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|iTunes Gifts: Sending Songs and Albums Instead of Credit||
Rather than giving iTunes Store credit in the form of iTunes cards, gift certificates, or setting up allowances, it can sometimes be better to give specific items such as songs and albums. This can be especially true if you want to give a more personalized gifting experience.
For example, you can use the iTunes gifting facility to surprise a friend or family member with a song you know they'll love. Or maybe, the person you know is a big fan of an artist or band and they have just found out that a new album is out -- plus they've already hinted that their birthday, etc., is coming up! Get the hint?
For more on gifting digital music, read our tutorial on how to gift songs and albums on the iTunes Store.
|MP3jam: A Free YouTube Video to MP3 Downloader||
YouTube is a great resource for digital music. But, there are times when you'll want the enjoyment of listening to songs rather than the visuals. MP3jam is a free music search tool for Windows that extracts the audio from a YouTube video which is then streamed directly to your desktop or downloaded as an MP3.
Using MP3jam, you can search for songs, artists, and albums on YouTube and play the tracks directly using the built-in music player. If downloading, the program can be used to download individual tracks or whole albums (using a one-click download button). The app supports multi-threaded downloads and has integrated social media sharing (via Facebook and Twitter) so you can share your discoveries.
For a complete look at this YouTube to MP3 app, read our full review of MP3jam.
|How to Stop iTunes Auto-syncing to Your iPhone||
Do you get annoyed when iTunes automatically syncs songs and other stuff to your iPhone every time it's connected? If so, then you can easily disable this feature in iTunes.
But, why would you want to do this?
There can be many reasons why users stop iTunes from automatically transferring music, apps, videos, etc., to their iPhone. One of main reasons is to have more control over when iTunes syncs to your Apple device. This is especially useful for times when you don't want to update its contents -- such as if you accidentally delete songs from your main iTunes library. The problem in this situation is that if your iPhone is synced, then those accidentally deleted songs will also be removed from your iPhone too.
You may also want manual control when simply charging your iPhone via a computer's USB port.
To find out how to prevent iTunes from auto-syncing, read our iPhone tutorial on Disabling Automatic File Transfers to Your iPhone.
|Rhapsody SongMatch: Identify Unknown Songs by Making Your Android Phone 'Listen'||
Have you ever been in a bar, restaurant, or even in front of your TV and heard a great song (or piece of music) that you wish you knew the name of? Rhapsody SongMatch is a free tool for your Android phone that could just make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to naming the unnameable.
It works by using the microphone on your Android phone (or other device) to analyze what is playing in the real world. It's free to download and you don't need to already be a Rhapsody music service subscriber to use it. Although, if you are, you'll get extra features that enhance how you can use your Rhapsody account.
For more information on what this music ID app offers and how it faired in our tests, read our full review of Rhapsody SongMatch for Android.
|AOL Rumored to be Abandoning Several of its Music Divisions||
According to an article published by The Drum (and several other sources on the Web), AOL are rumored to be in the process of shutting down AOL Music. There's no official comment yet from AOL, but several employees have said via Twitter that they were to loose their jobs.
One of the first to comment on AOL's alleged move to close parts of its music division was from Spinner Magazine editor, Dan Reilly. The Twitter comment was promptly deleted, but reportedly said, "Hey guys. Just found out from AOL that we're shutting down. Today is our last day. Seriously."
AOL Music also run other magazines such as Noisecreep, The BoomBox, and The Boot -- will these also be shut down?
|Sound Check on the iPhone: Cure Volume Differences Between Songs||
Have you ever noticed that songs on your iPhone don't always play at the same volume? The average music library is often built up from various music sources which can result (over time) in volume differences between songs. You may for example have gradually accumulated your digital music using sources such as:
Given this wide range of different sources, it's no wonder songs won't be all at the same 'loudness' level in your library.
The good news is that you can use a feature on the iPhone called Sound Check which equalizes loudness levels across songs. Typical audio normalization often makes changes to the audio data in music files, but Sound Check uses a non-destructive way. A calculated playback volume is stored in the metadata area of audio files stored on your iPhone. If at any time in the future you decide not to use Sound Check, files will play at their original 'loudness' level.
To see how to enable this feature, read our tutorial on Solving Volume Variations Between Songs on the iPhone.
|Ripping Music CDs: CBR or VBR Encoding?||
If you're new to the world of digital music and want to start ripping your physical Music CDs to digital audio files, then you may have seen the option to use either CBR or VBR encoding. Whether you use a software media player (iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc.) or a standalone music ripper application, you'll need to know what these two encoding methods do and which one will suit your particular needs.
To help you decide which one to choose in order to get your CD ripping right first time, read our CBR and VBR Encoding FAQ that explains how these two encoding methods work, and the pros and cons of using them.
|Digital Music Coming to Twitter Via New App||
Twitter will soon be embracing digital music according to its #music service page. This news comes hot on the heels of Twitter's acquisition of music search service, We Are Hunted. There's no official word yet on how Twitter's #music app will serve up digital music -- all that can be read on their #music login page is a simple message which says, "The best new music in the world right now."
However, rumors in the blogosphere suggest an aggregated list of music generated using cloud resources such as: SoundCloud, Vevo (for watching music videos), and others.
|CrossDJ for iOS: Pro Mixing for Your iTunes Library||
The DJ hardware and software company behind CrossDJ, MixVibes, has now updated both its iPad and iPhone / iPod Touch versions to include Keylock technology. If you're not familiar with DJing terminology, then this feature allows you to speed up or slow down a track (to match a BPM) without altering the pitch (sometimes know as time stretching).
The company which only branched out to the iOS platform in 2012 (extending their original Cross DJing software suite) say that their software is the world's first app to bring pro standards. The app sports features such as: 2 channel mixing, looping, 14 real-time FX, 3-band EQs, automatic BPM analysis, beatgridding, and more.
Even though the app is suitable for pro DJ usage, it can also be used to produce pro-sounding mixes using the digital music already in your iTunes library.
To see how this app performed on the iPad, read our full review of CrossDJ.
|Save Space on Your Portable: Convert Videos to MP3s Using VLC Media Player||
If you use VLC Media Player for playing and organizing your digital music library, did you know that it can also be used for converting videos to MP3s? Not all software media players boast this feature, but it can be uber useful for quickly creating MP3 versions of videos without having to install any more software.
The problem with video files is they tend to be quite large. This is fine if you're going to keep them on your computer's hard drive or external storage device. However, there's a finite amount of space on portable devices like: media players, tablets, and smartphones. If you particularly like the music, song, or soundtrack from a video, then extracting this audio to an MP3 file can be the ideal solution compared to syncing a video that could quickly wipe out the remaining free space on your portable.
To see how this is done, we've written a tutorial that shows you how to convert video files to MP3s using VLC Media Player.