The Secret Life of Amazon’s X-Ray Service

Ben Stiller reads free Audible audiobook of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

It seemed like a miracle. I was listening to music — and its lyrics started appearing (in time with the music)! It’s one of the new features of Amazon’s music-playing apps. But today I found myself wondering if it’s any better than guessing at the lyrics yourself…

“Lyrics display and scroll automatically line-by-line as the song plays,” Amazon explains helpfully on their web page — showing X-Ray in action on a Kindle Fire tablet. But I first encountered this magical feature on my humble Android phone, when lyrics started appearing in my “Amazon Music” app. I never signed up for the X-Ray service, but one day, it spontaneously appeared in my life. A song was coming down to me from the cloud — but now, so were its lyrics!

I should’ve been thrilled, but instead one of the first things I did was Google “How to turn off X-Ray lyrics”, because at first it just seemed distracting! (I liked it when Amazon’s app displayed a pretty picture of the song’s album cover — instead of shrinking that to make room for a line-by-line print-out of the lyrics.) Plus, Amazon’s lyrics aren’t available for every song, so they kept coming and going, winking on and off like a haunted teleprompter. Finally I realized I could just drag the “lyric window” down using a tiny rectangular handle at the window’s top-center. That revealed the album cover in all its glory, leaving behind just a thin gray rectangle with the words “X-Ray Lyrics”.

But here’s the dirty secret about the lyrics from Amazon’s X-Ray service: they’re not always right. I learned this dark truth after becoming obsessed with the meaning of a particularly fascinating song. I’d watched Ben Stiller’s blockbuster, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and even bought its inspiring sound track. And it begins with a roar — drums and cymbals — as Swedish indie singer Jose Gonzalez launches into an anthem urging “Step outside. Won’t you step outside. Better step outside. Time to step outside…”

But as a chorus of children sing their hearts out, the stakes of the song “Step Out” suddenly become impossibly high and almost nihlistic. “House on fire. Leave it all behind you,” they’re singing in unison — before the lyrics even begin. Or are they? One lyric-listing site decided the lyrics must be “Hearts on Fire. Leaving all behind you…”

I was delighted when I realized that X-Ray lyrics would display their interpretation of the song, so I could see who was right. But I soon realized they were just guessing, just like everybody else. They heard the first chorus as just “Step outside, time to step outside” — repeated over and over again. I can’t really fault them for just typing out “Whoa oh oh oh” once for the first line of the chorus — though that’s also its second and third line. But I have to say I was truly disappointed that they couldn’t solve the song’s most mysterious lyrics.

One site actually transcribed it as “Broke tooth one day, something’s not the same. Blank head, that guy sweeps the floor…” (I’m pretty sure that’s not it!) As the singer breaks it down to a hushed whisper — the one moment of calm after “House on fire, leave it all behind you” — I heard “Broke to Monday. Something’s not the same. Blank head, crossed eyes sweep the floor…” But Amazon’s X-Ray service also transcribed it as “Broke tooth Monday…” (What the hell would that even mean?!)

To be fair, the song’s lyrics are cryptic — and the gentle-but-mumbling delivery of the songwriter only makes them more mysterious. One YouTube video presented the chorus as dark as night “and a light to guide you,” but also made the intriguing suggestion that that despondent chorus wasn’t describing “Feeding appetites” (as Amazon suggested), but “feeding at the tides”… But maybe I should walk away from this experience with a new respect for Amazon’s X-Ray service for lyrics. Because it’s really easy to get the lyrics right when you’re just re-typing something from a CD booklet — but without that, it’s anybody’s guess!

But I’ll always remember a friend in high school who once suggested that songwriters shouldn’t tell their audience a song’s definitive interpretation — because finding your own meaning was part of the fun. So instead of relying on Amazon’s X-Ray service, maybe instead we should just follow the advice of this song’s lyricist. As the music culminates into a wall of sound, he can be heard gently mumbling one more lyric that Amazon’s X-Ray service also didn’t transcribe.

“Just believe, and…”

“Step outside. Take a step outside. Better step outside. Time to step outside…”


In some countries, Amazon’s Kindle Store has been offering
a free audiobook version of the short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
read by Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller reads free Audible audiobook of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Introducing Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

“When it first arrived from Amazon, I didn’t know what it was,” says a little girl in Amazon’s new online ad. And she wasn’t alone — I was also stumped by Thursday’s announcement of Amazon Echo. But it looks like Amazon has created an entirely new category of device!

For a shortcut to Amazon’s Echo page, point your browser to

But let’s let Amazon have the first word. Their ad shows a family — the dad is excited — opening a newly-arrived package from Amazon. We learn that Echo is always on, but it only hears you when you say a “wake” word out loud: Alexa. “Alexa, what do you do?” asks the father.

“I can play music, answer questions, get the news and weather, create to-do lists, and much more.”

“Awesome!” says the family’s teenaged son. “Alexa, play rock music.” And she does!

It’s a little black cylinder — just over 9 inches tall, and three inches wide. (Imagine bending the top of a ruler to get a sense of its size…) And Amazon’s ad shows a surprising number of cases where Echo would come in handy. How tall is Mt. Everest? How do you spell cantaloupe? How many teaspoons in a tablespoon? What day is this?

Echo answers every question — and can even launch your music playlists whenever you ask. A “companion app” lets you control the device from your phone (or your Kindle tablet). Amazon’s Echo device can also function as a gentle alarm clock, or deliver “flash news briefings” from your local radio stations (or ESPN, or NPR…) And I was impressed that Echo even recognizes te command “Tell me a joke!”

With Echo you can also add things to your shopping list — or a to-do list — just by saying them out loud. I wasn’t sure what it was — but it didn’t fool the headline writers at Apple Insider, who called it “a stand-alone Siri-like assistant for your home.” But it seems to me that’s missing the point, since Siri is only on when it’s back in your charger (and not in your pocket). Imagine having a separate device in your home, just for taking dictation or providing a voice-activated way to instantly look up information.

Best of all, it’s only $99 — if you’re an Amazon Prime member, and you’re lucky enough to get an “invitation” from Amazon to try it out. Echo will ultimately be tapping “the cloud” for some of its information — along with Wikipedia — so Amazon may want to first try a “soft roll-out” with just a smaller number of users. When it’s released to the general public, Echo will retail for $199.

