You might recall back in April that Apple’s iTunes online store for the first time surpassed Wal-Mart as the number one music retailer in the US. They had the lead, but could they keep it? Looks like the answer is yes.
NDP Group has released the sales numbers for the first half of 2008 and the rankings are:
- Wal-Mart (Walmart, Walmart.com, Walmart Music Downloads)
- Best Buy (Best Buy, Bestbuy.com, Best Buy Digital Music Store)
- Amazon (Amazon.com, AmazonMP3.com)
- Target (Target and Target.com)
Amazon is an interesting story. In April they were in fifth place but they’ve come on strong thanks to their DRM-free MP3 store and moved into fourth position.
Will they crack the top three by Christmas? They’re definitely building momentum…
[Via Mac Rumors]
Yahoo has announced that beginning on October 1st of this year they will no longer be delivering DRM keys to music purchased from their Yahoo Music online music service.
If you have already authorized songs from the service you’ll still be able to play them locally, but you won’t be able to do anything else with them–no copying them to a portable player, burning them to CD, etc.
Nokia’s Comes With Music program got more support as the third largest music label, Warner Music Group, has signed on joining Universal Music Group International and SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
What is Comes With Music?
Comes With Music is a music download service being built by Nokia that will give people who buy a compatible Nokia device the ability to access an unlimited number of music tracks for 1-year and after that year even if the user doesn’t continue to pay for the service the music they’ve downloaded. Plus, you’ll be able to transfer songs to your PC so you won’t be stuck having to play them on your handset.
The Comes With Music program is expected to launch later this year.
Check out the full press release here if you’re interested.
On the heels of the first Rock Band being released for the Nintendo Wii, Harmonix has announced Rock Band 2.
Coming in the second game will be:
- Higher quality instruments that will be quieter, more realistic and more reliable
- Support for third party hardware
- Backwards compatibility–songs purchased for Rock Band 1 will also work with Rock Band 2 and future songs will work with both games
- New ways to help transition from Expert mode in the game to real musical instruments
For more info check out this interview with the games lead designer, Dan Teasdale.
Expect more info to hit later this month as the game at E3.
Back in April Microsoft announced that it was going to be shutting down their DRM servers responsible for authorizing content from the MSN music store, a move which would have prevented people who had legally purchased music from the MSN music store from authorizing devices to play the content, effectively making the content unusable.
Looks like Microsoft has had a change of heart and has announced that they will be KEEPING the DRM servers alive until at least 2011, meaning people who paid for tracks will be able to continue to enjoy them for at least the next 3.5 years.
Microsoft says that they will be keeping their eyes on how much authorizing the servers do between now and then and then determine what steps (if any) should be taken to support their customers.
[Via Ars Technica]
Just one month after passing Best Buy to become the number two music retailer in the US, Apple has now overtaken Wal-Mart to become the number one music retailer.
In January the iTunes store claimed 19 percent of sales, Wal-Mart had 15 percent (online and brick-and-mortar combined), third place went to Best Buy with 13 percent.
Its just one month worth of data so we’ll see six months from now how things stack up. Will iTunes stay on top? Will Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 store break into the top three? Stay tuned…
[Via Ars Technica]
Video game music has sure come a long way since the early days of the industry. Game composers are no longer limited to synthesized beeps and blips, and are now able to compose and use full orchestral pieces, some of which rival the scores used in feature films.
Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, two game composer veterans with such titles as MDK, Unreal, Earthworm Jim, Prince of Persia, Myst, Splinter Cell, and Mass Effect (to name a few) under their collective belts, bring you Video Games Live.
What is Video Games Live?
A live concert featuring some of the most celebrated music since the beginning of video gaming to the present, featuring music from such games as Frogger, Dragon’s Lair, Donkey Kong, Splinter Cell, Jade Empire, BioShock, God of War, Halo and Zelda just to name a few.
But to call it just a live concert would really be selling it short.
The show also features video from many of the games synchronized to the music presented on giant screens, and some performances will also feature live action on stage, special effects, and a laser light show.
Video Games Live will be making its way around the world throughout this year. Interested? Check out their list of show dates here.
For more information check out their website at VideoGamesLive.com.
Yahoo! has announced that they will be leaving the music subscription service, handing over its Yahoo! Music Unlimited service to Rhapsody.
Over the next few months Yahoo! will be migrating their customers to Rhapsody while allowing them to access their music libraries from a new Rhapsody account.
If you are familiar with the two services, you may know that they are priced differently. Yahoo’s music service costs between $5.99 to $8.99 per month while Rhapsody charges $12.99.
Yahoo! Music Unlimited subscribers will keep their current pricing until their contract expires, at which time they will be automatically charged the higher Rhapsody rate.
Yahoo! and Rhapsody are reportedly looking into working together on other projects, including music downloads.
This arrangement could run into a snag with Microsoft’s buyout proposal. If Yahoo! does accept the offer, the deal with Rhapsody may not happen.
[Via Download Squad]