MediaMonkey Review: The Ultimate Music Player and Library Organizer for PC

For many of us, listening to music — and managing our collections of music — can be as important as making music. Jaymis has me sold on MediaMonkey, available in cheap / free versions, for Windows. Note that this doesn’t run on the Mac — feel free to discuss Mac alternatives in comments. Listening software is often one of those few apps we run every day, so here’s Jaymis’ exhaustive review of his favorite. -PK I received my first MP3 file over ten years ago, as a zip archive spanned over three 3.5″ floppy disks. In the time since there …

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Microsoft Zune Official: Wireless Sharing, Pre-Loaded Indie Music

CDM got some early exclusives on the future of Microsoft’s media plan and PlaysForSure, including an explanation of why Zune isn’t part of the PlaysForSure program, thanks to Dave McLauchlan of the Windows Media Group: Microsoft Not Turning Back on PlaysForSure with Zune Player MTP, Portable Player Standard? Microsoft’s McLauchlan Sets Us Straight At the time, Microsoft wouldn’t say anything publicly about its upcoming player. Now, it has made its Zune announcement official. Translating the marketing-speak is too painful for me today, so you can read the press release after the jump, but here are the interesting points: Wireless sharing: …

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Microsoft Not Turning Back on PlaysForSure with Zune Player

As musicians, it matters to us, I think, how music is consumed and distributed. Dave McLauchlan of the Windows Media Devices Group at Microsoft had plenty to say about the technologies that drive their devices. As a member of the team behind PlaysForSure, though, he also had some mythbusting to do on the Zune front. While Microsoft currently declines to comment on their upcoming media device, unfortunately many outlets have gotten some information blatantly wrong, including the widely-publicized story that Microsoft was turning its back on its existing Windows DRM and subscription services. Dave says it ain’t so: There has …

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MTP, Portable Player Standard? Microsoft’s McLauchlan Sets Us Straight

Portable music player technology isn’t as simple as it once was. With digital music files have come new restrictions from the music labels on how music is played and transferred, as well as discussion of various specifications for connecting devices to computers. In a June 16 story on Platform-Agnostic Drag-and-Drop Music Listening, I suggested lovers of independent music might be better off foregoing both Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Microsoft’s preferred connection mechanism, the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). There has been a lot of criticism of DRM, but in the process, a lot of people have missed the details on …

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Alternative Music Distribution: Music on Sticks, Music on Mozilla, and Escaping iTunes Lock-in

I hate ending on sour notes. So, instead, let’s look at some positive opportunities for music distribution. Indie labels and music makers alike on this site I know have no love for Digital Rights Management, but let’s look at some alternatives, from Mozilla-based iTunes alternatives to music on sticks (and reasons to dump iTunes).

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Microsoft and Proprietary Windows Media Players: Cory Doctorow Responds

Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing responds here to my commentary on platform-agnostic music listening. On a basic level, I’m not saying anything different than what Cory originally did: Windows DRM is broken and frustrates customers, and the MTP connection cripples Windows Media devices by limiting interoperability. (Try plugging a recent MTP device into a Mac or Linux box and see what happens. Then try an ultra-cheap generic flash music player and marvel at the “advancement” of technology.) iRiver giving users an option to switch back to what works, UMS, is a good thing. What this comes down to is some …

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Play OS X Audio Instantly, Free

Tom Erbe of Soundhack fame has finally brought his old Mac utility Instant Player to OS X. (download the beta from his freeware page) Option-click a sound in the Finder, and it plays instantly — no mucking about in the multi-column view required. Insanely cool for quick sound browsing, so give it a shot! Updated: Works like a charm for me, though only for WAV/AIFF files (MP3 is supposedly supported too but for some reason wasn't working for me — maybe encoding reasons — though WAV/AIFF is my primary need!) PC users — I'm not discriminating here; I just haven't …

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Winamp, Audion No More

Last week, two MP3 players were pronounced dead: Panic retired Audion, its groundbreaking audio app, adding to Mac lore in the process, while the Nullsoft developers left AOL, leaving Winamp with only maintenance updates in its future. It's ironic the news would come in the same week: Winamp launched the MP3 revolution and even Audion itself, while Audion helped pave the way for iTunes. There's still some reason to add each free tool to your arsenal: Audion can conveniently record radio streams and play OGG files, for instance, unlike iTunes. PC users might also consider the free but powerful Quintessential …

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