Music Blog - Most Recent Posts

Posts Below
7/23/2014 - Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API
7/1/2014 - Trying Beats Music again for 30 days, and writing a barebones JavaScript music player - funding welcome!
5/30/2014 - Beats Electronics to be acquired by Apple - MOG closing May 31st - and thoughts on other music services (News)
4/1/2014 - MOG streaming music service's April 15th shutdown is delayed! And other good news (News)
1/29/2014 - MOG streaming music service is closing April 15th, 2014; and I hope Beats Music improves (News)
9/4/2011 - All or Nothing At All (Video)
4/22/2009 - Susan Boyle's "Cry Me A River"
4/10/2009 - Lemon Demon (Astrosorted Music List Update)
3/30/2009 - 15 New Songs (Astrosorted Music List Update)
12/19/2008 - 31 Old VGMix 2 Songs (Astrosorted Music List Update)

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Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
05:22:39 GMT


Here's why I didn't release any code which uses the Beats Music Developer API, despite the fact that I did make an unreleased, incomplete, but functional Beats Music-API-using add-on for my released JavaScript music player.

Basically, I can't stomach the idea of doing free work for a $3 billion dollar company, especially one owned by Apple. Even paid work for such a company would be morally difficult for me (see Richard Stallman's page on Why you should not buy Apple products for some reasons why) - even if I remained the owner and copyright holder of my code and could release it all myself under a free, libre, open source license.

Besides that, I didn't want to possibly imperil the copyleft of my JavaScript music player by releasing a Beats-Music-API-using add-on for it.


Also, on July 13th, out of curiosity (and, admittedly, temptation resulting from needing money), I asked Beats Music if people can get paid for writing software using their developer API.

Alas, I received the disappointing reply that that the public API is for use for non-commercial purposes, but that "If you make an application with a strong use case, we can forward you to our partnership group. They would then contact you about steps to becoming a partner."

Then, on Tuesday, July 15th, I sent this message to Beats:

Thanks for your replies! Some more questions:

* Do partners get paid directly by Beats Music, and if so, how much does Beats Music pay on average?

* Or, do partners make money in other ways?

* Do partners remain the owner and copyright holder of their own code?

* Are partners allowed to release their code under a libre/open source license such as the GNU Affero General Public License?

* How close is Beats Music to releasing a complete official web player?

* Is Beats Music willing to pay for outside developers' help with that, or a Roku app?

I love the API, and have been having a fun time playing with it these past few weeks (though I haven't finished anything releasable so far).

Thanks again for your answers!

[name omitted]

I was told my message will be forwarded to the partnership group and that they should be contacting me directly.

But, over a week later, I still haven't heard anything from the "partnership group", and haven't yet received any answers to those questions.

Which I guess is not at all surprising, because mentioning free, libre, open source copyleft licenses to a closed-source software company is probably like waving garlic and a crucifix in front of a vampire. :-)

Anyway, my guess is "partner" is probably a euphemism for "sucker", similar to how "royalties" should usually actually be called "pittances". :-)

And I'm guessing probably all the answers to my questions would have been very disappointing.

I wonder if "partners" only get paid in free pairs of Beats headphones? :-)


So, despite my financial difficulties tempting me to flirt with the idea - I'm almost certainly not going to do anything for Beats Music or which involves their API.

The API was fun to play with, and I learned a bit from doing so, but, it definitely isn't fun enough to justify subscribing to Beats Music, especially when I'm not even sure Beats Music's alleged audio problems (described in detail here and here) have ever been fixed.

And, as of July 23, 2014, Beats Music's official web player (version 1.11.1-rc3) is still extremely lame and feature-deprived, despite the fact that Beats Music bought and mostly shut down (except in Australia) the tremendously superior MOG streaming music service, which had a fantastic web player.

The only obvious new feature I noticed in the official Beats Music web player is that you can now access the "My Library" section on the web. But, other than that, it seems about the same as I remember it being back in January/February 2014.

Apple (which owns Beats Music) should be ashamed, for that and many other reasons. (Again, here's Richard Stallman's page on Why you should not buy Apple products.)


So, I'm soon going to move on to trying out Sony's Music Unlimited and Google Play Music All Access. (One at a time, of course.)

I suspect I'll probably find them both satisfactory. But, after over a year of not being able to fix MOG's few but still annoying problems because MOG didn't have an API - it was really, really nice to finally have the opportunity to use my own, totally customizable music player. I don't know yet if Sony or Google provide APIs for their music services, but I hope they do, because even if I love their official web players, I'd still much rather use my own totally customizable one, and I might even choose a service with a crappy official web player as long as it has an API.


Anyway, if I ever do go the trouble to create a really complete player for streaming music, I'm likely to explore how to start my entire own streaming music service.

Perhaps it's not as hard as I suspect. I gleaned from this discussion that Beats Music and MOG both stream music from a service called MediaNet, located at mndigital.com.

I most likely won't actually go the trouble of starting my entire own streaming music service, but, I've definitely been daydreaming about it, and if I had nothing better to do and didn't need money (or at least didn't need money sooner than I'd be likely to get it from starting my own streaming music service), I might really work on it. :-)


As usual, donations and microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services are welcome.


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Trying Beats Music again for 30 days, and writing a barebones JavaScript music player - funding welcome!
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
03:57:27 GMT


I decided not to accept the free 60 day trial of Beats Music* given to MOG* users. I refused it because apparently putting in credit or debit card info was required to get the free 60 days, and I'm still trying to mostly boycott credit cards (even though I occasionally make exceptions, like I did for MOG, since MOG didn't accept PayPal), and also, the billing errors I read about on the Beats Music support forums made me even more wary of giving Beats credit/debit card info.

If not for those billing errors I heard about, I probably would have done it, since it wouldn't have given a credit card company nor Apple* (which owns Beats Music) money if I canceled before my free 60 days ran out.

