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Eliot Van Buskirk
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Eliot Van Buskirk covered digital music and other disruptive technologies for over a decade for Wired, CNET, and others for over 13 years before launching in late 2010, the first publication dedicated to music apps from the listener's perspective. The author of two books (Burning Down the House: Ripping, Recording, Remixing and More and an iPod book, both for McGraw-Hill), he's a regular on NPR and other media outlets. Van Buskirk's latest work can be found at He rides a bicycle, plays the bass, and lives in Brooklyn.

Entries by Eliot Van Buskirk

What Happens to Music After Net Neutrality?

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 9:29 AM

Superstitious folks used to believe that trolls guarded bridges, preventing some from crossing, or charging a toll. Is that tomorrow's Internet will look like?

Years ago, I believed experts who said net neutrality wasn't a big deal because it A) It never existed in the first place (because many ISPs...

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How Your Next Speakers Could Show 'Now-Playing' Songs and Change the World

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 10:13 AM

The personal tech revolution that encouraged many of us to look at screens for the past 15 years or so is shifting. As we enter the internet of things, apps will no longer be bound to computers and smartphones.

As it turns out, putative enemies, futurists and Luddites are...

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2013: When Virality Became a Music Format

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 11:24 AM

As of 2013, it's official: The wacky, amateurish, off-kilter sensibilities that characterized much of the early web have been reverse engineered, and now constitute part of mainstream culture.

Examples of this are everywhere, and they started appearing before 2013. But this is the year that Psy made millions on YouTube with "Gangnam...

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3 New Options for Karaoke Glory, Embarrassment

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 12:50 PM

Much of the joy in karaoke has to do with standing up in front of strangers and baring your soul, vocally speaking. There's nowhere to hide, when it's just you, the backing track, and some words on a screen.

But if you're seeking a little less of that joy, from...

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What 'Portable Music' Means in 2013

(1) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 5:22 PM

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a half-hour presentation on the state of music apps at Berlin Music Week, before interviewing some prominent app developers on stage. You can view the slides below.

It wasn't too hard to think of a topic, because I've been a bit obsessed...

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How A 17-Year-Old Girl Won a Hackathon -- And What It Means for Women in Tech

(2) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 12:48 PM

At this past weekend's TVnext Hack event, a loose consortium of geeks, hackers, and businessmen from the television and technology industries gathered in a high-rise Boston office building to compete for cash and prizes by inventing and building technologies that add to the experience of watching television.

Several hacks...

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Remote Controls and Music Apps Are Making Friends at Last

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 1:09 PM

Grandpa's CD player was an awful piece of technology by many estimations.

Purists hated the idea of slicing precious analog sound waves into bits, on philosophical if not auditory grounds. Owners of cassettes and vinyl were justifiably bummed to have to buy everything all over again. And on the label side,...

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6 Signs Smartphones Will Replace PCs as Hardware Hubs

(60) Comments | Posted February 16, 2013 | 1:43 PM

Someday, I will stop talking about my iPod prediction of 2001 -- the one Gizmodo called "the best iPod prediction ever made."

Today is not that day.

In that column, I predicted that not only would the iPod be a hit (despite criticism that it was way too expensive...

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Rolling Stones Launch iOS App -- But Still No Beatles on Spotify

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 2:30 PM

The classic battle of Beatles vs. Stones is over, at least where digital strategies are concerned.

Even as the Fab Four continue to drag their feet regarding all things digital, their erstwhile rivals released a pretty decent iOS app today. Not only that, but they took the time to...

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Ingenious: iTunes Should Be an API

(0) Comments | Posted November 29, 2012 | 3:34 PM

The Internets are abuzz once again with news that Apple will release a new version of iTunes today, after Apple senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue dropped a hint to the Wall Street Journal.

What will it be? Actually, that's not much of a surprise,...

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33 1/3 Books Are Exactly What Music Needs

(1) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 10:09 AM

Hey, look, some band released an album. Why should you care? Maybe you shouldn't, but sometimes you do.

If this happens to you, this whole caring-about-an-album-a-lot thing, the 33 1/3 series of books from Bloomsbury (see also: the blog) can be an invaluable resource. These small books detail the stories behind...

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Apple Lets First Artist and Label Subscriptions Into iTunes

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 6:27 PM

Like anyone, we enjoy a good trend. We think we've spotted the beginnings of one: apps that let fans subscribe directly to artists and labels.

Yes, artist apps have been around for ages -- in fact, they were among the first apps in the world. This is something...

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Hurricane Sandy, the Collaborative Playlist: Let's Panic Together

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2012 | 2:12 PM

As I sit here 50 feet from the mandatory evacuation line here in New York City, wondering what to listen to, it occurs to me: Hey, why don't we do another hurricane playlist, so our readers can listen along and add their own contributions? After all, it was so much...

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Will Neil Young's 'Pono' Player Really Make Music Sound Better?

(12) Comments | Posted October 9, 2012 | 11:26 AM

Since the dawn of the digital age, some audiophiles have maintained that new formats from the CD to the MP3 and beyond have degraded sound quality.

Ever since we left vinyl, music has sounded like crap, they say.

Some of the down-with-digital crew say we need to do away with...

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The Most-Downloaded Legal Music on BitTorrent

(2) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 2:23 PM

These artists were the most legally-downloaded on bit torrent in the first half of bit torrent downloads

File-sharing company BitTorrent recently announced that it facilitated 124,191,862 legal music downloads in the first six months of 2012. That is 31 percent...

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Top 6 Apps for Going to Concerts (and Reliving Them)

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 6:52 PM

Concerts apps are mostly similar, in that they typically mash the now-familiar GPS on your phone against show listing databases. But when you're on the run, trying to find that last-minute concert or be among the first to score tickets to something before it sells out or scalpers ruin the party...

Read Post App Turns Spotify Into a Social Music Network

(1) Comments | Posted August 17, 2012 | 2:49 PM

Spotify rolled out a new app yesterday:, which adds new social music features to both Spotify and Facebook, and offers a plethora of powerful features for actively discovering music from your friends, or sitting back and turning just about anything in the service, from tags to friends, into...

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Voice Is Not Content: WTFPod, Jams, and the New Music Revolution

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 6:04 PM

There's something happening here.

All of a sudden, a song isn't just a song. It's a statement about people's emotions at specific places and times, and it's not from the people who recorded the song.

As Sean Adams of the excellent music reviews site Drowned In Sound explained to...

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Why Shouldn't Mitt Romney Advertise on Pandora?

(6) Comments | Posted August 9, 2012 | 3:30 PM

Crystal Harris of North Carolina was enjoying to the Garth Brooks station on the free version of Pandora, when a message appeared on her iPhone asking her to support Mitt Romney's presidential bid by sharing her email address with the Romney campaign via Pandora.

She was outraged, and tweeted...

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Spotify Releases iPad App at Last, With New Sonic Exploration Features

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2012 | 2:31 PM

When we finally saw Spotify's new iPad app in the company's New York City offices this week, we breathed a sigh of relief on behalf of all the breathless Spotify fans who have been demanding its release.

A web search for "iPad Spotify app" on the eve of the announcement...

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