Ubuntu 10.04, now with a Music Store!

If you haven’t heard the news yet, Ubuntu 10.04 will feature a Music Store from within the default music player.

This is the initial page that you land on.

The default music player in Ubuntu 10.04 is currently Rhythmbox, but the Music store should be available through other popular music players soon.

Currently in the early Beta stage, Ubuntu’s Music Store (officially named “UbuntuOne Music Store”, poorly named in my opinion) appears to be running smoothly. The only problem I could find with the service was the overall speed of page-loads and initializing downloads for purchased songs.

This is where your downloads process.

When you select the tracks you want to download and checkout with them, you’ll be directed to the “My Downloads” section where you can watch the progress of your music being transferred to your UbuntuOne account.

This is the part that had noticeable slowness. I waited between 5-10 minutes before any progress had occurred in my purchase. However, when the song did transfer, it completed in a matter of ~2-3 seconds. I presume the server performance will improve throughout the testing stages and become well stabilized for Ubuntu 10.04 final.

If you’re interested in testing the UbuntuOne Music Store, but don’t want to spend any money just to test it then you’re in luck!

If you find a free track that you like, simply search for it through the Music Store embedded in Rhythmbox and download it!

I’m glad to see the store finally open up, I’m just hoping that they keep a high standard of appearance and keep it clean and simple. In its current form, I’m very impressed.

Now we just need a Genius side bar that works off of the UbuntuOne Music Store selection to suggest new music and music from your current collection!

Pandora Internet Radio + Last.fm Scrobbling

Recently I started using Pandora Internet Radio again (I hadn’t used it in ages) to stream various genres of free radio tunes online. Pandora has a wide selection of genres to choose from and comes as a free and a premium service.


The free service is all I’m looking for and I’m willing to wait for short advertisement breaks from time to time. If you aren’t patient enough for the short pauses in your tunes or just utterly hate advertisements then you can get the premium service for just $36 a year. This is actually a very affordable deal when you break it down to only $3 a month or just $0.75 per week, especially if you use it regularly.

There are plenty of other free or pay for Internet Radio services or services that just let you pick tracks specifically to listen to. If you interested in those then take a look at Slacker, Dora.fm, Deezer, Napster Web Radio, AccuRadio, iLike, Blip.fm or even streaming from the select tracks that are available at Last.fm! There are many others available as well, but for now I’ll only get into Pandora. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve been using Last.fm for nearly two years now scrobbling tracks from my computer via Windows Media Player and Rhythmbox in Ubuntu. The list of audio players that now support scrobbling to Last.fm is far to long to post here, but if you find one that won’t scrobble by default then chances are someone’s written a plug-in to do just that.

One plug-in, or add-on/extension rather, that I recently came across is called LastFM Firefox Extension. This is a nifty little extension that allows you to scrobble tracks from various listed services with Pandora being one of them.


After installing the LastFM Firefox Extension you’ll notice that it ties in nicely with the other extension icons you may use frequently (pictured above is Firebug, Greasemonkey, LastFM Firefox Extension).

You can get a quick glance at the currently playing song without ever leaving your current tab or having to scroll through tabs to find it in the tab title. Right from the icons you can Favorite or Heart the tracks you like. This will favorite them automatically on Last.fm for you rather than making you manually go to Last.fm to do this. You can also tag songs with any tags that you feel fit that specific song using the Tag icon (I personally haven’t found a good reason to use this yet, but you may know of one!).

To get started with this extension, it currently comes in two flavors: Stable and Beta. I don’t typically promote Beta software, but in this case, you’re far better off using the Beta rather than testing your hit or miss luck with the current Stable.

The steps to get this extension aren’t drawn out very well without a bit of digging, but I’ll guide you through:

  • Login to your Last.fm account and join the LastFM Firefox Extension group (this is mandatory).
  • Depending on your luck you may be forced to wait up to 24 hours before you’re granted permission to install the Beta version. It’s well worth the wait (1 day isn’t that big of a deal is it?).
  • After joining the LastFM Firefox Extension group on Last.fm you will need to download the Beta version from the official extension page. It may ask you to verify that you are authorized. This just means you must be in the group on Last.fm and you probably need to of been in the group for 24 hours or more.
  • Once you get the extension installed simply go to Tools -> LastFM and enter you credentials so it can scrobble your tunes!

Depending on when you come across this post, LastFM Firefox Extension may or may not still be in Beta. Feel free to use the current stable version if you prefer to avoid Beta software. Enjoy scrobbling those tunes!

Managing A Music Collection

So I entered the 21st century a bit early and began ripping my cd collection to mp3’s long before a decent cd ripping tool was available to me.

You know, the kind that will label the tracks properly, organize them into a hierarchy that makes sense (such as Artist/Album/Track Number – Track Title), make sure that you’re not ripping duplicates from an artist (by ripping their individual albums and then their Greatest Hits albums), pour you a glass of milk and bake you some cookies, etc.

When I backed up my entire cd collection ages ago, I had to tag and sort most of the music myself. This worked well then since no one really had most of their music in mp3 collections (that I knew of) and there was no “good procedure” to organizing your music.

Now, I find myself deleting chunks of my library so that I can rip them again, this time with smarter tools. ๐Ÿ˜‰

One program that I’m beginning to use for those tracks that just need a little TLC is “MP3 Diags”. It seems to offer fixes for pretty much any problem that you have with your mp3 collection.

I’ve also been considering ripping my collection to ogg format or maybe even flac (lossless), but I’m still unable to justify the benefits when mp3 has served me so well thus far.

If you have any opinions or suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Linkin Park

I just realized last weekend how little I’ve listened to Linkin Park since High School when I was prepping myself for a soccer game to the Hybrid Theory album.

I remember thinking how cool that entire album was and it’s no surprise that after I play through it again now, I still enjoy it!

What is a surprise, however, is the major difference between Linkin Park then and Linkin Park now.

Right off the bat I must tell you that I “hate” their newest album. I don’t know much about it, but the style is so different.

Well, a different style isn’t what makes them bad. It’s that they have lost everything that made them unique before.

Blink-182 changed styles several times and each of which I was overall impressed with.

Sorry to all of you Nickelback fans, but Linkin Park is starting to reach the same “low” in my opinion.

What are your general opinions on Linkin Park’s new material and the direction they are moving towards?

Lyrical Friday: Blink 182 – Miss You

Hello there, the angel from my nightmare
The shadow in the background of the morgue
The unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley
We can live like Jack and Sally if we want
Where you can always find me
We’ll have Halloween on Christmas
And in the night we’ll wish this never ends
We’ll wish this never ends

Don’t waste your time on me you’re already
The voice inside my head (I miss you miss you)
Don’t waste your time on me you’re already
The voice inside my head (I miss you miss you)
Where are you and I’m so sorry
I cannot sleep I cannot dream tonight
I need somebody and always
This sick strange darkness
Comes creeping on so haunting every time
And as I stared I counted
Webs from all the spiders
Catching things and eating their insides
Like indecision to call you
and hear your voice of treason
Will you come home and stop this pain tonight
Stop this pain tonight

Don’t waste your time on me you’re already
The voice inside my head (miss you miss you)
Don’t waste your time on me you’re already
The voice inside my head (miss you miss you)

Don’t waste your time on me you’re already
The voice inside my head (I miss you miss you)
Don’t waste your time on me you’re already
The voice inside my head (I miss you miss you)

The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon

This is one of my new favorite songs thanks to Absolute Radio even though it’s actually really old. You should give it a listen and see what you think! I actually really like it and think that a lot of people would love it if they gave it a shot! Go check it!

The Lonely Island – I’m On A Boat

Can’t remember how I came across this funny music video on YouTube by The Lonely Island, but it cracks me up every time I watch it.

Warning, some (read “a lot”) of the language is foul, so you probably shouldn’t crank this up in your work place. Other than that, just enjoy the comedy in the video. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The day the Music Died..in Ruckus

ruckus_shieldRuckus, which was once a source of free music in a legal way of obtaining it and was based on advertisements. The way that I was introduced to Ruckus was through my University and I found it to be a pretty good service even with the DRM protected content.

Over the weekend, however, I found that upon visiting Ruckus.net I was greeted with an “Unfortunately the Ruckus Service will no longer be provided” message.

At first I thought I must be at the wrong website, maybe a fake one. Nope, it’s true and it was for me without warning.

Oddly enough, I had just used the service on February 5 and it turned out that the very next day they closed their doors.

For those of you who spend a lot of time building a DRM protected library in Ruckus, I’m sorry to say that your music will slowly become unplayable. Your best bet is to find an alternative or get to cracking that protection as soon as possible. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I turned to a service that I had looked into in the past, but never got around to trying. SpiralFrog will hopefully be a good replacement to Ruckus for me, but so far I’ve been disappointed to say the least with their song and artist selection of available for download tracks.

Another thing that I dislike about SpiralFrog is the fact that the download manager seems to only handle one song at a time and is fairly poor at doing even that!

Ruckus was capable of downloading multiple tracks at once and downloaded them very fast through the client which was a download manager and player all in one (a long with the advertisements).


Are there any other good alternatives that I should look into that are legal and free?

Apple to Sell DRM-Free iTunes Music

itunes_iconAfter being rumored for over a year and highly anticipated by both Windows and Mac users, Apple is to finally drop DRM protection from the entire iTunes music catalogue. The entire music library is now available in the 256kbps AAC format which was previously known as iTunes Plus…until now.

In April, iTunes will introduce variable pricing among the entire music catalogue with song prices ranging from 69ยข to 99ยข and $1.29 depending on pricing arrangements made with record labels.

If you’re already sunk a fair amount of money in the iTunes store, Apple will allow you to upgrade your entire library to the DRM-free format – for 30ยข per song or 25% of the album price.

While that’s not quite the deal I was looking for, it is a nice alternative for keeping your expensive music collection portable! Those of you looking for a cheaper alternative might find this to be beneficial. Or this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

MTV Music Online

Who would have thought that Music Television..errr…MTV would be showing music videos? That was so pre-millennium.

If you’re like me and hate watching MTV now because it resembles very little of what made it so poplar to begin with then you’ll be happy to know that you can now watch your favorite music videos at MTV Music.com!

The site uses flash, so chances are you’ll be able to watch and listen to your favorite songs immediately.

Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stronger

From a glance, you’ll notice that the layout of the site very much resembles the now popular Hulu.com with the general layout and clean and simple look.

Make sure to leave some feedback if you like their new site and let them know why!