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Welcome To Free Music Monday—on Friday!
I had to switch it up this weekend and offer Free Music Monday today, because the brand new, FREE Foo Fighters EP Saint Cecelia is now available but in all my research on it, I couldn’t find a definitive statement that it will remain free indefinitely and I didn’t want any Foos fans to miss out on this one.



This EP was released by the band as a thank you to fans on 11/23, and already has an average review rating of 5/5 stars across over 30 reviews. Here’s an excerpt from an open letter Foo Fighters band leader and co-founder Dave Grohl wrote to accompany the release:

The Saint Cecilia Hotel, named after the patroness saint of music, is known as “A lush retreat from the world”. And, believe me, that it is! 14 rooms and a small bar, it’s tucked away in the trees within a bustling, Austin neighborhood. As our van pulled up in the wee hours of September 30th, 2015, I was struck with a rather impulsive idea: to record some songs on our days off to give to the world as a “thank you” for the last 2 years. Though there’s a world class recording studio just on the other side of the fence (Arlyn Studios, look it up.), the hotel manager, Jenny offered that we record in the hotel. A most generous, but unrealistic offer. Though, after rolling it around in my head a few times, it made perfect sense! Returning to the city where the entire Sonic Highways concept was born, loading in one last time to a room that was never designed to be a recording studio a la Sonic Highways, and making some music! Fate? Destiny? I was too tired to figure that kind of shit out, so I hit the sack, woke up the next morning and started making some calls…

By 6 pm the next day, the office was transformed into a control room and the bar was littered with microphones and cables. Amps were in the kitchen. Drums in front of the fireplace. Instant studio, courtesy of the legendary Kevin Szymanski! (Those fancy computer things are pretty convenient! More on that another time….) Margaritas were made, friends came to visit, the sun went down, and before long we started making enough noise to drive the neighbors to start drinking along with us. Riffs and ideas were thrown around, songs that were lost in the shuffle over the years, songs that were left unfinished. Like a musical retrospective, we were going through decades of songs no one has ever heard, pieces left on the cutting room floor from every album. Our own sonic scrapbook. (The Neverending Sigh is 20 years old! Was once called 7 corners for all you die hards out there…) Without the usual pressure or expectation of making an “album”, we sat happy and relaxed as we played. A virtual “This Is Your Life” of the Foo Fighters.


Click here to get the Foo Fighter’s Saint Cecelia EP.


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Amazon’s Black Friday Week deals on their own tech devices are not to be missed!


Advertisements make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content for free, so thanks for your support.


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Fire Tip of the Week: How To Set Amazon Instant Video Parental Controls ONLY On Individual Devices

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Getting Your Music Into Amazon Music Library

Posted November 26, 2015 By Mom
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This is a cross-posting of an article I wrote for my Love My Echo site, but the information in it isn’t just for Echo owners: it’s for anyone who wants to get their digital music library into Amazon Music Library, whether from their own computers or a different cloud storage service (like iCloud). Once your music’s in Amazon Music Library, it’s available to stream on all your Amazon devices as well as on any devices that can run the Amazon Music app.

Those who need to convert music they own in CD format to digital, see the DMM post Converting CDs To MP3: The Basics.

Every Amazon customer has an Amazon Music Library, whether they’ve signed up for the premium version or not. The link is right there on the Your Account menu on the Amazon site (click or tap on images to view an enlarged version in a new tab or window):

Everyone gets free access to the Amazon Music Player web and mobile apps, and everyone can upload and store up to 250 songs in their Amazon Music Library for free. Amazon Prime members also get unlimited access to the Amazon Prime Music Library, and can add songs, albums and playlists from the Prime Music Library to their own, personal libraries and those files don’t count toward the 250-song free upload limit. Music you purchase from Amazon doesn’t count toward the limit, either.

But if you’ve got a large, pre-existing personal music library, that 250 song allowance is not going to cut it. For you, Amazon offers a premium Music Library Subscription option: for a cost of $24.99/year (as of this writing, on 7/3/15), subscribers can upload up to 250,000 tracks for playback and storage. To give you some context for that figure, my personal digital music library is HUGE by most typical consumers’ standards: it consists of tracks ripped from hundreds of purchased CDs, and it still only adds up to a little over 5,000 tracks. And don’t forget: music you purchase from Amazon does not count toward the 250k track limit.