Echo can stream music from Pandora, Spotify, and even from iTunes. And of course, it also plays music from your Amazon Music Library, as well as the 1 million-plus songs available through Amazon Prime Music. And honestly, it seems like it’d make a really awesome Christmas gift.

“Alexa, play ‘Tonight, We Are Young’ by fun….”

Remember, for a shortcut to Amazon’s Echo page, point your browser to

Amazon Echo

Amazon Announces Free Music Streaming for Prime Customers

Amazon Prime Music

The founder of Amazon just posted a surprise announcement on the front page of the site. From now on, members of Amazon’s Prime shipping service can also enjoy free music! They’ll get unlimited access to over a million songs — with no commercials — and can even download songs to their phone or tablet for free!

For a shortcut to Amazon’s new service, point your browser to

There’s lots of familiar artists — from Bruce Springsteen and Madonna to Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, Blake Shelton, and The Lumineers — and Amazon promises there’s over 10,000 albums to choose from. Amazon promises their selection will grow — which is good, because right now it seems like some artists are represented more than others. Amazon’s “100 Popular Artists” page shows which albums will be available, and it definitely seems like some artists have more albums available than others.

      40 Johnny Cash albums
      16 Willie Nelson
      13 Dave Matthews Band
      12 Elvis Presley
      11 Kidz Bob Kids
      10 Billy Joel
      9 Van Morisson
      8 Ozzy Osbourne
      8 John Denver
      8 Talking Heads
      7 Journey

But it’s still an impressive service, and Amazon’s doing everything they can to make it easy to use. “We wanted to remove the barriers between you and the music you love,” writes Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, listing out the barriers that are being removed — “cost” and “interruptions”. He also points out that there’s also no limit on how many times you can listen to a song, which is different than other streaming music service I’ve seen. And Amazon is also trying to match their ability to recommend new songs, removing the barrier he describes as “deciding what to listen to.

“Just play any of the hundreds of Prime Playlists our music experts have created for you.”

It’s one more benefit for their already-attractive “Prime” shipping service — which also includes free two-day shipping and free videos from Amazon’s library, plus the ability to “borrow” a new book each month from “the Kindle Lending Library.” And Amazon also provided a clue about just how popular their Prime program is. I’ve never seen them actually reveal the number of subscribers to the service, but today they annouced it has “tens of millions of members”. So that means that, at minimum, there’s at least 20 million people using Amazon’s Prime Service.

Which means 20 million people just got free access to Amazon’s streaming music service!

Remember, for a shortcut to Amazon’s new service, point your browser to

Free Christmas Music from Amazon!

Vintage phonography gramophone record player

It’s a tradition — every year Amazon gives away free .mp3 music files with Christmas songs! Most Kindles can play music files, so it’s a fun way to enjoy some holiday spirit while you’re reading your ebooks. “Starting December 1, every 5 days we’re rolling out 5 new free holiday songs for your collection,” Amazon explains on their holiday web page. And that’s just one way to get free (and discounted) Christmas music files for your Kindle.

For a shortcut to Amazon’s free Christmas mp3s, go to

There’s also several other free Christmas songs in Amazon’s music store — including a brand new song by “Straight No Chaser”. The acapella college singing group re-united in 2008 after suddenly becoming internet sensations for their funny version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” (mixed with “The Dreidel Song” and “Africa”). It was recorded in 1998, but 10 years later it landed them a real recording contract with Atlantic Records. And this year, they’re giving away a free song in Amazon’s music store with their own funny lyrics for a song from “The Nutcracker”.

“All holiday shoppers on the road!
My holiday spirit might explode!
Of course, there is no place to park
We’re late, the theater’s in the dark
In no small feat
We find a seat
The show’s about to start…”

Their “12 Days of Christmas” is also bargain-priced in Amazon’s music store for just 69 cents. (And Jeff Foxworthy has recorded his own funny “redneck” version of same song — also available for just 69 cents.) But there’s also entire album of Christmas music that are available for the same price — bargain-priced for just 69 cents. It’s the album “Celtic Christmas”, which feature 20 different songs in the Celtic style. And if you want even more Christmas music, there’s also the album “100 Must-Have Christmas Masterpieces” for $1.99 — a massive collection of traditional Christmas carols (sung by groups like the Vienna Boys Choir and the Mormon Tabernacle).

In fact, Amazon’s created a special web page where you can find all the Christmas songs that have been discounted to just 69 cents — including some of the great holiday standards.

Bing Crosby – Do You Hear What I Hear?
Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
Johnny Mathis – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
The Kinks – Father Christmas
Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Judy Garland – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Jose Feliciano – Feliz Navidad
Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime
The Beach Boys – Little Saint Nick
Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby
Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas
Burl Ives – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Jimmy Durante – Frosty the Snowman
Spike Jones – All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
Elmo & Patsy – Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka (Single Version)
Burl Ives – Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
Dan Fogelberg – Same Old Lang Syne
Alvin & The Chipmunks – The Christmas Song

For a shortcut, just point your browser to

There’s nearly 200 Christmas songs discounted to just 69 cents — including several by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you’ve got a favorite Christmas song, see if Amazon’s got it on sale. They’ve got everything from Burl Ives’ “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas” to the fast fast, rock version of the Chipmunks’ Christmas song from their first movie in 2007!

There’s also some great deals on albums of Christmas music:

– Several classic celebrity records available as digital downloads for just $3.99.

James Brown: The Christmas Collection
Rod Stewart: Merry Christmas, Baby
John Denver: The Classic Christmas Album
The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas

– For $3.99 you can also get Verve Presents: The Very Best of Christmas Jazz, which includes Mel Torme’s “Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”, plus other songs by some great jazz legends, including Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, and Ella Fitzgerald.

– Zooey Deschanel’s new group, “She & Him.” also has a Christmas record you can buy for just $5.99. (It’s called — what else? — “A Very She & Him Christmas”.) And through Saturday, their new album, “Volume 3,” is also bargain-priced at just $5.99.

– Some great celebrity Christmas albums are just $5.99
Jimmy Buffet, Christmas Island
Michael Buble, Christmas
Vince Guaraldi, A Charlie Brown Christmas
Barbara Streisand, The Classic Christmas album (Just $5.00)

Happy holidays!

