Moderators: JosieG, Melissa, flea dip
- Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 9:01 pm
Mr. Rogers Introduces a Group of Children to Electronic Music Pioneer Bruce Haak in 1968
- In 1968, during the first season of the classic television show Mister Rogers Neighborhood, the esteemed Fred Rogers introduced an eager group of children to electronic music pioneer and composer Bruce Haack, who played a suitcase device of his own design. The children, guided by Miss Nelson, did calisthenics and sang to the strange, wonderful sounds.
- Joined: November 19th, 2012, 1:41 am
^^^^ Cool! I miss Mr. Rogers!
(psst ... I still love CDs. Won't do vinyl, though - but if other people have fun with that, I'm happy for them!)
- Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 9:01 pm
There are advantages to being a Tech Dinosaur. I still use an mp3 player when I go jogging.
I can't picture anyone wanting to jog while holding a cell phone, using a phone for music?
MP3 players are making a comeback with travellers seven devices you should try out
- A handy size, and with better audio than your smartphone, these one-trick devices increasingly known as digital audio players are ideal for travel and exercise
Who needs an MP3 player, especially since playing music while on the go migrated to smartphones some time ago? Well, it seems theres still a place today for them among travellers, active people and audiophiles.
Given that smartphones are primarily designed for communication, relying on a separate MP3 player for music saves your phones battery. That could be crucial on long journeys. For runs and swims, a purpose-built MP3 player such as a small clip-on MP3 player or even a waterproof all-in-one device can be much more convenient than a phone.
However, the main reason that people are turning back to a separate digital audio player is sound quality; most of these new models concentrate on high-resolution music, and are purpose-built for much better sound quality than your smartphone.
Sony Walkman NW-A30
It may be a brand most commonly associated with the portable cassette players of the 1980s, but Sonys Walkmans continue to impress in the digital age.
Its 16GB storage isnt much if you plan to make use of its high-resolution audio playback mode, but its choice of bold colours and its good value help the NW-A30 (from HK$1,680, US$215) stand out from the crowd.
Apple iPod Shuffle
Is there any better MP3 player for exercise or ultra-light travel than Apples smallest MP3 player?
Available in grey, gold, silver, pink, blue and red, this tiny, 12.5 gram device (HK$388) stores just 2GB of music and plays them in random order only. It was discontinued by Apple a few months ago, so grab it while you can.
Available in Hong Kong at In-Smart, Sham Shui Po, Shop 1, 133 Fuk Wing St, Sham Shui Po, tel: 3586 0620
Astell & Kern AK70
This sleek device (HK$4,980) is all about sound quality and status. Its able to play the latest high- resolution 24-bit/192KHz audio tracks; most phones only manage 16-bit/44.1kHz or CD-quality.
Storing 64GB internally with a microSD card slot for expansion, this is one for audiophiles with cash to burn.
Available at jaben.com.hk
Sony Walkman NW-WS625
Perfect for those who like to dive into the hotel swimming pool or hit the gym soon after they land, Sonys latest attempt at a waterproof Walkman (HK$1,190) is by far its best yet. The wearer can use an ambient mode to hear a trainer more easily, while it also includes Bluetooth, so you only have to take one pair of earphones on a trip.
Available at sony.com.hk
- Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 9:01 pm
Apple Music on Track to Overtake Spotify in U.S. Subscribers
Apple Music Set to Overtake Spotify in America
- Feb 2018
Apples U.S. subscriber-account base has been growing about 5% a month, versus No. 1 Spotifys 2% clip
- Feb 2016
Apple Music is on track to have more U.S. subscribers than its main competitor, Spotify, by this summer, The Wall Street Journal reports. While Sweden-based Spotify continues to dominate the global music streaming market, Apple has seen a monthly growth rate of 5 percent in America, versus Spotify's 2 percent.
Part of Apple Music's successful push in the U.S. stems from the service coming preloaded on all of the company's devices, including iPhones and Apple Watches.
When Apple Music's free and discounted trial users are factored in, the service has actually already surpassed Spotify in the States, although "neither company publicly breaks out figures for the U.S. or any other single market," the Journal writes.
Both services cost $9.99 a month, with Spotify also offering a free version and a catalog of 30 million songs. Apple Music has a slightly bigger library, with 45 million songs. Spotify has almost twice as many subscribers worldwide compared to Apple, 70 million as opposed to 36 million.
- Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 9:01 pm
Here's a fun, dystopian reminder that anything you "buy" from iTunes can vanish at any time
Jokes about the iTunes End User License Agreement have been around for almost as long as the media management service itself, but that hasn’t made the 1500-word document any less labyrinthine to the average reader who just wants to listen to some g*d*mn music.
At this point, most of us just accept that the fine print boils down to “We own you, so deal with it” and wearily click “Accept.” Still, we do get an occasional pointed reminder that Apple’s online “store” is really more of a ramshackle rental van, and that anything you “buy” from them is likely to someday vanish in a puff of over-employed scare quotes.
(Some guy's tweet to Apple says)
Me: Hey Apple, three movies I bought disappeared from my iTunes library.
Apple: Oh yes, those are not available anymore. Thank you for buying them. Here are two movie rentals on us!
Me: Wait... WHAT?? @tim_cook when did this become acceptable? pic.twitter.com/dHJ0wMSQH9
....Case in point: The story of Twitter user Anders G da Silva, who posted a series of correspondences with the service, cordially questioning what the f**k happened to a trio of films he’d “bought”—sorry, we’ll cut “that” out—from the iTunes store. Apple’s response: An elaborate, slightly sheepish shrug, and an explanation that it had lost the license to those particular films. Whoops!
Apple Support did offer da Silva a couple of rental credits, in case he needed the concept of transience beaten into his head a little more firmly.
When he complained and asked for a refund—on account of the company not giving him the thing he paid them for—they explained that they’re just a “storefront,” with no control over how long the stuff they sell stays available, and then tossed him two more credits.
Anyway, the moral of the story here is two-fold: First: Anders G da Silva can totally hook you up with some free Apple rentals. And second: Maybe hold on to your DVDs.
- Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 9:01 pm
Can I just say how incredibly stupid this is?
In the past, I used to see Madonna fans online confer with each other to drive up Madonna's numbers - they would buy multiple copies of her albums and that sort of thing.
If you have to scam a system to get your favorite band or singer to number one, whether it's Madonna or some other performer, that is incredibly dishonest and wrong.
I for one would like honest numbers. I want to see who really is being streamed the most, or played most on the radio, or who is selling the most mp3s.
People trying to work the system to artificially drive up numbers for their fave band or singer is just really (pardon my language) so very sh*tty.
Fans are spoofing Spotify with "fake plays" and it could erode the veracity of widely respected Billboard chart metrics
- The spoofing could erode the veracity of widely respected Billboard chart metrics, especially since the fan campaigns appear to be getting more sophisticated.
by Blake Montgomery
BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on September 13, 2018
The Billboard charts have long been the gold standard by which musicians measure their success, but as recent tantrums by the likes of Nicki Minaj have highlighted, the rising influence of streaming services is upending that model — and giving die-hard fans a way to manipulate the data.
A recent release by the Korean pop group BTS prompted its superfandom, millions strong across the globe, to do just that by launching a sophisticated campaign to make sure the boy band reached No. 1.
The strategy employed by the so-called BTS Army went largely like this: Fans in the US created accounts on music streaming services to play BTS’s music and distributed the account logins to fans in other countries via Twitter, email, or the instant messaging platform Slack.
The recipients then streamed BTS’s music continuously, often on multiple devices and sometimes with a virtual private network (VPN), which can fake, or “spoof,” locations by rerouting a user’s traffic through several different servers across the world. Some fans will even organize donation drives so other fans can pay for premium streaming accounts.
“Superfans of pop acts have long been doing this sort of thing,” said Mark Mulligan, managing director of the digital media analysis company MIDIA Research. “But if a superfan has decided to listen nonstop to a track, is that fake? If so, how many times do they have to listen to a track continuously before it is deemed ‘fake’?”
One BTS fan group claimed it distributed more than 1,000 Spotify logins, all to make it appear as though more people in the US were streaming BTS’s music and nudge their album Love Yourself: Tear up the Spotify chart, which in turn factors into Billboard’s metrics.
Billboard began incorporating streaming music into chart rankings in 2012 and announced in May that it had finalized changes to how streams are weighted for the Hot 100 (for singles) and Billboard 200 (albums). For streams on a paid service like Spotify Premium or Apple Music, about 1,250 song plays equal one album sale, but on free services, it typically takes around 3,750 streams.
The band reached its self-proclaimed chart-topping goal in May when Love Yourself: Tear debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 200. Love Yourself: Answer did the same in September.
While manipulating streaming plays is becoming a more widely used tactic, it’s unclear just how much of an impact it can have on Drake-level artists.
