THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

SaneBox

Clean up your inbox today and keep it that way forever


Posts tagged with "music"

Hands-On with Apple Music for Windows

Apple Music for Windows.

Apple Music for Windows.

Last week, Apple released native versions of Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Devices for Windows. The apps, which are available on the Microsoft Store, are labeled as “previews”, and they’re meant to eventually serve as replacements for iTunes for Windows, which is the only flavor of iTunes Apple still distributes after they transitioned to standalone media apps a few years ago. I suppose the apps are also part of a broader strategy from Apple to establish a stronger presence of their services on Windows, as we saw last year with the launch of Apple Music on Xbox and iCloud Photos on Windows (which joined the existing iCloud configuration panel for Windows devices).

As an Apple Music subscriber and owner of a Windows gaming laptop, I thought it’d be fun to take Apple Music for a spin and see how it compares to Spotify on Windows as well as the existing Apple Music experience for Apple’s platforms, which I know very well and enjoy on a daily basis.

Read more


Sofa 3.4: List Sharing, Shortcuts Actions, Lock Screen Widgets, and More

Shawn Hickman is back with another excellent update to Sofa, the downtime/media organization app for iPhone and iPad that we’ve covered several times on MacStories. Sofa remains my favorite one-stop app for managing lists of media I don’t want to forget to enjoy later. The app supports TV shows, movies, books, audiobooks, videgames, music, podcasts, board games, and apps, making it the most comprehensive media organizer I’ve used. However, what makes Sofa special is its design and extensive customization options, which is why it was the runner-up for Best App Update in last year’s MacStories Selects awards.

What I appreciate most about version 3.4 of Sofa is that it extends the app beyond its existing boundaries with list sharing and new Shortcuts support. To round out the update, Sofa also adds Lock Screen widget support and TV and movie provider details for Super Sofa subscribers. It’s an excellent batch of new features for an app that I already consider one of the finest in its category.

Read more



Last.fm Turns 20 – and People Are Still Scrobbling

I enjoyed this story about Last.fm’s 20th (!) anniversary by Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for The Verge:

I was a little surprised to see that Last.fm was still around when I first started writing this story, let alone that it had new communities flourishing around its data. (The company didn’t respond to a request for an interview.) But I suppose in a world where most services close off and hide your data, there’ll always be people looking for a way to track it and analyze it themselves. And in exchange, they get the joy of arguing about music stats every day — and not just once a year when Wrapped comes out.

My co-hosts on Connected like to make fun of me for being One of Those People Who Still Scrobbles, but I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve done for my music consumption in the past few years. (That, plus having an offline library with albums I own that I can enjoy with my favorite headphones and amp – which I also scrobble via Roon.) Ever since I started scrobbling again last year thanks to Marvis Pro on iPhone and iPad (and NepTunes on the Mac), I’ve been able to enjoy some fascinating monthly and annual breakdowns of my music listening habits that go much more in depth than Apple Music or Spotify would ever want to.

An example of a monthly Last.fm report.

An example of a monthly Last.fm report.

In Internet years, it’s pretty wild for anything to turn 20 – let alone a service that faces competition from the likes of Apple and Spotify. And yet Last.fm has been able to carve a niche for itself by appealing to people like me, who want to know more about the music they listen to. Maybe it’s a weird thing to say in 2022, but if you listen to a lot of music every day, I can’t recommend dusting off your old Last.fm account enough.

Permalink

Rogue Amoeba’s Loopback Was the Key to Creating a Budget 12-Channel Dolby Atmos Surround Sound System

If you’ve ever dug into setting up a surround sound audio system, it gets complicated and expensive fast. But, DMS, a YouTuber who covers headphones and other audio gear, managed to pull off something extraordinary: a 12-speaker Dolby Atmos surround sound speaker setup for under $2,000. The secret sauce? Loopback by Rogue Amoeba.

DMS bought 12 speakers and a bunch of DACs, but immediately had trouble getting the system to decode a Dolby Atmos signal without buying an expensive decoder. Ultimately, the solution was to use Loopback to combine the DACs into one virtual multichannel DAC, a far cheaper solution than trying to handle 12 channels at once.

DMS’s setup has been documented for anyone who wants to try it themselves. What struck me about it is how well Loopback handled an incredibly complex setup and saved DMS thousands of dollars by creating a software version of what otherwise would have required expensive hardware. This is a terrific example of why so many people turn to Rogue Amoeba’s apps when they need to do something with audio on the Mac, whether it’s as simple as recording a live track of their favorite band streaming in Safari, or as complex as a 12-channel Dolby Atomos surround sound system.

Permalink

Apple Music Announces Its 2022 Artist of the Year

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Today, Apple Music announced that Bad Bunny is its 2022 Artist of the Year. Un Verano Sin Ti, which Bad Bunny released in May, is the most streamed album on Apple Music and the biggest Latin album of all time.