But, I didn't want to deal with the stress of knowing a potentially glitchy system has my debit card info. I don't even trust not-so-glitchy systems with my debit card info, because in my opinion, credit/debit cards seem to have really inadequate defenses against identity theft, etc. I believe credit card companies could and should do a lot more to protect their customers from identity theft, fraud, etc., and it's despicable for credit card companies not to.


I made some effort to try to get the 60-day Beats Music trial without a credit/debit card, but, alas, that didn't work out. After some contact with Beats customer support earlier this month, I got the mistaken impression that if I bought a gift card for Beats Music from Target, putting in credit card info wouldn't be necessary.

But alas, after I got a Target gift card for Beats Music on eBay and used it with Beats, Beats customer support told me I still had to put in credit card info. Oh, well.

So, from the gift card I bought, I got 30 days of Beats Music, which I started late on June 26th.


It turns out the Beats Music web player is still about as bad and feature-deprived as I remember it being in January/February 2014.

But, I've actually been enjoying my Beats Music trial, because I've been playing with the Beats Music Developer API.

In just a few days, I already managed to put together a very basic, barebones JavaScript music player which I already like much more than Beats Music's official web player. Though I definitely can't take all that much credit for it - I stand on the shoulders of giants. For example, the actual sound-playing part wasn't even built by me at all, but is instead handled by the JavaScript library SoundManager 2.

It's not ready for release yet, though. I need to figure out what kind of copyleft license(s) I can put on it, and also try to keep the web player code as separate as possible from code related to specific music streaming services.

I'd like to make it so it's easy to switch to using a different streaming music service. Spotify and Rdio both have APIs too:

https://developer.spotify.com/

http://www.rdio.com/developers/

However, if any of these streaming music services' APIs' legal terms are too obnoxious or grabby, then, I might have to release my player distinctly separate from any code associated with those music services.

At the very least, I will probably be able to release a simple free, libre, open source JavaScript music player that will play MP3 files, and could be modified to work with other things, like streaming music services.

I hope I'll get it releasable soon, and also hope that my and my family's financial issues won't pull me away from finishing it. Donations or microdonations or purchases of goods (none available yet) or services are very welcome!

And if Beats Music, Spotify, Rdio, or some other company like that might perhaps like to hire me or buy some of my work, please note that I am extremely stubborn about wanting to write only free (as in freedom), libre, open source software. So, while I'm not against getting paid, I'm generally against selling exclusive rights to any of my work.


Anyway, in some ways, I actually already like my barebones player even more than MOG*'s web player, because my barebones player is faster, modifiable, and doesn't have MOG's #1 most irritating glitch, where everything would freeze up and the page would become unuseable for maybe 30-60 seconds. That glitch used to happen to me pretty consistently, maybe several times per hour.

I also already like my barebones player more than Spotify and Rdio's players. Spotify's web player used to work OK for me, but sometime in the past few months, became horrendously, intolerably slow in my usual web browser. Meanwhile, Rdio's web player is very, very slick, and I actually like it a lot - but, I love having total control over my player's interface, and being able to totally do without needless user interface special effects like things fading in and out instead of appearing instantly. It's also nice not having to load album art, etc.


One disadvantage of my web player is that it doesn't run in Firefox 3.6.13 (a really old version of Firefox I still frequently use in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004), so I have to use it in Chromium 18.0.996.0 (Developer Build 116133. Also, I'm not sure there's way to make it run from a file:/// address in your web browser, so, I've had to run it on a web server, even though it's just a client-side JavaScript with no server-side code.

I wish I knew if my web player's audio quality is better than Beats Music's official web player (which is reputed by various users on both the MOG support forum and Beats support forum to have audio problems, especially in comparison to MOG). I think my web player might be a bit better, but I'm not totally sure, and haven't done any formal testing. My web player definitely doesn't sound worse to me - either the same or better. But I could be wrong.


The beatsmusic-node-rtmp script someone linked to from this StackOverflow page (in reply to a perfectly good enough question which didn't deserve to be closed by StackOverflow's overzealous moderators) was quite educational and useful, and I probably wouldn't have figured things out so quickly without it. Thanks to the author(s) of that!

Another thing which was educational (even though I haven't actually used code from it so far (Edit, July 1, 2014, 3:41 AM: I forgot, I did use and modify a couple snippets), and haven't yet been able to figure out how to make it work with Beats Music) was cashmusic.js, which is free, libre, open source JavaScript software from a non-profit organization called CASH Music*. Thanks to them too!

Like the beatsmusic-node-rtmp script, cashmusic.js uses the SoundManager 2 JavaScript library, which, if I'm not mistaken, can play audio via Flash or HTML5. SoundManager 2 is also free/libre/open source, under the BSD license.

I thought since both cashmusic.js and beatsmusic-node-rtmp use SoundManager 2, that might mean cashmusic.js could be useable with Beats Music, but, I can't figure out know how to make cashmusic.js play Beats Music's RTMP streams, and don't know if there's an easy way to do it or not.


One thing that wasn't so helpful was StackOverflow*'s reaction to this simple post of mine, formerly here:

Can cashmusic.js - http://cashmusic.github.io/cashmusic.js/ - be used to play Beats Music music streams?

If so, how?

Thanks!

It received -3 votes, no answers, and 5 people put my post "on hold" for the questions supposedly being too broad. I edited it a bit, but in the end, I decided the answers (and waiting around for StackOverflow to remove the "on hold" status from my post) no longer really interested me, and I also dislike the idea that on StackOverflow, people could potentially edit my question posts and make it look like I wrote things I didn't write, so I just deleted it.


Happily, I surprisingly quickly figured out how to make make my own versions of everything that I thought I was most likely going to have to use cashmusic.js (or something similar) for - a song progress bar, song duration, and real-time updating of what time you're at in the song.

I managed to do this thanks to cashmusic.js itself, and also thanks to various educational posts and snippets of code I found by searching the web - which actually probably usually came from StackOverflow, which is still a useful resource despite its often rather overzealous and misguided moderation policies, and its total uselessness when I asked my questions above, the first questions I ever posted there.


