Christmas tunes: MySpace vs Spotify

Ever since the swift introduction of Spotify, music listening habits have changed. It offered extensive online streaming for free, eclipsing the sometimes patchy Last.fm, and also gave the opportunity to compile and share playlists with your best of friends.

Now it’s the turn of MySpace to try and take on this audio behemoth. The social networking website has always enjoyed a prominent role in the online music community, giving bands both tiny and big a home to promote their wares.

myspace-vs-spotifyAnd now it’s attempting to break into the album-orientated world of online music streaming with it’s free MySpace Music service. Billed as ‘the world’s most comprehensive online music experience’ MySpace Music claims to not only offer a superior audio experience but also gives users a multi-media extravaganza with video content available too.

People disenchanted with Roberta et al from Spotify’s audio adverts will also be pleased to know that the only adverts on MySpace Music will be visual, whilst similar to Spotify’s link-up with 7digital, there is also inter-connectivity with iTunes, meaning in a click of a button or two you can purchase that Lady Gaga song you’ve just streamed and shamefully enjoyed too.

Seeing as Christmas is creeping so unmercifully upon us, LatestGadgets decided that the best way to test MySpace Music’s claim of musical comprehensiveness was to compile a Yuletide playlist of some Christmas classics, and well, some duds too, and see which out of Spotify and MySpace Music could most faithfully recreate this ten song strong list. There are three categories of results – a plain ‘yes’ for the original song in its full glory, a damning ‘no’ for songs completely non-existent in the catalogue, and a ‘perhaps’ for songs lacking their original but are to be found online in the form of a cover or a karaoke version.

Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? – S = yes! MM = perhaps.

The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) – S = yes! MM = perhaps.

The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York – S = yes! MM = yes!

South Park – Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo – S = yes! MM = no.

Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas – S = yes! MM = yes!

Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You – S = yes! MM = yes!

Wham – Last Christmas – S = yes! MM = yes!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 – S = no MM = yes!

Twisted Sister – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – S = yes! MM = perhaps.

Gayla Peevey – I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas – S = yes! MM = no.

So there you have it – Spotify reigns supreme on the Christmas playlist test. It picked up a number of vital points on the more obscure tracks, with MySpace Music performing admirably when it came to the classics. And finding the tracks was tougher on MySpace Music too, with its web based click through system less responsive than Spotify’s clean and precise interface – meaning that compiling the office Christmas party playlist on MySpace Music whilst a little squiffy may not be the best of ideas.

So what now for MySpace Music? Even more tracks, albums and videos are bound to be added to its library in the near future, but its lack of multi-platform compatibility may herald its downfall.

With Spotify popping up on iPhones and iPod Touch’s everywhere, here and there and Last.fm recently being added to X-Box Live’s roster too, online streaming on portable devices may over time usurp the computer as the traditional hub of digital music.

With this apparent lack of multi-platform interactivity, the website’s general downturn in popularity in this Facebook-era and Spotify’s Christmas playlist victory, MySpace Music already has a long way to catch up.  As Spotify gains a large percentage of the market, maybe this festive period MySpace Music will be singing ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ – but it remains to be seen how many people will actually jump ship.

Compare the tunecat? TuneChecker launches

“Compare market” returns 183m results on Google. TV is flooded with adverts for services that compare prices on everything from insurance, to deliveries, to flights, to car deals. It was only a matter of time until someone realised there was another market missing online.

tunechecker-web-siteDeveloped by MoneySavingExpert yet rather tragically designed; ‘Tunechecker.com’ instantly reminds you of one of those ill-fated, semi-illegal, Russian mp3 sites that sold you tracks ten-a-penny back at the decade’s midpoint (that is until they got shut down despite all being “150% legal”). The site, despite its design, is however, clear and to-the-point; straight away you’re given a search bar “Search singles, albums, or artists,” just below the site’s tagline and quick explanation of the site: “Compare cheap MP3 single & album downloads.”

Searching iTunes, Amazon, Play, 7Digital, hmv, we7, Tesco, Orange and tunetribe, the website instantly comes across as quite comprehensive. A search for “Jay-Z” returns his back catalogue, and the lowest price each album is available at. Choosing the album shows you the price comparison — website by website — and from here, you’re easily directed to your music store of choice.

The service is swift, and basic; there is no elegance in this site’s design or purpose, it will do specifically what it says on the tin and nothing else; but that’s okay. From a quick few searches I’ve discovered that on your average album there’s up to 50% to be saved and unsurprisingly most of these high-ends come from iTunes.

In six months this service will become as second nature, to some, as Spotify is now. It’s simplicity is part of its charm; in the time it takes you to open a website and type a title, you’ve found the best offer for your money, and the money-conscious music buyers will now have no problem finding their most frugal choice.

By no means a work of art, or revolution; TuneChecker is still a service that we now all realize has been missing, and we welcome it with open arms.

All hands on decks with the Lecci Mini Mixer

In these bleak, recession-weary times, the DIY approach to home entertainment has become a very lucrative business. Becoming a bedroom DJ is the latest trend to capture the imaginations of music-lovers. But forget forking out for bulky, over-priced, window-shattering equipment – budget beats are all the rage.

Gaming giant Activision has recently branched out by adding the long-awaited DJ Hero to its massively popular music simulation repertoire, and there are any number of iPhone apps currently promising to help fans on their way to turntable triumph.

lecci-mini-mp3-mixerOne of latest non-gaming DJ gadgets to hit the market is the Lecci Mini Mixer, which connects to two MP3 players, enabling users to mix and mash tracks to their heart’s content. The nifty, simple-to-use cross-fade function provides most of the fun and adds an air of authenticity to spliced creations.

There have been similar products to Lecci’s offering on the market for some time, but this device’s sleek, scaled-down design sets it apart in the style stakes, while the idiot-proof functions provide instant gratification. But what about that all-important sound?

Well, although an internal speaker is built-in, the compact size means a fully immersive sound which emulates the booming vibrations of a top nightclub is sadly out of the question. A cunning alternative is to use the audio-out channels to connect your own speakers (or headphones, if don’t dare to share your musical masterpieces with an audience) for a more banging set of beats.

The main thing to bear in mind though is that the Mini Mixer has clearly been designed more for the novice than the tech wizard, and therefore its simplicity remains the strongest selling point. If you’re looking for highly sophisticated, multi-functional device to spin your digital tunes on, this gadget probably isn’t for you.

On the other hand, the Lecci Mini Mixer makes a good-value (RRP is around £19.99), inexpensive stocking filler and provides an easy, non-fiddly way to kick-start the fun over the festive period without breaking the bank. Let the party commence.