MOG All Access Debuts

Looking for a music streamer bringing you tunes from all four major labels as well as thousands of indie imprints? MOG may be your music-in-the-cloud answer.

Music fans already know about MOG, the blogging network more than 10 million music fans call home. Now MOG is doing more than just talking about music. The site has launched MOG All Access, which delivers streams so fast, the service says you’ll think more than 6 million songs are stored on your hard drive.

MOG All Access claims to do the music-in-the-cloud concept better, as in better radio, better music discovery and better presentation.

For example, when you build your own station based on a single artist at MOG Radio, a slider allows you to change the station’s playlist, meaning you can choose to listen to songs only by that artist – a first for customized radio streams. Moving the slider from “Artist Only” to “Similar Artists” opens up the stream to compatible artists and bands. Plus, if a particular song catches your interest, one mouse click will play the entire album.

MOG Radio also displays the full queue enabling you to pick and choose which songs you want to hear, including skipping tracks as well as playing songs repeatedly. You can also save songs heard on MOG Radio to your own MOG library along with your artist selections and playlists.

Since MOG is already a music lover’s site, there are plenty of playlists for inspiration, including lists created by users as well as musicians and celebs giving you plenty of opportunities to discover your next favorite artist. MOG All Access’ search engine also gives you the ability to fine-tune your searches, enabling you to not only search for artists and bands, but for playlists including specific performers and built around concepts such as anniversaries, dinner music or whatever you can think of.

You also don’t need to download a customized player to enjoy the new service. MOG All Access can be accessed with any browser from any location.

How much does all this MOG cost? Five dollars per month gives you unlimited access and all-you-can-eat music streaming, including playlist creation.

But there is one feature not yet available with the MOG All Access rollout – mobile applications. RealNetworks’ music streamer, Rhapsody, launched its iPhone application in the United States in September giving users unlimited music streams via WiFi and 3G networks. Although mobile isn’t included in this week’s MOG All Access premiere, the service promises it will present its own mobile application early next year.

On the other hand, Rhapsody charges $14.99 per month, making MOG All Access with its $5 per month fee even more attractive. If you’ve been sitting on the fence when it comes to premium music streamers, MOG All Access is an inexpensive way to discover whether music-in-the-cloud is for you.

“MOG All Access was created by music lovers for music lovers,” MOG founder / CEO David Hyman said. “Our goal is to offer the best experience for listening, sharing and discovering music by creating a simple, smart intuitive interface.”

At this time MOG’s new streaming service is available only in North America, but will launch in Europe next year. You can sample the service through a one-hour free trial that does not require any commitment nor does it demand you provide any payment information. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Are We What We Search?

In a world facing recession, wars, famine and global warming, care to guess what led Internet searches in 2009? If you said “Michael Jackson” you’re right on the money.

It doesn’t matter which major search engine you use because Google, Yahoo and even Microsoft’s new entry in the Web queries biz – Bing – all reported the King of Pop was on everyone’s mind in 2009.

At Yahoo, Jackson replaced Britney Spears who reigned for four years as the search engine’s top query.

In contrast, last year’s top search subject at Google was Sarah Palin. Google, which handles about six times the amount of traffic Yahoo receives, had a more varied Top 10 list for 2009 where searchers queried for social networking sites Facebook and Spain-based Tuenti, Twitter and Microsoft’s new OS, Windows 7. Other than Jackson, the only celeb making Google’s top 10 was Lady Gaga.

But Yahoo users were more show-biz oriented and the search engine reflected that, with queries about the “Twilight” book series and movie of the same name about teenage vampires in the No. 2 position followed by World Wrestling Entertainment, Megan Fox, Britney, Japanese anime character Naruto, “American Idol,” Kim Kardashian, NASCAR and online multiplayer game RuneScape.

Of course, there’s still a few weeks left in 2009, meaning Tiger Woods has a chance to break the Top 10.

Muppet Mania

If you’ve been laughing at an online video depicting the Muppets singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” you’re not the only one. The video has chalked up more than 8.6 million views on YouTube since it debuted just a few days before Thanksgiving.

But why did Muppets Studio, the Walt Disney Company subsidiary formed in 2004, go through all the time and expense to turn out the spoof? Turns out the video was created to help reboot the Muppet brand as well as quickly deliver new content to fans.

“When the Muppets came into real popularity was the ’70s. What was popular in the ’70s? Variety shows – that’s what ‘The Muppet Show’ was,” Muppets Studio general manager Lylie Breier said. “That’s why the Muppets fit so perfectly. Parody has always been at the heart of what the Muppets do.”

Breier also said the idea to create the spoof had been kicked around for a while, but his company created the video only recently.

Not only is it a great gag, but just about every Muppet character big and small gets some face time, including Rowlf playing piano as well as Animal playing drums and trying to sing the line Mama / Just killed a man / Put a gun against his head / Pulled my trigger / Now he’s dead. Unfortunately for Animal, the best he can vocalize is “Mama” over and over.

The “Bohemian Rhapsody” spoof isn’t the Muppets’ first foray into online video but, so far it appears to be the most popular.

uppets Studio released several online videos last year, including one featuring Beaker singing “Ode to Joy” that has attracted 7 million views. Compare that to the almost 9 million viewings the Muppets’ Queen parody attracted in just over a week and you can see just how viral the latest video has become.

And there’s more where that came from. Breier says there’s more on the way, and that a version of “Carol of the Bells” will be released before Christmas. The company will also release a small number of vids in 2010.