Amazon beats Apple and Google to cloud-based music service, decides not to obtain licenses from the major music groups

Amazon beats Apple and Google to cloud-based music service, decides not to obtain licenses from the major music groups

Amazon, the only place I know where you can buy a Papa Smurf decal bumper sticker and a $1 million certified diamond, has unexpectedly unveiled a cloud-based music locker this morning, offering account holders the ability to access their personal music collection from multiple computers and devices.

So how does it work? Well, anyone with an Amazon account can upload MP3s (both legal and illegal) to the Amazon Cloud Drive and stream them from any web-connected computer or device running Android software. You can even download any uploaded files, which includes photos, videos, documents, and whatever else. Amazon starts you off with 5GB of storage, but purchasing an MP3 album through Amazon will automatically get you another 20GB. (SPECIAL TMT TIP: Purchase Panda Bear’s “Last Night at the Jetty” single as an “album” for 99¢, and you’ll still get the extra 20GB.) You can buy more space for $1/1GB/year (e.g., a 500GB locker would cost you $500/year), and any purchases made through Amazon’s MP3 store will not count towards your space limitation.

I haven’t tested it out too much yet, but it took roughly 40mn to upload Thrill Jockey’s monster 64-track benefit compilation. Creating playlists and moving between songs was a breeze, and the MP3s were automatically organized based on their tags. I wouldn’t commit to purchasing a ton of space and moving my entire collection without checking out Google and Apple’s soon-to-be-released cloud services — and personally, I’m fine with what I currently use: Subsonic, an open-source alternative for people who don’t want to shell out money for cloud space, don’t have an immediate concern that their hard drive is going to crap out, and would rather wait for the cloud competition dust to settle. But hey, you probably already have an Amazon account, so it’s worth playing with the 5GB of free space.

Amazon’s announcement is especially surprising, because for over a year now, the race to the cloud has largely been seen as a competition between Apple and Google. But while Apple and Google are making their way through the legal jungle, Amazon — one of the first major retailers to strip their MP3s of DRM — has decided to once again curtail the demands of the major labels. “We don’t need a licence to store music,” said Craig Pape, Amazon director of music. “The functionality is the same as an external hard drive.”

Expect some grumbling soon.

White Lies tour North America in May — we promise

Like all monoliths of music journalism (we finally surpassed Pitchfork in readership this month — congrats everyone), we like to bring you objective, unbiased news without flourishes or frills (the reviews, obviously, are a different story). As soon as a record is pressed, we’ve got something to say about it. As soon as a tour begins, we spread the word like butter on toast. In light of our dedication to monitoring the physical location of major stars on the rise, we’d like to announce that the UK’s White Lies are coming to the US for just such an endeavor: the famed tour from one coast to another. Or are they?

Yes, maybe we’re just telling you that to make you feel better. Maybe we’re just telling you that to make them feel better, after a particularly scathing review from Pitchfork. Whether you believe us or not, it’s a reality that White Lies’ new single “Strangers” hit college radio on March 21. So check out these dates… the band will probably show up, because the Easter bunny exists for young children and one day the Angels will win the pennant.


05.17.11 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
05.19.11 - New York City, NY - Terminal 5
05.20.11 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
05.21.11 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
05.24.11 - Austin, TX - Antone’s
05.25.11 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
05.26.11 - Mexico City, Mexico - Vive Cuervo Salon

• White Lies:
• Fiction:

Marissa Nadler records new, self-titled album, starts her own record label, makes you weepy

Boston-based songstress Marissa Nadler’s Americana-inflected tunes are the perfect soundtrack for a dusty, haunted, economically depressed summer (as well suited to the 1930s as to today). And so it is with great joy that I write you about the June 14 release of the lady’s new LP, a self-titled little number on her brand-new record label, Box of Cedar Records. Nadler is teaming up with producer Brian McTear (Matt Pond PA, Danielson) for this, her fifth full-length.

The self-titled album will be Nadler’s first release on Box of Cedar after two successful albums on Kemado. One of these, 2007’s Songs III: Bird on the Water (TMT Review) was nominated for the 2008 Plug Awards in the “Best Female Artist of the Year” and “Best American Record of the Year” categories. Fun fact: her songwriting skills inspired the name for the Mexican Summer label.

Marissa Nadler tracklisting:

01. In Your Lair, Bear
02. Alabaster Queen
03. The Sun Always Reminds Me of You
04. Mr. John Lee Revisited
05. Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning
06. Puppet Master
07. Wind Up Doll
09. Little King
10. In A Magazine
11. Daisy, Where Did You Go?

