Keytar Komeback: You Don’t Love It Until It’s Gone, An Open Letter to Roland

Find a friendly leprechaun, and you might get a deal on a Roland AX-7 keytar like this, which is apparently now ridiculously hot. Just don’t go to your Guitar Center, because Roland thought you didn’t them any more. Photo: Bombardier, via Flickr. I love you, Roland. I really do. But it has to be said: You’re completely clueless when it comes to the coolest things you’ve ever made. And if an ordinary keyboard with a silly guitar-style body and shoulder strap can be cool, I’m not sure I can even blame you. You just have to listen to the people. …

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Trance Falls on Hard Times, DJ Mars Sells his Technics 1200s (Not Really)

Overheard on Craigslist San Francisco: Hi, and thanks to all you rituos brothers for reading my post. Yes, it is true, I am selling my DJ gear as I need the cash. First up is a set of turntables (1200s) played on by myself and with my own genuine autograph. I will autograph them again in front of you and sign a photo of you and me together if you buy them. I am sure you know who I am – I am DJ Mars of San Francisco!!!!!!! Now that I have your attention, I realise that the price is …

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MIDI Jacks, Radio Shack, Economic Theory, and Invisible Hands

What is the sound of an invisible hand playing a MIDI controller? Yes, in the latest evidence that the Interwebs really are Douglas Adams’ imagined Infinite Improbability Drive, a conversation from CDM’s humble forums about the economics of Radio Shack and MIDI jacks has led to a blog response from a non-musician defending the true legacy of Adam Smith. I’m serious. I’m not just, you know, dumbing down CDM and pandering to the economist audience to pick up cute economist girls. The blogger also feels our forum poster say “dude” too much. Like, whatever. Don’t have a cow, man. It …

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Microsoft Goes Non-DRM with Zune; Music DRM Now Completely Dead

The writing’s on the wall: DRM for music downloads is deader than the eight track. Okay, actually, that’s not fair: the eight track was relatively good technology. Just two weeks after Amazon launched their own DRM-free music store, Microsoft is jumping on the bandwagon. DRM won’t be gone completely from the Zune store, but there will be hundreds of thousands of DRM-free tracks going live, apparently in November with the release of a new store and new players. That’s a major departure, given that Microsoft built its Zune and PlaysForSure platforms around DRM, and introduced significant new DRM features in …

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Listeners Test New 256kbps iTunes Plus Tracks — Can You Taste Test the Difference?

Apple’s iTunes Plus is here, featuring higher-res files and no DRM. CDM reader Ryan Pollack points us to Slashdot, where readers are abuzz about a Maximum PC taste test shootout: “Maximum PC did double-blind testing with ten listeners in order to determine whether or not normal people could discern the quality difference between the new 256kbps iTunes Plus files and the old, DRM-laden 128kbps tracks. But wait, there’s more! To add an extra twist, they also tested Apple’s default iPod earbuds vs. an expensive pair of Shure buds to see how much of an impact earbud quality had on the …

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eMusic Defends Itself as Labels Leave; What About Online Growth, Musicians?

If you want to hear more about the eMusic saga from the company itself, they’ve started a new blog called 17 dots. (For more, see their defense to Ars Technica. Their argument remains simple: people want to pay less for music. Sales are declining; eMusic is the cure. Hypebot has some terrific coverage of the saga of label departures and what it might mean for eMusic. The short story, though eMusic says the departures are amicable, is that a few key labels have left (Victory, Ultra Indie), others are thought to be on the way out (Red House, Silva America, …

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As Other Music, Others Embrace Downloads, is Big, DRM-Laden Online Music Out?

New York’s Other Music is a landmark, brick-and-mortar store filled with independent and even experimental music. Now it’s getting a new lease on life online — and that’s part of a trend could change the scene for music consumers. Photo by fluzo aka Manual Bartual. Listen to the mainstream press, and the story goes something like this: most online downloads have DRM. Then, major label EMI announced it would drop DRM from iTunes songs (for an additional per-song cost, at a higher bitrate). EMI, says this mainstream narrative, is the exception to the rule. That’s missing an entirely separate narrative …

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