For a shortcut to Amazon’s free Christmas mp3s, go to

Amazon Announces America’s Most Musical Cities


Today is Michael Jackson’s birthday — and on Facebook, his personal chef promised it wouldn’t be forgotten. Today at his restaurant in Oakland, California, he’s expecting a flash mob to honor what would’ve been the singer’s 55th birthday — all dressed as Michael Jackson. And it got me thinking how in cities all across America, we all have a place for music in our lives– even if the ways that we’re listening to it are changing fast. (Nowadays if I’m listening to music, it’s probably on my smartphone or on my Kindle!)

And recently Amazon distributed one of the most fascinating press releases about music that I’ve ever seen. Earlier this summer, Amazon crunched through their statistics to try to determine who loved music the most — or at least, which cities were purchasing the most music. They compiled “per capita” figures to determine which cities had the most musical purchases per person. And then they announced the complete list — which they called “Cities That Rock” — revealing not just which cities bought the most music, but what kinds of music were most popular there!

For example, Cleveland Ohio is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, because it’s the home of the radio announcer who first coined the term rock and roll. “But Amazon sales data suggests that the Rock capital is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” reads the press release. In fact, when it comes to purchasing music, Amazon’s sales data doesn’t even put Cleveland in the top 20! There may be a lot of people in Cleveland, but the ratio of purchases to people just isn’t as high as Pittsburgh — or even Cincinnati, which appears at #6 on the list.

But it’s interesting to note that even all those rock music purchases still didn’t make Pittsburgh the #1 most-musical city in all of America. That honor went to Miami Florida, which actually holds the #1 spot for the most heavy metal purchases per person — and also the #1 spot for the most dance purchases and Latin music purchases. In fact, Miami even has the highest rate of purchasing music for children. It must’ve been fun to be working at Amazon, and identifying the top musical cities — and then trying to guess if there was a pattern!

Because the #3 most-musical city is also in Florida, according to Amazon — the city of Orlando. Amazon points out that it’s the city that gave the world the Backstreet Boys (as well as ‘N Sync), and that per capita, it’s the #1 city in America for purchasing pop music. And further down, Amazon’s press release announces that “the most Country-loving city is the Tennessee River town of Knoxville, Tennessee.” Interestingly, that only earns Knoxville the #13 spot on the overall list — with the #4 spot going instead to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Coming in one notch above Knoxville was another southern town — Columbia, South Carolina, which had the 12th-most music purchases (per capita) of any city in America. But they aso had the distinction of being #1 for their purchases of rap music R&B music, and Christian music.

Hometown to artists like Alexis Jordan and Angie Stone, Columbia, SC topped not one, but three genre lists, including R&B, Rap and Christian. Columbia is the hometown of artists like Alexis Jordan and Angie Stone, Amazon points out — and it’s also identifies a few cities that are living up to their reputation. Amazon’s hip hometown of Seattle Washington had the most purchases per capita for indie rock music — and came in at #7 on the list. And Cambridge Massachusetts — home to Harvard University — bought more classical music from Amazon per capita than any other city in America. (While Berkeley California was their #1 city for jazz purchases.)

Amazon is still one of the biggest sellers of good old-fashioned music CDs — but they’re also helping transition the world to downloading songs and albums digitally. Now when I buy a song to listen to on my Kindle, there isn’t any physical CD that goes with it. In fact, one of my biggest delights with the Kindle is the way it can make music feel new again — because I’m listening to it in new ways, in new places, and at new times. So when compiling their list, Amazon made a point of counting not just CD sales, but also digital downloads of songs and albums — and even purchases of old vinyl records!

The music is still wonderful — and whether we notice it or not, Amazon is quietly becoming part of the way we listen to it. Today I was remembering the day when Michael Jackson died. He’d been such a huge star when I was younger, and I’d wondered if anyone else was thinking about all those albums from the late 1970s and early 1980s. And then I’d noticed in Amazon’s music section that their #1 best-selling album was Michael Jackson’s Thriller — and their #2 best-selling album was Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall..

Music really is an experience that we share together. And whether we notice it or not, there are times when our new neighborhood record store is Amazon.

Grammy Meets Kindle


So I was lying on my couch Sunday reading a Kindle. I switched over to my Kindle Fire, and decided to pull up its Facebook app. In the background I was listening to my favorite album — some classic jazz to help me unwind for the night — when I spotted an announcement on Facebook from Amazon’s music page.

“Need some new tunes? Get current and past GRAMMY-nominated songs for $0.69 each.”

It seemed too good to be true, but within minutes I was sharing the news to all of my friends. (“Guess what happens when you go to ? Amazon’s discounted 73 past and present Grammy-winning songs to just 69 cents!”) Amazon’s discounted songs by some of the biggest names in music, including Beyonce, Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen, and John Mayer.

And then I discovered that Amazon had also discounted over 168 Grammy-nominated albums — some as low as $2.99.

See the selection by pointing your browser to

There were discounts on several classic albums are on sale for just $2.99, including Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising, Carol King’s Tapestry, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Billy Joel’s 52nd Street. But there were also discounts on more recent albums, like Wild Ones by Flo Rida, as well as two albums by Coldplay, two by Bonnie Raitt, and two by Kelly Clarkson. There were sales on digital music albums by everyone from Bob Dylan to Barbra Streisand, and even an album by Cannonball Adderly and MTV’s special “Tony Bennett Unplugged”. In 2004, at the age of 73, Ray Charles had recorded his final album, a new collection of duets with famous musicians called Genius Loves Company. Amazon’s discounted that album to just $3.99.

With 168 albums to choose from, it’s a great way to look back at the history of music as seen by the Grammy awards — all the way up to the present. (The Lumineers were nominated as “Best New Artist of 2012” — and Amazon’s discounted also two of their songs to just 69 cents.) But I learned tonight that there was also a lot of excitement over the surprise upset win in an unusual Grammy category — “best spoken word album”. First lady Michelle Obama and former president Bill Clinton were competing against Janis Ian, a singer-songwriter who’s probably best known for her thoughtful 1975 song, “At Seventeen”. Other nominees included Ellen Degeneres and Rachel Maddow, but in the end, Janis Ian won the award for a heartfelt recording of her autobiography — Society’s Child.

