Last.fm offers indie acts sweet streaming deal

 Last.fm has introduced a royalty scheme for unsigned acts, offering independent artists the chance to accrue royalties from Last.fm each time their track is listened to through the site.

Unsigned and independent artists can sign up for the program when they upload their music to Last.fm, and earn revenue when their tracks are played free-on-demand, or on Last.fm’s streaming radio, or both.

Martin Stiksel, Last.fm co-founder, told Distorted Loop: “This is a big day for independent artists. We’re leveling the playing field by offering them the same opportunities as established bands to make money from their music. "

The move is one of several digital initiatives from Last.fm as the company positions itself to clean-up in the music subscriptions market, presumably with an eye toward a mobile streaming play at some future point. Perhaps its highest profile recent move was the introduction of Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ album for free streaming playback through the service. Another recent move saw Last.fm reach a deal with Universal Music under which the label’s entire music video catalogue will be made available for free-on-demand streaming to Last.fm users.

The Universal video content will be ad-supported, in the same manner as Last.fm’s pioneering free-on-demand service which launched in January. Artists, labels and copyright holders receive a share of revenue from the ads displayed next to their content. 

Rogers offers Canada $30/month 6GB data plan

 Rogers Wireless has bowed slightly to public pressure, introducing a $30 per month 6GB data plan to allay some of the criticism the carrier’s been facing over its iPhone tariffs.

The carrier will also open up six of its Candian retail stores at 8am on July 11 to sell the iPhone 3G. Customers attending launch day events at these Rogers Plus stores will be treated to a free early bird breakfast and have a chance to win Rogers Wireless prizes.

Effective July 11, and as a limited time promotional offer for customers who activate by August 31 on a three year contract, a data-only offering of 6GB of data for $30 per month is being made available that can be added to any in-market voice plan.

"As Canada’s leading wireless carrier, Rogers is excited to bring iPhone 3G to Canadians even sooner, allowing our customers to be amongst the first in the world to experience this amazing mobile innovation," says John Boynton, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Rogers Wireless. "To celebrate its launch on Canada’s fastest wireless network, we’re rolling out the red carpet with special events at six Rogers Plus stores and a limited time price promotional data offer from coast-to-coast."

The following Rogers Plus stores in these cities will open their doors at 8am (all times local) on Friday, July 11 for advance purchases of the Apple iPhone 3G:

    Toronto: 112-10 Dundas Street East

    Montreal: 1015 rue St. Catherine Ouest

    Ottawa: 690 Bank Street

    Halifax: Unit 265, 7001 Mumford Road

    Calgary: 5244 Falsbridge Gate, NE

    Vancouver: 2097 West Broadway

 

So true…

With all of the horrible plans around the world coming in, especially Canada, Italy, Norway, etc…AT&T’s plans seem like a downright bargain.  But it is still going to hit the average person with a $15/month extra charge before taxes (Yes 3G will be yummy good if you can get it)…so Macenstein came up with this funny graphic:

International readers, feel free to insert your carrier of choice.

International iPhone pricing guide

 With all the furor over iPhone 3G prices and subscription costs, we’re happy to find an invaluable resource for price-spotters, an international iPhone pricing guide.

We’d just set out to assemble one ourselves, which, given the nature of an international roll-out is harder than it looks, as so much of the small print in these deals is in languages foreign to us, turns out we didn’t need to, as the venerable TUAW had the list already. So, we didn’t know about it, and figure it could come in useful, and figured many others would find it of use.

One thing that is missing are details on WiFi access, which we understand varies from country to countru, with some potential customers complaining at the cost their carrier wants to charge.

We’d like to get on top of the WiFi and data plan charges, and need your help, partially to overcome any language barrier, so, please state the country and carrier you are talking about and kindly put information on WiFi and data offers in your country in the comments box below.

Meanwhile, here’s the international guide from TUAW.


Country Carrier Price (local currency) Data plan Contract term

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USA AT&T $199/$299 $30/$45 2-years

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Canada Rogers $199/$299 starting at $30 CAD 3-years

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Australia Telstra $279 8GB/$399 16GB with $30 plan, free with $80 (8GB) or $100 (16 GB) month plan Rate varies depending on pre-paid/post-paid plan 2-years

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Australia Optus Pre-paid: $729 8GB/$849 16GB / Post-Paid: No upfront fee, monthly handset repayment added to "yes cap" or "yes cap 3G" plan Varies according to pre or post-paid option and contract term 1 or 2 years

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Australia Vodafone N/A N/A N/A

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Austria ONE (Orange) €149 8 GB/€229 16 GB €10 a month 2-years

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Austria T-Mobile starting at €1 N/A 2-years

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Belgium Mobistar TBA TBA TBA

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Denmark Telia DKK 1399 8GB / DKK 1999 16GB DKK 599 first six months, DKK 399 after that 6-months minimum

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Finland Sonera €1 – €159 8 GB / €85 – €245 16 GB, pay as you go €429 8 GB and €519 16 GB €32 – €89.99 a month 2-years

