Free iTunes sampler for new iPod owners and you

Apple is running a promotion where new iPod owners can download the following sampler album for free.

iTunes New Music Sampler (Atlantic/Lava Edition)

1. Title and Registration, Death Cab for Cutie
2. Welcome to My Life, Simple Plan
3. Drive Away, Gratitude
4. Gotta Get Up from Here, Ellie Lawson
5. Lost Control, Unwritten Law
6. What You Want, John Butler Trio
7. When I'm Gone (Sadie), No Address
8. Funny Little Feeling, Rock 'n' Roll Soldiers
9. Yesterday Never Tomorrows, The Stills
10. Louis XIV, Louis XIV
11. Broken Promises, Moments In Grace
12. You'll Never Guess Who Died, The Kinison
13. Pressure, Skindred
14. On Your Porch, The Format
15. Everyday, Toby Lightman
16. Shallow, Porcupine Tree

Some people found that they could also take advantage of this if they formatted their iPod to make it appear to be a new iPod. But what about people who don't want to format their iPod or who don't even own an iPod in the first place?

Choose the "Add Album" (it should say Free next to it).

Apple went to some lengths to prevent people from finding that URL. If you are a new iPod owner and you go to this album the proper way, you'll notice that you can't use the normal dragging and dropping of the album title onto your desktop to get a shortcut to it.
Luckily, they didn't take the same precautions for accessing the album through the iTMS arrows from someone who already has the album and is sharing it with iTunes sharing. :)

[Update: April 4, 2005]

Here is another album a commenter was kind enough to point us to. If you have any more, keep'em coming!

iTunes New Music Sampler (Universal Motown Edition)

1. Blow It Out, Features
2. All At Sea, Jamie Cullum
3. Sunshine to the Rain, Miri Ben-Ari
4. Lonely, Akon
5. Golden Touch, Razorlight
6. Every Time You Go Away, Brian McKnight
7. Bigtime, The Soundtrack of Our Lives
8. Laura, Scissor Sisters
9. She Said, Brie Larson
10. Jus Anotha Shorty, O'Ryan
11. Sleeping With the Lights On, Teitur
12. Reach Out, I'll Be There, Michael McDonald
13. TKO, Le Tigre


2 Apr 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

PyMusique: iTunes Music Store minus DRM

Now that the bit-level ripping of Napster files has officially ended, lets take a look back at iTunes. The infamous DVD Jon and friends have released PyMusique- an interface to the iTunes Music Store that allows you to buy music completely DRM free. That is, it gets the music before the DRM is even placed on it and delivers that to you.

This not only gives Windows users the ability to get DRM free music from iTMS; it allows Linux users to use the iTunes Music Store for the first time.

But hey, we all know that the reason people don't use the iTunes Music Store isn't really the DRM- it's the prices! $1.00 a song!? Better start hitting those recycle bins.

[Update: On March 22, 2005, Apple broke PyMusique. That same day, a new version of PyMusique was released that worked again, only this time without a Windows version. Then on March 31, SharpMusique, a windows compatible port of PyMusique, was released.]

18 Mar 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) safe for "a couple more years"

Update on the AllOfMp3 investigation situation:

" cannot be charged for piracy, prosecutors ruled, under the current criminal law. Which does not prevent musicians and labels from launching civil lawsuits for cases where sold copyrighted music and did not pay back the copyright holders. This is the most likely development for label lawsuits in the future, but they will be quite difficult to win if can prove it made all the necessary payments to ROMS. Another way, of couse, would be to change the current criminal law to introduce DMCA-like clauses that specifically relate digital distribution and distribution of physical goods."

Such changes in Russian law are said to take at least a couple more years.

[Moskalyuk Via Gizmodo]

6 Mar 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (2) | TrackBack (2)

The End of the Winamp DRM Loophole

Look at the Winamp version history and you will see a key update that was claimed to have happened a week ago, but didn't until now:

Winamp 5.08e:
* Updated Windows Media DRM License

Going back to check your current players, you will see that they no longer play Windows Media. This was truly the only way AOL/Nullsoft could completely prevent people from continuing to use their player for mischief; by getting a new Windows Media DRM License and expiring their old one. The good news for AOL: they've done all they can do. This is no longer on their heads. The good news for you: there is still a much better solution.