When I walked away from iTunes following the release of iTunes 11, I migrated my entire music library to Amazon Music Library premium. At that time I felt $25 a year was a price I’d gladly pay never to have to deal with the costly and frustrating forced-iTunes-upgrade routine: re-creating the playlists that had mysteriously disappeared, re-purchasing the assortment of bought songs that had also vanished, re-uploading my own music that was suddenly missing, and manually re-entering the large chunk of song and album metadata that was gone. Having seen friends and family endure the forced iTunes upgrade nightmare many times since then, I’m confident I made the right choice.

Read on to learn how to make the transition as painlessly as possible. Fair warning: you will have to go through that upload/import hassle one last time, if your music library is currently stored in some other cloud-based system (like iCloud) you’ll have to download it, and you’ll have to re-create all the playlists you want to keep from scratch, too. But unlike those poor iTunes victims, so long as you’re sticking with Amazon Music Library you will never have to do any of these things again. Ever.

Important Caveat: Amazon Music Library isn’t the mixmaster-friendly cathedral of music curation iTunes is. You will not have as many options available for customization, such as adding notes for each track, keeping count of plays, individually rating each song, or having all that custom metadata (fields I never used anyway). But you will still have the crucial items:

Not gonna lie: if you’re used to spending hours lovingly poring over your library and you do use all those iTunes custom fields (and you’re totally fine with re-populating at least some of them following every iTunes upgrade), then maybe Amazon Music Library isn’t for you. You just have to weigh the convenience of Echo connectivity and never having to face iTunes upgrade misery again against the benefits you’re getting with iTunes.

I recommend reading through this entire post before you begin the process, so you’ll know what to expect and be prepared every step of the way.


Step One: Decide If You Need To Upgrade To Music Player Premium
There are two reasons why you might need or want to sign up for Cloud Player Premium: 1) your personal library of digital music exceeds the 250 track limit of free storage Amazon already provides for all its customers, or 2) you want a reliable, offsite backup solution for your digital music that requires no ongoing maintenance from you.

If either of these situations fits, then the $24.99 annual fee (as of this writing) for Cloud Player Premium will be both necessary and totally worth the fee. To sign up, log in to Amazon in a regular web browser—these instructions may not match the mobile browser experience—and click the Your Music Library link I showed above to load Amazon Music Player in your browser. From there, click on the Manage Your Amazon Music Subscription link in the drop-down menu at the far right, top:

On the Manage Your Subscription page you can select the premium option and pay for it. By default, it will auto-renew each year. While I’m generally against auto-renewals, this is one case where I know I will always want to renew, and I sure don’t want to find out the hard way that allowing my subscription to lapse will result in the loss of all the music I’ve uploaded. My recommendation is to leave the auto-renew option on.


Step Two: Get Your Music Out Of Any Other Cloud Storage Library, If Necessary
If you’ve been using iCloud or any other cloud-based storage for your music, you’re going to need to download all of it before you’ll be able to upload it to your Amazon Music Library.

A large library will take a lot of time to download, all your other home network activity will slow to a crawl during the process, and you will need a hard drive or connected external drive large enough to hold all of it. I recommend using an external backup drive for this, since that option will leave you with a complete library backup in addition to your cloud library when all is said and done. Schedule your download session(s) according to when demands on your time, attention and network will be low.

You can speed things up by connecting your computer directly to your router via Ethernet, and breaking up the download into chunks (e.g, by genre, alphabetically by artist, etc.) will help as well: if the download job “hangs” on a specific song or file, you only have to re-start the download for that one chunk, not the entire library. Even so, for a very large audio library you may need to leave some download jobs running overnight for a few consecutive nights in a row to get everything out.

Important Note: download everything, not just individual MP3 songs. Some of the files will contain album cover art or metadata (e.g., album name, artist name, genre, running time, etc.) and some of that stuff will transfer over to your Amazon Music Library. My library contained podcasts and audiobooks (ripped from CDs I’d bought) in addition to music, and those also transferred to Amazon Music with no problems. Again, download everything.

Don’t immediately cancel your subscription to the other cloud service: you may need to come back to re-download missing songs/audio files later. Leave the other cloud library intact until the entire process is complete and you’re totally satisfied with your shiny new Amazon Music Library.