Anyway - as usual, for financial reasons, I can't really afford to put that much time into my barebones music player (or anything else that interests me if it doesn't seem likely to make money somehow), so, I'm hoping I'll be able to make something releaseable in the next few days. I apologize in advance if it turns out I can't achieve that.

(Edit, 7/21/2014, 5:52 PM EDT: I released a basic player here: Astroblahhh Basic MP3 Player Version 1, in JavaScript.)

If you liked this post or found it useful, or would like to make it easier and less stressful for me to complete and/or release my barebones JavaScript music player, donations or microdonations or purchases of goods (none available yet) or services would be much appreciated!

Ideally, I'd like to somehow make at least $2400 a month, which is apparently around what my 4-person family needs to cover our expenses each month. Probably if I were living on my own in a small apartment, I could get by on far less than that, like maybe less than $800 per month. But, I don't actually want to move out - I'd rather just be able to afford to move out, and have a massive amount of savings built up, so we don't have to live in fear anymore.

If any rich person or people, or large multitudes of people sending smaller donations or microdonations, would like to rescue me and my family from having to worry about money all the time, that would be awesome. Thanks!


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Beats Electronics to be acquired by Apple - MOG closing May 31st - and thoughts on other music services
Friday, May 30th, 2014
16:30:48 GMT


News

(Note, 6/1/2014, 1:09 PM: I've updated and corrected this post a little.)

Some simultaneously good (maybe) and bad news - Beats Electronics*, owner of the Beats Music* streaming music service, is going to be acquired by Apple* for $3 billion dollars, which I've read will be Apple's largest purchase ever.

Here's a page from Apple.com announcing the news:

Apple to Acquire Beats Music & Beats Electronics


This might be good news for Beats Music customers, insofar as Apple probably has the resources and ability to make Beats Music into a great, top-notch service - which Beats Music most definitely is not yet, judging by all the unhappy customers at the Beats Music support forum.

Perhaps Apple will have the wisdom to bring back the many wonderful features of the much better streaming music service MOG, which, according to the MOG article in Wikipedia, Beats acquired around July 2012 for a mere $14 million - far less, in my opinion, than the makers of MOG deserve.

Judging by posts to the Beats Music support forum, many of MOG's best features are still mostly missing from Beats Music, despite Beats Music having launched last January.


Apple should be capable of fixing Beats Music's alleged audio quality problems - problems which a very knowledgeable-seeming MOG customer described in some MOG support forum posts and some Beats support forum posts.

And, on the same Beats support forum page, there's a post by a different Beats/MOG customer who compared waveforms of MOG and Beats audio of the same song, and thought they looked significantly different from each other. A small quote (see this page for the entire original post):

"I also noticed the adjusted waveforms did not match each other too closely, so there's more different than just the volume."


Another potential benefit of Apple acquiring Beats Music is the fact that, if Apple wants to, Apple would definitely be capable of providing top-quality, lossless audio - higher than 320 kbps quality, and even better than MOG.

But will Apple actually do any of the above good things, or will they try to coast along on marketing hype without putting so much effort into creating and providing truly top quality products and services? I don't know, but I guess we'll see. If I ever am truly impressed by what Apple and Beats Music achieve, I'll let you all know someday.


Even though I'm not a fan of Apple, even I have to admit that sometimes Apple does a reasonably good job at designing things and making them pleasant and easy enough to use - though I'm still far more satisfied with my customized Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004 than with Mac OS X Lion.

In my opinion, Puppy* mauls Lion, in quite a lot of important ways which you can get an idea of by reading this thing I wrote: What is free, libre, open source software?

Thank goodness it's possible to run Puppy Linux on Mac hardware! I've successfully run Puppy via a live CD or DVD on both a MacBook from 2009, and a Mac Pro desktop computer from Feb. 2008. (I tried Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8, probably version 004, on the MacBook, and Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux - not sure what version - on the Mac Pro.) That makes Macs in general far more useful and enjoyable for me to use. :-)


Judging by my experiences with Apple products (when I'm not running Linux, also known as GNU/Linux*, on them), and also judging by many comments I've read in various places around the web - in my opinion, Apple definitely isn't as great as their hyped-up reputation, and many people think Apple has messed many things up that were apparently much better before.

For example, why did Apple get rid of something as fun and awesome as HyperCard*?! Also, I've seen many comments which claim that all MacOSes after Snow Leopard have been inferior. (Which reminds me of what many people, including me, think of all Windows* versions beyond Windows XP.)

In any case, I guess time will tell if Apple fixes Beats Music up to the point of being as good as or better than MOG, or if they'll mess Beats Music up even more than it already was.

I'm guessing they'll most likely improve Beats Music, at least to some extent (hopefully at least equal to or better than MOG) - but, who knows? We'll see.


Sadly - even if Apple someday manages to make Beats Music equal to or better than MOG, there might very likely still be reasons - both ethical and practical reasons - not to buy Apple products.

See Richard Stallman's page Why you should not buy Apple computer products for more details.

Or even this, by me (which I already linked to above): What is free, libre, open source software?


Also, I will be surprised if Beats Music ever ends up with Roku* or Chromecast* capabilities now, because Apple has a competing product, the AppleTV*. But, who knows?


In any case, since MOG is closing tomorrow (May 31st), I'm going to have to find a new music service to use. (Or, I can save $5 to $10 a month by doing without one for a while.)

Currently, the music services I find most interesting and appealing are Qobuz* and WiMP*. Apparently, they provide top-quality lossless audio!

Both are too expensive for me at the moment, and I haven't even tried them yet. But, despite the fact that those services are based in Europe, Americans posting to this page in the MOG support forum reported success subscribing to them.


Other than those two, the alternatives I'm most interested are Sony's Music Unlimited, and Google Play Music All Access, neither of which I've tried yet.