In Apple’s press release, Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said:

We’re thrilled to celebrate the achievements of Bad Bunny, whose influence on every corner of culture could not be ignored in 2022. Watching Bad Bunny ascend from an Apple Music Up Next artist in 2018 to our Artist of the Year this year has been nothing short of extraordinary. We congratulate him on his record-breaking year and for continuing to bring Latin music to a massive global audience.

Apple Music has created a dedicated section of the Music app celebrating Bad Bunny’s achievement and music. Bad Bunny has also taken over the La Fórmula playlist to spotlight some of his favorite Latin tracks. Plus, Apple Music 1 is dedicating today to Bad Bunny’s music, interviews with the artist, and more.

Apple’s Artist of the Year is celebrated with a unique award featuring a 12-inch silicon wafer suspended between a sheet of glass and anodized aluminum. Last year and in prior years, Apple announced additional awards like the Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and more. This year, though, only an Artist of the Year was named.


Music Remote: A Beautiful Retro Utility for Controlling Playback of Apple’s Music App

Music Remote by Mario Guzman is a fun, retro remote control for Apple’s Music app. You may have come across Mario’s work on MacStories before. We interviewed him for MacStories Weekly last spring and covered his Music MiniPlayer on MacStories.

Music Remote is Mario’s third remote app for the Mac version of Apple’s Music app. The first was Music Widget, which is styled after the Tiger-era iTunes Dashboard widget. Next came Music MiniPlayer, which adopted the style of iTunes 10’s mini player. Music Remote reaches further back in time to the Mac OS X Public Beta, recreating the look of Music Player, an app that didn’t last long.

Music Remote up close.

Music Remote up close.

The compact remote requires Apple’s Music app to be running, but once it is, you can minimize Music and use Music Remote instead. The app includes buttons to play/pause and skip forward and back, as well as a couple of unique buttons above and below the play/pause button. Above play/pause is a button that opens a separate window that lets you pick from your playlists. Below is a stop button. It works the same as pause, except that when you resume playback, it will start with the next song in an album or playlist instead of picking up mid-song.

Music Remote's playlist picker.

Music Remote’s playlist picker.

The display above the controls cycles among the song title, artist, and album name. If a text string is too long to fit into Music Remote’s tiny screen, it scrolls horizontally. You can also cycle through the information displayed in Music Remote more quickly by clicking on its screen. The screen shows elapsed song time by default but can be switched to the remaining time in the app’s preferences. At the bottom of the screen is a progress bar. There’s a volume slider at the bottom of the app’s UI, and the app can playback Apple Music radio stations using a slightly different UI, too.

What makes Music Remote such a fun utility, though, is its design. The bubble-like play/pause button and blue LED-inspired screen are from a very different era of Mac design but still look great today. I also appreciate that the app is small. It looks fantastic on my desktop, which is why I immediately turned on the option to float it above my other windows. Because the app is small, though, there’s always a spot for it out of the way. It works perfectly in app sidebars that have a little blank space or the margin of a text editor, for example.

I have all three of Mario’s remote apps installed on my Mac Studio. that may seem like overkill, but I listen to music a lot as I work, so I appreciate having options depending on my mood. However, for the last week, as I put the finishing touches on my macOS Ventura review, Music Remote has been the remote that’s been sitting in the margin of the review as I write, which has been great.

I highly recommend checking out Music Remote, which can be downloaded for free from Mario Guzman’s GitHub page along with his other apps.


LockPod Adds Apple Music and Spotify to the iOS 16 Lock Screen

So far, the big players in music streaming are leaving it to indie developers to create iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets that tie into their services. One of my favorite examples is LockPod, by Rishi Malhotra, which was released this week.

The app works with both Apple Music and Spotify, allowing users to create circular and rectangular Lock Screen widgets that serve as shortcuts to their favorite music. The details are a little different depending on whether you’re using Apple Music or Spotify, so let’s take a closer look.

Read more


Mario Guzman’s Music MiniPlayer Lets You Control Apple’s Music App in iTunes 10 Style

Earlier this year, we interviewed Mario Guzman in MacStories Weekly about Music Widget, his Apple Music controller utility that recreates the look and feel of the original iTunes Dashboard Widget. This week, Guzman is back with a similar music utility for macOS that’s skinned to look like the original iTunes 10 MiniPlayer.

Called Music MiniPlayer, the utility is a remote control for Apple’s Music app, not a music player itself, that takes its inspiration from iTunes 10’s MiniPlayer. With the exception of some minor tweaks to the background of the playback controls, Music MiniPlayer is a pixel-perfect recreation of the iTunes 10 MiniPlayer written almost entirely using the Core Graphics and Core Animation frameworks to ensure crisp rendering on Retina and non-Retina displays.

Read more