And best of all, it’s available for the Kindle — both as an ebook, and as a Grammy award-winning audiobook. It’s available at both Amazon and at, which describe her memoir as “a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures – and the hopes and dreams – of an extraordinary life.” But just three ago, Janis Ian had one more story to tell. On her Facebook page, she shared the news that first lady Michelle Obama had just posted about her on Twitter — a message of congratulations. (Ian responded on Facebook: “OMG.”)

Once a year, the Grammy awards remind me of how many different artists there are who are trying to create some really great recordings. And it’s especially nice that this year, there’s a way to enjoy them on your Kindle!

Amazon Adds Your Favorite Songs to the Cloud

Amazon had a big announcement on Thursday — especially if you own a Kindle. They introduced AutoRip, “a new service that gives customers free MP3 versions of CDs they purchase from Amazon.” Now when you buy a music CD from Amazon, they’ll automatically add digital versions of every song for you into Amazon’s “Cloud Player”. And to inaugurate this new feature, I discovered that Amazon actually went back in time, and delivered digital versions of songs I’d purchased more than 10 years ago!

“You may have noticed that songs from 8 CDs you have purchased from Amazon were added to your Cloud Player library,” read the e-mail that Amazon sent me. “This means that high-quality MP3 versions of these songs are available for you to play or download from Cloud Player for FREE.” There’s a music tab on the Kindle Fire, but you can also enjoy the music on most of the e-ink Kindles, too. Just use your USB cord to upload the mp3s onto any Kindle that has audio capability!

In fact, you don’t even need a Kindle to enjoy the new digital music. There’s an “Amazon Mp3” app that’s available for free for most smartphones, including the iPhone, the iPad, and Android phones. I like listening to music at work, but I hadn’t gotten around to uploading any mp3s to my new smartphone — and that’s where the app really comes in handy. One day at work, I discovered that the mp3s that I’d bought earlier from Amazon were already waiting for me on their server.

You can tell that Amazon’s excited about this feature. “What would you say if you bought music CDs from a company 15 years ago,” explained Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, “and then 15 years later that company licensed the rights from the record companies to give you the MP3 versions of those CDs…and then to top it off, did that for you automatically and for free? Well, starting today, it’s available to all of our customers – past, present, and future – at no cost. We love these opportunities to do something unexpected for our customers!”

And of course, Amazon’s press release took a shot at the way digital music is being sold by Apple. “In many cases, customers can buy an AutoRip CD, including the free digital copy, for less than they would pay for only the digital album at iTunes,” their press release boasted Thursday. But they also touted an even simpler advantage. “No more waiting for the CD to arrive!”

I was so impressed, I had to check the fine print to make sure — but their offer really is as good as it sounds, going back more than 14 years. “Customers who have purchased AutoRip CDs at any time since Amazon first opened its Music Store in 1998 will find MP3 versions of those albums in their Cloud Player libraries,” explains Amazon announcement, “also automatically and for free. More than 50,000 albums, including titles from every major record label, are available for AutoRip, and more titles are added all the time – customers can just look for the AutoRip logo.”

Once back in 2003 I bought myself a two-CD compilation of 32 songs by the Beach Boys — and this weekend, I noticed that every single one had turned up in my Cloud Player as a digital .mp3. Next time I’m listening to music at work, that ought to make things a lot more cheerful.

Amazon Gives Away Free Christmas Music!

Little and Ashley - Amazon Christmas Kindle Commercial Song Winter Night

There’s a wonderful tradition that Amazon’s been observing for the last few years. Every December, they give away music for the holiday season, absolute free, through Amazon’s music web page. This year, in a new twist, they’re giving away five new songs every five days — starting on December 1st, and continuing through the 25th.

You can check out the newest batch at

For the next five days, Amazon’s giving away an old-fashioned “madrigal” style carol, a beautiful, acapella song by a group called Chanticleer. And there’s also a particularly dreamy free version of “O Holy Night” by Rick Springfield, who launched his career playing Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital in the 1980s (and again in 2005). I also liked the mp3 by a band named Sister Hazel — a soulful “alternative” version of the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. And Amazon’s also giving away a free mp3 by R&B artist Brian McKnight — his version of “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

There’s even a recording by the 1980s metal band, Twisted Sister — their hard-rocking version of “Deck the Halls.” But if you don’t like any of these songs, don’t worry. Amazon will be offering another new batch of five free Christmas songs this Friday (December 21st) — the last one before Christmas. And there’s also more free mp3s that are scattered throughout Amazon’s music store — including some more fun Christmas songs.

You can always find all of Amazon’s free mp3s at

Here’s some more of the fun free Christmas songs I discovered this year…

  Jingle Bells by Brian Setzer
  The First Noel by Neil Sedaka
  O Holy Night by Go Radio
  We Three Kings by Justin A. Wilson
  Jingle Bells / Deck the Halls by Clay Crosse
  God Rest You Merry Gentleman by Joseph Patrick Moore Dan Baraszu
  What Child is This (Greensleeves) by Tony Elman
  O Come Emmanuel by Brandon Musser
  The Christmas Song by Mogwai
  Deck the Halls by The K5 Kids
  O Little Town Of Bethlehem by Nature’s Harmony
  The Twelve Days of Christmas by the 101 Strings Orchestra
  Silent Night by The Starlite Singers

There’s even a bluesy free version of Jingle Bells by Jen Carrozza, Jon Chalden, Sam Skelton, Joe Reda and John Carrozza. And there’s also some free mp3s offering some less-traditional Christmas songs.

  Punk Rawk Christmas by MxPx
  (Don’t Call Me) Mrs. Christmas by Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler
  Christmas Anthem by Landon Smith & The Real Matt Jones
  Christmas Train by Carey Bell

I was surprised to discover that there’s even a free six-minute mp3 of “Waltz of the Flowers” from The Nutcracker by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. And of course, Amazon is also offering some big discounts on entire albums of holiday music. You can browse the whole selection at . But my favorite free Christmas song has a very big connection to the Kindle…

It’s the song “Winter Night” by Little & Ashley, which Amazon used in some of their first Christmas commercials for the Kindle. (They’re the ones with the stop-motion animation, showing a woman in an ever-changing background symbolizing the large variety of stories you can enjoy on a Kindle.) Two years later, Amazon is still giving this special song away as a free mp3 — just point your browser to As a piano plunks away away in the background, you’ll hear a happy young couple singing…

“Snowflake in my pocket, let’s take a sleigh ride on the ice.
Northern lights are glowing and reflecting in your eyes.