Music Unlimited has an Access plan for $4.99 per month - the same price as MOG's basic plan - with 320 kbps quality and a web player, and access via a Playstation 3* or Playstation 4*.

So, if I somehow manage to get a Playstation 3 or 4 (not likely in the near future given my and my family's endless financial problems), I'll be able to use that instead of my Roku to play music through my old stereo that I've had since 1995 (and which, happily, still mostly works fine).

I'm hoping Music Unlimited's audio quality will be at least as good as MOG's. Unfortunately, I don't know, because you can't just assume based on bitrate alone that every 320 kbps stream is just as good as any other. More details here.

Google Play Music is $9.99 per month, and I've read both good and a few bad things about it, many of which you can read in the previous link.


Spotify*'s Premium service is also $9.99 per month (or half that if you're a student), and at least has a Roku app. But, lately, Spotify's web player has gotten unbearably slow and awful in my web browsers. It used to work better, but now it's terrible for me.

(Addition, 6/1/2014, 10:56 AM. True, the web browser I usually use with Spotify is a bit obscure - Chromium 18.0.996.0 (Developer Build 116133 Linux) in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004 - but, Spotify used to work much, much better for me before in the exact same web browser - same version and everything.)

At this point, Spotify's web player is actually even worse for me than Beats Music's web player was when I last tried it several months ago. At least Beats Music's web player was much faster for me than Spotify's is now.

Another notable thing about Spotify is that they now allow unlimited free streaming with quite noticeably inferior audio quality, though I think it's better than the audio in many YouTube* videos. It doesn't sound good enough for me to be happy to do without a higher-quality service, but, I appreciate the fact that it exists.


(Addition, 6/1/2014, 10:46 AM. I forgot to mention this before. When I contacted Spotify support on January 23rd, 2014 asking about their Roku audio quality, I got this very polite and informative reply:

"Hello there,

Thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch.

Our streaming quality is up to 320 Kbps at the moment. But I would recommend you to contact Roku support, because we've been working 192 kbps with them but it's possible that they are planning to increase it.

Feel free to get back in touch if there's anything else we can help you with.

Kind regards,"

[name omitted]

So, I'm unsure if Spotify's Roku audio quality is as good as I'd like, but, maybe that's resolved after all these months?)


Rdio* is finally upgrading to 320 kbps audio quality, according to their blog:

Rdio Partners with The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir to Improve Streaming Audio Quality

I tried Rdio back in March. Very slick interface, which Rdio is often praised for (and rightly so, in my opinion) - but, I still preferred MOG's interface. Also, I wasn't satisfied with Rdio's audio quality - which, as of March, hadn't yet been upgraded. Perhaps the audio quality is better now. I should try Rdio again sometime.

(Addition, 6/1/2014, 11:57 AM: Rdio's Unlimited plan is $9.99 per month, and they also have a free option, according to this page.

And, Rdio has a Roku app and Chromecast*, among other things, according to this page.

Edit, 6/1/2014, 1:06 PM. They have a 50% student discount on the Unlimited plan, and 50% off the Unlimited plan if you want web-only access, and some family plan discounts - all explained on this page. If you only have a 2-person family, it will cost $17.99 - but it's more than that if you have more people. So, Beats Music's $14.99 family plan "For up to 5 people and 10 devices" (according to this page) actually might cost significantly less than Rdio for many families.)


I will probably try Beats Music again at some point because a Beats Music mail I got on May 2nd said all Moggers can get 2 free months, and "This offer is available for ALL Moggers. Even if you already tried Beats Music."

However, I'm probably going to wait until Beats Music hopefully improves. If/when people on the Beats Music support forums start seeming happier in general, I might try it then.

(Addition, 6/1/2014, 10:49 AM. According to this Beats Knowledge Base page: "This offer can only be redeemed up to June 30th.")


If you liked this post or found it useful, donations or purchases of goods or services would be much appreciated!

As of May 30, 2014, I'm not actually selling any goods yet, but, maybe that will change sometime soon.


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MOG streaming music service's April 15th shutdown is delayed! And other good news
Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
04:16:34 GMT


News

Here's some news related to MOG*, my current favorite streaming music service. The MOG Q&A section of Beats Music's support site was recently updated with some great news!

This page says:

"The initial April 15 date we set for shutting down the MOG service has been extended for the time being to give us time to add and complete the features we think will ensure the smoothest, easiest transition from MOG to Beats Music as possible."

And also says:

"We will still offer all MOG subscribers a one-month free trial of Beats Music once we establish an end-date for MOG."

So, happily, MOG users will at least get to keep MOG for longer than we thought.


The next best Beats Music*-related news I heard of lately is - Beats Music released an API for developers.

An article about that from CNET.com:

Beats Music opens up, making its API public


Here's a link to the Beats Music developer site:

https://developer.beatsmusic.com/


I've felt a little tempted to subscribe to Beats Music early - even while Beats Music is still half-baked and scarcely able to compete with MOG or various other services - just so as to be able to play around with the Beats Music API, and perhaps build my own Roku app to replace the MOG Roku app no one will be able to use anymore whenever MOG is finally shut down.

But, I'm probably going to wait instead, and perhaps play with Rdio's API or Spotify's API for a while, if I can without subscribing.

Actually, I'm probably not even going to play with any music service API - I'm too preoccupied with other things. But if I do, of course I'd like to design my music software in such a way that I could easily use it with whatever service I prefer.

And, like all of my other software (except all I haven't released yet), I would make it libre and open source.


Those two pieces of news - MOG's shutdown being postponed; and the Beats API - both greatly increase my optimism that Beats Music might someday become the best streaming music service available - even though they definitely have a lot of work to do to get there.

But, I think releasing an API and postponing MOG's shutdown were some really smart moves, so that gives me hope. :-)


One last thing. A couple weeks ago, I finally found out that MOG has a a Playlists section, which features not only MOG users' public playlists, but also a lot of playlists built by famous musicians.

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MOG streaming music service is closing April 15th, 2014; and I hope Beats Music improves
Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
06:31:12 GMT


News

(Edit, April 1, 2014, 12:19 AM: Here's an update: MOG streaming music service's April 15th shutdown is delayed! And other good news)


My favorite streaming music website, MOG*, is being shut down April 15th, 2014 because MOG was bought by Beats Electronics* in 2012 (says Wikipedia), and Beats Music* just opened on Jan. 21, 2014.

And contrary to what I hoped and almost expected - Beats Music so far doesn't even come close to being as good as MOG. There are so many glitches and missing features, which is especially shocking because I thought probably the main point of Beats even buying MOG was probably to base Beats' new systems on MOG's existing, fantastic, stable systems.

But, Beats is currently so glitchy and lacking in MOG features, I'm guessing Beats started over from scratch instead. And perhaps Beats rushed to an extremely premature launch because the Super Bowl* is next Sunday (Feb. 2nd). (There's actually an entire Wikipedia article about Super Bowl advertising.)

(Edit, Jan. 29, 2014, 5:30 PM EST: Also, the Grammy Awards* happened on Jan. 26, 2014.)


Anyway, you might want to try a free trial of MOG while it's still available. I don't yet know of a better streaming music service anywhere, especially at the price of $4.99 per month. (Not that it's 100% perfect, but, what is?)

Currently, my most likely alternative choice is Spotify*, because Spotify's web player is useable enough (though not as nice as MOG's), and their audio quality is apparently 320 kbps for Premium users, same as MOG. (And actually same as Beats too - so at least Beats doesn't have a problem with audio quality.)

Also, Spotify, like MOG, and unlike Beats, has a Roku* app. (Despite my preference for free, libre, open source everything - I still enjoy the Roku, and mostly use it for MOG* and Netflix*.)

By the way, if you're interested in a Beats Music Roku* app, perhaps posting about it or voting for it at Beats Music's support forum would help? http://support.beatsmusic.com/hc/communities/public/questions/200434850-Roku-App


Spotify's Premium option is $9.99 per month, twice as much as MOG's $4.99 per month Basic plan with no mobile access.

But, even though it's not really a perfectly comfortable price for me, it's still pretty good. If I were rich, I'd be happy paying a lot more than that.

(And actually, I would love to donate gigantic amounts of money directly to my favorite musicians, especially any who aren't already rich and really need the money. And also, of course, to tons of other people besides musicians, who also improve the world but often are insufficiently rewarded for it. And of course, to the desperately poor - who should be first in line for help. Darn, I wish I could afford to just give away tons of money directly to people... and I wish rich people would do that sort of thing a lot more often. It would make such a huge difference in the world.

Which brings me around yet again to the topic of microdonations - where a great many tiny donations from tons of people could add up to huge amounts of money, even if absolutely none of the people donating are rich themselves. Maybe that would be a good way to alleviate poverty without having to depend on any help from rich people? But I digress...)


Whatever streaming music service I join, I probably will sign up with a user name totally different than Apollia, and an email address I don't normally use, just to dodge many possible privacy issues.

I don't know if Spotify has any privacy-impacting annoyances or not, but, might as well be cautious.


I do think Beats Music has some chance of eventual success, but only if they play their cards much better than they have so far. Using MOG-based systems, I believe Beats could become the leader in the streaming music industry. (Actually, I think MOG probably could have done that on its own if it had been marketed better.)

But as long as the Beats systems continue to be as glitchy and bereft of the best MOG features as they currently are, I think most people (including me) will continue to prefer other, better services, such as Spotify*. Especially if Beats keeps trying to charge $9.99 per month - twice as much as MOG's Basic plan, $4.99 per month - for a service that is overall inferior to MOG.

And overall inferior to Spotify, and inferior in many ways (though better in some ways) compared to probably just about any other streaming music service you could name. Except, again, I should point out that at least Beats has 320 kbps audio too, same as MOG* and Spotify*, and better than Pandora* (maximum 192 kbps) and probably Rdio* (Rdio's quality level isn't on their FAQ page currently, but people complain about it.)

It's not Beats' audio quality I object to, it's mainly Beats' lack of features which MOG, Spotify, and other services have - really basic stuff like a full-featured, easily-controlled web player which starts playing songs quickly and which can do everything the mobile app can do and more, a play queue, much better capabilities for building playlists, the ability to easily start a radio of random songs by a particular musician or of a particular genre, etc. And plenty of other problems people have been pointing out at the Beats Music support forum.

Fortunately for Beats - thanks to owning MOG*, Beats could so easily get on the right track! And I really hope they do, soon.


Here's my email to Beats Music*, which also contains what I posted to their support forum.

If you want to vote or comment on my post, you can do so here: http://support.beatsmusic.com/hc/communities/public/questions/200073899-Bring-Beats-up-to-the-quality-of-MOG-or-at-least-Spotify-and-here-s-how


My Best Advice for Beats

Hi. I already posted most of this message to the Beats support page, but, I thought it would be good to email it too, since it contains some time-sensitive ideas on improving Beats in time for the Super Bowl.

I don't need a long reply, but, it would definitely be nice to know if Beats will at least someday be made as functional and elegant as MOG.


I'm really upset about your plans to shut MOG down, and it has been spoiling my excitement about Beats.

And if you read the support forum, you'll see I'm far from alone. Even people who sound like they've never used MOG keep mentioning how Beats is glitchy and lacks functionality compared to other streaming services.

But since you own MOG, which works great - having an under-functional service is all a completely avoidable problem for Beats! You could just reuse MOG and add Beats features onto it.


The message I posted to the support forum begins below. Originally posted to:

http://support.beatsmusic.com/hc/communities/public/questions/200073899-Bring-Beats-up-to-the-quality-of-MOG-or-at-least-Spotify-and-here-s-how


BRING BEATS UP TO THE QUALITY OF MOG OR AT LEAST SPOTIFY - AND HERE'S HOW

This message is going to be rather blunt and harsh (sorry about that). But, I hope it's helpful.

I finally tried Beats, for both the mobile and the web.

I never used MOG's mobile app, so I can't compare the Beats mobile app to MOG. (But my guess is, the MOG mobile apps are probably much better, judging by how much better the MOG web interface is than the Beats web interface.)

The Beats mobile app (on an iPhone) is at least better than the Beats web interface, and songs start playing quite quickly in the mobile app.

The Beats mobile app's graphics are nice, but I find the interface rather messy and confusing. I haven't tried the Spotify mobile app lately, but if I recall correctly, the Spotify mobile app was better since it was easier to find things in.

I like the idea of curated playlists, and The Sentence thing is amusing, but those features aren't enough to make Beats seem better than Spotify, or especially MOG.

Beats is currently too lacking in basic, core features that other music streaming services already do much better.


The Beats web interface (version 1.0.6) is horrible compared to MOG's web interface. It's also horrible compared to Spotify's web interface. Spotify's web interface is actually decently useable and fast, even if it's not as slick as MOG's.

The Beats web interface is slow to start songs, it's hard and slow to skip around to different points in the same song, and I can't find a radio feature. I can't find My Library. I can't create playlists.

Unless Beats is made as nice and useable as MOG, or unless the old MOG interfaces are kept available, it is extremely unlikely that I will subscribe to Beats.


For $9.99 a month, Spotify currently seems like a far better product than Beats. (But I still would choose MOG over Spotify for $9.99 per month.)

Not only is Spotify's web interface better than Beats (though not as slick as MOG's), Spotify has a Roku app, unlike Beats. (But MOG, which Beats bought, has a Roku app, so, I don't see why Beats couldn't easily have a Roku app as well.)

And I am very ticked off at Beats for buying out my favorite streaming music service, MOG, and planning to shut it down, with no guarantees that you're going to create an equal or superior product to MOG.


Compared to MOG, Beats seems really incomplete, and it probably shouldn't have even been launched until it was at least as good as MOG.

And since Beats Music actually bought MOG, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn't have started Beats off right with a system capable of everything MOG can do, and more.


I think Beats's current service doesn't have a prayer of winning against Spotify, or of keeping most MOG customers.

Marketing can only carry you so far if you don't have a good product/service.

But fortunately for Beats Music, when you bought MOG, you bought an absolutely fantastic product/service - possibly even the best streaming music service currently in existence. (Unless there's something better out there that I haven't tried yet.)

So, thanks to the brilliant move of buying MOG, Beats Music should be entirely capable of providing a truly fantastic service, instead of an overhyped, overpriced, under-developed mess that was launched far too soon.


I think the only reason MOG wasn't more popular than Spotify was because of lack of marketing.

But I think MOG, being promoted as enthusiastically as Beats, could have easily beaten Spotify - even at $9.99 per month, without the $4.99 MOG Basic plan being offered. (But continuing the $4.99 Basic plan would probably make your victory against Spotify even more certain.)


In your shoes, I would just rebrand the existing MOG systems as Beats, give them a slight graphical makeover, and carefully add the coolest new Beats features onto them - as long as it doesn't slow down or break the existing very slick and elegant MOG interfaces. Perhaps it would even be possible to get that done before Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 2nd)?


Over time, I'd also implement a lot of the good ideas suggested here and at the MOG feedback site: http://feedback.mog.com/forums/50607-feature-suggestions


You might or might not have hired excellent programmers, but even fantastic programmers generally can't do their best and most polished work if they're too rushed - such as if you were trying to get Beats launched in time for the Super Bowl.

If you reuse MOG's already very complete, elegant, stable systems, however, there will be far less for your programmers to rush to finish before the Super Bowl.

*************** You already have a product/service that is better than Spotify - MOG! ***************

And my guess is, there's probably not enough time before the Super Bowl to get the existing Beats system up to the standard of MOG, or even up to the standard of Spotify - unless you reuse MOG.


Anyway, I hope this helps, and sorry again for being rather blunt and harsh.

But, I believe that above, I've given you the best advice I can think of to make Beats a success.

Best wishes and good luck with everything, and I hope I won't have to join Spotify in the end.


And here was the quick reply (sent 30 minutes after my email, which I sent at 12:29 PM EST on Jan. 28, 2014):

(Beats Music Support)
Jan 28 09:59

Good day Apollia,

Beats Music want to thank you for your great suggestions for our Music App. I will forward these suggestions to our Development Support Team, and maybe you will some of your suggestions implemented into the Beats Music App soon.

Thanks for your recommendations, and continued support.

Thank you...Beats Music Support


Beats Music Listener Support


Again - if you want to vote or comment on my post to the Beats Music Support forum, you can do so here: http://support.beatsmusic.com/hc/communities/public/questions/200073899-Bring-Beats-up-to-the-quality-of-MOG-or-at-least-Spotify-and-here-s-how

And, if you're interested in a Beats Music Roku* app, here's this other post you can vote or comment on: http://support.beatsmusic.com/hc/communities/public/questions/200434850-Roku-App


As a current MOG* customer, I have a 1 month free trial of Beats Music to look forward to, starting March 15th, according to this support page.

If Beats Music* ever improves enough for me to become a customer, I will gladly post about it!

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All or Nothing At All
Sunday, September 4th, 2011
11:39:24 GMT


Video

I love finding little-known gems on YouTube. :-)

This video currently has only 1,135 views:

ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL - BIG BAND 31

It's the most entertaining rendition of All or Nothing At All I've ever seen or heard.

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Susan Boyle's "Cry Me A River"
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
20:11:39 GMT


Probably everyone has heard of Susan Boyle by now. The video of her on Britain's Got Talent is everywhere.

What fewer people might have heard of, yet, is a song she sung for a CD done for charity, released in 1999. It's a slow-paced jazz/blues tune called "Cry Me a River". You can hear it (and read about it) at The Daily Record: Exclusive: Susan Boyle's first ever song release revealed - listen to it here.

