These things are still important. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
When Prince presented the Grammy for best album this week, he made an impassioned case for a musical format that many seem ready to write off as dead.
“Albums, remember those?” he said. “Albums still matter. Albums, like books and black lives, still matter.”
That’s how you present an award, folks.
Albums are collections of musical pieces that work together to create an auditory gestalt larger than the individual songs themselves. With the massive growth in streaming audio these days, many people might be missing out on this incredible old-school experience.
Here’s the cure: a list of amazing albums you should listen to in their entirety, even if you don’t do vinyl. iTunes might have helped kill CDs, but it’s still a great place to buy albums rather than shortchanging yourself with a bunch of singles. There are dozens of other albums you should explore, depending on your musical tastes, but this list should remind us all how awesome albums are as a concept. You can thank us later.
A Yamaha CD-555 with the CD carousel stopped. Photo: Leo-setä/Flickr
I stood in the doorway, still teary-eyed from goodbyes with my parents. There, before me, sat the first lesson of my freshman year in college.
Peter Otto had a blond mohawk and twirled a shiny butterfly knife. He had already adorned his side of the room with posters of his favorite bands: The Meatmen, Dead Kennedys and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
“I guess I’m your roommate,” I said and he pointed to the lower bunk. I was chubby, an Eagle Scout and a mama’s boy. But I had one cool card I could play — a boombox that played compact discs, a relatively new music format.
But with only two CDs — a synth-pop album by Kenny Loggins and the debut record from Bruce Hornsby & the Range — there would be no cool, not then anyway. Otto wound up being the best roommate I ever had during two college tours. Some of his music made it into my CD collection, which accelerated in the fall of 1985, but I doubt he ever took to Loggins.
Nearly 30 years later, I keep reading stories that eulogize the CD, report plummeting album sales and lay out how the music industry is now taking its product directly to customers through social media, streaming services or direct downloads from a group’s website.
The Millennium Falcon makes a great DJ turntable. Photo: Marco at Picotek
You may may never be able to listen to Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes live in the Star Wars cantina for yourself, but here’s the next best thing: a turntable modeled after Han Solo’s famous parsec-shattering ship, the Millennium Falcon.
App Store is now the world’s top entertainer. Photo: Buster Hein
Hollywood has long been the sparkling gem of entertainment in the U.S., but when it comes to making money, Apple is schooling the entertainment industry on how to bring in the cash with the App Store.
In 2014, iOS app developers earned more than Hollywood did from U.S. box office revenues, reports top Apple analyst Horace Dediu. According to Asymco’s number crunching, apps are now a bigger digital content business than music, TV programs, movie purchases and rentals combined.
Apple paid out approximately $25 billion total to developers, which means that not only is the App industry healthier than Hollywood, but also on an individual level, some developers are out earning Hollywood stars. The median income for developers is also likely higher than the median income for actors. If you’re looking to strike it rich, forget becoming the next Brad Pitt. Be the next Dong Nguyen.
Keeping music on iOS weird. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
If there’s one thing we humans like to do, it’s make music. Seriously, we’ve been doing it since prehistoric times, so it’s no big surprise that we’d find many ways to bring music to our latest tool: the iPhone and iPad.
While there are a ton of different ways to play or make music on your iOS device of choice, here are nine rather weird ones, plus some fantastic videos to hear and see just how its done.
Uber and Spotify are teaming up. Screenshot: Cult of Mac
Update: Uber and Spotify have confirmed a partnership that will let Spotify Premium subscribers become backseat DJs in Uber cars in 10 cities. The service starts Friday in London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Nashville, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney and Toronto.
“The integration couldn’t be easier,” the companies said in a press release. “Simply connect your Spotify account via the Uber app, request a ride, and when you get matched up with a Spotify-enabled Uber, select music that suits your mood. Your tunes will be playing when your Uber arrives, and you can change it up at any time.”
This week: Huge news in the fight for an open Internet; YouTube’s music service confuses us; Apple Pay is, like, the payment method of the future, man; big Black Friday deals on Apple’s newest gadgets; the go-to apps we keep on our home screens, and sooooo much more.
Hem and haw your way through each week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the chuckles begin.
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Simply beautiful. Photo: Andrew Walker/599 Productions
Not all of us have the chance to head to Europe, what with the cost of airfare these days.
Luckily, we’ve got the Internet, and amazing videos like this one from filmmaker Andrew Walker at 599 Productions. He filmed the various time-lapse images while exploring Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic last September using a Canon 5D Mark III and several Canon and Ziess lenses.
Check it out, and be sure to strap on a pair of high-end cans or route the audio through your huge Bluetooth speaker to hear the epic soundtrack.
Sometimes all a penguin needs is love, says the new Christmas ad from British department store John Lewis.
There’s a young boy with a real penguin. The penguin, named Monty, loves playing with the boy: swimming, sledding, building with Legos. but there’s one thing the boy cannot provide for poor Monty, and that’s a life mate.
Watch the full ad below and be sure to stick around for a delightful Calvin & Hobbesian moment at the end.
Truly retro vinyl to show off your hip style. Photo: Rockstar Games
As vinyl enjoys a resurgence in interest and availability, it’s no small wonder that the publisher of Grand Theft Auto V is creating a special boxed set of tunes on physical media.
The six-disc vinyl and three-disc CD box sets will include 59 tracks from the game, including the original score, songs from the in-game radio stations (including real recording artists like A$AP Rocky and Tyler), and even some new content from DJs in the game, including Big Boy, DJ Pooh, Nathan and Stephen from WAVVES, Kenny Loggins, Twin Shadow and Cara Delevingne. The soundtrack is already available digitally through iTunes, but the new collection will come out on CD and vinyl in a 5,000 copy collector’s edition run. You’ll be able to grab a copy starting Decemebr 9, though no price point has been revealed.