Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Well, it is finally here. Apple‘s online cloud music storage is here to compete with services from Amazon and Google. Now, for $24.99 per year, Apple will scan your computer and match as many tracks as they can to their iTunes Store library. Once a track is matched it becomes available to every device that is synced with your Apple iCloud account. iTunes Match also automatically upgrades all lower quality tracks you may have to 256-Kbps quality. A pretty nice upgrade for those of  you who have really old 128-Kbps tracks from the early days of Napster and other music sharing services.

The main advantage iTunes Match has over other music cloud services right now is probably the fact that when you sign up with the service you don’t have to upload your whole music library contents to their servers. This is due to the fact that Apple has been able to sign agreements with major music labels which permits them to simply match your tracks against their own extensive music library. This saves everyone a lot of time and bandwidth when setting up and maintaining the service.

To use iTunes Match, first download the latest version of iTunes. Then, open up the Store sidebar, where you’ll find the iTunes Match feature. After paying for the service, Match will index your music and match as many tracks as it can with Apple’s library. After everything is matched, you can enable the feature on all your other iOS devices by going to the “Music” tab in the devices Settings. Slide iTunes Match to “on,” and you should be good to go. Your iOS device will begin syncing your music and playlists; and songs will download to your device as you play them.

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Apparently, for three years multiple government agencies from around the world could have been hopping on your computer and seeing what you were up to. Yup, it appears that a British company called Gamma International had been marketing software called, FinFisher, which has been used to hack into machines running Apple’s iTunes.

Gamma International say they offer “zero day” security flaws, which have not been publicly disclosed, so attempts to exploit them are unlikely to be detected by anti-virus programs. They created the FinFisher software to exploit a vulnerability via a bogus update to iTunes, which is installed on more than 250 million machines worldwide. They then marketed this software to government and police agencies all around the world, including Egypt’s feared secret police, to spy on specific targets within the general public.

The crazy thing is that Apple was informed of the flaw in their iTunes software three years ago, in mid-2008. Seeing that Apple usually fixes security flaws within about 90 days, it raises questions as to whether Apple was willingly allowing this government hacking to take place or not. Seems that the hacking has been stopped for now though. Recently, Apple issued iTunes update 10.5.1. This update explained that, “a man-in-the-middle attacker may offer software that appears to originate from Apple”, adding that the “issue has been mitigated.” We’ll see.

I’m just glad that I have recently started using Spotify more!

Pete Townshend, the legendary guitarist and frontman for the classic rock band, The Who, slammed Apple’s iTunes at the beginning of this month, calling them a “digital vampire.” Speaking in Manchester in northwest England, Townshend called on the online music giant to do more to assist the artists from whom they are making so much money from. Townshend was quoted as stating the following:

“Is there really any good reason why, just because iTunes exists in the wild west Internet land of Facebook and Twitter, it can’t provide some aspect of these services to the artists whose work it bleeds like a digital vampire… for its enormous commission?”

He went on to describe how record labels and publishers had provided a range of services to artists, offering editorial guidance and how they would nurture artists creatively in the past. He did offer a possible solution though. He stated that he he feels Apple should hire 20 talent scouts “from the dying record business” to help new acts and provide financial and marketing support to the best of them.

Although I do feel that this is a great idea on one hand, I do not think that it would be a smart move for Apple overall. I feel that by doing so, Apple would open themselves up to a whole new industry that they know nothing about. Right now, they are riding a fine line, but they are still very much a computer company and not a music company. I say keep it that way and let’s try to find better ways of incorporating Apple’s iTunes into the music industry’s overall model. What are your thoughts?

In a move to bolster it’s market share in the online, on-demand music industry, Rhapsody has agreed to aquire Napster subscribers and certain other assets from Best Buy, which will receive a minority stake  in Rhapsody. Rhapsody President, Jon Irwin, said in a statement,

“This deal will further extend Rhapsody’s lead over our competitors in the growing on-demand music market…. There’s substantial value in bringing Napster’s subscribers and robust IP portfolio to Rhapsody as we execute on our strategy to expand our business via direct acquisition of members and distribution deals.”

A Rhapsody spokeswoman has also stated that the company plans to re-brand Napster under the Rhapsody name. So, pretty soon after the deal finalizes on November 30, 2011, Napster will cease to exist once again. Bye-bye, Napster. Bye-bye.

Rhapsody is doing this mostly to obtain Napster’s subscriber base, hoping that it will strengthen their subscription music service at a time with Apple’s iTunes dominating the music market and other music services rising like Oakland, CA’s Pandora and Sweden’s Spotify. Will this help enough to keep Rhapsody competitive and viable in the on-demand music marketplace in the coming years? We shall see.

RIP Steve Jobs

Posted: October 5, 2011 in News
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Steve JobsSteve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers has passed away today, October 5, 2011. While Steve was not directly associated with the music industry and never really considered himself in the industry, he has forever changed the face of it with his inventions of Apple computers, the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, and more. Through these innovations and technologies, Steve and Apple have been able to sell over 10 billion music tracks. This has made Apple the number one music retailer in the US, surpassing both Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and holding over 80% of the market share.

Today, the Apple website posted the following message:

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

RIP, Steve Jobs. You will be missed.

It’s a scene seen at almost every large show these days… Hundreds, or even thousands of fans holding up their smart phones to record snippets of the show and then post them online and/or send them to their friends in real-time. Well, with Apple obtaining a massive foothold on the smartphone market, this occurance might be a thing of the past. Why? Seems Apple has filed for a patent for their iPhone that will prevent users from recording video with the device at live shows.

“A patent application filed by Apple revealed how the technology would work.

If an iPhone were held up and used to film during a concert infra-red sensors would detect it.

These sensors would then contact the iPhone and automatically disable its camera function.

People would still be able to send text messages and make calls.

The new technology is seen as an attempt to protect the interests of event organisers and broadcasters who have exclusive rights to concerts.”

Seems like a good thing for the business side of the performer and their management, but a bummer for fans.

You can read more about this news, here.

What are your thoughts about this? Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or both?