Underneath a starry sky.
Dream with me this winter night!”

Amazon Gives Away FREE Music Downloads!

Amazon Twitter $2.00 Discount .mp3 Music Sale

I’ve really enjoyed Amazon’s music give-aways – and I’m always amazed at how many there are. I think I’ve gotten more than a dozen music files for free, which I’ve loaded onto my Kindle for reading “background music,” but this week Amazon’s announced another sale. They’re giving away a $2.00 credit for free music downloads — any .mp3s — if you’re willing to let them post one appropriate message on your Twitter account.

“I just got a $2 credit for music from @amazonmp3 and @imdb. Get your credit here…”

Here’s my shortcut to the URL for Amazon’s free music offer – just go to

The offer is good through Saturday, July 28th, and it applies to any digital music downloads (but not CDs) purchased at To accept the offer, you temporarily connect your Amazon and Twitter accounts — but you can revoke the connection just as soon as you’ve used your $2.00 credit. (Just click the “Edit Your Profile” button at the upper-right of your profile page, and then click the “Apps” links which appears at the right of your screen…)

I was surprised that Amazon’s offering more free mp3s so soon after their last free music give-away. But apparently they’ve partnered up with the movie web site,, who are listed as the “sponsors” of this latest round of free music. Now I’ve started keeping a “wish list” of songs I’d like for background music, so I’ll be ready the next time Amazon announces a free music give-away. You can keep up on all of Amazon’s music give-aways by “Liking” their page on Facebook (at ).

For this week’s free music offer from Amazon, just go to

Twenty MORE Songs for Just .25 Cents Each!

Vintage phonography gramophone record player

Amazon’s doing it again! Last week they’d picked 20 “essential summer jams,” and then dropped the price for downloading each song to just 25 cents. But they also promised they’d discount more songs,
and sure enough, they’ve finally announced their second selection of twenty more songs. You can download them all to your Kindle, your mp3 player, or your computer for just 25 cents each!

See the whole selection at

Amazon’s calling this batch of 20 songs their “Customer Picks Playlist.” (“Recently we polled our Facebook and Twitter followers to find out what songs they wanted to see for $0.25 each…”) There’s more cheery summer classics, like “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & the Waves and “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley. But there’s also a surprising selection of recent artists, like Flo Rida and Linkin Park, plus some hard-rocking tunes from Metallica, Green Day, and even Led Zeppelin. Plus, as I told my friends on Facebook, Amazon’s even discounted that “We Are Young” song by Fun that the radio keeps playing over and over again…

And remember, even if you don’t buy anything, you can still have some fun with this sale. The web page plays a free 30-second sample of each song, so even if you’re really cheap, you can still listen to a 10-minute “montage” of music — the best “summer jams” as selected by other Amazon customers! Below is a complete list of all the new songs that Amazon’s discounted to just 25 cents.

Plus, Amazon’s also keeping the prices low on last week’s selection of “essential summer jams,” which means there’s now a total of forty songs that you can download for Kindle background music…

1. Oh Love by Green Day
2. Runaways by The Killers
3. It’s Time by Imagine Dragons
4. We Are Young (featuring Janelle Monáe) by Fun.
5. Ho Hey by the Lumineers
6. Pontoon by Little Big Town
7. Wanted by Hunter Hayes
8. The Boys Of Summer by Don Henley
9. Enter Sandman by Metallica
10. No Quarter by Led Zeppelin
11. Burn It Down by Linkin Park
12. Too Close by Alex Clare
13. Whistle by Flo Rida
14. Go Get It [Explicit] by T.I.
15. OMG by Usher (featuring
16. Over And Over by Hot Chip
17. Tongue Tied by Grouplove Never Trust A Happy Song
18. Good Time (featuring Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen) by Owl City
19. Smooth by Santana (featuring Rob Thomas)
20. Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves

Download any of the songs listed above at

1. Wild Ones (Feat. Sia) by Flo Rida
2. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
3. California Gurls (Feat. Snoop Dogg) [Explicit] by Katy Perry
4. Nothin’ On You [Feat. Bruno Mars] (Album Version) by B.o.B
5. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
6. I’m Yours (Album Version) by Jason Mraz
7. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding
8. Hot In Herre by Nelly
9. In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry
10. Good Vibrations (2001 – Remastered) by The Beach Boys
11. Sunshine by Matisyahu
12. Lights by Ellie Goulding
13. Everybody Loves The Sunshine by Roy Ayers
14. Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
15. Love Shack (Album Version) by The B-52′s
16. Some Nights by Fun.
17. Blister In The Sun by Violent Femmes
18. California Girls by David Lee Roth
19. Hot Fun In The Summertime (Single Version) by Sly And The Family Stone
20. Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith

Download any of these 20 songs at

Twenty Summer Songs for Just 25 Cents Each!

Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, The Beach Boys, and David Lee Roth

Amazon’s announcing another fun sale on music for your Kindle. To celebrate summer, they’ve slashed the prices on 20 “essential summer jams”, discounting the price of each song to just twenty-five cents! There’s everything from a classic Beach Boys single to “Wild Ones” by Flo Rida. I’m really impressed by the great variety in Amazon’s “essential playlist”.

To see the selection, point your web browser to

So what counts as a summer song? Well for starters, there’s two different versions of California Girls — one by David Lee Roth, and “California Gurls” by Katy Perry (with Snoop Dogg). Brian Wilson, the lead singer for the Beach Boys, actually performed the background vocals on David Lee Roth’s version, and for another quarter, you can also download the Beach Boys’ own hard-to-find summer classic, “Good Vibrations”. To see a complete list of all 20 songs, just go to the bottom of this blog post!

“Amazon MP3” posted the news Wednesday on their Facebook page, also promising they’ll update the list with more songs next week based, on the comments they received. But even if you don’t buy anything, you can still have some fun with this sale. Amazon’s web page for this summer special plays a 30-second sample of each song. So even if you’re really cheap, you can still listen to a 10-minute “montage” of music — 30 seconds from each of Amazon’s 20 “essential summer jams!”

I think it’s a fun way to add some “seasonal” fun to your Kindle. Amazon brags about the ability to read your Kindle on the beach – and now there’s a sale on some appropriately beach-y music! When you’re doing some light summer reading, sometimes it’s nice to have some happy, sunny sounds in the background. Here’s a list of the 20 “essential summer jams” that Amazon’s selling for 25 cents each!