Step Three: Dealing With The DRM
iTunes prisoners will undoubtedly have a fair number of songs and albums in their collection that have been locked up with DRM. It is possible to legally strip the DRM and it’s not difficult, but your choice is between a very time-consuming, free process or paying $25 (as of this writing, on 11/25/15) for iTunes Match. See this tuts+ article for the full rundown:

How to Remove DRM From Your Music With iTunes Match (also includes how-to for the manual, time-consuming, free method)

Don’t be alarmed by the article’s reference to “AAC” files; that’s just another name for m4a files, and Amazon Music Library can import and play m4a audio (as well as some other formats in addition to MP3, click the link for more information). If you don’t have too many DRM-protected files, you might consider just re-purchasing them from Amazon after you’re done with the rest of your Music Library setup.


Step Four: Upload To Amazon Music Library
You can expect the upload job to take roughly the same amount of time as the download job did, and to have the same impacts: it’ll slow down your network, and may be best accomplished in a series of overnight jobs with your computer connected directly to your router via Ethernet cable.

I know, I know: it’s a big, honking, time-consuming hassle. But again, so long as you stay committed to Amazon Music Library, this is the last time you will ever have to do it. Remember that if you stuck with iTunes, you’d have to endure a similar experience every 3-14 months, every time a new iTunes version is released, for the indefinite future. Just grit your teeth and resign yourself to this one, last inconvenience. The payoff is SO worth it, especially now that Echo has entered the picture.

To upload, go back to your Music Library and click the bottom-left “Upload Your Music” link.:

If this is your first time uploading to Music Library, you’ll be prompted to download the Amazon Music Uploader program/plugin, and you may be prompted to install/enable Adobe Flash as well.

I am on the record as being anti-Adobe-Flash, it’s a plugin with a long history of security holes. If you’re prompted to install or enable it, go ahead and do so, but ensure all your other browser tabs are closed whenever you’re using the Uploader, and if you didn’t have the Flash plugin before this little project, disable it between upload sessions and uninstall it as soon as you’re finished with all your uploads.

Follow Amazon’s Uploader instructions to do your uploads, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Just remember that if your library is large, you will want to use the “choose files and folders” option to do your uploads in chunks instead of the “let Amazon Music find and upload your music”. That latter option will attempt the entire upload in one session.


Step Six: Tinker And Tweak As Desired
When you’re sure everything you want has been uploaded, inspect the results. Check for missing albums or songs; since individual omissions may not jump out at you if your library is large, be sure to hang on to that downloaded copy of your library so if you discover something missing weeks or months later, you can still upload it.

Re-create any desired playlists. I ended up not bothering to try and exactly duplicate my old iTunes playlists, I just created new ones from scratch. Amazon Music Library doesn’t have the variety of search options iTunes does, and as of this writing it also does not warn you when you add a duplicate to a playlist. While these limitations can be irritating to seasoned iTunes users, the duplicates thing is easily remedied: while viewing the playlist, just click on the TITLE column header to sort by title, then scan down the list to find any duplicates.

Check how Amazon assigned your songs to albums; in cases where the same song appears on multiple albums, Amazon may have chosen a different album for the track than you originally had. If the integrity of specific albums is important to you, edit the Song Information to make any desired corrections. To do this, in Music Library, right-click the downward pointing arrow next to the song title to open the pop-up menu, then select Edit Song Info:

In cases where album titles, artist names, etc. are missing and you don’t have a particular preference for how those fields are populated, use the Get Info From Amazon button on the Edit Song Info dialog (pictured earlier in this post) to auto-populate those fields from Amazon’s database.


Okay, so maybe it wasn’t quick, and maybe it wasn’t easy. But you will never have to do it again, and from here on out your Amazon devices have direct access to play anything in your audio library!


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Amazon’s Black Friday Week deals on their own tech devices are not to be missed!

Advertisements make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content for free, so thanks for your support.


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Fire Tip of the Week: How To Set Amazon Instant Video Parental Controls ONLY On Individual Devices

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TODAY ONLY (11/25/25), Verizon’s running a Thanksgetting promotion on Amazon that offers everyone, not just Verizon customers, the opportunity to get a selection of 9 movies, 18 TV episodes, 10 MP3 songs, 5 Android apps and 5 Fire TV apps FOR FREE!

I’ve already added a bunch of these things to my own digital library, and it’s for real! But the offer’s good TODAY ONLY, so be sure to get the items you want TODAY.


