Tangled Web: A weekly column featuring intriguing online music-related issues & destinations. This Week: XM, Classic Cat and the Library of Congress.
XM DRIFTS TO WEB: XM Satellite Radio, the market-leading satellite-radio broadcaster, last week unveiled its plans to move onto the Internet in October, with a subscription-based online radio service.
The company has teamed with Dell to help market the service; purchasers of Dell Inspiron notebook and Dimension desktop computers will get a free 30-day subscription to XM Radio Online. Customers can access the service via the Dell Media Experience portal as well as at listen.xmradio.com.
XM will charge $7.99 per month for the online service, which gives listeners Web access to the company's 100 commercial-free channels. Subscribers to the original satellite service will be able to add online access for $3.99 added to their monthly $9.99 bill.
XM competitor Sirius Satellite Radio already includes access to its 65 channels online with its $12.95 monthly subscription fee.
SNIFFING OUT THE CLASSICS: Classic Cat is a site devoted to finding the largest trove of free classical music downloads possible. The site's creators claim it only links to files posted on the Web by the artists themselves, making it "entirely legal."
Users can search the site by composers, performers or instrumentation (choir, ensemble, flute, piano, etc.). Since it links to other sites across the Web, not all the links are up to date, but the editors say regular checks keep the dead-links ratio below 5%. The site also features a forum and a links page listing similar classical sites and portals.
MEMORY OF A NATION: The Library of Congress' Web site is chock-full of digitized versions of titles in the national archive, a significant portion of which is made up of sound recordings.
One of the Library's projects, American Memory, boasts 7 million digital items, in what the site dubs "a gateway to rich primary-source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States." The audio recordings section of the project features RealAudio, MP3 and WAV files from a broad spectrum of U.S. history, from inaugural speeches of presidents to band music from the civil war era, to Omaha Indian music and "fiddle tunes of the old frontier."