1. Wild Ones (Feat. Sia) by Flo Rida
2. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
3. California Gurls (Feat. Snoop Dogg) [Explicit] by Katy Perry
4. Nothin’ On You [Feat. Bruno Mars] (Album Version) by B.o.B
5. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
6. I’m Yours (Album Version) by Jason Mraz
7. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding
8. Hot In Herre by Nelly
9. In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry
10. Good Vibrations (2001 – Remastered) by The Beach Boys
11. Sunshine by Matisyahu
12. Lights by Ellie Goulding
13. Everybody Loves The Sunshine by Roy Ayers
14. Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
15. Love Shack (Album Version) by The B-52’s
16. Some Nights by Fun.
17. Blister In The Sun by Violent Femmes
18. California Girls by David Lee Roth
19. Hot Fun In The Summertime (Single Version) by Sly And The Family Stone
20. Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith

OMG Still MORE Free Music for Your Kindle!

Vintage phonography gramophone record player

Remember when I said that Amazon was giving away $2.00 worth of free downloads from their music store? I’d said hurry, because the offer originally ended at midnight on Monday – but now Amazon’s extended the offer until this Saturday (June 23rd) at midnight! To claim your two free songs, just point your browser to

You can upload the files to your Kindle, and then listen to them in the background while you’re reading (or playing a game)! And here’s what I’d written when I first heard about Amazon’s offer. Basically, I was surprised how many people don’t have music on their Kindles. Almost two years ago, I’d asked people in a Kindle Forum to share the songs they were listening to on their Kindles. Some people responded with some unexpected answers.

“wow, you can listen to music on your kindle!!!???? okay, so I read that I had that capability somewhere in my manual, but just glossed over it since, I prefer to read in silence.”

Even then people who were listening to music seemed to want to do it on another device.

“Nothing. I got an ipod where I can choose which song to listen to.”

“In the end I stopped loading music on the K2. I just listen to music on my iPhone where I have my entire music library.”

“I have an iPod Classic with over 13,000 songs on it as well as an iPod Touch with music and the Kindle app.”

“I would probably use my iPhone for that anyway, but I don’t listen to music while I read.”

But there was at least one user that shared my enthusiasm for listening to music straight from your Kindle. Especially when I’m reading on the patio and about to doze off, I’m sometimes too lazy to go get another device and it’s nice to already have some music choices on the reader.”

“I actually prefer quiet while reading though, so when I do play music, it’s usually to minimize someone else’s noise, such as from the jerk neighbor who thinks he can play the drums!”

Amazon Give-Away: $2.00 in Free Music Downloads

The Avengers movie soundtrack cover

I love listening to music on my Kindle — and now Amazon’s making it even easier. Today they posted a special offer for music-lovers on their own page on Facebook — — promising readers a $2.00 credit for any music download from “Happy Friday!” reads their announcement. “Thumbs up if you like free music!”

To claim the credit, just visit this web page — or go to — and then just complete this sentence. “My favorite song right now is: ____.” A blue button lets you share your response with your friends on Facebook — and then claim your $2.00 credit for music downloads from Amazon!

You can even combine Amazon’s credit with the other discounts they’re already offering on their music page. For example, they’re offering downloads of entire albums for just five dollars — and sometimes even less. Madonna’s new album Mdna — released just seven weeks ago — is available for just $3.99, and so is Coldplay’s newest album, Mylo Xyloto. Plus, there’s a section of free song downloads, even songs by big-name, major-label recording artists like the Flaming Lips, Heart, Spoon, and Ziggy Marley. (I was excited to find some free classical tracks — one by Luciano Pavarotti, and a Rachmaninoff piano concerto by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.)

I’ve been uploading Amazon’s .mp3-format music files onto my Kindle, trying to create the perfect “background music” effect while reading certain ebooks. (When I read U.S. history, I like to listen to Aaron Copland!) Sometimes I’ll keep skipping through my music files, trying to find the right fit for the ebook I’m reading. And of course, I’m also a big fan of listening to music files while I’m surfing the web on my computer!

If you’re a movie lover, Amazon’s discounted the cost of downloading the entire soundtrack albums for some of this summer’s biggest blockbusters. Avengers: Assemble is just $5.99 (with music “from and inspired by” the movie.) And Amazon’s offering the same low price for The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond. (Or, for $5.00, there’s a similar collection of songs from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. ) Remember, that’s the price before you subtract the special $2.00 credit that Amazon’s giving away online.

This means that all of Amazon’s $5.00 albums now cost just $3.00 — including the Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat album and Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s Live Bullet. And some albums are even cheaper. For example, for $3.99 — or, $1.99, after applying the discount — Amazon will sell you one of nearly 400 different five-song collections from Rhino Records, commemorating classic rock artists like Foreigner, Foghat, Deep Purple, as well as “oldies” groups like The Coasters, The Drifters, Little Richard, or Otis Redding, plus collections of Ray Charles, John Coltrane, or Sammy Davis Jr.

I was really impressed by the wide variety of $3.99 $1.99 five-song collections that Rhino Records has available as .mp3 downloads. There were collections for 1960s bands like the Grateful Dead, The Association, and The Monkees, and there were collections for 1980s bands like The Cars, the B-52s, the Roches, and even Twisted Sister. (Also available were collections from some favorite light rock artists, like Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, George Benson, and Bread.) Plus, Rhino’s even selling discounted collections with five comedy tracks from Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, or Cheech and Chong. There’s some rap albums in the mix, with collections of Busta Rhymes, Coolio, or Ice-T — and more “alternative” bands like They Might Be Giants, the Rembrandts, and the Ramones…

There’s some other interesting full-length albums that are also available for just $3.99 $1.99 , including “99 Must-Have Christmas songs,” which Amazon pointed out was a $92.04 savings over the cost of buying each .mp3 individually. And for the same price, you can also buy Bill Cosby’s classic comedy album, 200 m.p.h..I think my all-time favorite title for any album on the site was Yeah Yeah Yeah by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. By the end of the afternoon, I’d spent nearly an hour browsing through all the choices before finally spending my $2.00 credit.

So what’s your current favorite song right now?

