More free music than you can shake a stick at

… and I’m really good at shaking sticks at free music.


If you have an Xbox Music subscription make sure you install the Music Deals app. Back in November Microsoft released 100 albums for free, and now for December they’ve released another 50 free albums. There is a catch, of course: you need to have an Xbox Music subscription* (… or not, see note at end). Since the subscription is only $10 you may want to subscribe just to download the albums… you can always cancel right after.


Now you’re likely thinking: “it’s probably just a bunch of crappy old music, only available for Microsoft devices and with obnoxious rights-management handcuffs.” That’s what I thought, and I was wrong.

The albums aren’t DRM-crippled and they’re not 96kbps samples…  they’re 320kbps MP3 files and MSFT has released apps for iOS and Android. Another great thing is there’s lots of great music from a good selection of genres. Most people’s musical tastes should be covered. Since my taste is fairly indiscriminate I made out like a bandit – 65 free albums and counting!

Here’s a selection of albums available in the current free 50:

  • Night Visions – Imagine Dragons
  • Bad Blood – Bastille
  • The Fame Monster – Lady Gaga
  • You’ve Come  A Long Way Baby – Fatboy Slim
  • Songs In The Key Of Life – Stevie Wonder
  • Exodus – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • To The Sea – Jack Johnson
  • All That You Can’t Leave Behind – U2
  • Tron: Legacy – Daft Punk
  • The Lateness Of the Hour – Alex Clare
  • Anthology: The Sounds Of Science – Beastie Boys
  • Love On The Inside – Sugarland

There is an expiration date on this deal, however… the first 100 albums are already gone and the latest 50 will expire in a little over a week.

* A note on the subscription requirement: after I posted this my friend Jonathan commented on Facebook:

I don’t have an XBox Music subscription and still could download these. I think you just need an MS account. Hurray for free music 🙂

Leave a comment below if you’re able to download the music without a music subscription.


Speaker building lite

I’ve ticked one more thing off my list of nerdy things I’ve been wanting to try: building speakers. Admittedly, I didn’t do the full building experience this time, choosing instead to start with an existing set of speaker cabinets and upgrading them. It was a great way to start learning about the hobby.

blown speaker
Old speaker, new home

This project moved from the “someday” to “now” project list when Paula and I came across a pair of retro-looking bookshelf speakers at Goodwill. The speakers weren’t high quality and they could have been blown out for all I knew, but they looked kind of cool and the price was right. At under $20 they were less than wood and speaker grill cloth to build my own cabinets, so we picked them up and headed home to try them out. I was pleased to find out that my newly purchased speakers were completely blown.

crossover installed in speaker cabinet
Crossover done and installed

With the help of the staff at Parts Express I selected appropriately sized drivers (the round speaker bits to us humans) and crossovers (the electronics that split high and low frequencies) for my old cabinets. When I went to buy the crossovers I was pleasantly surprised to find they would be out of stock until mid-May. Yes, pleasantly surprised because that meant I would also get to build my own crossovers.

inside picture of speakers
Before (right) and after (left) pictures of my speakers

Now, all that remains is to sit back and turn on some music.

Crowd-sourced music video

You can either treat your fans as a necessary evil, or you can embrace them. The Japanese band Sour went one step further and made their fans the stars of their latest music video.

The concept: ask your fans to do specific actions in front of their web cams, then assemble the individual actions into a complex dance involving people from around the world.

The result:

SOUR / 日々の音色 (Hibi no Neiro) MV from Magico Nakamura on Vimeo.