What's good for the goose is good for the record labels, who have been ordered to pay Canadian artists $45 million for illegally using copyrighted tracks on compilation CDs, TorrentFreak reports. TorrentFreak says this sort of thing happens more frequently than you think.
"Over the years the labels have made a habit of using songs from a wide variety of artists for compilation CDs without securing the rights," TorrentFreak writes. "They simply use the recording and make note of it on a 'pending list' so they can deal with it later."
It's been going on since the 1980s, TorrentFreak says, with the list of unpaid tracks surpassing 300,000 just in Canada. That didn't sit well with a group of artists and composers waiting to get paid, so they filed a class action suit in 2008. The original suit sought $6 billion in damages from Warner Music, Sony BMG Music, EMI Music, and Universal Music.
In the end, both sides settled on $45 million, which represents "a compromise of disputed claims and is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the record labels."
Speakal spent its time at CES showing off a handful of outlandish speakers sets, including a new line designed to appeal to fans of some of the most popular sports.
The company demoed lifelike replicas for football, basketball, and soccer, each one a 2.1 speaker dock, as well as a pair of Bluetooth stereo speakers for golfers. Each 2.1 sets features 360-degree sound distribution, a 15W subwoofer, and volume touch controls.
"The Speakal Sports Line shares passion for the game with the die hard sports fanatics," said CEO David Solomon. "These speakers are the ultimate display of fanhood with high quality audio that will rock your tailgate party with pulse pounding sound. Kick off the new season in style!"
You see all kinds of groovy things at CES, and if you were to stop by and visit Onkyo, you might think you stepped through a wormhole and went back in time. That's because Onkyo decided to mix the styling of classic stereos from the 1980s with modern day hardware.
There are three new models in all, including the P-3000R pre-amplifier, M-5000R power amplifier, and C-7000R CD player, each one incorporating Onkyo's new Dynamic Intermodulation Distortion Reduction Circuitry _DIDRC) to thwart the effects of unwanted high-frequency interference.
But the real gem here belongs to the old school looks. Onkyo opted to mix it up a bit, combining retro with sleek brushed aluminum. The 1980s never looked so good!
Full press release and pricing info after the jump.
Here's something you don't see every day (and maybe with good reason): unique speaker systems intended for Top Gear and Doctor Who fans. These are both the creation of Speakal, a company which openly admits it was shooting for "outlandish style."
"Top Gear and Doctor Who have some of the most die hard fans of any program in the world," said CEO David Solomon. "We're proud to be offer their fan base these unique and lifelife replicas of their favorite BBC icons."
Top Gear fans can plop their iPod or other audio device in the helmet's dock with a built-in digital amplifier and rock out to 25W of total output. There's also a built-in subwoofer.
As for fans of Doctor Who, they get a T.A.R.D.I.S. replica speaker with "powerful bass and premium speakers," as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
There's nothing at all that sounds appealing about "skunk juice," unless you're talking about Humble Fish's new Skunk Juice brand earbuds.
Funky name aside, these earbuds sport a patented magnetic connection technology that makes it easy to share your awesome tunes with friends and family. Provided Billy from next door is rocking the same set of earphones, he'll be able to snap them to yours and listen to the same music source. The other upshot is that you won't damage your earphones if you shake, rattle, and roll a little too vigorously
Humble Fish says it's primarily targeting kids and teens ages 9-19, which would explain the Skunk Juice nomenclature, but also expects these to appeal to musicians and artists in the studio, studio engineers, and consumers in general.
The Skunk Juice earbuds will go on sale later this month for an as-yet unannounced price.
Westone Laboratories recently introduced what it claims is the world's first universal fit earphone with four balanced armature drivers.
"Four balanced armature drivers and a three-way crossover network deliver breathtaking clarity and realism," the company says. "Just as important, we were sure to keep our highest standards of ergonomics and comfort only found in the industry with Westone’s True-Fit technology. The dual bass, single mid and single high frequency driver system is the most dynamic sound available in a universal fit earphone."
The Westone 4 comes rated at:
Sensitivity: 118 dB SPL/mW
Frequency Response: 10 Hz - 18 kHz
Impedance: 31 ohms
Only serious audiophiles with deep pockets need apply. The Westone 4 will sell for $449 when it ships in the first quarter of 2011.
Aluratek invites you to "Bump into the New Year" with its new line of wireless and MP3 speakers. There are four new products in all, including the AMS01F portable boombox, APS01F portable mini speaker with built-in Lithium-ion battery, AWS01F boombox with remote wireless speaker, and AUWS01F wireless speaker with USB transmitter.
Probably of most interest is the AUWS01F, which comes with a 2.4GHz USB dongle. Aluratek says you can expect high-performance sound from up to 60 feet away from the USB receiver. The speakers work for up to 4 hours on a single charge and they're compatible with most MP3 players and other audio devices with 3.5mm auxiliary audio output.
We're big fans of Yamaha's sound projectors, so when the company told us it was coming out with a new model with both HD and 3D support, we were all ears.
It's called the YSP-2200 Digital Sound Projector, a slimline unit that looks like it wouldn't have any trouble blending into most home theater setups. It measures just 3.5 inches and comes with height-adjustable feet so as not to interfere with your HDTV set.
Other features include a 100 watt subwoofer, 16 drivers, 11 Cinema DSP programs, DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD decoding, five HDMI 1.4a ports (4 in and 1 out), and a dock port for use with optional accessories.
The Yamaha YSP-2200 will sell for just shy of $1,000.
We've been hearing for months that Spotify, a European music service that offers both a free streaming service and a paid subscription model, would launch in the U.S. by the end of the year, but guess what? The end of the year is only three-and-a-half weeks away and Spotify doesn't even have a passport.
According to CNet, Spotify hasn't even managed to sign a single licensing deal with a major label. Not a good sign, given that they've had over a year to negotiate. Nor is it promising that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is now saying he can't commit to a U.S. launch date.
It's all just a numbers game, and at last count, Ek said Spotify has a paying subscription base 750,000 members strong, each one shelling out $13/month for the service. However, that only represents 7.5 percent of Spotify's 10 million users, a percentage which doesn't really excite music labels.
That's too bad, because as Napster co-founder and Spotify investor Sean Parker notes, Spotify's U.S. launch could be a "very disruptive event" to how users consume music.
We first heard about the Rock Band 3 MIDI Pro Adapter by Mad Catz back in June of this year, and now it's finally here. With it, you can hook up just about any real MIDI keyboard or MIDI drum set while playing Rock Band 3, plus it works in conjunction with the upcoming Rock Band 3 Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller, Mad Catz says.
The MIDI Pro plugs right in your console's USB port and then works as an interface between the console and MIDI instrument. There's a velocity sensitivity adjustment for MIDI drums so cross-talk doesn't become an issue, as well as a full D-pad and standard gaming buttons right on the adapter itself.
The adapter is shipping now for the PlayStation 3 and and Wii, while the Xbox 360 version "is expected to ship imminently to Best Buy." It goes for $40.