It's also available on YouTube: Susan Boyle - Cry Me A River - 1999 Recording (From The Scottish Daily Record Newspaper)

Heartbreakingly beautiful. It's astounding that the world took this long to discover her.

Here's the Wikipedia article on the song Cry Me A River. Also, here's a page with some lyrics.

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Lemon Demon
Friday, April 10th, 2009
01:10:11 GMT


Astrosorted Music List Update

Here's another Astrosorted Music List update. Below are links to 16 fabulous legally free songs. All but one are by the band Lemon Demon; the one that isn't is by Trapezoid, the former band of Lemon Demon's Neil Cicierega.

Lemon Demon has albums and songs for sale for very reasonable prices at CDFreedom.com. You can even pay for them via PayPal. Lemon Demon also has a Store page with other merchandise.

In no particular order:

  1. Damn Skippy - Word Disassociation
    Length: 4:06    File Size: 4.93 MB   Vocals Grating
    Lemon Demon

    Warning: The noise from about 3:56 onward is annoying.

  2. Dinosaurchestra - White Bread Boyfriend
    Length: 3:45    File Size: 4.52 MB   Vocals Grating
    Lemon Demon

  3. Damn Skippy - Mr. Porta-Potty Man
    Length: 1:03    File Size: 1.02 MB   Vocals
    Lemon Demon

  4. Hip to the Javabean - Telekinesis
    Length: 4:14    File Size: 5.09 MB   Vocals
    Lemon Demon

  5. Unreleased - Vanilla
    Length: 0:29    File Size: 0.48 MB   Vocals
    Lemon Demon

  6. Trapezoid - Shut Up Your Mouth
    Length: 2:35    File Size: 2.49 MB   Vocals Volume Grating
    Trapezoid

    Warning: The first 4 seconds are kind of loud and annoying.

  7. Dinosaurchestra - It Can Get Lonely In My Mansion
    Length: 2:29    File Size: 3.00 MB   Vocals
    Lemon Demon

  8. Unreleased - Snakes on a Plane
    Length:0:45    File Size: 0.73 MB   Vocals
    Lemon Demon

  9. Dinosaurchestra - The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny
    Length: 3:33    File Size: 5.12 MB   Vocals Profanity Grating
    Lemon Demon

  10. View-Monster - Super Hey Ya (Outkast remix)
    Length: 4:05    File Size: 4.90 MB   Vocals Grating
    Lemon Demon

  11. Hip to the Javabean - There's a Robot In My Head
    Length: 1:00    File Size: 0.97 MB   Vocals Grating
    Lemon Demon

  12. Live from the Haunted Candle Shop - Mold en Mono
    Length: 5:21    File Size: 5.14 MB   Vocals Volume Grating
    Lemon Demon

    Warning: A bit shrill and/or loud sometimes.

  13. View-Monster - Ben Bernanke
    Length: 4:27    File Size: 5.35 MB   Vocals Profanity
    Lemon Demon

    Comment: The hilarious video this song is based on can be watched on YouTube: Ben Bernanke There's also a music video version, but you should download the MP3 for the best audio quality.

  14. Damn Skippy - Kitten is Angry
    Length: 2:06    File Size: 2.53 MB   Vocals
    Lemon Demon

  15. View-Monster - Marketland
    Length: 4:37    File Size: 5.55 MB   Vocals
    Lemon Demon

  16. Unreleased - The Song You Hear When You Die
    Length: 0:55    File Size: 0.89 MB   Vocals Grating
    Lemon Demon

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15 New Songs
Monday, March 30th, 2009
11:25:40 GMT


Astrosorted Music List Update

Here's another Astrosorted Music List update.

Below are links to 15 exquisite, legally free songs by numerous brilliantly talented musicians.

    Web Download

  1. Live at the Carlisle Stars & Stripes November 3 1986 - Orgone Accumulator
    Length: 3:05    File Size: 4.46 MB   Vocals
    Robert Calvert & The Maximum Effect

  2. Final Fantasy 6 - Espergirl
    Length: 5:47    File Size: 5.62 MB  
    Shnabubula

  3. Xerxes - one-oh-three
    Length: 20:04    File Size: 48.17 MB  
    Xerxes

  4. Carsten Jessen - Hope (Heavenly Vocals)
    Length: 2:09    File Size: 2.07 MB   Vocals
    Da Buzz, Hale-Bopp

  5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - The Temple of Time
    Length: 2:24    File Size: 2.30 MB   Vocals
    Bezo

    Comment: After you follow the song's link, click the floppy disk icon to download.

    OcRemix

  6. Chrono Cross - Just Chill
    Length: 2:58    File Size: 3.58 MB  
    The Pancake Chef

  7. Mega Man 3 - crystal potion
    Length: 3:23    File Size: 4.87 MB  
    po!

  8. Street Fighter 2 - China Street Beat
    Length: 1:55    File Size: 2.77 MB  
    McVaffe

  9. Streets of Rage 2 - Bar Hopping
    Length: 1:20    File Size: 1.93 MB  
    JAXX

  10. Zelda 3 - Darkworld Jazz
    Length: 3:43    File Size: 3.58 MB  
    Gux

  11. Zelda 3 - Ten Rupees
    Length: 4:36    File Size: 4.42 MB  
    Neskvartetten

  12. Zelda 3 - Ganon's Temple
    Length: 6:10    File Size: 5.92 MB  
    Neskvartetten

  13. Zelda 3 - Waltz for Zora
    Length: 4:30    File Size: 4.33 MB  
    Neskvartetten

  14. Mechwarrior 2: 31st Century Combat - Wawoow! TrainingExercises
    Length: 4:14    File Size: 5.10 MB   Volume Grating
    lasombra

    Warning: The part around 1:07-1:08 is a bit loud.

    VGMix X

  15. Jurassic Park (SNES) - JP Elevator
    Length: 0:49    File Size: 1.97 MB  
    texx sound

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31 Old VGMix 2 Songs
Friday, December 19th, 2008
05:20:34 GMT


Astrosorted Music List Update

Here's the first Astrosorted Music List update I've made since April 2008. Below, you will find non-astrosorted links to 31 absolutely wonderful and legally free songs by brilliant amateur video game music remixers.

If you've been visiting my websites since 2004 or something, it's possible these 31 songs might be familiar to you, since, years ago, they were on my old astrosorted music list, which used to link to 354 songs from the website VGMix.com.

I wish I could link to all 354 songs again all in one shot, simply so all future updates of this list will consist of nothing but truly new stuff - but, I'm not sure where to find them all. And, judging by this post from this VGMix forum thread, it doesn't look like the old songs are going to be made available again from VGMix until a new VGMix site is coded.

So, if there are any music lovers out there who are very good with Python and/or PHP and would like to help them out, that would be awesome. More details are available at the abovementioned forum thread.

    OcRemix

  1. Artura - Dublin Delight
    Length: 2:18    File Size: 3.32 MB   Vocals
    makke
  2. Castlevania 3 - Pools of Rust
    Length: 4:01    File Size: 5.64 MB   Grating
    goat

    Warning: The staticky sound effects from 1:56 to 1:59 are a bit annoying.

  3. Mega Man 2 - Duck and Cover
    Length: 4:02    File Size: 4.85 MB  
    Star Salzman
  4. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee - The Monsaic
    Length: 5:30    File Size: 5.30 MB  
    The Orichalcon
  5. Secret of Mana - Drifting Towards The Stars
    Length: 4:29    File Size: 5.40 MB  
    GrayLightning
  6. Sorcerian - Cursed Piano
    Length: 5:21    File Size: 5.14 MB  
    XenoCross
  7. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - The Sad Fish
    Length: 3:58    File Size: 4.85 MB  
    Nixdorux
  8. Shining Force CD - Five-Sided Square
    Length: 3:46    File Size: 4.83 MB  
    Quinn Fox
  9. Chrono Trigger - The Incredible Singing Robot
    Length: 3:46    File Size: 4.52 MB   Vocals
    Star Salzman
  10. Phantasy Star 2 - Boss Uniform
    Length: 3:29    File Size: 4.19 MB  
    Quinn Fox

    Comment: There was a version of this on Vgmix 2 titled "Slick Uniforms", but this one is in a different key, and is slightly different in other ways too.

  11. Mega Man 2 - The Fifth Season
    Length: 4:18    File Size: 5.17 MB  
    GaMeBoX
  12. Last Ninja - 8-Bit Kamikaze
    Length: 5:36    File Size: 5.39 MB  
    Gecko Yamori
  13. Super Mario RPG - Seeking Heat
    Length: 4:15    File Size: 4.09 MB  
    Sine
  14. Zelda 3 - A Link To The Piano
    Length: 5:07    File Size: 6.15 MB  
    Zoola
  15. Donkey Kong Country 2 - From Within
    Length: 3:33    File Size: 4.27 MB  
    Darangen
  16. F-Zero - Blue Vacation
    Length: 2:41    File Size: 3.24 MB  
    LousySpy
  17. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 - Pure Black, or Marbles and Cream
    Length: 4:10    File Size: 6.00 MB  
    Red Tailed Fox, The Prophet of Mephisto
  18. Street Fighter 2 - The Ken Song
    Length: 4:12    File Size: 6.07 MB   Vocals
    jdproject

    Comment: This was also on Vgmix 2, but it sounds like various enhancements were made - for instance, it's louder, with a better-sounding guitar, and it's 3 seconds longer.

  19. Strider - Vibe Victory
    Length: 3:51    File Size: 4.63 MB  
    Quinn Fox

    Comment: Was also on Vgmix 2. Sounds about the same, but the OcRemix version is 1 second shorter.

  20. Donkey Kong Country - Blue Vision
    Length: 4:18    File Size: 5.16 MB  
    bLiNd

    Comment: Was also on Vgmix 2, but I like this version more - it's quieter, less sharp and shrill, more relaxing. It also has a larger file size than the Vgmix, which was 3.93 MB.

  21. Pac-Man - Glass Cage
    Length: 4:55    File Size: 5.90 MB  
    Israfel

    Comment: Was also on Vgmix 2. Sounds about the same, but the OcRemix is about 1 MB smaller and 1 second longer than the Vgmix.

  22. VGMix X

  23. Sonic Adventure 2 - Emerald Shore
    Length: 8:16    File Size: 9.93 MB  
    Greg2k
  24. System Shock - Hurry RUN
    Length: 4:05    File Size: 3.94 MB   Vocals Disturbing
    Infamous

    Warning: The parts with screaming and crying are creepy.

  25. Arkanoid - Arkanoid
    Length: 3:55    File Size: 3.77 MB   Vocals
    Infamous
  26. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario 64 - Mario flys in and hits link round the head with a deku stick
    Length: 3:33    File Size: 3.42 MB   Vocals
    Infamous
  27. F-Zero GX - Dr Stuard Jeff n Toad Air Team Challenger
    Length: 4:45    File Size: 6.85 MB   Grating
    cyborgjeff
  28. System Shock - Glory to the many
    Length: 4:33    File Size: 4.39 MB   Vocals Disturbing
    Infamous

    Warning: Starts getting particularly creepy after 3:39.

  29. Final Fantasy Tactics - The Pub Down the Street
    Length: 1:43    File Size: 2.08 MB   Vocals
    Level 99
  30. Fury of the Furries - Swimming Furries
    Length: 3:55    File Size: 5.67 MB  
    cyborgjeff
  31. Journey to Silius - Silius Passacaglia
    Length: 4:0    File Size: 5.78 MB   Grating
    pingosimon
  32. Elsewhere

  33. Xenogears - Pillar of Salt
    Length: 5:31    File Size: 5.30 MB   Vocals
    Star Salzman

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