kottke.org posts about iTunes
iTunes U is a section of the iTunes store that houses educational audio and video files for free use by anyone.
iTunes U is a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC. Explore over 75,000 educational audio and video files from top universities, museums and public media organizations from around the world. With iTunes U, there's no end to what or where you can learn.
Check it out in the iTunes Store. iTunes U includes the formidable series of podcasts from the University of Oxford. (via vsl)
As rumored yesterday, the iTunes Store has added some HBO shows to their lineup. The initial offerings are the first seasons of The Wire, Flight of the Conchords, Rome, and Deadwood, as well as seasons 1 and 6 of the Sopranos and all of Sex in the City. Prices are between $2-3 per episode. (thx, dhrumil)
What's the play count on your most played song in your iTunes library? My top five are:
Emerge by Fischerspooner, 97 plays
Alpha Beta Gaga by Air, 76 plays
A Dream by Cut Copy, 68 plays
Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand (Daft Punk mix), 68 plays
Around the World by Daft Punk, 66 plays
Sixteen songs in my library have been played 50 times or more. More than 70 songs have been played at least 35 times. I'm wondering where that lies on the scale of obsession...do I listen to my favorite songs more or less than normal? If you folks can be considered normal.... ;)
In the ongoing battle between the iTunes Music Store and Amazon's MP3 store, Amazon is giving a 20% referral fee to their associates for each song sold through the end of the year. Wow. That's $1.80 on a $8.99 album...I wonder if Amazon's selling these for below cost (like they did with Harry Potter.) (via nelson)
Apple and EMI jointly announced earlier this week that the iTMS would offer EMI's music without DRM and at a bitrate of 256 kps instead of 128 kps. Twice the bitrate = twice as good, yeah? Not so fast...you might not even notice the difference.
Steve Jobs' thoughts on music and DRM. Sounds like he'd rather that music sold via the iTMS didn't have DRM built in.
"iConcertCal is a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city." (thx janelle)
Music industry: CD prices are being driven down by $9.99 albums on iTunes Music Store. "Physical retailers are pressuring the labels downward on price (of course, Wal-Mart is the biggest culprit) because they don't want to be undercut by iTunes 9.99 on all single albums. We're rapidly moving to a 9.99 world on the big sellers (the ones stocked in Target and Wal-Mart and Best Buy)."
Kevin Smith's iTunes Celebrity Playlist got rejected by Apple because his comments were too long. "This is a great playlist. Too great, actually. We don't have the space for comments that run that long."
Merlin Mann recently wrote two posts about managing your music library using iTunes Smart Playlists. His suggestions for making music-only playlists (for those that have a lot of podcasts & audiobooks in their libraries) and the "sure you really like that?" playlist are especially helpful. One of my recent favorite Smart Playlists is helpful for discovering good stuff that I haven't listened to in awhile:
The Last Skipped bit is in there because while listening to this playlist, I found myself skipping stuff I didn't want to hear and that rule gets it out there so that it doesn't come up again. An item on my Smart Playlist wishlist is the ability to measure popularity acceleration (basically, something like "gimme the most played over the last week"), but there's no way (that I can find) to ask iTunes how many times a song has been played in the last x days.
Several more Smart Playlist suggestions are available at smartplaylists.com and Andy Budd.
MacRumors has live coverage of the "September 12th Apple Media Event" (exciting name!). Announced so far: new smaller iPods (but with more storage), iTunes 7, and games for sale at the iTunes Music Store.
Long ago, I signed up on last.fm and downloaded the AudioScrobbler plugin for iTunes, which plugin listens to what I'm playing in iTunes and sends a report of it the last.fm web site. Then I promptly forgot about it. A year and a half later, it's compiled quite a musical dossier on me: 10,300+ tracks listened to (that's about 18 per day), my most listened to track is A Dream by Cut Copy, and my 10 most listened to artists are Ladytron, Boards of Canada, Fischerspooner, Bloc Party, John Digweed, Daft Punk, Royksopp, Pixies, Radiohead, and Sigur Ros.
Even longer ago, I used the dearly departed Kung-Tunes to place a list of my recently played music on kottke.org. Thanks to the last.fm API and a gently modified version of this PHP script, that list is back; you can find it on the front page of kottke.org.
Matt calculates the cost of a la carte television, i.e. ordering TV shows from iTunes. His yearly cable bill is $648 but the cost of watching all hs favorite shows from iTunes would be $800. I bet the networks love this math, especially since it cuts the cable companies out of the loop. But in an a la carte-only world, how would you discover shows in the first place?
iTunes Jukebox is "a cartridge-based physical interface to iTunes". "Electronically enhanced" jewelcases can be arranged in a small tower that interfaces with iTunes to play music off of whatever CD case you put into the tower.
I was wondering much the same thing as Michael re: iTunes phoning home with your listening history. Isn't that what we want? Our software watching and making recommendations for us...isn't that helpful? Providing better, more targetted advertising (if we have to have advertising, it should be useful)? There are privacy concerns and companies should be clearer about what's going on, but I don't mind if the software I use is a little smarter.
iTunes Signature Maker analyzes your iTunes collection (in the browser via a Java applet) and creates a short sound collage of the music that you listen to most frequently or have rated highly. Here's the signatute it created for me. (thx, paul)
John Gruber has a great bullet-point roundup of the Apple announcements today...mostly stuff that you won't hear about in the tech press. (If you're living in a shack, Apple announced video iPods, new iTunes, downloadable TV programs, new iMacs, etc. today.)
The iTunes 5 Announcement From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal User Interface Theme. If you're a Mac nerd, you'll love this because it's pretty damn funny and if you're not, you probably won't get it.
Apple unleashed a rash of Slashdottings when they turned on podcast support in iTunes. "It's very bizarre. The only reason why I found this funny was because I have unlimited bandwidth in my server package. If I were some of the others who got caught unaware, I would probably be apoplectic."
iTunes 4.9 now supports podcasting. Boy, podcasting went from zero to corporate in no time flat. Will that pace stunt the growth of indie podcasting before it even has a chance to get started?
iTunes 4.8 does video. An interesting development. Why is video in iTunes and not iPhoto? (Update: iPhoto 5 does video. Hard to breathe with my head in the sand here...)