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France Orange €149 8 GB €199 16 GB new customers, €199 8 GB €249 existing customers €32 a month 2-years

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Germany T-Mobile 1-€ – 169,95€ for 8 GB and 19,95€ – 249,95€ for 16GB, depending on rate plan Varies between 29,-€ and 89,-€ 2-years

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Hong Kong Hutchison Telecom HK$2938 or free with HK$498 data plan HK$188 for 500MB data and voice or HK$498 for unlimited data 2-years

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Irela

nd

O2 €49 – €169 8 GB / €129 – €229 16 GB €45 – €100 18 months

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Italy Vodafone €499 8 GB / €569 16 GB pre-paid, subsidized TBA TBA TBA

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Italy Telecom Italia €499 8 GB / €569 16 GB pre-paid, subsidized TBA TBA TBA

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Japan Softbank ¥23,040 / ¥34,560 ¥7280 unlimited data 2-years

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Mexico Telcel TBA TBA TBA

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Netherlands T-Mobile €1,00 – €79,95 for 8GB/ €19,95-€159,95 for 16GB depending on rate plan €29,95 – €64,95 2-years

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New Zealand Vodafone N/A N/A N/A
           

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Norway Netcom NOR 1 – NOR 1390 8 GB / NOR 890 – 2290 16 GB depending on plan NOR 399 – NOR 1099 1-year

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Portugal Orange TBA TBA TBA

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Spain Telefonica Rumored €99 8 GB/ €199 16 GB Rumored starting at €24 a month 2-years

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Sweden TeliaSonera 1 kr – 2495 kr 8GB, depending on contract length and plan/ 795 kr – 2495 kr 16 GB depending on contract length and plan 299 kr – 859 kr a month 18 months or 2-years

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Switzerland Swisscom CHF 99 – CHF 519 for 8 GB (depending on plan) / CHF 199 – CHF 619 for 16 GB depending on plan CHF 25 – CHF 55 or pay as you go. 2-years

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Switzerland Orange TBA TBA 2-years

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UK O2 Free with select tarrifs, ?99 8GB or ?159 16 GB Between ?30 and ?75 including voice and data 18 months

 

Square Enix ship Song Summoner for iPod

 The creators of Final Fantasy, Square Enix, have introduced Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes, a game for iPods that’s now available through iTunes.

The role playing game takes the songs on your iPod to turn into soldiers you control in a battle against mechanical creatures on a mission to destroy all life on the planet.

As the protagonist, Ziggy, players must embark on an epic journey to rescue their brother from the mechanical enemy.

"From the days of old, Melodica was a land of music, a land of freedom. The people sang, played and danced to the music they so cherished. Until one day, they came – the Mechanoids, who enhanced their bodies with machinery. Those who were tempted by greed and power willingly gave away their souls for bodies of steel, forsaking their humanity to become cold, emotionless automatons. Now, they seek to destroy all that do not embrace their way of life," Square Enix explains.

The game’s compatible with the iPod nano with video, iPod classic and fifth generation iPod.  Check the Video below.

 

Italian customers furious at expensive European iPhone deal

Just like Canada, Italian iPhone customers are angrily denouncing the deals they’re being offered by Vodafone Italy and Telecom Italia for the iPhone 3G. Italian customers reckon they are being stitched-up by both.

Italian users are so angry that they’re expected to pay double what anyone in the US or UK must pay for using an iPhone that they’ve also launched a petition against it. While the campaign hasn’t ignited the same level of international interest as that against the deals on offer from Rogers Wireless in Canada, the petition has still attracted 3,000 signatures inside a week.

"TIM and Vodafone prices are way too high and completely beyond any level of acceptability," the petition reads. "For this reason, all we ask is a price adjustment in line with the italian market. Otherwise, we’ll be forced to boicot the 3G iPhone."

Italy has the most 3G users in Europe and 1.58 mobile phones for every citizen, making it a strategically important market for the iPhone, which will also be sold unlocked there. For many Apple-loving Italians, the demand they pay twice what US and UK customers must hand over has raised concerns Apple’s Italian iPhone launch could flop.

Only Vodafone has announced its three monthly subscription plans for iPhone 3G users, Entry plan:        €49/mo ($92/mo) 400 minutes voice; 400 texts. 600MB data iPhone 8 GB: €199 ($311) iPhone 16 GB: €269 ($420) Special plan:    €79/mo ($123/mo) No limits in minutes and texts to Vodafone users, 250 minutes or texts towards other carriers. 600MB data iPhone 8 GB:  €99 ($ 154) iPhone 16 GB: €169 ($ 264) Large plan:        €99/mo ($154/mo) 900 minutes included 900 texts included 600MB data iPhone 8 GB:  €49 ($76) iPhone 16 GB: €119 ($186) 600 MB DATA (for web surfing, emails, Voicemail….)

Flash Lite runs on the iPhone

 Adobe Flash is already running on an iPhone, well, Flash Lite does just that thanks to Belgian designer/coder Thomas Joos.