• Marissa Nadler:

Missing a couple Blank Dogs tracks? Well, don’t download ‘em… buy ‘em in April with his new compilation album!

We all know this story, right? A hip young musical artist finally gets some fame, a good recording studio, and more and more people listening to their music, and then some skinny-tied A&R guy is like: “Let’s take some of that hip young music you did from a few years ago, the rare 12-inches and vinyl-only tracks, and re-release them as one big package that people will buy again!”

Well, Blank Dogs is the hip young musical artist this time around and, thankfully for his hip young fans, Mr. Dogs has yet to suckle on the teat of some Big Corporate Music executive like Edgar Bronfman (and his extra-hairy nipples), because Captured Tracks will be releasing the compilation their damn selves.

As per the press release, the album is titled Collected By Itself: 2006 - 2009 and will be “…Compil[ing] long out of print singles, EP’s, cassette and compilation tracks from the Blank Dogs archive […] a wide breadth of the material recorded from this period not released on the full-length albums of this period, On Two Sides and Under and Under.” All of the music has been completely remastered, and not even a single, solitary track has ever, ever been lasered into a CD before. Plus, it comes out on April 26, which happens to be my favorite day in April — for unrelated reasons.

Check out one of them tracks — “Slow Room!” — over at the Chocolate Grinder.

Collected By Itself: 2006 - 2009 tracklist:

01. Leaving the Light On
02. Slow Room!
03. Two Months
04. Before the Hours
05. Keeping All the Time
06. Freezing Styles
07. 1480 Fox
08. The Tied
09. She’s Violent Tonight
10. Dismorphobia
11. Doorbell Fire
12. The Other Way
13. Calling Over
14. Yellow Mice Sleep
15. Outside Alarmer
16. Waiting
17. My House Is Red
18. Butler Hospital
19. Poison Ivy
20. Scenes in a New Town
21. Anywhere
22. They Said
23. Ages Ago
24. Mirror Lights
25. Splitting
26. Leaves
27. Stuck inside the World

• Blank Dogs:
• Captured Tracks:

Brian Eno DVD coming to DVD! That’s right, I’m one of those guys who calls all films DVDs.

Brian Eno is a guy. A British guy. A British guy who’s done some stuff. Most of that stuff has been “musical” in nature, but I guess not all of it. Also, some of that stuff happened in the 1970s, which, coincidentally or not, is when he first started getting attention from people for his stuff (yeah, the musical stuff). So yeah, he’s important.

Now, in accordance with Brian Eno as a 1970s stuff-doer (a lot of people think of the 70s as his golden age; although some people don’t, and others don’t know who Brian Eno is), the Sexy Intellectual label is releasing a DVD-thing called Brian Eno 1971-1977: The Man Who Fell To Earth. It’s actually a certain type of DVD-thing called a “documentary.” Now, what these “documentaries” do is, they explore the life and career stuff (music, in this case) of famous, documentary-type people. If you keep up on this sort of stuff and you’re all into stuff and stuff, than you already know that those years for Brian Eno included his stint playing keys and junk in Roxy Music (1971-1973) and his first slew of solo stuff (Here Come the Warm Jets [1974], Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) [1974], Another Green World [1975], and Before and After Science [1977]), during which he sorta began developing his Eno vibe and whatnot. Vibe is what critics call a “style.” Specifically, I’m talking about that whole “pop-ambient style” thing that he’s probably most known for today. So yeah, that’s what makes him a “documentary-type” person.

But back to the DVD. Being a documentary, it’s got what they call “archival footage” in it, like some performance and studio “film” (film is the stuff that DVDs are made from). It’s also got some exclusive interviews in it, mostly from musician and writer-types (including his biographer) who are more or less friends of his. Actually, maybe they interview some people who hate him too; I really don’t know. The thing isn’t out yet. See, it comes out on May 17. And actually, the reason I’m telling you NOW instead of on May 17 is so that you can pre-order it and watch the trailer for it over here. So yeah. That’s why I told you.

• Brian Eno:
• Sexy Intellectual:…

RIP: Corey McGriff a.k.a. DJ Megatron, BET 106 & Park host

From The Wall Street Journal:

A hip-hop disc jockey and television personality, known for his energetic presence at clubs and on the airwaves, was shot and killed early Sunday near his home on Staten Island.

Corey McGriff, who went by the stage name DJ Megatron, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting on Osgood Avenue in the Clifton section at about 2 a.m., police said. Mr. McGriff, 32 years old, was a member of the popular Black Entertainment Television show 106 & Park and had gained popularity spinning hip-hop and top 40 on radio stations in Philadelphia, Boston and New York’s Hot 97. He was also a father of three children, his family said.

• DJ Megatron: