Music to Concentrate by...

Excited to see this mention of Will Henshall's (London Beat fame) new digital music service Focus@Will in today's Digital Music News.  The only thing missing from that article is the mention that Naxos is the exclusive provider of the carefully selected Classical Music utilized to help people concentrate using his service.  This was one of those really fun out-of-the-box deals to do.  I am so pleased to see it coming to fruition now!  

For more on the article: Digital Music News


For more on the music and how to get your hands on it: NaxosLicensing

To Stream or Not To Stream

Being in the middle of negotiations regarding streaming VS physical goods on a constant basis makes this subject especially near and dear to my heart.  Til the end of time, the old guard will debate the relevance of streaming and the fact that it "killed the music industry" along with piracy... there is some truth to the statement re: piracy.  However, the music industry killed the music industry.  We weren't murdered.  We committed suicide.  Failure to adjust to the moving target which is our business is our own fault.  Business decisions should not be dictated by fear... but weighed and dictated by optimism.  

Simple fact.  Customers consume music in a variety of ways.  Some stream, some own.  To not engage those customers due to a fear of cannibalizing another income stream is short-sighted.  Streaming services pay... but so does Sound Exchange and the other PRO's.  In a a big way.  Revenues will be offset by other streams of income and at the end of the day the companies who realize this will be the ones left standing.  The ones who fail to embrace it will go the way of Eastman Kodak, Gateway, Betamax and the Polaroid camera.


Below is a link to NARM and's new infographic on streaming.  This gives some good insight into the affect streaming has on No. 1 hits.  The results albeit not scientific are pretty telling...


Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 10.15.39 AM (kickass web-app of the week) is a super-cool database of current pop/hip-hop/electronic hits and the samples used within them.  The page is incredibly simple although the main page is a bit of a vomit of information...  It isnt what I would call a clean interface, but it is a really neat site for the musically curious.  This all via the web, or their IOS apps.  Not only does it tell you what your favorite pop-star sampled, but it tells you when in the song the sample occurs and also include a youtube link to the music that was sampled...  It is pretty freakin sweet.

Aside from the geekery of this, it also could drive sales of both the original tune sampled and the newer sample-filled work via the pass-thru links to itunes and Amazon... really the simplicity of it is pretty attractive to me and like I said, other music geeks will agree that this is a fun toy err.... I mean tool.  Additionally, it won the EMI innovation Challenge this week... so apparently, I'm not the only person who thinks it is cool.


Product Review: NuForce uDac-2 (USB DAC)

Not very often am I inspired to write a product review, but I am quite smitten with my latest (and least expensive) audio purchase.  The NuForce uDac-2 is a "high-performance, Headphone Amp and 24bit/96kHz USB Digital Audio Converter (DAC) that connects your personal computer's audio to your home stereo, desktop sound system, or headphones to deliver superior sound. It improves upon our original uDAC model by providing a highly linear TOCOS volume control for improved channel tracking at low listening levels, a 24bit/96kHz USB DAC, and an improved headphone amp."  In English-  This is the most affordable, best performing USB powere Dac on the market IMHO.

I started looking around for a reliable, affordable DAC a few months back as I was dissatisfied with the sound output of my MacBook Pro.  I had an 1/8 inch to RCA adapter running to my office stereo system and it simply was not cutting the mustard.  As I looked around the web, I encountered many different brands and devices... some big, some small.  All of my research kept bringing me back to NuForce.  So I figured for $120 I'd give it a try.

Upon receiving my unassuming package, I opened it and quickly began moving cords around to account for my new toy.  Before I completely had everything ran perfectly, I did take the time to do some A-B testing between my previous setup and the NuForce.  All I can say is WOW!  The highs were crisper, the lows more complete and the overall sound just opened up wide.  I used the same sample material (a Loss-less Tom Petty album) and even invited colleagues into my office to listen.  All agreed, the NuForce uDac was a winner!

My only gripes (very minor) are that it is only USB Powered.  In my research, I found the higher priced/performing DACs to all have their own power supply.  I wander what the addition of direct power would do to the performance of this unit.  also, the 24 bit resolution and 96kHz sampling rate is not on par with other high-dollar "lossless" 24/196 units, but than again neither is the price.  For the simple fact that the vast majority of my digital music is MP3 and not lossless, I didnt find this to be a hinderance on my purchase. All I can say of the uDac is for the money... and for an entry-level DAC, it is heads above the rest.  I sincerely recommend this to any and all music lovers as an entry into Digital Audio Convertors.

Available in a variety of models and colors:

Note the size comparison... this thing is TINY: