-- Pandora has launched version 2.0 of its desktop application. New features: view your song history; the addition of a progress bar; faster transitions to the next song after giving a song a "thumbs down" rating; the application remembers how loud you like your music. (Pandora blog)

-- Microsoft will drop its flash Zune devices as well as its 80GB and 120GB devices. It's all on the upcoming Zune HD. Microsoft says it will continue software updates for the earlier models. The Zune HD has an improved design, a touchscreen interface, a web browser and HD radio, and the ability to output HD video. CNET has a brief video and a thorough and positive hands-on review to the 32GB Zune HD. To see how the Zune HD works with an HD television, check out Gizmodo's video review. (paidContent)

-- Ben Sheffner, who writes the Copyrights & Campaigns blog, has an article at Slate on the curious case of Roxanne Shanté and her label-funded graduate education. A recent New York Daily News article explained how Shanté's contract with Warner Music Group allowed to "fund her education for life," which was said to cost WMG $200,000 as Shanté obtained a Ph.D. from Cornell. The article was an unusual take on the classic "record labels are greedy" story and got a lot of attention in the blogosphere. However, Sheffner has found the important details of the story are fabrications. Shanté was never under contract with a WMG-owned label, no evidence exists that WMG paid for her education, Shanté admitted to Sheffner she does not have a Ph.D. from Cornell, and neither Cornell or the school where she was supposed to obtain her undergrad degree have records that she attended classes there or obtained a degree. According to WMG, Cold Chillin' Records had an agreement in 1987 to be distributed by WMG but was not a WMG-owned label. Shanté had told a version this story before. A December 2008 post at Blender.com quotes her as saying a clause in her contract with WMG enabled her to get a masters degree from Cornell and a Ph.D. from Marymount Manhattan College. (Slate)

-- Digital Audio Insider has been watching the eMusic charts since Sony catalog titles were added. Even though two months have passed since Sony arrived, the top of the charts are dominated, as usual, by new releases on smaller labels. The only Sony title in the Top 15 chart for the last day, week or month is Kenny Chesney's Greatest Hits II. On Thursday morning, a few Michael Jackson and Kings of Leon titles occupy spots in the top 30 albums of the month at eMusic. Then he compared Sony's performance with recently added, older indie catalog and found evidence that eMusic subscribers' sensitivity to price may be one reason Sony titles haven't got higher up the chart. "Yet when offered certain classic indie releases for the first time, eMusic subscribers will push them to the top of the download charts, something they've failed to do with non-Michael Jackson Sony material. Husker Du's SST catalog was added on 8/24/09 and currently accounts for four of the top 15 spots in the weekly download chart. While the Husker Du releases are offered as 'album-only' downloads, the fact that some of them are relative bargains -- it will cost you just 12 downloads for the 23-track Zen Arcade -- no doubt adds to their appeal. Still, the contrast with the Sony catalog is striking." (Digital Audio Insider)

-- Shoppers in Sweden can buy access to Spotify's premium service at 7-11 and Pressbyrån convenience stores. (Spotify blog)

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