June 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Duly Noted: $600-Plus Microsoft Surface, The Fader’s Spotify App, Rockstar Interviews, Songkick, More

microsoft surface tablet

Our experimental Duly Noted category is a collection of news from other publications and press announcements that we put into our own words.

Hey, someone should start a business around that!

Microsoft Surface: Is it expensive? Is it good? Can it have apps?

DigiTimes says the Microsoft Surface Tablets (pictured above) will cost more than $600. ComputerWorld says that analysts say $600 or even $500 is too much. Evolver.fm says people said the same thing about the iPod.

The price will come down eventually, so what matters is whether it rules compared to the rest of the market. Nobody really knows that yet. What we do know is that it looks like a more computer-ish version of a tablet with real USB ports and a keyboard, and the that Windows Phone, which runs a similar-looking operating system, is pretty good even though nobody has ever used it before. On the other hand, Microsoft is way behind Apple and even Amazon on bringing this thing to market. To make matters worse, it’s releasing two models that run on different operating systems, which is very confusing and un-Apple-like — and Apple is the company that finally made the tablet company make sense, after Microsoft’s tablet PCs had floundered for years.

The price of failure is high, due to the way app ecosystems work: If people don’t start buying Surface tablets right away, app developers will continue to focus on iOS, then Android, then Blackberry, Windows Phone, Surface, and the rest. And if there are no apps for Surface, there will be less reason to buy one, and the whole thing will become a self-reinforcing nightmare for Microsoft. (Or maybe, just maybe, HTML5 apps will grow in popularity to the point that they put all of these platforms on an even playing field.)

Latest Spotify Tastemaker: The Fader

The Fader, the magazine, released an app for Spotify, the unlimited on-demand music service, free radio streamer, and app platform. You can find it in the App Finder within Spotify’s desktop client. “The app delivers playlists featuring artists specific to issues of The FADER from deep inside the archives of the publication’s 13-year history.  Each of The FADER editors, from editor in chief Matthew Schnipper, to online editor Naomi Zeichner and style editor Alex Frank, have also developed playlists that highlight a new release of their choosing, giving listeners a guide to that artist’s web of influences and peers.  The application will also feature the editor’s letter from each issue, in addition to linking directly to features from the website related to each of the artists featured.” See also:

Many People Recently Downloaded Songza’s iOS App

Songza has found its fortunes boosted by a rash of downloads following the release of the iPad version of the app. The company tells Evolver.fm it enjoyed 1.15 million downloads in 10 days following the release of the iPad version. Also deserving credit: the company’s new emphasis on helping people find music to play during certain activities. (It also lets you listen to “Steve Jobs’ iPod.”)

Slacker Offers ‘Pepsi Challenge’ Against Spotify Radio for iOS; Comes to Windows 8, XBox 360

On the heels of Spotify’s first-ever freemium radio offering for iOS, Slacker spokesman Anders Steele tells Evolver.fm that ” Slacker has offered on-demand combined with personal radio for some time – and we would love for any listener to take the “pepsi challenge” (i’m dating myself here) as Slacker offers more unique content, and a more well-rounded listening experience.”

Slacker also released apps for XBox 360 and the preview release of Windows 8.

MOG Launches in Austalia withTelstra 

All Australians can now use MOG. If they use Telstra as their cellphone service provider, they can stream or download as much music as they want without paying for that additional data usage. Everyone else will have to deal with data limits similar to the ones we have here — a key battleground in streaming music’s fight to reach the masses.

“It’s thrilling to broaden MOG’s reach and bring Australians the best music listening experience available on multiple platforms,” said David Hyman, CEO and founder of MOG. “Australia is a key music market, ripe for disruption, and our best of breed listening and discovery service, coupled with Telstra’s market leading broadband and mobile networks, are a winning combination for music lovers. And, Telstra customers have the added benefit of streaming and downloading unlimited music with no added cost.”

Sonos Ships Subwoofer

The SUB subwoofer we told you was coming from Sonos is now shipping, offering much-needed super-low frequencies to the system for those who require them.

Songkick To Explain Itself Onstage

Are you in London, or will you be there on June 26? You might check out SongKick’s “Founders Secrets” talk, put on by TechHub, where Songkick founders hold Ian Hogarth and Michelle Yu will discuss how they built the service from a little iTunes plug-in that told you when the bands you listen to were coming to your town into “the second-most-trafficked concert site in the world, after Ticketmaster, with almost six million monthly visitors,” according to TechHub spokeswoman Stephanie Palgrave-Brown, “and leading applications for the iPhone and Spotify.”

Netflix Clamps Down on Third-Party Apps

You know how Spotify has robust app ecosystems for its desktop client, iOS, and soon Android, and how it even wants to figure out how to let small developers all over the world sell Spotify-powered apps and share the profits? Remember how Rdio’s kind of jealous about that? And do you know how many other companies in all industries are falling over themselves to try to convince people to build stuff with their APIs?

Netflix didn’t get the memo, according to goodfil.ms, and announced a clampdown on its API terms on Friday. But then VentureBeat, which initially reported that Netflix had “neutered” its API, added a comment from Netflix explaining that the company just doesn’t want other developers selling metadata like titles (really!?) and descriptions. They are still free to “continue to provide catalog information, queue capability, expiration within a two week window as well as the possibility to deep link to a title.”

The long and the short of it: Netflix realizes that the way it implements its API is the way it implements its business.

Mars Volta Bassist Wants to Teach the World to Use Pedals and Effects

Juan Alderete launched Pedals and Effects to pass along hard-won knowledge and gain an audience amongst musicians looking for new ways to affect their sound.

“I’ve been playing with pedals since the early ’90s and was always looking for something to make my bass sound like an 808, synthesizer or an unknown instrument,” he said in a statement. “Through constantly seeking out new and vintage pedals, trying out different techniques — basically trial and error — I’ve learned how to get the sounds I want and I’d like to help kids and other musicians to find their sound, too. My sound is constantly evolving, and that’s where the fun is — its never ending- and I’d love for aspiring musicians to experience that as well.”

Rock Interviews Donated to Library of Congress

The good news: former Capitol Records boss Joe Smith is donating over 200 interviews with famous recording artists to the Library of Congress.

The bad news: None of it is online, and only some of it will eventually go online. Doesn’t the Library of Congress realize that we are all part of a “Noah’s Ark” generation, and that if we don’t digitize something now, it might be lost to future generations? Actually, it probably does realize that. We just wish it would put the things online sooner, and put all of them online.

“The Joe Smith Collection is an invaluable addition to the Library’s comprehensive collection of recorded sound,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in a statement. “These frank and poignant oral histories of many of the nation’s musical icons give us unique insights into them as artists, entertainers and human beings.  The world knows these great musicians through their songs, but Joe Smith has provided us an intimate window into their lives through their own words.”

Interviewees include Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Elton John, Paul Simon, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Sting, Tony Bennett, Joan Baez, James Taylor, Dick Clark, Tina Turner, Tom Jones, B. B. King, Quincy Jones, David Geffen, Mickey Hart, Harry Belafonte and many others.

You can read more things along these lines on our new Twitter handle, @evolverfm_news. See also: @evolverfm and @evolverfm_apps.