As shown in the screenshot above, you can view all available items on the Thanksgetting page, or filter by specific content type (red box). You can either click on the title of the item you want (red arrow) to go directly to its product page, or mouse over the title or image to activate the Product Details pop-up, which displays a brief description of the item and provides a ‘watch now / listen now / read now / get the app’ button you can click to go to the product page.

Once on the product page, you’ll see the listed price for these items is FREE—even for digital videos in HD! The End of the Tour and Odd Thomas, both highly-rated recent release movies, are included in this offer, as are some bestselling songs, books and apps.


The Small Print
Here are the full offer details, from the Thanksgetting page (tap or click on image to view an enlarged version in a new tab or window):




Click here TODAY to get your haul of Thanksgetting freebies, courtesy of Verizon!


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Fire Tip of the Week: How To Set Amazon Instant Video Parental Controls ONLY On Individual Devices

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Facebook-ery: Turn Off Notifications

Posted November 24, 2015 By Mom
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You know how, when one of your Facebook friends has some news deserving of congratulations or condolences/support, you leave a comment to congratulate or comfort your friend, and then you keep getting pings the whole rest of that day—or maybe even that entire week!—every time someone else leaves a comment on the same thread?

It’s so annoying, it’s enough to make you want to stop congratulating or comforting anyone for anything on Facebook.

But on the Facebook site, there’s an easy way to keep expressing yourself in these situations while avoiding the irritation.


The Magic of Turn Off Notifications
First, one caveat: this how-to is for the full Facebook site as viewed in a browser window, Facebook mobile apps may differ.

On the Facebook site, anytime you interact with one of those posts that’s sure to get lots of the same type of comment and you know you’re not interested in seeing all those other comments, just click on the down-pointing arrow at the upper right hand corner of the post and click to select “Turn off notifications for this post”:



Now your comment will stay just as you left it, but you won’t keep getting those little pings and notifications every time someone else interacts with the original post.

Easy! And nobody will know that you’ve turned off notifications, either.


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The Safemore Outlet with USB Charger, Smart 8-Outlet with 4-USB Output Surge Protection Power Strip Socket is a must-have for any household with lots of rechargeable electronics. It has an average review rating of 4.5/5 stars and is currently (as of 11/24/15) priced at $31.99. Makes a terrific gift, too! Also available in Blue/White, Green/White, Pink/White and Black/White.

Advertisements make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content for free, so thanks for your support.


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Fire Tip of the Week: How To Set Amazon Instant Video Parental Controls ONLY On Individual Devices

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Welcome To Free Music Monday!
I’ve got one free mini-album of three songs, plus two free albums and one more that’s nearly free (it’s only 89 cents as of this writing, on 11/23/15), and they’re all perfect to get everyone into the holiday mood.

First up: Sounds of Christmas (5/5 stars, currently FREE).



There are three songs in this mini-album by The Walls Group, a Grammy-nominated gospel quartet.


Next, it’s Yuuuuuuüuul (4.5/5 stars, currently FREE).



This is a very offbeat collection of Christmas music. This group of 5 tracks reminds me of They Might Be Giants, in terms of the range of styles. This album will take you from electronic geek-rock to snarky rap.



Perennial freebie favorite Green Hill Celtic Music Sampler 2014 (4.5/5 stars, currently FREE) is on this list even though it’s not actually intended to be holiday music, because it makes a terrific alternative for those times when you can’t stand to hear even one more Christmas standard but still want something beautiful, calm and melodic. 15 tracks in all.



If you love Celtic music and you’re willing to invest 89 cents, you might consider picking up Celtic Christmas – Irish Gaelic Christmas (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at 89 cents, 21 tracks) too.



Finally, Amazon’s got a gift for Prime Members: Indie For The Holidays (4/5 stars, free for Amazon Prime members only, 27 tracks). This is an album filled with indie and alt-rock artists like Rogue Wave, Lisa Loeb, Fruit Bats and Ivan & Alyosha.


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Amazon’s got some great Black Friday Week deals on its bestselling tablet and ereader lines from now through 11/30/15:

Fire Kids Edition: $15 off, on sale at $84.99

Kindle For Kids Bundle: $30 off, on sale at $69.99

Kindle: $30 off, on sale at $49.99

Kindle Paperwhite: $20 off, on sale at $99.99

Advertisements make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content for free, so thanks for your support.


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Fire Tip of the Week: How To Set Amazon Instant Video Parental Controls ONLY On Individual Devices

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