In other news, AllOfMp3 is finally seeing some real investigation. If you have some money in your account, you'll probably want to use it up. Its only a matter of time until Big Music finally stomps them out.

23 Feb 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (11) | TrackBack (1)

Burning through Napster's collection, free, Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

Whether or not AOL succeeds in blocking Winamp's "music-copying feature", a faster way to get the job done has surfaced.

A program called Virtuosa makes no distinction between DRMed files and non DRMed files when converting to other formats. It can convert an entire protected WMA to WAV in just a few seconds and encode to MP3 in just a few more, depending on the speed of your computer (Try the "re-recording the music as it plays" argument now!). The after your trial, the full version costs $40, so if you want the best free solution, Winamp + Output Stacker is still where it's at.

1. Download and install Virtuosa 5.0 Trial
15.0 MB / 15,361 KB / 15729497 bytes
MD5 Hash: 3EC9A443BA2EADDA370C0C7BA845A647

2. If you want to convert to MP3: Download the LAME 3.97a7 encoder and put the "lame_enc.dll" in your Virtuosa\Plugins\MpgL3 folder replacing the one that is already there. This new version of the LAME encoder greatly speeds up the MP3 encoding process.

3. Load downloaded Napster protected WMAs into Virtuosa

4. Select all of your files in the "Music and Movie Database" and go to File>Convert To

5. In the "File Format Conversion" window:
a. Choose an output format (MP3, WAV, WMA)
b. Choose an output directory
c. Click the check mark

6. Burn WAVs to CD with your favorite burning program or enjoy your MP3s

[Update: As of March 14, 2005, the method described here no longer works.
As of March 22, 2005, there is a new solution in Part 4]

18 Feb 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (638) | TrackBack (3)

Burning through Napster's collection, free, Part 2

Follow-up to Burning through Napster's collection, free:

New key developments:

-If you use the "Out-lame" Winamp plugin in the Output Stacker in place of "Out-disk", you can convert straight to MP3. It still encodes no faster than realtime, but this is a great way to conserve space. WAV(Out-disk) is still recommended if you are burning CDs and want to keep as much quality as possible. I can confirm that this all works.

-You can run multiple instances of Winamp at once, each converting its own song. Each instance's playback will not interfere with any of the others, illustrating the fact that this is not simply recording the music off of your soundcard. Doing this, you can get FAR MORE than 252 full 80 minute CDs within 14 days. I can confirm that this works.

You can transcode(MP3) or decode(WAV) X albums in the time it takes for the longest track on the album to elapse. And since you're not limited to only tracks from one album at a time, you can trans/decode as many tracks as instances of Winamp your computer will run limited only by your computer's resources.

Quote from Napster's official statement:
"It would take 10 hours to convert 10 hours of music in this manner."

With the updated methods, you can convert 100 hours or 1,000 hours or 10,000 hours of music in 10 hours. The only limit is your computing resources.

**Attention! This method no longer works! Read The End of the Winamp DRM Loophole. Then check out Part 3**

16 Feb 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (58) | TrackBack (3)

A better way to buy digital music, part II: eMusic

(continued from AllOfMP3 Music Store: A better way to buy digital music)

I'll admit that AllOfMP3 seems a tad shady. Thats not going to stop me from using it, but lets look at a similar option that is completely clean.

eMusic. The OTHER digital music store that offers its music as DRMless MP3s. High quality too- everything I've gotten from them has been encoded at high end VBR. The store has a lot going for it. One thing you won't find, however, is mainstream music; it's 100% independent. The majors aren't yet ready to go for DRMless digital music (even though they can sell you CDs that have little to no rights management.. bah). You should recognize at least SOME things on eMusic if you're not a 13 year old girl whose only source of new music is TRL.

Plus you get 50 free MP3s that you can download during your "trial period" of two weeks. As in, the time after you give them your credit card but before you pay. You could theoretically make it out with your 50 free legal MP3s and not pay a cent, and you can run back to AllOfMP3. But you might just get hooked.

12 Jan 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Stuff from The Postal Service that you probably haven't heard yet

(Links point to iTunes Music Store)

In case you missed it, The Postal Service released two EPs to go along with their debut album, Give Up.

Such Great Heights EP
1. Such Great Heights
2. There's Never Enough Time (fresh new B-side!!!!!)
3. We Will Become Silhouettes covered by The Shins
4. Such Great Heights covered by Iron & Wine that you may have heard on the Garden State soundtrack

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight EP
1. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
2. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (DJ Downfall Persistent Beat Mix)
3. Such Great Heights (Remix by John Tejada)
4. Suddenly Everything Has Changed (Flaming Lips cover)

In addition, they released a cover of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds"

The Postal Service - Against All Odds


3 Jan 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

AllOfMP3 Music Store: A better way to buy digital music

Imagine a digital music store that lets you choose your bit-rate and file format, and then encodes your music into that format and uploads it to you. Imagine a digital music store that charges you $0.01 per megabyte of music ($0.02/mb as of January 15, 2005).

This is AllOfMP3.

Choosing your own bit-rate and file format is exciting enough. I prefer 192kbps MP3s, but I could have chosen up to 384kbps WMAs, OGGs, MPEG4-AACs, or MPCs instead. You can even use advanced LAME encoding settings like -alt-present standard! But lets put the pricing into perspective.

Here is an album that is probably available on any digital music store around: Sarah McLachlan's Afterglow.

192kbps(high quality) MP3s of all of the tracks on that album add up to 55.4MB. Thats $0.55 for the entire album downloaded legally. Compare that to the extremely rights-limited files of similar quality from iTunes Music Store for $9.90.

Then look at song previewing. Any digital music store I've seen until now provides 30 second song previews of all music in their library. AllOfMP3 goes a step further, providing 24kbps streaming or downloadable "previews" of the entire song.

If you want legal digital music, this is now the only way to go.

Think this can't be legal?

Continue reading "AllOfMP3 Music Store: A better way to buy digital music"
19 Dec 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (2) | TrackBack (2)

The Marv Digital Music Library

1. Acquiring the MP3s

a. Rip CD audio to WAV with iTunes then encode to MP3 with LAME using the --alt-preset standard setting.

b. Obtain already encoded MP3s at VBR/CBR192 quality from various sources.

2. Tag MP3s as accurately as possible through official sites,, or through Tag&Rename.

Note: After trying out tons of different freeware and shareware tagging utilities, I have found that Tag&Rename is the best for all of my needs.

3. Grab album art from through Tag&Rename, or wait until later to drag and drop artwork to iTunes; use high quality images no less than 200x200 found through, Google Image Search,'s BuyMusic, or other random sites.

4. Rename files into the following format:

%My Music% / %Album Name% / %Artist% - %Album Name% - %Track #% - %Song Title%.mp3

using Tag&Rename's mass renaming feature after the files have been properly tagged.
Alternatively, I could have iTunes organize my music which is what I used to do. It renames your files into the following format, which you are unable to change: %My Music% / %Artist% / %Album% / %Track #% - %Song Title%.mp3
The main problem with this appears when you have compilations: albums with many different artists on one album. For this, if you have told it to, it puts those albums into a different folder called "Compilations". If you forget to set an album as a "compilation" it can be quite a hassle to find your files outside of iTunes, and if you do use the compilation feature, it leaves your file hierarchy inconsistant with some albums in this special folder.

5. Add music to iTunes' Library, making sure iTunes accepts the files into this exclusive area on your computer. (I had a problem with some files suddenly no longer being recognized by iTunes. Here is my fix.)

1 Dec 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Boy In Static

For those of you familiar with Boy In Static, he hooked up with the record label that The Notwist is with, and will be putting out his debut album on November 8th.

It will include Epilogue, one of the two tracks that was freely available on his site for so long.

If you've never heard him, you can check out the tracks in real media through this site .

7 Nov 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Blue Playlist

This is an ever updated list of songs that seemed like they were going somewhere greater but stayed just below that line. These songs are good, and in never going that final step, they leave the listener wanting to hear them again and again and again. Think of it like the swimsuit model who never gets naked.

- Annihilation - A Perfect Circle/Emotive
- Ti Ki - Sigur Ros/Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do EP
- 23 - Jimmy Eat World/Futures (added 12/24/04)

edit: December 24
I've renamed it from The Blue Ball Playlist because of the negative connotation. I love these tracks. This "Blue" tactic makes them impossible to drop.

1 Nov 04 | +Permalink+ | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)