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Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 01, 2012
Sharon Van Etten

While Neil Young rightfully rails against the poor sound quality of the MP3, I still feel MP3 and other lossy formats have a use. And the best use is free access to music. Ya know, discovery. The wonderful "First Listen" series on NPR is currently streaming (at 128 kbps) the complete yet-to-be-released record Tramp from Sharon Van Etten. For free. The entire record. The idea is if you like it, you'll buy a real copy (and no, I do not mean the crappy iTunes or Amazon lossy download version—remember, do not pay for crappy quality lossy music). I've pre-ordered the Deluxe Bundle (LP + CD + more) from Jagjaguwar (official release date 02/07/12). See, it worked.

You can listen to Sharon Van Etten's "Tramp" in its entirety too. For free. You just have to click and listen before the release date (after that, NPR removes the music).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 01, 2012
Thanks to reader Mr. T for pointing us to this more recent and more extensive interview with Neil Young on AllThingsD.com where he expands on his distaste for the MP3.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 26, 2012
Speaking up at the Sundance Film Festival, Neil Young spoke out against shitty sound quality. He told MTV news:
"I'm finding that I have a little bit of trouble with the quality of the sound of music today," Young said. "I don't like it. It just makes me angry. Not the quality of the music, but we're in the 21st century and we have the worst sound that we've ever had. It's worse than a 78. Where are our geniuses? What happened?"
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 25, 2012
The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) recently released its “Digital Music Report 2012” that shows a very healthy and growing global digital music market.
Digital music revenues to record companies grew by 8 percent globally in 2011 to an estimated US$5.2 billion. This compares to growth of 5 per cent in 2010 and represents the first time the year-on-year growth rate has increased since IFPI started measuring digital revenues in 2004.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 24, 2012
According to AppleInsider, Apple is working on implementing the as yet to be finalized 802.11ac "Gigabit WiFi" standard (about three times as fast as 802.11n) in "new AirPort base stations, Time Capsule, Apple TV, notebooks and potentially its mobile devices" by the 2nd half of this year. Do you think this expanded bandwidth capability will finally usher in 24-bit file streaming over Apple AirPort networks? Did I hear someone say, gulp!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 22, 2012
On January 19, 2012 the U.S. Justice Department seized about $50 million is assets of file sharing services company Megaupload and shut down all of the websites under the Megaupload corporate umbrella. 18 domain names were seized including Megavideo, Megalive, Megapix, Megabox, and CUM.com (formerly Megaporn, Megarotic, and Sexuploader). Megaupload is accused of copyright infringement and conspiracy and more and the accused face up to 20 years in prison. The prime suspect in the case is one Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) who founded Megaupload and who appears to live a larger than life lifestyle.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 19, 2012
I saw this handy little item in a pre-CES Press Release from OWC and thought, cool. While I did not see one in person at the show, I still think it's cool. The Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlet ($27.99/ea) installs into any existing 16 cubic inch electrical box with a 15Amp circuit and its UL/CUL Listed (E339607) for use in United States & Canada.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 19, 2012
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills got a lot of attention yesterday when sites like Wikipedia went dark to raise awareness of and in protest against what they feel are the bills overreaching and dangerous implications. Here's an open letter from www.stopthewall.us that expresses some of those concerns:
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 04, 2012
Pioneer made the official N-50 announcement today. Here are the vitals (from Pioneer):

Networking: AirPlay-compatible, DLNA 1.5, vTuner Internet Radio, Ethernet, Wireless LAN and Bluetooth ready (requires separate devices)
Inputs: Asynchronous USB DAC (32-bit/192kHz), S/PDIF (Coax & Toslink), Ethernet/LAN input, front panel USB for Mass storage/iPod/iPhone/iPad digital
Outputs: RCA, S/PDIF (Coax & Toslink)
Other: “Made for iPad, iPhone and iPod”, iPhone or Android remote apps, 2.5” Full-Color LCD Display, included remote and more...
File Formats Supported: WAV (24-bit/192khz), FLAC (24-bit/192khz), MP3 (320kbps), WMA (320kbps), AAC (320kbps) and Ogg Vorbis (320kbps).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 03, 2012
Used digital music? I think "pre-owned" may be more accurate but the concept is as old as the hills—sell music you bought that you longer want:
Simply put, ReDigi is recycled digital media. We’re like your favorite used record store, but for digital music files. We offer the best-quality downloads of your favorite songs for a much lower price than other music stores, and you don't have to worry about songs being lower-quality becuase a digital music file isn't like a CD - it never gets scratched or worn out.
But is it legal?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 02, 2012
CES is just a week and a day away. With only 1,028 exhibitors listed in the "Audio" category and four days to cover the show, I should have no problem getting to every room. That's roughly 1.5 minutes in each room (on average) leaving over an hour each day leeway. No sweat!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 27, 2011
For their 50th Anniversary, the Rolling Stones are on a media blitz. Rumor has it Mick and Keith are making up after Keith spilled the beans in his autobiography about the size of Mick's mother's little helper and if all goes well a 50th Anniversary tour will follow. In the mean time, we're treated to some rare Stones delights from The Rolling Stones Archive including CD and vinyl box sets, t-shirts, posters and this FLAC download* of a "bootleg" live recording from Brussels'73:
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 23, 2011
Matador Records, home to such classic sonic beauties as Sonic Youth, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Cat Power, Cold Cave, Girls, Thurston Moore, Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks and many many more, offer FLAC downloads through their online Store!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 14, 2011
Channel D announces the release of Pure Vinyl 3.0 ($279, introductory price $229 till 1/16/2010):
The new Pure Vinyl 3, available now, represents a significant update including over two dozen new features and usability enhancements.

The update includes new peak level finder and speedy Preview Output Levels features for setting the optimum signal levels of edited output tracks; nondestructive, quality-preserving “surgical” pop and click removal; plus an extremely innovative feature using virtual iTunes "Bookmark Tracks" for creating playlists of tracks from LP recordings, without needing to save individual music tracks (the Bookmarks simply point to locations in the original high resolution recording).

Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 10, 2011
Thanks to reader philipjohnwright for pointing this out. Due to the limited nature (and perhaps pointing to a trend?) I felt it newsworthy enough to highlight with its own post. From Linn Records:
18 November 2011

Back by popular demand Linn's brilliant value, no-hassle, highest quality Digital Music Collections make a welcome return for a limited time only. And, for the first time, our premium Digital Music Collections are all available in Apple Lossless as well as FLAC.

Each collection is expertly put together, with all artwork included and embedded, ready for you to enjoy. And as if having the best ever digital music isn't enough, we also include the CD Quality and MP3 versions of each album as well, should you wish to burn to a disc or listen on your iPod.

Choose from one of our five specially compiled Digital Music Collections then sit back whilst we pre-load a wealth of music onto a portable USB hard-drive and ship direct to your front door.

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