Amazon Sells Special Mp3s for Just 69 Cents

Vintage phonography gramophone record player

Amazon just announced a big sale on mp3 music files. They’ve identified 129 “one-hit wonders” — from six different decades — and they’re selling their most famous songs for just 69 cents each!

You’ll be able to listen to them on most Kindles — everything except Amazon’s new bargain $79 Kindles — and you’ll even be able to purchase them on your Kindle Fire tablet. (Otherwise, just point your computer’s web browser to .)

But what’s really fun is the way Amazon’s letting you hear a preview of all 129 songs automatically. Every 30 seconds, they’ll switch to a different song, creating a massive jukebox that covers the entire history of pop music — from the 1950s through the 21st century! At one point I heard Phil Spector’s very first song from 1958, “To Know Him is to Love Him” (which, according to Wikipedia, was inspired by the words on his own father’s gravestone). But towards the end, you’ll hear a song by Jace Everett — who wasn’t even born until 14 years later. (In 2005, Jace released the song “Bad Things,” which became the theme to HBO’s True Blood series in 2008.)

So what songs can you get from Amazon for 69 cents? It’s a fascinating mix!

1950s AND ’60s CLASSICS

“Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp-Bomp-Bomp)”

The original “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen

“Yakety Sax” — immortalized forever as the background music for The Benny Hill Show.

“(Do the) Loco-Motion” by Little Eva (who was Carol King’s baby-sitter!)

“Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies

“Tequila” by the Champs

“Barefootin’ ” by Robert Parker


The theme to Rocky (“Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti) — a special digital remaster from 2006

“Black Betty” by Ram Jam

“Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet

“Kiss You All Over (’til the Night Closes In)” by Exile

“Brandy” by Looking Glass

“(Tired of) Toeing the Line” by Rocky Burnette

“You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone

A forgotten top-10 hit by John Travolta called “Let Her In”

’80s HITS

“Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones

“Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

“I Know What Boys Like” by the Waitresses

“99 Luftballons” by Nena

“Come on, Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot

“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers

“Down Under” by Men at Work

Irene Cara’s “Flashdance”

“I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany

“The Promise” by When in Rome (which was later used as the closing song in Napoleon Dynamite)

’90s HITS

“No Rain” by Blind Melon (which they promoted with the famous “dancing bee girl” music video on MTV)

“Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer

“Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice

“Unbelievable” by EMF

“Cotton Eye Joe” by the Rednex

“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star

“(I’m a) Bitch” by Meredith Brooks

“Insane in the (Mem)Brain” by Cypress Hill


“Stacy’s Mom (Has Got It Going On)” by Fountains of Wayne

“(Just) Breathe…” by Anna Nalick

“Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men

“Everything You Want” by Vertical Horizon

“Falling in Love in a Coffee Shop” by Landon Pigg

“Stars are Blind” by Paris Hilton

It’s a fun jumble of music, and I’ve thought about surprising my friends with an mp3 — or maybe teasing them with one of my least favorite songs. (Amazon’s page helpfully reminds you that you can also “gift these songs to your friends and loved ones.”) There’s even some novelty numbers on sale, like “Monster Mash” by Boris Pickett and “Alley Oop” by the Hollywood Argyles, or “Shaddap You Face” by Joe Dolce — and even the song “Rubber Duckie” by Ernie from Sesame Street. I like how Amazon’s offering discounts on songs that I actually remember from when I went to high school many years ago.

And I really like how they’re selling each one for what’s basically the loose change in your pocket — two quarters, a dime, a nickel, and four pennies!

Free Christmas mp3s from!

Celtic Woman Christmas song Ave Maria - Believe album cover

Amazon’s giving away a free Christmas mp3 — and not just for today, but every day, for the next 25 days! Just keep pointing your computer’s web browser to (If your Kindle has an mp3 player, you can finally stock it with some holiday music!) And Amazon’s also created a free “Santa” app for the Kindle Fire (and the iPad) which lets children create a wish list of Amazon items — for Santa Claus!

The free mp3s are on a special “25 Days of Free” web page that’s designed like an advent calendar, where a new surprise gets revealed every day as a countdown to Christmas. Except here, the calendar’s squares get replaced by album covers!


For December 1, Amazon’s offering a lavish Christmas song by the Celtic Woman group — their rendition of the traditional song Ave Maria. It’s a preview of their yet-to-be-released new album, “Believe,” which won’t be available until January 24 of next year!

“Every day through Christmas, we’re unveiling a new holiday song available to download free,” Amazon announces on the web page, specifying that the free downloads are available “for a limited time.” (So it’s not clear if each one is free for just 24 hours, or if Amazon will also let you “catch up” on the free downloads from previous days.) Also available for free is the complete version of the song “Winter Night” by Little & Ashley, which Amazon used last year in their Christmas Kindle commercials (with the stop-motion animation). (Just point your browser to .)

Snowflake in my pocket, let’s take a sleigh ride on the ice.
Northern lights are glowing and reflecting in your eyes.

Underneath a starry sky.
Dream with me this winter night.

And of course, Amazon also points users to their “MP3 Holiday Store,” which includes a special section of 100 different holiday mp3 albums that are bargain-priced at just $5 each. I’d laugh this off
except the selection actually does includes some of my all-time favorite Christmas albums, including Christmas with the Rat Pack, A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby’s I Wish You a Merry Christmas, and an expanded version of Vince Guaraldi’s music for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”. There’s also Christmas albums from Weezer, Christina Aguilera, Zooey Deschanel’s band “She and Him,” and even the cast of Sesame Street – plus some performers you wouldn’t expect, like Bob Dylan and Twisted Sister.

All these and some other $5 Christmas album downloads are at

Or would you like to write to Santa Claus? There’s an app for that — at least, if you own a Kindle Fire tablet (or an iPad). Wednesday Amazon announced a free Santa app to create holidays wish lists, “for children and their parents…to share with friends, family and Mr. Claus.” They’ve identified more than half a million popular “kid-friendly” items available on Amazon, and according to the director of Amazon Mobile, the apps makes it “fun, easy and intuitive for kids to find exactly what they want.” Just point your browser to

There’s books, of course, but also toys, games, video games, music, and even movies and TV shows — and you can browse the individual categories or search for specific items. By secretly tracking which gifts have been purchased, it can helip different relatives avoid buying the same gift, and Amazon says the app offers “a great way for parents to spend some quality time with their kids…”

And, “to help make certain there’s a smile Christmas morning.”

