Ubuntu One Music Store is Now Available to Everyone

We all knew that the Canonical is bringing out a music store called  Ubuntu One Music Store. It has been in closed beta for quite some time now and all that we knew about it came from the few beta testers’ blogs. However, today Canonical feels that the Music Store is ready for the public and has released it to the public. The store is, however, still considered as a beta.

If you had missed all the news surrounding Canonical’s new and shiny music store, here is a quick recap on it:

  • The Ubuntu One Music Store will be powered by 7digital, a privately owned digital media delivery company based in the UK.
  • Tracks offered by 7digital for the Ubuntu One Music Store will be available in MP3 format without any DRM.
  • Musics that you buy from the store goes to your Ubuntu One storage.
  • The store is integrated into Rythmbox although plugins may be available for Banshee as well.
  • Region are divided in Ubuntu One Music Store as
    – UK
    – USA
    – Germany
    – Rest of the EU (i.e. not UK and Germany)
    – Rest of the World (i.e. none of the above listed countries)

When Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta 1 was released, Ubuntu One Music Store was not included with it contrary to  expectations, although an icon was included with Rythmbox. However, if you are already using Lucid, you can start using Ubuntu One Music Store. To do it do the following:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-ubuntuone-music-store

After it has been installed, you can enable it from Edit -> Plugins. Keep in mind that it is still a beta and remember to file any bug if you encounter one. Sadly it is not available in Karmic.

The way Canonical has choosen to divide the region has already created some complaints.  Different regions will have different music available. For example customers from “Rest of the World” will not be able to buy music from any major labels.

[via Digitizor]

How To Create A Cue Sheet

On Tuesday, we talked about splitting large music tracks into smaller ones with the help of cue files. I’d mention that I’ll soon write a tutorial on creating a cue sheet yourself. True to my word, here’s the tutorial on creating a cue sheet with your own hands!

For a quick recap A cue sheet has an extension of .cue and its contents tell the splitting program where each individual track starts and ends.In technical terms It’s a metadata file which describes how the contents of a CD, DVD or a compilation are to be laid out.

So, let’s say you have a music mix called Junkyard Mix.mp3. It’s music mix containing all the tracks interlocked. There’s no cue file available so you just can’t use a cue splitter and split the file as easily. You’ll now need to create a cue sheet.

Creating a cue sheet is pretty simple. There are a few commands/tags you’ll need to take care of and the syntax is simple. Just like many other scripts, you’ll need to create this one in a text editor; for example Notepad. I will first go through the tags and will then explain with an example.

TITLE: This tag is used two occasions. Once while mentioning the name of the album and the second time when you mention the title of an individual track. In the former case, the tag is used in the beginning of the document; in the latter, it is used after that TRACK tag

PERFORMER: Once used to define the artist of the album as a whole and second time after the TRACK tag to define the artist of an individual track.

FILE: Defines the name of the compilation file, from where to derive the data (Junkyard Mix.mp3 in this case)

TRACK: Defines a track by its number and data type. Other tags that define the track are placed under it in the hierarchy.

INDEX: Indicates the start position within the data where a given track begins, in MM:SS:FR (minute-second-frame) format (for example, 04:18:63 = 4 minutes, 18 seconds, 63 frames).

That covers the rudimentary tags of a cue sheet. That’s probably all you will need to get started. Now let have it with an example. Let’s say Junkyard Mix.mp3, the album, is composed of two individual tracks: Grease Sweep and Burning Tires. Let’s say the album’s artist is Johny Wrench. (Don’t google them! They’re all hypothetical :D) This is how the cue sheet should be laid out in this scenario:

2967338475_bc48bd8d93_bTITLE Junkyard Mix

PERFORMER Johny Wrench

FILE Junkyard Mix.mp3MP3

TRACK 01 AUDIO

TITLE Grease Sweep

PERFORMER Johny Wrench

INDEX 01 00:00:00

TRACK 02 AUDIO

TITLE Burning Tires

PERFORMER Johny Wrench

INDEX 01 12:42:00

Let’s go through it again. The TITLE track at the beginning marks the name of the album. The next PERFORMER tag marks the name of the album artist. FILE is for the file name of the compilation. Next we have definitions the comprising tracks. TRACK 01 AUDIO marks the definition of the first track. It says that the first track’s track number is 01 and its data type is audio. It then goes on to define the TITLE of the song and its PERFORMER in the respective tags. The second track has also been handled in the same way. The INDEX tag tells the program where the song is beginning.

