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Magnatune unveils two new subscription plans

7 May

Speaking of music subscription plans, Magnatune – which offers high quality DRM-free music downloads and podsafe licensing – announced two new ways to enjoy their music this morning:

Now available for the very first time, Magnatune Memberships allows you to hear Magnatune music without any announcements or interruptions between songs! Starting at just $9 a month, you can stream over 500 albums and mixes into iTunes or player of your choice. Listen online all day, every day wherever you are. For serious audiophiles, we recommend our Download Membership, an “all you can eat” plan that lets you download any of our music, whenever you like, as many times as you like, and in any format, including CD quality WAVs. BONUS: BOTH PLANS include access to our new two hour, talk-free podcasts.

I checked out the details of the two plans. For $9 a month you can stream the company’s entire catalog of music, and for $18 a month you can download the company’s entire catalog of music. Let me repeat that part: for $18 a month, you can download every album on the site to your computer. (Magnatune only asks that you not strain its servers by using a downloading robot.) You also get access to streaming audio and members-only music podcasts. Under both plans, 50% of your subscription fee goes to the musicians whose songs you downloaded and/or streamed. Pretty sweet.

I do not recognize a single one of the artists listed on the site. But what I do recognize is if I really want to expand my musical horizons, Magnatune is a great way to go – particularly if I want to explore baroque, classical, medieval, and electronic music. And there are some fascinating oddities, such as Professor Armchair and his “demented 19th century children’s music“.

I’ll have to think about whether membership is right for me, or whether I’d prefer to cherry-pick tracks that I like. But I’m really impressed with the company’s pro-customer, pro-artist policies.

MTV circa 1983 on Google Video

30 Jan

Three hours of MTV captured on VHS back in the day and uploaded to Google Video. Weirdly, that Night Ranger video was my first glimpse ever of MTV. Heck, maybe this moment is EXACTLY when I first started watching.

(Via Wil Wheaton)

Abandoned Project: my 1987 rap album

25 Jun

Welcome to Abandoned Projects Week! I was going to post about fairly recent projects that I might conceivably still feel responsible for, but this one is such a classic that I couldn’t resist.

Forward into the past!

Corey Haim

The Project

Yeahhh boy-ee! It’s the summer of 1987, and I am so down with the hip hop that I’m bustin’ out rhymes like Capone doin’ crimes! Which is to say that I am writing rap lyrics and occasionally inflicting them on friends. A germ of an idea forms: maybe I could record my own rap album.

I realized at the time what a ridiculous idea it was. But that was exactly what appealed to me. I love stupid, grandiose projects. When I heard that some college students were translating the Bible into Klingon I thought, “Of course! Why wouldn’t you translate the Bible into Klingon?”

Why it was abandoned

It turned out that recording studios were expensive. And they were run by people who might make me feel like a real idiot for doing this. And what would I do about backing tracks? Would I have to become my own DJ, too?

Also, what on earth was I going to do with the (no doubt terrible) finished product?

I came to my senses and spent the summer hanging out at the 7-11, playing Bubble Bobble and eating Klondike bars.

Now, 20 years later, the situation would be completely different. Book time at a recording studio? Pfft. I would just open GarageBand on my iBook, call up some beats, and lay down a few tracks. Then I’d create a MySpace page and upload the results.

Hell, it would probably attract fans nowadays. Strange, sad, wrong fans, but fans nonetheless.

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