But even if it’s just a drop in the bucket, the fraud could erode the veracity of the widely respected Billboard chart metrics, especially since the fan campaigns appear to be getting more sophisticated.
Harry Styles fans weaponized Tumblr accounts and VPNs to promote his first solo single and album in 2017, but BTS fans took the blueprint further, creating tests for wannabe helpers to verify their devotion.
It’s not just the US, either: Rampant allegations of chart manipulation in South Korea recently triggered an investigation by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
After BuzzFeed News reached out to several people about the tactics, one tweet warning the community not to speak to this reporter racked up more than 8,000 retweets, another over 2,000.
Fans also deleted tweets about sharing Spotify accounts, and dozens sent direct messages defending themselves.
Spotify didn’t answer questions about what safeguards are in place, but its user agreement does prohibit “circumventing any territorial restrictions applied by Spotify or its licensors” (free accounts streaming from locations other than their original ones will be deactivated after two weeks), as well as “providing your password to any other person or using any other person’s username and password.” Doing so could lead to suspension or termination of the account.
Apple Music and representatives for BTS did not respond to multiple requests for comment, nor did the three biggest music labels and distributors in the world: Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music.
But experts say that unless there are truly effective safeguards in place, the ability to set up flash accounts to continually stream an artist’s music — and artificially boost its performance — exposes the Billboard system to fraud.
“The standardized, readily available numbers from Spotify are putting the Billboard charts out of business,” said Peter Fader, a University of Pennsylvania professor of marketing who testified as an expert witness in the 1999 Napster trials and who has extensively researched the industry.
“Music lovers are coming to look to Spotify for everything — not only for metrics, but for guidance on which artist we should be listening to, trends in the industry.”
Without detailed data from the major industry players, it’s unclear how many fans are using deceptive tactics to boost musicians and whether they have the power to materially affect the Billboard charts.
Billboard declined to comment to BuzzFeed News, but speaking to the Washington Post in July, senior vice president of charts and data development Silvio Pietroluongo said the company reacts “to the marketplace around us.”
“I think we were fairly nimble on downloading, and even more so on streaming, to make sure we’re reflecting where the music consumer is going,” he said. “Where that will end up, though, I don’t know.”
Sales tracking services Nielsen and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) claim to have safeguards, but neither group would describe their methods.
And accounting firm Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, which for 35 years has audited sales figures for the RIAA, did not answer multiple requests for comment.
“Anytime you have a metric, people will come up with a way to manipulate it,” Fader said. “It invites gameplay.”
While that gameplay does not conclusively prove chart rankings and streaming numbers have been compromised, the industry’s silence raises questions, said journalist Markus Tobiassen, who broke the story on how Tidal inflated the number of times people had streamed famous artists’ albums, falsely boosting the counts by hundreds of millions of plays.
... The question is not so much whether these companies have safeguards, he said, but whether those protective measures have independent oversight. Royalties from companies like Spotify and Apple Music made up two-thirds of the music industry’s revenue in 2017. And Spotify metrics are now so important that they factor into album releases, touring schedules, promotion, and even artist collaborations.
... Reports like Tobiassen’s pressure trackers like Billboard to justify their counts as the streaming universe continues to expand, posting double-digit percentage growth year over year. In the first half of 2018, overall on-demand streaming increased 41.7% in the US, hitting 403.5 billion streams, according to Nielsen Music.
“Billboard is still groping in the dark to balance the data inputs, and they haven’t found the right ones,” Fader said. “When you start changing it so that you can’t compare today’s numbers with last year’s, that’s a problem.”
But streaming companies with subscriber bases in the millions ultimately can’t police everything, Mulligan said. And so as traditional “hard” metrics like downloads and purchases wane, the digital streaming cat-and-mouse game with fans may be an inevitable part of the future.
“A series of computers auto-generating repeated plays of a track is clearly a case of fake plays,” he said. “The audio streaming services have thus far been effective at nipping them in the bud. The bottom line, though, is that hardcore fans will always do what they can to help their favorite artists, and some degree of gaming the system will seep through.”
- Joined: November 6th, 2010, 11:35 pm
I don't believe that The Immaculate Collection sold 30 million copies, worldwide, like fans say. I'd estimate it at like 22 to 24 million, but no more!
It happens in all music fan bases. An album sales 7 million copies in the US, yet they will say it's sold 10 million copies.
She looked crusty on the Hard Candy album cover.