Music Downloading – Legal, Legit and Fun

Music downloading is here to stay, it’s legit, it’s legal, and everyone is doing it. The internet is a disruptive technology, and music downloading was the first real poster child for all that disruptive behavior. Apart from a few unmentionable topics, music was and still is one of the biggest looked for and downloaded items on the internet. And just as well it should be. It makes perfect sense. It fits, it’s convenient, it better for the artists, and in the long run, better for the consumer. The only guy it’s not great for, is the big money middle men. But hey, they had their chance and blew it. More on that later.

Long Live The Nobodies

Indies are the heart and soul of the music world. At one point in time every musician was an indie looking for their big break. They did what they did for the love of their art. Because it felt good. Along the way some found their big break, lost their soul, and sold out. You know the ones. Their the ones whose first big album was great, and all the rest sucked. Some got their big break, and stayed true to their art, and kept their soul. They just keep cranking out great music for years on end. The internet loves indies. It’s the great equalizer. Any artist can have an online presence, promote their music to an audience of millions, and let consumers download their music to their hearts content.. They don’t need mister megabucks-big-corporate-middle-guy. And boy is the old middle guy worried.

Napster vs The Big Boys

A few years ago, Napster started off as the music bad boy of the online world. Breaking all the rules (what rules?) and trash talking the big boys with one of the largest grass root movements ever seen. Everybody and their hamster was downloading free music, and there was nothing anyone could do. Until . . . the big boys took those trash talking music computer geeks to see the judge. And hey, the big boys won, Napster lost. Actually, nobody really won. The consumer lost, cause now they had to drive to the mall to get their music. Napster was put out of business (temporarily). Even the big boys lost, cause now there were a hundred little napsters doing the exact same thing, plus they let the best tech available for music downloads slip out of their fingers, instead of using it as their own distribution channel. Bad bad bad big boys.

Download Me Now . . . Please

Now everyone wants you to download their music. iTunes, Amazon, Cnet, Cousin Eddy . . . everyone. Even Napster, is back in the music download music. Pay for and legit of course. The big boys are still worried. The indies are on the rise, and I don’t have to drive to the mall to get my favorite music. Lucky me.

Welcome To My Future – The Musical

Things are only gonna get better. As the internet gets bigger and faster, their will be more choice and convenience for music consumers, more artists will be able to make a decent living, and the latest collection of blond bimbo divas with their boy band boyfriends will only be a footnote amongst the praise being leveled on the rising wave of talented and genuinely artistic indie stars. Of course someones gotta lose in this whole new paradigm. Here’s hoping it’s mister fat-cat-do-nothin record promoter that’s been relegated to selling the best in new wave vacum cleaners to my inlaws.

iTunes Media Player Advantages – Part 1

The iTunes player is the best application that will keep all your digital media files nicely organized. Moreover, you can definitely forget about the hundreds of CD’s scattered all throughout the place, because with iTunes all your music is in one place, and it is very easy to spot out your favorite artist, album or song. You may already be acquainted with the scenario of the pile of CD’s lying on your desk, and you looking for an artist or an album, and not being able to find it. All these problems are gone now! Moreover, thanks to the free iTunes codes that you can win online you can constantly enrich your musical library.

Every time you download a musical video from iTunes, which will immediately be added to your iTunes library. The application comes with a smart “search field” where you just need to type in the name of the album, or artist and you can instantly listen to the music that you want. Then, if you keep in touch with what is going on the Apple homepage, you can easily win free iTunes gift card codes that may have values starting from as low as $5 and up to $30 or even more. You can basically use this credit to import even more music for free from iTunes right into your application.

Here are some more extra advantages:

• With the help of Cover Flow browsing is made easier than ever. The covers of all your digital media albums will start shuffling before your eyes, and when you spot out something that you want to listen to, you simply push the play button. This is your musical library completely digitalized, offering you a new experience to browsing your CD’s.

• The app also comes with what is called Grid View- similar to what is “view icons list” in the Windows panel. You will see a list of thumbnails of all your covers/ albums; all you need to do is pick out the one that you want. The more the free iTunes codes that you can get your hands on, the greater the number of your albums will be, and of course the more the money that you can save!

• Then, you also have the “Album list view” option, which will display nicely all your albums with all the corresponding tracks and other details displayed (track length, name, etc.).

Enjoy all these advantages that iTunes Media player offers you!

iPod Touch: Top 5 Free Music Apps

So you got your iPod Touch out of the box, connected to WiFi, and you are ready for some apps. When it comes to free music apps for the iTouch there are hundreds of options and it can become a job in and of itself to find which apps are fluff and which apps deliver. Here are the top 10 best free music apps that will have you downloading, remixing, and enjoying any band imaginable in no time at all.

iTunes has worked extensively with Clear Channel Broadcasting to perfect their iheartradio. This program delivers just over 750 radio stations straight to your iTouch. Songs ranging from jazz to classical opera come in crisp and clear with a tagging feature that allows listeners to buy their favorite songs through iTunes.

For the musician needing to kill a bit of time, Drum Kit made my CrimsonJet is a great way to perfect those beats. Take advantage of the iPods responsive touch screen with a full drum from kickers all the way up to top hats. If this is not enough, MarketWall.com is offering their Metronome app for the music aficionados. A simple to use metronome for the iTouch with a customizable ‘tick’ speed. Fun Piano and Cat Piano user are two additional free apps for the piano lovers out there. These apps include anywhere from 6 to twelve piano keys with snappy response time when played on the touch screen.

Along the same lines as Drum Kit and Metronome comes Beat Wave. Be warned, this app is highly addictive as users can press various parts of the screen to develop progressively complex beats. This is hands down one of the best free apps and will have you playing along for hours with complex solos and layering musical patterns.

