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Amazon Goes After iTunes, Lowers Pricing For New Bestselling Songs To $0.69

amazon 69 cent songs

Hate iTunes and it’s extremely expensive price for singles at $1.29? Wish you had a cheaper and still fully legal alternative that offered you all the same music at almost half the price? Then allow me to introduce you to Amazon’s long running Amazon Mp3 music store which has now made iTunes look like the one that’s stealing from you with their ridiculously high music pricing.

First introduced over the weekend, Amazon has lowered the pricing for the bestselling songs (the ones you’ll probably wanna buy) to a much more affordable $0.69. That’s right, 69 cents or almost half the price of what iTunes charges for the same songs. And downloading from Amazon’s online store will even import the songs into iTunes for you so you can still easily transfer them to your iDevice.

Personally, while I now will look to Amazon when I wanna buy a song, most of the music I listen to I get from either Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker or YouTube (or when I’m driving, the radio) so this doesn’t really affect me too much. But what about you– how do you get your music? Do you buy from iTunes and are excited by this news of a much cheaper, yet equally reliable and legal alternative? Do you go online or use an app to listen to new songs like I do, or did you just read this and go ” what? who still buys music?” while downloading the latest changes on the Billboard Hot 100 from, well, not as “legal” sources? Let us know in the comments.

Full info at Amazon’s Mp3 Store

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Pandora One

Have you ever wanted your own DJ? One that is so smart that it can pick from literally thousands and thousands of songs, the perfect songs, customized to your music preferences? Imagine, a DJ that will create a whole playlist of songs based on songs you like, even comprehending the elements of the song that cause you to enjoy it so much. No I’m not talking about Genius, Apple’s attempt to create your own DJ, but something you can run entirely off the internet, for a mere price tag of $3 a month. I’m talking about Pandora One, which is an attempt to bring the very successful Pandora (known for their great iPhone, Android and other mobile apps), to your desktop.

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New Pricing System Begins for iTunes

itunes-plus-pricing1

The new iTunes pricing method

At MacWorld ’09 in early January, Apple announced that they would introduce a new pricing system for iTunes, with songs costing either $.69, $.99 or $1.29, depending on how much the record label and artist wanted to charge– which really means based on the song’s popularity.

Apple, true to it’s word, released this new pricing system yesterday, and I’m not gonna lie: this ain’t cool. The economy is still in the toilet, and their gonna raise prices? Doesn’t really make much sense to me, and already 33 out of the iTunes Top 100 songs are going for this new price, and this new pricing has only been out 3 days! The other 77 songs are staying at the previous $.99 for now, though I don’t think it will stay that way for long. See now how this whole popularity thing changes the price?

I also don’t get why they’re giving Amazon and other services a chance to gain some ground in the online music store; you can also get DRM Free songs (DRM= Digital Rights Management, which is the copy protection previously found on iTunes songs, limiting song sharing on computers and iPods. iTunes Plus now removes DRM from the iTunes songs, though movies and TV shows still have them) at Amazon’s Mp3 store for as low as $.79 (they too have the $.99 and $1.29 price listings as well), including a majority of the songs on their Top 100 being either $.79 or $.99 (though Amazon also has a few $1.29 songs– which we hope they keep to a few and try to make up ground vs Apple and iTunes with the cheaper pricing). I mean, the number 2 song currently on both lists– Poker Face by Lady Gaga– sells for $.79 on Amazon, and $1.29 on iTunes, and their the exact same song! (And yes you could say it’s only a $.50 difference, but when you buy a lot of songs, it’ll add up to be much more pretty quickly).

I know that most of this really ends up hurting the consumer, but there is one good thing out of all this though in my opinion– the fact that now all iTunes songs are DRM free. This is something that is actually good for us consumers as we can all now listen to our higher priced songs on any device we want 😉 (though just so you know, to make this happen tech wise, they didn’t need to raise the price, as evidenced by the $.69 songs which are the exact same DRM free quality as their $1.29 counterparts).

