a direct connection to the audio system. And, it’s as good as that sounds . . .

I installed the system myself (seriously). All I had to do was pop off the dash cover, unscrew the CD player, plug in the wiring harness (they supply the correct one) and I was ready to go.

It sounds . . . well, perfect. And, to add to that, I can control the next/prev track and search my iPod just like a cd . . . from the controls of my car, not the actual iPod! Also, the docking connector charges your iPod. And, yes, it works with my iPhone 3G and my wife’s 3GS.  Also, we can still use the 6-disc changer that is in the dash.

I just wanted to share the joy . . . this is a great little device for getting your iPod linked into your system. And, they make devices for many different models of cars.  Hopefully this post will save someone alot of hassle with FM modulators and searching.

Amazon MP3 is almost too easy

So, I was listening to Pandora again today. Ron Block (from Alison Krauss & Union Station) was featured from his album “Far Away Land”. I love this one song. So, I head to Amazonmp3.com, search for Ron Block, click buy MP3 (99 cents). From their I had to download their music manager. I was a bit concerned, but it took about 30 seconds maximum. Once I clicked OK, the file downloaded (in about 15 seconds). The really cool part is it automatically posted the song to my iTunes . . . without any effort from me!

I went ahead and purchased another track. Since the softward is installed, it automatically grabbed the file and downloaded it. My credit card is already logged with amazon, so there really is just ONE click to buy the song. In less than a minute I’m listening in iTunes.

Good work, Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon MP3

In my previous post, I mention Amazon MP3 briefly. It’s a known fact that iTunes is the leader in online distribution of music. That’s all well and good and they’ve definitely changed the face of how music is purchased by consumers. My beef with iTunes is that in order to play [most of] purchased tracks is to have an iPod. Now, I own an iPod and will probably never use anything else (it’s that good). However, I like to stream music from my computer to my TiVo (and any other device and future device that supports the MP3 format). Well, iTunes is AAC format . . . so, no TiVo or otherwise (at least not easily).

I say all that to say this: Amazon.com has an online store with high bitrate (i.e. great sounding) files that are totally unprotected. That means you can move them to whatever player you want, whatever computer you want . . . it’s all good. My thoughts are also on the automotive future (if I ever have the dough to get a new car!). Online hard drives are on the market, most of which support MP3.

 Aaaand, the Amazon store’s pricing is on par with iTunes if not cheaper in many cases.

Now, I’ll still probably buy my favorite artists on CD so I have the prisine quality if I need it as well as a backup. But those odds and ends that I have ringing in my head . . . well, 89 to 99 cents aint bad . . .

Pandora: Better Still

Well, I stumbled on to an old favorite. Pandora.com now has Genre channels. I just fired up the symphonic classical channel (yeah, I know) and it sounds great! If you haven’t tried Pandora, head to http://www.pandora.com and check it out. If you work while online, this is just too good to pass up. Here’s my other rant on the subject. Happy listening!

Amie Street & Spiral Frog

Wow, that’s a mouthful! There are two new games in town for music downloads. One is an indy type locale where you can find the up and comers . . . the other is a full on popular music freeby site . . . with a catch.

Let’s start with Amie Street (www.amiestreet.com). It’s a pretty cool idea. You head to their site, you search for music. The music starts out CHEEEEAAAAP (cheap as in free) and escalates as a song gets popular. It caps at 99 cents. While this is a neat idea, I found that the popular songs just aren’t there. I’m just not too keen on spending my time looking for songs I might like. I’m of the old school “heard it on the radio and want to grab it” method, which I think is still a valid way of doing business! Here’s hoping the major labels start to take interest in this method. Oh, and the kicker is that the music is DRM free . . . not locked in to a certain MP3 player.

The other service I’m looking into is called Spiral Frog. Free music from major artists. Now, doesn’t that sound nice? Well, of course, there’s a catch. You have to listen to an advertisement before each song!

I was mistaken with the previous sentence. There are advertisements, however, they are simply wrapped around the songs in play. Works well. We’ll see how this pans out . . .

http://www.amiestreet.com
http://www.spiralfrog.com