Welcome to TBD #2. I’ve got bunches of newsbytes for you today, and an exclusive look at the absolute best LEGAL music store available online. Also, my Top Five iPod Songs Of The Week.
* The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new album, Live In Hyde Park, debuted at Number One on the British charts. The album sold 200,000 copies in the first week it was available, mostly because it was recorded in London and British dudes love most anything that was recorded on their home turf. How else can you explain Oasis?
* Beck has been joined in the studio by Jack White. The pair will record a song for Beck’s upcoming album, which will be released in October. I don’t know about you, but I think Sea Change was one of the best albums of the past five years.
* Evidence that popular music fans have a modicum of intelligence has emerged, as both Kiss and Linkin Park have been forced to cut ticket prices due to a slow concert season. Many others have been “affected” by the slow sales, including Jessica Simpson, who had to sign for another year of Newlyweds simply to pay the bills.
* Former Nirvana bassis Krist Novoselich has written a book called “Of Grunge And Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy!” Unfortunately, no one from his publishing company saw fit to point out to Novoselich that “grunge” hasn’t actually existed in roughly ten years or so.
* Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Smokin’ Willie Nelson will get together for Farm Aid 2004 on September 18. The full lineup hasn’t been announced, but you can order tickets online from Ticketmaster. Now, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but wouldn’t it make sense to sell tickets independently if you’re trying to actually support a cause? After Ticketmaster takes their cut, Farm Aid will be lucky to present a check for $20 to the poor marijauna farmers Willie is trying to support here.
* The Vote For Change tour will roll through the States beginning October 1st. There’s a lot of good artists on the bill. They would have had MORE people playing the tour, but everyone was afraid of being eaten by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie.
* Simon And Garfunkel recently drew 600,000 people to the final show of their tour in Italy. Yes, I said SIMON AND GARFUNKEL. In other news, Simon And Garfunkel drew 6 people to the airport to welcome them home to the United States.
AROUND THE PULSE:MUSIC
— Cameron has a review of Shyne’s newest disc. You know, I don’t really like 99% of the rap that’s out there because it’s pretty generic and mindless, but I really dig The Streets. I know that has nothing to do with Shyne or Around The Pulse, but I just wanted to put it out there.
— Fernandez has a freaking strange list of influences. Yes, they’re all good, but they’re so varied that it makes you wonder if it’s a scam. No…I think Fernandez actually does listen to everything on his list, whereas Fingers merely listens to Britney and Justin on rotation and claims to like “indie stuff”.
TOP FIVE SONGS ON BOTTER’S IPOD FOR THE WEEK
Each week, I give you the top five most played songs from the past week on my iPod.
1. Nick Drake — Pink Moon
2. The Beastie Boys — An Open Letter To NYC
3. Johnny Cash — Daddy Sang Bass
4. Loretta Lynn — Portland, Oregon
5. Radiohead — High And Dry
THE BEST LEGAL MUSIC STORES
I know most of you still use Kazaa and things of that nature. I don’t blame you. After all, it’s still free and it’s still easy, so as long as you stay away from the “real” version of Kazaa, you’ll probably be okay. If you’re going to download music, I *personally* recommend a combination of BitTornado and Suprnova. You’ll find some excellent full albums without the hazards of spyware that are inherent with Kazaa.
I’m not here to talk about free music, though. I’m here to give you the lowdown on the best LEGAL music stores available online. See, in about six years or so, 90% of your music will be purchased online at one of these stores. Compact discs are going the way of the dinosaur and the cassette, and in 15 years they’ll be a collector’s item at vintage music shops around the world.
Personally, I don’t even listen to CD’s anymore. In fact, I don’t think I even own a CD player, outside of the external TDK DVD/CD burner that I use with the computer. Once I got my iPod and ripped my entire music collection to my external hard drive, the CD became an antique for me, and the only time I ever use them is to rip them to my hard drive. I purchase nearly ALL of my music online these days, not only because it’s the legal thing to do, but because it’s easy and cheap…especially if you go with the first store I’m going to mention.
So here’s a roundbout of the best music stores available on the web. If you’ve got any that I don’t mention here, email me and I’ll check them out.
1. AllOfMp3.com — When you first visit this site, you’re going to notice that it’s written entirely in Russian. Look up in the upper left-hand corner — find the link that says “english”, and click it. The site will automagically transform itself to a readable format. Now BOOKMARK THIS SITE, because you’ll never use another pay site again (at least while this one’s still legal).
AllOfMP3.com is still a virtual unknown in the music world, which is amazing considering the pricing available here. Instead of offering songs for a specific price or albums for the same, AllOfMP3.com offers pricing by the gigabyte.
Yes, I said GIGABYTE…and it’s only TEN DOLLARS per gig downloaded.
Create an account, go to the balances page, and decide how much you want to put down. Slap down $50, and suddenly you have 5 gigabytes of download space to play with.
The true beauty of allofmp3.com, however, is the online encoding service. You can get your files encoded in whatever bitrate and whichever format you wish. Want true audiophile encoding in AAC format? Don’t want to take up that much space, so instead you want 128kbps MP3 or WMA files? The choice is totally up to you. Personally, I use the audiophile setting, which gives me larger AAC files but retains cd-quality audio. I STILL get roughly 10 albums for ten dollars, which is incredible given the quality of the download. Those who don’t want perfect audio quality could probably double that if you went with 192kbps mp3 format.
There is NOTHING better than Allofmp3.com. TRUST ME. Sign up for an account, download the AllOfMP3 Explorer, and start buying stuff. My iPod is now FULL because of all the records I’ve purchased from these guys.
Did I also mention that you can find ANYTHING here? They have the entire Beatles collection, every Bob Dylan album, and anything else under the sun. There’s also a bunch of free albums, too — I picked up a Robert Johnson Greatest Hits record for free.
Go and sign up.
2. iTunes — iTunes is still the most user-friendly music store available online, and an absolute MUST if you’re an iPod user (which you should be if you’re not). A great collection of exclusive tracks is what sets them apart, not to mention the softare/interface being incredibly friendly.
Actually, that’s the only two music store worth anything on the web. Real and Sony both have similar products, but Sony uses the ATRAC format which is AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL, so don’t use them. They act like the new digital Walkman is going to revolutionize digital music, but it’s about three generations behind the iPod already.
Time to get ready for another work week. Stay tuned to the Pulse throughout the week, but ESPECIALLY on Thursday, when I debut as the new Daily Pulse guy. I’ll be covering music, movies, TV, wrestling, and who knows what else, so stay tuned. Oh yeah, and a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT about a new, completely interactive site that we need your help on. You’ll dig it, trust me.