Music News: Amazon Goes Digital, Plus Duran Duran, Kurt Cobain, Madonna Rihanna, Ne-Yo

Earbud_2GuestbloggerPlease welcome Robbie Daw, who will be penning occasional music posts for us here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own pop music site called Chart Rigger.

Venison, artichoke tapenade and Doritos? I guess at this point we shouldn’t be surprised’s got these items for sale. And starting today, one-stop shopping at the online store could be fully realized with the launch of Amazon MP3 Beta, a service offering MP3 files compatible with iTunes and Windows Media Player, free of Digital Rights Management restrictions (meaning you can play the tracks on iPods or any MP3 player, use them on multiple computers and burn them onto CDs as many times as you like). Amazon is offering up a library of more than 2 million songs, with their Top 100 downloads priced at 89 cents, while most others are 99 cents. The Top 100 albums are $8.99, while other albums range from $5.99 to $9.99.

Not all artists and labels are on board, though…especially not ones still requiring the DRM restrictions. A search for Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, for instance, prompts a disclaimer noting that while Amazon doesn’t offer these catalogs as MP3s, “more titles are being added daily”. You’re then presented with the offer to go back into the ol’-fashioned Amazon music store, where your Justin or Britney tunes are sure enough available on trusty CD. Just don’t forget to throw the Doritos in your shopping cart.

Kurtroad.jpg Duran Duran’s new single “Falling Down,” featuring and produced by Justin Timberlake, is available as of today from the U.S. iTunes store. The press release for DD’s forthcoming Red Carpet Massacre album is up now on the band’s official site, which reveals the writing and production credits for each track.

road.jpg Kurt Cobain: About A Son, a documentary focusing on the late Nirvana frontman (pictured left), will see its U.S. premiere at the Los Angeles AFI Film Festival in early November. A year before his death in 1994, Cobain was featured in a cover story for The Advocate. Though he often had a penchant for exaggerating and twisting the truth in interviews, he did reveal the following: “I used to pretend I was gay just to fuck with people. I’ve had the reputation of being a homosexual every since I was 14. It was really cool, because I found a couple of gay friends in Aberdeen [Washington] – which is almost impossible. How I could ever come across a gay person in Aberdeen is amazing! But I had some really good friends that way. I got beat up a lot, of course, because of my association with them.”

road.jpg The New York Post is claiming that Madonna just might embark on a world tour starting late next summer, to coincide with her 50th birthday. This rumor wouldn’t be too much of a stretch, given that she’ll have no doubt released a new studio album long before that.

road.jpg Ne-Yo has written songs for some of today’s young crop of twentysomething divas: Beyonce, Britney Spears, himself. Below is the classy video for his duet with Rihanna, “Hate That I Love You,” in which she flounces about half-naked on a bed and he strolls around town decked out like Cary Grant.

200pxgimme_more_2road.jpg TODAY’S NEW RELEASES:

Foo Fighters’ Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, produced by Gil Norton, who worked with the band on their 1997 album, The Colour And The Shape.

Songs About Girls, the first solo album from Black Eyed Pea

Melissa Etheridge’s The Awakening, her ninth studio album, and first post-breast cancer.

Sub Pop act Iron And Wine’s The Shepherd’s Dog.

“Gimme More,” Britney Spears’ new single. Originally to be released next week , perhaps Jive thought they’d better capitalize on the wave of publicity — albeit negative — while they can.

“Tattoo,” the first single from American Idol winner Jordin Sparks’ upcoming November release.


  1. scientitian says

    Wow…DRM free and 256kbps (as opposed to 128kbps on itunes). If apple doesn’t get with the times pronto, they’re gonna have their asses handed to them.

  2. crispy says

    I’m kinda excited about trying out the new Amazon MP3 store. I have thousands of tracks I’ve purchased from iTunes, but I can’t put them on my phone or any other device that’s not an iPod.

    Go DRM-free products!

  3. DW says

    I have to give Amazon an applause for lowering the prices (89 and 99 cents) while removing DRM…. AND saying “Screw you, you’re not joining our store” to the labels that are still requiring DRM. Even The Mighty iTunes isn’t that brave.

    I plan on getting my tunes from eMusic (indie) and Amazon (mainstream) until further notice.


  4. Andy [not of the towle variety.] says

    Actually, Kurt Cobain: About A Son has already been screened in the US; it is currently showing right now at the Milwaukee International Film Fest. [Milwaukee is awesome.] [[For realz.]] Not sure if it’s screened elsewhere already…

  5. says

    “256kbps (as opposed to 128kbps on itunes)”

    iTunes uses AAC–Advanced Audio Coding–which is a more advanced codec for music compression than MP3, able to match MP3 quality at lower bitrates. 128k is still low, however, Apple would do well to up their specs since it’s a common misconception that 128k AAC is the same as 128k MP3. And they really need to ditch the DRM…

  6. Drake says

    Apple could give a squat about Amazon’s store. They aren’t making much of a profit off of the iTunes store, anyhow. It only exists to help push iPods. If people start buying tons of DRM-free music from Amazon it only helps Apple, as it increases the amount of digital music out there that people will want to listen to on the go.

  7. Marc says

    Good to see Amazon jumping into the downloadable music arena. More competition can only mean good things for us consumers. If anything, I thank Apple for sticking to their guns about control over pricing. It forced the record companies to find a way to try to regain control of the music marketplace by improving quality, removing DRM and decreasing prices.

    The new Foo Fighters album freakin rocks too! I know they aren’t Madonna (who I also love), but I’m sure there are other gays out there who appreciate the great music of the Foo Fighters too.

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