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On the Beyoncé/iTunes/Target Thing

by Jason Lightner December 26th, 2013| Music Opinions
cdsBy now, readers have certainly checked out Louise's column about singer Beyoncé's surprise self-titled album which debuted exclusively on iTunes  this past week. If you haven't read it, that's fine. I'll wait.

All done? Good. Now we can continue.

So Beyoncé released a time-exclusive album as an iTunes-only offering, and it's been a smashing success, selling over 80,000 digital copies in its first three hours, and a total of 430,000 digital copies in its first day. On December 16, Apple announced that Beyoncé was the fastest selling album in the history of the iTunes Store, both in the US and worldwide,
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On the Topic of Complete Soundtracks

by Jason Lightner November 27th, 2013| Music Opinions
record storeMany people take great joy in soundtracks, show tunes, and musical scores. Soundtracks command their own genre label in most pieces of modern music library software, and these songs are often incredible crowd pleasers during drunkenly awkward karaoke nights. As a guy whose music library contains its fair share of soundtracks, I thought I might discuss something that's been on my mind lately; that is, the growing trend of unofficial or "complete" soundtracks, and the necessity of such things.

I'm asked sometimes whether or not I actually listen to the soundtracks I collect. The sad answer is that, for the
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Musings on Connections and Creation

by Jason Lightner October 31st, 2013| Music Opinions
guitaristI've been giving the idea of pulling together a new band a lot of thought lately and, while Philly is a hotbed for the musically inclined and artistically talented, it is not exactly the easiest city in which to make solid connections. The few connections I've been able to make have had their own ups and downs, and most of them have occurred by happenstance. A few of them have actually blossomed into pretty solid friendships as well, which is something I'm extremely grateful for.

The difficulties I'm running into include solid connections with chemistry that already have something going
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I Can See the Future

by J Frazzetta October 21st, 2013| Artist Review, Featured Artist, Music Opinions
wtAfter the commercial failure of The Fragile, when the touring was finished, Trent Reznor quietly slipped out into the ether for a few years.  There were no new Nine Inch Nails projects during most of my college tenure and for a while I seemed to forget that he was on some kind of break.  Reznor would say in interviews that he took the time to clean up, take stock of himself and focus on making music.  When you think about it, Avid Reader, the 90’s were a crazy decade for Reznor trying to make sense of his new
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iTunes Radio Review

by Jason Lightner October 4th, 2013| Music Opinions
radio closeupWe first previewed Apple's new iTunes Radio service back in July and, at the time, the new custom-radio service seemed like a fantastic addition to Apple's repertoire and, with how polished the demonstration appeared, perhaps too good to be true. Now that iOS 7, iTunes 11.1, and Apple TV's new updates have been released, we can finally enter a verdict on Apple's new radio service. Is it a winner or is it a failure? Let's find out.

iTunes Radio utilizes the music libraries of the big four record companies — EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music
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iTunes Festival London 2013

by Jason Lightner September 3rd, 2013| Music Opinions
ipodiTunes Festival London 2013 kicked off this past Sunday with a performance by Lady Gaga, featuring a song from her upcoming new album, ARTPOP. A month-long extravaganza featuring 59 of the most appreciated musicians, performance artists, and bands, iTunes Festival London is an annual event that always delivers. The extra-groovy bit about the festival? For folks who aren't there to see it in person, it's totally free to watch both live and on-demand.

Music fans the world over can see the shows by using the official iTunes Festival London app on their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, on
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Logic Pro X’s Virtual Drummer Godsend

by Jason Lightner August 8th, 2013| Music Opinions
drummerLast month Apple unveiled the latest version of their professional audio workstation, Logic Pro X. Even as a major software release that was put out without a major media event, the pro audio powerhouse still made waves throughout the music scene. As a guy who mainly focuses on live performance, I've not played with recording software as much as I'd like. I've tinkered with this stuff enough, however, to know a good thing when I see it, and Logic Pro X is just that.

For the longest time I'd been considering picking up an electronic drum kit as using
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iTunes Radio Preview

by Jason Lightner July 12th, 2013| Music Opinions
itunes etcMusic fans have a bevy of choices when it comes to streaming services, whether on the desktop or on their mobile devices. Pandora Radio has been the shining star of every music lover since its inception in 2000. The "music genome project" has millions of users worldwide and provides radio in both a free ad-supported and a $3.99 per month ad-free fashion. Spotify is a relative newcomer, providing users with the ability to maintain a collection of songs and allowing them to not only play customized radio, but also full albums and shared playlists. The service costs
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Adios, Spotify

by Jason Lightner June 13th, 2013| Music Opinions
listeningAfter perhaps maybe a three- or four-month go at using Spotify as my full-time music enjoyment service, I'm calling it quits. It's not about the money, either. The $9.99 per month subscription is more than fair for the kind of product being offered; the ability to listen to music on demand, be it old or new, is a truly necessary service. The issue at hand is a matter of usability. This, my friends, is where Spotify fails in spectacular fashion.

To understand the dilemma with Spotify's usability, one must first understand the particular way in which I tend to
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Good Music Housekeeping Needs Consistency

by Jason Lightner May 16th, 2013| Music Opinions
mp3Much has been said about digital music formats, the pros and cons of various types of audio, from Lossless to MP3, and from AAC to OGG Vorbis, have all been detailed ad nauseam. This is not going to be an article about the best audio format. This is going to be the story of a journey to musical freedom, and how I learned that sometimes, what you don't hear is just as important as what you do.

My first foray into digital music began in 1995, in the form of downloading MIDI renditions of "Enter Sandman" and "Smells Like Teen
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Short Stack #3

by J Frazzetta April 26th, 2013| Music Opinions
stack****Every few weeks a short stack of CD’s will accumulate on my desk and I thought it would be fun to talk about how they got there.***

A new batch of albums has been sitting on my desk, Avid Reader, so let me tell you what managed to find its way up here to my headphones.  First of all there is a lot of punk, a few classics, and Justin Timberlake.  Wait a second, how did he get up here?  I can’t help that the dude makes a catchy album, so let’s start with him.

Right under JT’s latest is
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Getting a Good Deal On Gear

by Jason Lightner April 16th, 2013| Music Opinions
gearI had a fun little endeavor the other day involving picking up some new gear. Since moving to a new city and trying to find a new identity as a musician is a bit of a chore, I decided to start small. I've got my trusty acoustic, and I've got my standard electric and small amp. This is all perfect for an apartment where one doesn't necessarily wish to disturb the neighbors, and actually makes for a decent recording setup, provided you've got the right hardware and software to make it happen.

And so I made it happen. I recorded
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