The first track always begins at 00:00:00. You’ll have to mark the beginnings of each track so that you can define the correct beginning and therefore, ending of each song. It is crucial that your timing is correct or the results won’t be appealing.

After everything is done, save the document with a .cue extension and then use it to split the music compilation with the help of this tutorial.

Photo by Dani Sarda

How To Split Large Single-File Compilations And Mixes Into Individual Separate Tracks

If you have ever downloaded or bought a musical compilation or mix, you might have come across a single large mp3 file that contains all the tracks joined together. Music mixes were initially made to be a single file track, however, with the advent of portable music players that may not always have storage spaces as large as desktop or laptop computers, handling and listening to such music files is not a very convenient task.

If you have a large music compilation or mix that you’d like to split up in individual tracks, you’ve come to the right place.

greenshot_2010-03-16_20-57-46 To split a large a mix into individual tracks, we’ll need a cue sheet. A cue sheet file has an extension of .cue and its contents tell the splitting program where each individual track starts and ends. The splitting program we are going to use here is Medieval Cue Splitter. After you’ve downloaded the program, you will need the cue sheet. A cue sheet is necessary in this process, if you don’t have one already, you will need to create one yourself. I’ll write down the process of creating a cue sheet in a separate post.

Ok, so to split a the file, follow this process:

  • Let’s say the mix/compilation is called mix.mp3. In most cases, the cue sheet will be called mix.cue. Have them both in the same folder.
  • Open Medieval Cue Splitter. Go to File → Open cue file. Select the cue file and then the mix (mix.cue and mix.mp3)
  • Now you can edit the details about the individual tracks that are are going to be made from the mix. You can change the titles, tags, genres, artists and other track details.
  • Click the Split button, select the location to save the tracks and you’re done.
  • If you’d want to add album art to each of the smaller tracks, click to read how.

Now that a large mp3 has been broken down into smaller tracks, you can easily share the music with your friends online, transfer it to your mobile phone or simply sync it with your iPod or any other music player.

When Music is Seen and not Heard

What do you get when Art and Science shake hands and heartily greet each other? The answer is simple: innovation. There are many who agree that Art and Science are two sides of the same coin and that you cannot truly have one without the other. Artist Marco Fusinato is one such believer who has taken abstract art to a whole new level with his “Mass Black Implosion” collection.

Fusinato has applied mathematical transformations to sheet music delineating experimental compositions and literally made you “see” music. The artist has simply added a new dimension to the musical notes, which were, by themselves alluringly abstract. By line drawing over existing scores of avant garde music, Fusinato shows us what “free noise” would look like.

As a result, you find sound waves and equations staring back at you when you look at Fusinato’s Mass Black Implosion. No, this is not a case of synesthesia, but simply a testament to what the human mind can do! Those viewing Fusinato’s collection, can not only hear the musical compositions but they also have an idea of what the sound they hear would actually “look” like.

So when you now look at a piece of sheet music, would you find notes leaping out at you? Let us know!

[via io9 and Illusion 360]

Stereomood is an emotion-driven internet radio

The starting page of Stereomood has this well-acknowledged quote:

behind every song there’s always an emotion. we don’t know why but maybe that’s why we love music. [sic]

This is why music is music. There are no hard-bound rules regarding the kind of emotions it will trigger in our minds. From rock n’ roll to trance and from pop to hip-hop, every little nuance and melancholic harmonic plays little chords in our heads, leading us to places we have never been before, or guide us to our destination. Stereomood is for the adventurous listeners who would like to go places instead of the same old songs on and on again. It is part music discovery and part radio and will be loved by anyone who is not in the mood to listen to their favorite bands, but instead is in the mood to listen to songs that resonate with their emotions.

Stereomood

All of the songs in the database are user-submitted/uploaded and registering for an account on this website allows you to maintain your library of favorite songs and upload your own songs.

Stereomoodepic

The player is artsy and simple, with the requisite play/pause, stop, next, previous buttons, a seeker and a one-click option to submit this song to half a dozen websites. You also have the option of buying this song from iTunes or Amazon as well as tag it, add it to the library, send it via mail to a friend and shuffle the tracks (of course).

In all, this is a very very simple website simply existing for the sake of letting people hear great music. I’ve recommended this site to quite a few of my friends, and for all of you music-lovers who want great new music and do not want to pay for the $3/month subscription of last.fm, this is a great (albeit in less quanitity) alternative!

Tech Gift Ideas for your Valentine

Well, the famous (or infamous if you live in Mumbai) Valentine’s Day is around and it’s time you decided to give a gift to that special someone. However, what if your boyfriend/girlfriend is a tech maniac? What if he/she likes to stay in the latest buzz or have a new gadget to show off (and hopefully do the same for you next year)? Those murmurs of acquiescence tell me that you do have such a companion and that choosing a gift for him/her without formidably denting your wallet is quite a nuisance. Fear not! For Techie Buzz is here to save your day once again!

For the Photography Lover

No, we are not going to tell you to buy him/her a dSLR (but if you have the money to spend, go ahead!), but the Nikon Coolpix L20 is a formidable point-and-shoot camera that comes for under $100. With a lacquered plastic finish this one is a good-looking winner!

Coolpix

However, if your Valentine already has a decent camera and uploads and shares them online, the best way to gift him/her is by buying a premium subscription package for the service they use. Both deviantART and Flickr offer subscription gifts with messages that add an extra bit of love to the gift!

Official_deviantART_Logo

With deviantART, all you have to do is browse to the person’s profile and click on the Givebutton followed by the Give subscriptionbutton and following the on-screen instructions. With Flickr, just navigate to the gift page and buy a subscription. The person who receives it has to redeem the gift code. Simple!

flickr-yahoo-logo.png.v2

For the Music Lover

While the iPod Touch would be the preferred gift idea of the rich, it will not be a gift idea from Techie Buzz. We like it when awesome things are bundled at a low price! The favored music player that is pretty cheap is the Sansa Clip from Sandisk. This David of a player laughs at the Goliaths like Apple and Samsung with its beautifully rich sound reproduction. Supporting MP3, WMA, secured WMA and Audible eBooks, this is one player that does everything in a tiny package. Best part? It’s dirt cheap at around $50 for the 4GB version. The Clip+ which supports microSD extendable memory is also around the same price. Verdict: Get the Clip+ you will not regret it!

sansaclip

However, if your Valentine is an Apple fan, the new 3rd Gen iPod Shuffle is quite the formidable player. With its sleek looks and beautiful array of colors and the amazing Apple sound quality to boot, this one is a sure-fire winner at $79 or less. Since I personally use this player, I would recommend it to anyone who travels via public transport. The earphone controls are a godsend even though the sound is not all that great via the headphones. However, you can get an adapter for the controls and use your own earphones if you want.

ipodshuffle

If your loved one uses last.fm quite a lot, you can even gift the last.fm radio subscription for him/her! Just click on the subscribe button and click on the For friendtab and do the rest! Or, just click here for giving the gift of a subscription.

lastfm-logo

For the Gamer

Ah, the Gamer. So many games and hardware to choose from what do you exactly buy him (mostly)/her? There is the constant fear of your Valentine saying Oh I have this gameor Aw, this game sucks!. However, knowing gamers as I do, most of the hardcore gamers truly enjoy retro games. So one of the favorite gaming devices is the GP2X Wiz. Though it is pricey, it is a godsend for retro gamers and has a touch-screen and emulators for quite a few gaming devices of yore.

gp2xwiz

As for real games, there is always a sale on Steam or Direct2Drive regarding games and you can give the gift of a game on both these websites. Good Old Games also has the option of gifting games, but the fact of the matter is that  GoG.com is DRM-free completely and has amazing old games that still fail to bore you! So if your boyfriend/girlfriend likes gaming, these are the places to be!

Do tell us what you bought for your Valentine and how it was received in the comments!

Watch GRAMMY Awards 2010 Online

The GRAMMY (Grammy or Gramophone) Awards are presented each year to honor the best achievements in the music industry of the past year by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, USA. It is a widely televised award, second only to the Oscar (Academy) Awards. With 99 award categories and a total of 109 awards this is one of the longest award ceremonies around and it is full of the glitz and glitter of the music industry from rock groups to classical orchestras to hip-hop kings throng the audience among others. The 52nd GRAMMY Awards will be presented on the 31st of January, 2010 from 8:30-11:30PM (ET/PT) at the Los Angeles Convention Center, while the pre-telecast will go live online from 1:00PM to 4:00PM (ET/PT).

GRAMMY Award

The GRAMMY awards are named after the gold-gilded gramophone statuette presented to the winner(s), and is analogous to the Golden Globe statuette and the Oscar statuette awarded to their respective winners. The hosts of this year’s GRAMMY awards are Tia Carrere (the Hawaiian actress and award winner) and Kurt Elling, who are also this year’s nominees for one award each. Many current nominees and industry greats will be presenting the awards in 99 categories, and the star-studded ceremony will also feature performances by Beast, Charlie Benson and Ray Wilson, among others.

TiaCarrere

The best part about this CBS-sponsored award ceremony is that it can also be watched online! Both Grammy.com and the CBS network for all of us computer-couch potatoes! Both of these sites, will stream the ceremony online, while YouTube will add auxiliary support with a host of related videos. The pre-telecast ceremony will be streamed live on GRAMMY Live!, for an entire weekend’s worth of interviews, special performances and more from nominees.

Kurt Elling

This year’s ceremony will also feature a special Michael Jackson tribute, featuring a 3D mini-movie known as Earth Song, created by Jackson for his This Is Ittour, but has not been seen before. The movie delivers a strong message about the future of our planet. CBS will telecast this movie in full 3D so that viewers at home can also watch it with special 3D glasses (which the company has made millions of and is distributing for free in Target stores in the USA from the 24th through to 31st January, 2010). Along with this, there will be special performances to honor Jackson who passed away in 2009.

Michael Jackson

So, I am sure you will all be glued to your displays now that the GRAMMYs are also being telecast online! Tell us who will win the GRAMMYs in your favorite categories, and why in your comments!

Courts to Debate Lawsuits on Fan-Made Videos in 2010

EMI Music imprints Capitol, Caroline, and Virgin, and EMI Music Publishing have recently filed a lawsuit against Vimeo.com (a video sharing website that falls under a division of online media conglomerate IAC). In the murky areas of copyright law, this is a significant development because it looks into the yet unaddressed issue of fans uploading videos that have copyrighted content (mostly audio) in it.

EMI’s suit will tackle two primary concerns. The first is whether video sharing websites are liable for copyright infringement. This is keeping in mind that they allow, and profit from, user-uploaded copyrighted content.
The second concern is whether lip dubs, and similar videos, are cases of copyright infringement. (Lip dubs are videos in which people lip synch to professional recordings.)

Most labels have agreements with YouTube, that enables sharing of revenue gained from such videos. However, not all labels have been able to make such agreements, and not all video sharing sites have been included in such deals so far.

The other side states that fan-made videos are examples of fair use, tolerated under copyright law as an accommodation to noncommercial, transformative creativity. However, as EMI duly points out Vimeo.com is anything but noncommercial.

This area of copyright has few precedents in terms of law. Besides the EMI suit, there are other suits lined up in 2010 that might possibly bring clarity to these issues. Examples are Stephanie Lenz’s lawsuit where she is fighting UMG for taking down a YouTube video of her toddler son dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”. Also in line is Don Henley’s action against U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore (R-Calif.) for using “The Boys of Summer” and “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” in “parody” political videos.

Search For Music Videos, MP3s and Lyrics Using Museeca

There are websites to search for music videos, websites to search for lyrics and even websites to search for MP3s. However, there are very few websites that allow you to search for all of these.

Museeca is a search engine solely dedicated to music. You can use Museeca to find MP3,music videos, Ringtones, Lyrics and even guitar tabs. The underlying search engine is Google so the results are pretty fast and accurate. For example, searching for an Mp3 of Fireflies would display a number of MP3 sites where you can listen to and download the song.

You can search for a song by artist, song or album name. While searching for a ringtone, you can narrow your search down to MP3 Ringtones, iPhone Ringtones or Polyphonic Ringtones.

Want to see which chords were used in a particular song? Another unique option that Museeca offers is to search for Guitar tabs. It searches popular guitar sites including Ultimate-Guitar and GuitarTab.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

Museeca is an excellent resource to search for music and music related information. When you enter a query in Museeca, it searches Google for you but filters out all the noise and only gives you the results containing actual media.

Rating: 4/5

Last.fm Reveals Top 10 Artists of 2009

Last.fm is the ultimate social platform when it comes to music. Millions of users flock to Last.fm every day to listen to music, manage playlists and find music related information. Now, when 2009 is about to end, they have revealed the top 10 albums of the year based on album scrobbles.

Here’s the list:

10. Kayne West with 6,615,339 album scrobbles.

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs with 6,885,404 album scrobbles.

8. Green Day with 7,607,693 album scrobbles.

7. Animal Collective with 7,630,636 scrobbles.

6. Beyonce with 8,642,704 scrobbles.

5. Franz Ferdinand with 8,795,186 album scrobbles.

4. The Prodigy with 8,900,264 scrobbles.

3. Lily Allen with 10,522,633 album scrobbles.

2. The Killers with 12,471,571 scrobbles.

1. Lady Gaga with 18,487,195 album scrobbles.

The data is based on activity from 1st October 2008 through 16th November 2009. Another interesting set of data that was recently published by Last.fm is the Top 1000 by tag list.