A clearheaded guide to navigating the labyrinthian web of online music services.
As the proliferation of Internet music options exploded, Breeding noticed that non-geek music lovers seemed bewildered by the whole scene–as just such a person, he empathized. Frustrated, he thought the highly publicized online service Napster might save him, but just as he started to learn the system, copyright and piracy issues erupted and shut it down. Then a work friend told Breeding about LAUNCHcast, an Internet service allowing users to rate their musical preferences before receiving a digital stream of songs based on those preferences. "Here I could make my comeback to informed fandom from the comfort and privacy of my own cube," Breeding comments. As a corporate librarian, Breeding was conditioned to research databases and share the results, so he investigated those services that send music to personal computers, categorizing them as personalized radio, online jukeboxes, and downloading. In a second section, Breeding covers music information on the Internet–how to find album reviews, best-of compilations, award-winners, the background behind current hits, lyrics, and biographical information about performers. The final section introduces reliable channels of music information, and the steps to effectively navigate them–what Breeding terms "discovery plans." Each discovery plan maps out steps to take over a seven-day stretch, encouraging readers to learn each online music service while avoiding consternation. Included in the discovery plans are the most popular services: Internet radio services Live365, MSN and Musicmatch; personalized radio service LAUNCHcast; online jukebox services Rhapsody; and downloading services iTunes Music Store and eMusic. Though he omits file-trading services, recognizing only "legitimate music services that respect copyright law and see to it that artists and copyright holders are paid for their work," Breeding offers enough substantial information for those interested in the latest wave of technology in the ongoing reinvention of the music industry.
A delightfully written, sensibly organized volume. Printed updates to come twice a year, plus frequent online updates at www.giantpath.com.