Free $3.00 mp3 gift certificate from Amazon!

John Lennon record mp3 album cover - Power to the People
Who says nothing’s free in this world? I just found out that Amazon’s giving away $3.00 worth of free mp3 downloads from their online music store. And they’re also making the offer even sweeter – by selling entire mp3 albums for just $1.99! It’s a great chance to stock up on music if you’re looking for background music for reading on your Kindle.

For example, they’re selling Pink Floyd’s famous album, Dark Side of the Moon for just $1.99. (According to Wikipedia, it stayed on the best-seller charts longer than any album in history, for more than 14 years – from 1973 to 1988!) Amazon’s also discounted a few new releases, like the band Weezer’s new album, Hurley. And Amazon’s also selling $1.99 albums by John Lennon, Lady Gaga, Spoon, John Mayer, and Robert Plant — and several other artists.

“At least some of these (including John Mayer and Pink Floyd) are on sale today only,” warns C|Net, “but they’ll be replaced tomorrow with at least five more $1.99 albums.” So how do you claim Amazon’s $3.00 gift certified for mp3 downloads? Just click on this link, and enter the code GET3MP3S.

Although I have a confession to make. The first mp3 I downloaded was the theme from Amazon’s Kindle commercial! (“Silver moons and paper chains, faded maps and shiny things…”) I’ve always loved the bouncy song by “Little & Ashley” — and it turns out the mp3 offers a much longer version of the song. By the third verse, there’s a trombone part, and there’s also an unexpected bridge with even more enthusiastic lyrics. Although like the rest of the song, it’s hard to tell if the singer is singing them to her boyfriend, or to her beloved Kindle.

“Can hardly think what life was like
before I had you by my side.

Can’t say what I’d do without you
knowing what it’s like to have you…”

What’s the Best Music for your Kindle?

Playing the Dulcimer

It all started when I’d asked, “Do You Listen to Music on Your Kindle?” A surprising number of people said no. Some were just storing their music on a different device instead. But some people didn’t like to listen to background music at all, preferring instead to read in quiet.

Is there a perfect song that you can play in the background? I was determined to find out what other people were listening to. I asked some more Kindle users, and got some surprising answers. The consensus seemed to be “something mellow,” but people had different ways to avoid disturbing their reading experience…

A woman named Emily discovered that “I’m better off listening to music I’m not familiar with. Any music I know ends up being a distraction for me.” She’s very fussy about what plays in the background, and prefers a specific selection for a quiet night of reading. “The best music I’ve found for my reading is the New Age type music that I don’t listen to any other time… It’s mostly low-key music so it doesn’t get in the way of my reading concentration.”

58-year-old Chris Moyer uses similar music, but for a very different reason. “When I want to read and it is noisy, for example at a hair salon, I put on my headphones and listen to the nature sounds while reading.” She describes herself as a “very happy Kindle owner,” and likes the tracks from a special CD that she’d received after a facial. But she uses some of the same words to describe the music that she listens to: “very new age with nature sounds.”

My favorite response came from a Kindle owner named Don Freeman. “I’ve got some very mellow hammer dulcimer music on my Kindle 2 that works great for background music.” But besides being an exotic form of music, the dulcimer music has another advantage. “It also helps block out those twits on the commuter train that have their iPods up so loud that they don’t even need to wear the earplugs.”

So how would I answer the question? When I first bought my Kindle, I began reading lots of 19th-century novels and American history, so I started out with three inspiring orchestral pieces by Aaron Copland. But then I’d wanted something more contemporary, and added some soft songs by Aimee Mann. Eventually I asked myself what you’d hear in a coffee house, and decided on the hip, retro vocals from the Frank Sinatra era. (There’s a 1965 CD of Sammy Davis Jr. that was recorded with a jazz combo at 2 a.m. in Las Vegas, and it’s got the perfect tinkly late-night piano.) And finally I added in the softest female jazz vocalist I know — Blossom Dearie. (If you remember “Schoolhouse Rock,” she’d sung the “Figure Eight” song, and the one about how she “Unpacked My Adjectives.”)

But sometimes, even I prefer reading in silence.

Do You Listen to Music on Your Kindle?

Vintage phonography gramophone record player

In Amazon’s discussion forum, I’d asked a simple question: Do you listen to music on your Kindle? But the answers surprised me — and shed new light on how people are using their Kindles.

“wow, you can listen to music on your kindle!!!???? okay, so I read that I had that capability somewhere in my manual, but just glossed over it since, I prefer to read in silence.”

It turns out that, while the Kindle can play music, people often think of other devices. One user made this clear when I’d asked what specific music they liked to listen to on the Kindle?

“Nothing. I got an ipod where I can choose which song to listen to.”

And another user quickly agreed.

“That was my reaction… I would probably use my iPhone for that anyway, but I don’t listen to music while I read.”

I’d been curious about what songs people stored on their Kindles, but now I was having trouble finding people who’d even bothered. For the people who wanted background music, there were already several established music players — many by Apple — which offered better features and better storage.

“…the limited storage space on the Kindle 2 prevented me from loading a lot of music. I read a lot so I was listening to the same tracks over and over. In the end I stopped loading music on the K2. I just listen to music on my iPhone where I have my entire music library.

“When I read on my iPad, it’s really great — I can listen to any music I want and I have created several playlists to listen to music based on the type of book I am reading. I think Amazon should put more storage on the Kindle and enhance the music capabilities since they also sell music.”

Another user reported a similar experience. (“I have an iPod Classic with over 13,000 songs on it as well as an iPod Touch with music and the Kindle app.”) But it was nice to hear occasionally they still used the Kindle’s built-in mp3 player.

“Especially when I’m reading on the patio and about to doze off, I’m sometimes too lazy to go get another device and it’s nice to already have some music choices on the reader.

I actually prefer quiet while reading though, so when I do play music, it’s usually to minimize someone else’s noise, such as from the jerk neighbor who thinks he can play the drums.”

So finally, I could get back to my original question. What were they listening to on their Kindle? “My favorite reading music is classic, usually something not terribly climactic. Rachmaninov usually works.” And at the end of the discussion, I was glad to hear that at least one of these Kindle owner shared my enthusiasm for the Kindle’s mp3 player.

“I am not big on big on adding non-ebook features to the Kindle but listening to music while reading seems so natural.”