Last.fm has come a long way from the bland default music app that came pre-loaded on the iPod Classic Touch. It has evolved into one of the best radio apps that has ever been developed. Users can listen to upwards of 5 million songs, all for free. When connected to a WiFi or 3g network, listeners are updated with tour dates of the bands that are currently playing. Pandora still is heads and shoulders above the competition for free music apps though. Listeners can create custom radio stations based off of over 2000 unique qualities from syncopation to instruments being used.

TuneWiki is another innovative music app which allows iTouch owners to listen to their favorite songs with scrolling lyrics. With the new release, listeners may even search TuneWiki libraries to find lyrics to music videos and songs on the radio. This works flawlessly with Rhapsody, a free to download radio app with millions of songs and customizable stations for a small monthly fee.

Working with Royalty Free Music

When creating Multi-Media Content, Flash or Video Clips for a client’s web site or CD Rom Project, the last thing you want is to get him in trouble with the law. If there’s a need for music in a project, using royalty free music is essential.

Here are some general music tips that you may find useful:

1) Finding the right kind of music

There are hundreds of choices when it comes to royalty free music and making the right decision can be hard. After all, most TV production companies have music supervisors on staff whose only job it is to select appropriate music for projects. Selecting music is an art in itself. In general, you will find that your clients would prefer to use something they heard on the radio, something from their favorite album etc. Unfortunately, that’s copyrighted stuff and licensing an N Sync song for your next ‘how to’ video or CD-Rom may cost you a fortune. What you want to do is find buyout music that sounds similar to today’s popular music. It’s a little harder to find than your typical ‘canned’ music. A lot royalty free music may sound like music from a 70’s sitcom or worse, a cheap porno flick.

A good place to check out is http://www.buyoutmusictracks.com All their tracks are created by established record producers with grammy and gold record credits so you get music that sounds as up-to-date as what you may hear on the radio.

Our tip: Always use music that sounds just a little more energetic than you think you may need. You may listen to the music over and over while you’re putting together your project while the end user may only hear it a few times.

2) Less is not more in production music

When you are looking for background music for a project, choose music with some impact. I know it is supposed to be background music but if you choose high energy tracks, your whole project will leave more of an impression. Listen to a sampling of today’s TV commercials and you’ll find that most of them use very powerful music. You want your work to create an impact and keep viewer’s attention and a strong, powerful soundtrack can do that.

3) When ‘legal’ music is not legal

The usage license on your buyout music CD may be very liberal but it is not a license to steal. You can use royalty free music on all of your projects and as you have the legal right to use the music, your customers can be assured not to get into legal troubles.

However, that license is only extended to you, the purchaser. You cannot transfer that license by copying your CD and giving it to somebody else or by selling the CD. This may be news to you but there’s no such thing as a ‘used buyout music CD’ If you don’t purchase the music from the producers of the music, it won’t be legal still. So, next time you browse eBay for royalty free music, make sure you are buying a new CD, not a used one or it will be useless to you.

4) You get what you pay for

While we’re on the topic of Ebay: You may find offers for entire 4 or 6 CD libraries for $75 or other ridiculously low prices on Ebay. The truth is, these CDs may not even be worth that low price.

One good quality royalty free music CD will cost you between $29 and $69 (some even more) If it’s less than that, here’s what you are likely to get:

  1. Discontinued titles that have been around for 10, 20 or more and not only sound dated but may also have already found its way unto hundreds or thousands of other projects during the years to make your own project sound dated.
  2. Homegrown CDs that are created in somebody’s bedroom studio. You can easily recognize these CDs as they usually don’t have any ‘real’ instruments on it, only synthesized stuff. You can clearly hear the difference between those CDs and something produced in a real studio with real musicians. Our tip: Check out http://www.buyoutmusictracks.com for music. Each of their CDs is only $29.95 and each title contains between 30 and 48 real studio recorded tracks.

5) CD or Download?

With the event of high speed internet, you don’t really have to wait anymore to receive your Royalty Free Music CD in the mail. If you need tracks fast, you can now download buyout music from the net. You can choose only the tracks you need and get to use them within minutes. Single downloadable tracks usually cost a little more money per track than buying a whole CD. On the other hand, you don’t have to buy a whole CD if you only need one or two tracks.

My advice, if you are buying music to ‘keep on the shelf’ for future projects and for your customers to choose from, buy physical CDs. If you need just one or two ‘perfect’ tracks or if you are on a deadline, downloadable purchases may be perfect for you. I don’t know if I have to mention it, but purchasing a Mariah Carey track from Itunes or Napster for a buck does not entitle you to use the music. You have to download your music from a buyout music company so the track is licensed to you.

6) Make your own

You may think, ‘are you crazy? I’m not a musician’ You don’t have to be a music genius anymore these days. Programs like Acid and Apple’s Garageband allow you to create original music by using ‘loops’ Loops are pre-made musical chunks of drums, bass, guitar, strings, whatever, that you can put together like a mosaic to create your own music soundtrack.

The advantage is clear. By creating your own music with a loops program you can make absolutely sure that nobody else is using the exact same music on their project. This will give you ‘original’ music at Buyout Music Prices. All you need is a good musical ear and a couple of loops CDs to get you started. You can find lots of loops CDs and more info at http://www.acidmusicloops.com Their Groove Construction Kits are a great way to get started with music loops. And here’s the best news, you can download the Acid program for free. Just visit http://www.musicleads.net/articles/freestuff.html for free (and legal) downloads of Acid, Protools and many other great music and sound tools.

I hope that these tips were useful to you. You are free to use or re-print this article in your newsletter, ezine, or on your web site.