So while its great that now all iTunes songs are DRM free, I’m still not gonna pay over a dollar for a song when I can get it for less than a dollar at another, reputable site like Amazon.

What are your thoughts– you agree or disagree with the new iTunes pricing? And are you still gonna get songs from iTunes even though they raised the prices? You gonna switch to Amazon, or another site like Rhapsody? Or have you stopped buying your songs entirely and instead go the more illegal, torrent (or otherwise known as file sharing) route to get your stuff 😉 ? Let us know in the comments.

The Beatles are coming to Rock Band!

rock-band-beatles

Very into Rock Band and are looking for some new classic songs to jam to? Well, if that’s the case, then today’s your lucky day: MTV Games, Harmonix (joint Rock Band founders) and Apple Corps LTD (copyright owners of the Beatles music; not the iPod company) announced today a whole new game for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii that features the legendary British rockers.

Arriving 9/9/09, it will be available as a stand-alone game for $60, and for $250, as a limited edition Rock Band set including the whole package– game, guitar, drums, mic– entirely designed to look like the instruments used by the Beatles. You can also get just the guitar for $100.

The game will also have 45 of the Beatles hits from 1962 through 1969 playable, though as of right now, not much is known about whether you can download those songs for play on your Rock Band 1 or 2 as well as if you can play other songs in this special Beatles version. We also know that fortunately, the 3 companies also said that the older Rock Band instruments will be able to work with the new game, so those of you who don’t wanna spend the extra $190 for more plastic instruments can just get the game and be all set 😉

So you pumped for this new game? Will this make you hold off on that Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero World Tour purchase and wait a few months to get a game based on one of the greatest bands ever? Sound off in the comments.

Info from Joystiq.com and pix from Rock Band Beatles preview page.

First Look: iTunes Store on iPhone over 3G

Apple today unleashed the restrictions on the iPhone’s wireless iTunes Music Store, letting you finally download songs over 3G! So me being crazy to try this out, took out my iPhone 3G and put this to the test.

I gotta say it works as advertised; I was able to download a 4 minute song in about 1 minute, and my 3G wasn’t even going at its normal speeds! (I think this has something to do with AT&T’s data/internet network going down earlier yesterday morning on the east coast, and it hasn’t fully recovered as of this writing). Anyways, the quality of the songs are the exact same as the ones on your computer’s iTunes, and the mobile iTunes Store even started selling the new DRM free tracks – which you can also download today.

All the songs you downloaded get transferred to your regular iTunes on the computer the next time you sync and go to File–> Transfer Purchases from “____’s iPhone”, so don’t worry about losing your newly bought tracks 😉

Another pretty important thing worth mentioning here is that the pricing on the iPhone’s iTunes store remains the same. Unlike other carriers’ music downloading services (we’re looking at you Verizon, and AT&T with your non-iPhone phones’ $1.99 pricing per song), you’re not paying more than the standard .99 cents to download a song.

Oh, and for all you original iPhone owners: don’t worry, this works over EDGE as well, but I would recommend sticking to Wi-Fi for your downloads, as you may not have enough time to sit and wait for your song to download (downloading over EDGE is that slow).

iphone-3g-music-store

iTunes Music Store over 3G on my iPhone 3G. Click on pic for bigger version.

(The song, by the way, is “If Today Was Your Last Day” by Nickelback, and the download is paused so I could take the pic- not because of 3G problems 🙂 )

I still was hoping (wishing really) that Apple did more for the iPhone today (please, all I want is: a landscape keyboard like in Safari for texting, syncing with more than one computers like a regular iPod, a lil video recording, and some picture messaging. Honestly Apple, is that so much to ask?). But all in all, the “new” iTunes Store over 3G is great, and gives the iPhone yet another edge over the competition as both a music player and phone.

What you think of the new iTunes Store- both the iPhone’s new ability to download over 3G and the new DRM free songs? How the iPhone 3G’s wireless iTunes Store working for you? Let us know in the comments.