Joos has managed to port Flash onto an iPhone in order to run an event guide he had prepared for a local music festival. While the developer hasn’t managed to make Flash run as a browser plug-in he has managed to get the Adobe multimedia software running, thanks to b.Tween and a graphics tool called eyeGT. You can take a look at Flash running on an iPhone in the video above.

Neil Young slams iTunes sound quality

Neil Young has slammed iTunes, hates MP3’s and wants better quality musical products – and has a plan to make it happen.

Speaking to the Financial Times, the singer said: "It’s like all new digital media technologies," he said: "great for convenience, but the sound quality sucks – putting on a headphone and listening to an MP3 is like hell."

Young is developing an alternative, higher-quality digital distribution platform that could provide an alternative to the download world and perhaps even a new business model for music, the artist claims.

The technology behind this was first shown off last month at Sun’s JavaOne conference. Young has spent 15 years experimenting with different technologies to assemble a complete archive of his career, and will release the first part of this on Blu-ray disc, with additional content set to be introduced later on.

As Young explains his technology: "It has every media component you could want, and they’re all married together in a platform. That means other artists could use it, other record companies could use it and gain the knowledge of our 15-year development curve."

Apple limits UK iPhones on unlock scourge

 Up-and-coming gadget site, Electric Pig, claims the UK is the unlock capital of the iPhone world, saying Apple will limit supplies of the next-generation iPhone 3G as a result.

Citing insider sources, the report explains that fewer than 15 per cent of all the iPhones sold by O2 when it slashed prices on the 8GB model actually ended up in use on the carrier’s network. The rest of them were unlocked for use on other UK networks, or were sold abroad.

That move likely reflects habit and custom among mobile users in the UK, who are now well-versed in switching networks to get the best deal. iPhone critics here have frequently slammed Apple’s decision to offer the device through just one carrier.

Whatever the consumer politics inherent in the claimed unlock craze, Apple has apparently elected to limit supplies of the iPhone 3G in the UK, with the report claiming 16GB models will be particularly hard to find, and warning the white model may never ship in the UK.

We do hope this report is incorrect, as the 16GB model appears the only sensible choice of model, once we consider the applications we’ll likely download from the App Store.

 

Google introduces Google Talk for iPhone

Google has introduced Google Talk for the iPhone, a web-based version of the service that’s compatible with existing iPhones, and will also work with the iPhone 3G, and, naturally, the iPod touch. 

The new service has been released in the US, and is available to users who visit the http://www.google.com/talk page using their Apple device. Users must sign into their Google account, and that’s it – the service runs within the browser.

The Google team explains there are a few differences between the way Google Talk works on an iPhone and a Mac, principally due to the iPhone’s lack of support for background processes: "In order to receive instant messages with Google Talk on your iPhone, the application needs to be open in your Safari browser. When you navigate away to another browser window or application, your status will be changed to "unavailable" and your Google Talk session will be restarted when you return."

 

Otherwise, its pretty much the same, users can select from a quicklist of the people you contact most, search your contacts, and manage multiple conversations.

Didn

You’re all  familiar with last Friday’s iPhone tragedy, so I won’t dip into that again, but what I really want to know, and I’m sure everyone else wants to know is, what Steve was thinking! How could he not see that coming? I mean, you roll out the iPhone in twenty-one countries on the same day, and expect everything to be fine? Most would wonder, “what would the implications of millions of people creating the same transaction around the world at the same time be?” Apparently, Steve does not fall into the “most” category. Don’t get me wrong. I love Steve. I love him so much I feel like I can refer to him by his first name, without sounding like a dork. The thing I don’t like is his casualness and laid-back personality.    

 

Since my mom is making me wait for a 32GB iPhone,(I’m 14) I was not stuck in those jaw-dropping lines. (By the way, when is the 32GB coming out? Most seem to say before Christmas. I’ll have to stay on top of that). If I was to wait in those lines and experience what thousands went through that day, I would have shot myself. (But only in my foot so I could still get my phone!!) To top it off, you have thousands of other people trying to download the iPhone 2.0 software. Nice job Steve. Nice job. I could understand if they were using the different carrier’s servers, but iTunes??? Owning an iPhone, (or any Apple product for that matter) is all about the first experience. I must say, not being able to activate your phone until the end of the day and having to use it as a paperweight is not such a pleasurable experience, or thought.

What we need to learn from this: Be first in line, so you don’t run into any problems! We also know now to expect the worst. Nothing can go perfectly as planned. We just need to understand that it’s Apple, and it will be fixed. Just not as soon as you think…

Crash Bandicoot coming to iPhone

 Polarbit, developers of Raging Thunder for the iPhone, are now working on a Crash Bandicoot-branded kart racing game for the device – and will introduce the title through the App Store when development is complete.

The game includes twelve tracks, many characters, multiple weapons and configurable controls.

Mmm, yes, and there’s a video here, enjoy…