Tech News January 2010
1. New York Philharmonic’s new iTunes Pass
The New York Philharmonic has announced the launch of “Alan Gilbert: The Inaugural Season iTunes Pass,” which will allow users to digitally download more than 50 works from Philharmonic concerts from the 2009-10 season. The orchestra is offering the $150 pass at the iTunes Store and at its own website; pass purchasers will receive an e-mail notification whenever new content is available, and new items will be automatically be delivered to their iTunes music library in iTunes Plus format (256 Kbps AAC encoding, with no DRM/Digital Rights Management).
2. Minnesota Orchestra’s BBC Radio 3 broadcasts
The BBC and the orchestra have announced that BBC Radio 3 will showcase the Minnesota Orchestra in six concert broadcasts during the 2009-10 season. The performances mainly will be drawn from the orchestra's current season. The broadcasts began in the United Kingdom in December and continue through next June on the BBC's primetime "Performance on 3" program.
3. First-ever “iPhone orchestra” to debut
A live performance by an “orchestra” took place in December, with each musician using an iPhone to make the music happen. Students at the University of Michigan are learning to design, build and play instruments on their Apple smartphones as part of a course called ‘Building a Mobile Phone Ensemble’. Students in the class program their iPhones to accept input from the devices’ multitude of input sensors, and to create sound based on that input. The touch-screen, microphone, GPS, compass, wireless sensor, and accelerometer can all be transformed, so that when a performer runs a finger across the display, blows air into the mic, tilts or shakes the phone, for example, different sounds emanate. Students then compose for these new instruments and ultimately perform their works.
4. Apple Buys Lala.com
Apple Inc. has purchased online music retailer Lala.com, a Silicon Valley startup that has threatened "the end of the MP3" with its fast song-streaming application. Lala has developed an application — not yet available to the public — that allows users to buy the right to stream songs from a digital locker for an unlimited time on their iPhones for 10 cents each. The song quality is lower than what Apple's iTunes songs offer, but tracks can be played in seconds, and cost much less than the songs on iTunes, which generally are priced at 69 cents to $1.29 each.
5. New comparison shopper could challenge iTunes
The dominance of Apple’s iTunes store in the music downloads market may suffer, after the launch of a new price comparison site from TV consumer champion Martin Lewis. The site – called Tunechecker.com – shows music fans where they can get the cheapest downloads from a number of music sites and allows them to click through to buy those songs.
6. Denver radiothon raises $625K for Colorado Symphony
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Colorado Public Radio have announced that the radio station’s three-day on-air fundraiser raised $625,758 for the orchestra. During the drive, CPR featured live performances by CSO musicians in its performance studio, along with testimonials about the need to support the CSO and CPR from community and business leaders. The radiothon resulted from CPR’s successful petition to the Federal Communications Commission for a special waiver and exception to its normal prohibition of public radio stations interrupting regular programming to raise funds for another organization.
7. Web audience grows for arts groups
Americans are increasingly choosing the Internet and other new media to enjoy the arts, a new national survey has found. While many adults still like the intimacy of live theater, particularly musical theater, over the past year an estimated 47 million of them chose to watch or listen to music, theater or dance performances online at least once a week. The results of the National Endowment for the Arts survey of arts habits, show that while many arts disciplines remain popular, the mode of delivery is rapidly changing.
8. What a collector loses (and gains) in the age of music downloading
An article in the Boston Globe, discusses the pros and cons of transferring a collection of physical classical recordings to digital format.
9. Never Listen to Céline? Radio Meter Begs to Differ
Professed classical music fans do not tune into classical radio nearly as much as they claim, according to a new system of monitoring the habits of listeners electronically using so-called Portable People Meters. When 12 major areas, including New York and Los Angeles, switched to the system last year, classical radio’s market share fell 10.7 percent, relative to what was reported by Arbitron, the main radio ratings company, on the paper diaries it currently asks people to log of their listening habits. Arbitron developed the Portable People Meter, a pagerlike device, to counteract numerous problems: people’s recollection was imperfect, if they listened to a station briefly they could forget it, and they might overstate listening to stations that they felt reflected better taste.
10. Classical Music Downloads Come of Age
An article in PC World magazine takes a look at multiple download options for classical music lovers, highlighting the iPhone App now used by several orchestras and opera companies. The article surveys a variety of online recording technologies and distributors.
11. BBC Trust gives provisional go-ahead to internet TV plans
The BBC Trust has given its provisional approval to the Corporation’s involvement in Project Canvas, which would develop technology for a new free on-demand internet TV service.
Project Canvas is a joint venture between the BBC and five other partners to develop and promote a common standard that would allow viewers with a broadband connection to watch on-demand TV, such as the BBC iPlayer or the ITV Player, and other internet content, as well as standard television content. This would be via a set–top box connected to the internet. Viewers would have to have a broadband connection but would not pay any additional subscription for the content.
12. With Ads, Music Downloads Sing a New Tune
FreeAllMusic.com is a new music service that will allow users to download songs, which may be copied and shared unencumbered by digital rights management restrictions. In return, instead of paying 99 cents a song as on iTunes, users must first watch a 15- to 30-second advertisement.
13. A World of Megabeats and Megabytes
A large year-end article in the New York Times Arts & Leisure section outlined how technological changes have affected the recording strategies for all artists, requiring them to have skills their predecessors forgot or never needed.