Rock Band 2 Out Today for Xbox 360!

Rock Band fans, your long wait for the next version of the popular music game has finally ended. Today, Harmonix and MTV Games released the next version of Rock Band — Rock Band 2 — to the world, and it can be yours for either $59.99 for just the game (for those like me who already have Rock Band 1 and don’t want more instruments lying around 🙂 ), or $189.99 for the whole package: the game,  a new wireless drum, a new wireless guitar, and a mic.

So what you waiting for? Go to your local Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, Walmart or wherever and pick your self some new virtual rock star goodness, and let us know what you think of the new game (or if you’re waiting for Guitar Hero World Tour to come out next month) in the comments.

P.S. Owners of the PS3, PS2, or Wi: don’t be too upset, the Xbox 360 only has exclusitivity  of the game for a month. Rock Band will be available for the PS3 on October 19, the Wii on November 16 and the PS2 on November 18.

And current Rock Band owners, feel free to download Stephen Colbert’s new free song (called “Charlene”) for Rock Band 1– it’s interesting to say the least and you can check it out here.

Microsoft Launching New Zunes on Tuesday?

Zune line-up- 80GB is the tall one with the shorter ones being the Zune flash.

We know Apple will be hosting their “Let’s Rock” event next Tuesday, where new, updated iPods are expected to launch, but word now is coming out that Microsoft will be having their own rival event Tuesday, where they are rumored to be debuting new Zunes (Microsoft’s iPod competitor for those who don’t know– it hasn’t yet taken off quite like Microsoft would’ve hoped 🙂 ). Now why would we mention this? Well, couple of reasons:

  1. New/Updated Zunes– These include a 120GB model for $250, a 8GB blue Zune flash (as in running on flash memory like in those pocket memory sticks), as well as a new 16GB Zune flash which may or may not be blue. Just to put it in perspective, the Zune flash is the Zune’s version of iPod Nano; the 120GB Zune rivals the iPod Classic.
  2. New Software– Supposedly a significant overhaul of the system,  and will likely make the syncing your Zune to your computer much like the iPod-iTunes relationship.

While the Zune releases and updates may likely steal the spotlight of this Microsoft event, Microsoft is expected to talk more about– and possibly release– new “Blue Track” mice for your computer, allowing the user to use the computer mouse on more surfaces. Also anticipated are new webcams offering better videos and images.

Anyways, the big news here is the Zune, which will try yet again to take another shot at Apple’s thunder. So what do you think: what will it take you make you ditch your iPod for the Zune?

Info from Engadget.com

More Rock Band 2 News

Now that Madden 09 is out in the wild (see our review on it here), lets turn back to the ever popular Rock Band 2. The news we got here is not going to be the most pleasant for fans of the “old” game (and those wanting to get in on the new one), but we’ll give it to you anyways. For those who wanna know more on this, hit the More link. Read the rest of this entry

Rock Band Live Tour Announced!

You think your pretty good at Rock Band, love music and bands such as Panic At The Disco, The Cab, Plain White T’s and Dashboard Confessional? Well then today’s your lucky day because MTV Games has announced a new REAL (not video game) 29 city tour of those bands across the US (with one stop in Toronto, Ontario in Canada). And since this is a Rock Band tour there has to be some stuff for all the fans and players right? Well, as part of the tour there will be Rock Band competitions on the main stage in between the acts– giving you a real test to see if your skills can match up to being a “real rocker” for a night and playing in front of thousands of people 🙂

Anyways, all the info- cities, buying tickets (starting next Friday- August 8), etc. is over here at the Rock Band Live site.

Info from Gamedaily.com

New satillite radio company- Sirius XM Radio

This is great news for anyone out there looking for a car with some really good satellite radio to listen to, or are one of the 18.5 million people who have either Sirius or XM. Today, after months of legal talking, Sirius and XM completed their planned merger and formed Sirius XM Radio (great name huh- wonder who thought of that). For more details including what some of the new radio packages will look like, hit the More link.

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