Pebble Time firmware update includes new settings for vibration, brightness
A firmware update for the Pebble Time is available to install, with version 3.2 adding more settings and fixes to the device. Among the additions are intensity and time-out duration options for the backlight, adjustable font sizes for certain areas of the operating system, adjustable vibration strength for various alert-related functions, and a Dismiss All action for notifications. The smartwatch can be updated via the Pebble Time app's support menu.
Transaction fee, rules for music streaming services in App Store under examination
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly launched an investigation into how Apple treats other music streaming services in the App Store. Continuing from earlier reports that the FTC was merely making queries rather than performing a full investigation, the government agency has allegedly moved into an investigatory phase, looking into whether or not Apple is behaving anti-competitively with regards to the App Store's fees.
Discover Weekly generates playlists every Monday based on user listening habits
Spotify will be providing its users personalized playlists on a regular basis, to try and combat the human-curated playlists offered by Apple Music and Google Play Music All Access. Discover Weekly aims to create a highly customized "mixtape" for each subscriber, based on the user's previous listening habits combined with songs listened to by other users with similar tastes in genres, artists, and songs.
Complains about stream quality, but retains music on download stores
Increasingly erratic Canadian rock legend Neil Young has announced that he is planning to remove his music from all streaming services, including Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify due to "the worst sound quality available in the history of broadcasting," despite the fact that Apple Music and Spotify both stream at 256kbps AAC, and Tidal in a 1.4mbps lossless format. Young also appears to have forgotten about vinyl, AM/FM radio, cassette and 8-track.
App Store charges for Apple Music competitors queried by regulator
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is allegedly looking into how Apple treats competitors of its Apple Music service in the App Store. Industry sources of Reuters claim the regulator is making queries about how other music streaming services, such as Spotify and Rhapsody, are represented in the App Store and if Apple is breaking antitrust law, as well as other restrictions on how app creators must behave in order to remain listed in the marketplace.
Message from Spotify explains how users can save $3 on their subscription
Spotify is attempting to encourage iOS users to alter their subscription, in order to save money and make it competitive against Apple Music. A guide is being sent to people subscribing to Spotify via its iOS app, explaining how to stop their app-based subscription for one conducted through the website, saving the end user $3 and preventing any ongoing subscription revenue from going to Apple.
Spotify, Rdio, Deezer all pull Prince songs from services
The battle for musicians to receive payment for their music from streaming services has resulted in an unusual move by one artist. Prince has started to request that all streaming services pulls his back catalog of tracks from their collections, with Spotify being one of the first to remove the singer's music, though according to a report, the struggling Tidal will apparently continue streaming Prince's songs to subscribers.
Scrabbling around for reasons to diss the service
It's not compulsory to like anything, and the world would be a dull place if everybody thought the same way. Plus, there are criticisms you can make of Apple Music's launch, its various limitations, and how iTunes 12 is still complex, some of which we delved into earlier today. Only Apple Music is getting a bad press primarily for being good, and for doing what you'd expect a streaming music service to do. It has honestly been criticized for being fun. Damn those Apple people, how dare they make something fun? Don't they know music is serious?
Despite launch confusion, it's excellent
Just spotted on one of our reviewers' Facebook page: a music fan has written "so long Spotify, it was good while it lasted." Time will tell -- specifically three months of time, as that's how long Apple's giving for free -- but we're already impressed with Apple Music. Not so impressed, however, with the expected problem of it being difficult to download the necessary updates while everyone else in the world was trying to grab them too. Actively disappointed with the unexpected issues facing some unknown number of iTunes Match users, as well. Yet in terms of what Apple Music does, and what it's like, we actually are impressed.
Spotify Taste Rewind suggests songs from previous decades
Spotify is trying to get its users to discover older songs they may like, by launching a promotional site. Taste Rewind allows users to select three artists from a list that they have recently played on Spotify, reports VentureBeat, with the site then providing playlists of songs the user may enjoy from each decade between the '60s and the 2000s. While a neat software toy that may help introduce younger listeners to older tracks they could enjoy, the results do not apparently cover the entirety of Spotify's catalog, and can come up with some odd suggestions. For example, a test using Nicki Minaj, Skrillex, and Ellie Goulding brought up a playlist for the '60s headed up by Leonard Cohen.
Apple Music $15 family plan pressures competitors to drop prices, improve services
The launch of Apple Music may be beneficial to subscribers of some other streaming music services by increasing competition, with at least one service examining its pricing strategy. Major competitor Spotify is said to be looking into potentially making changes to what it charges its own subscribers for a family plan, in order to counter the relatively low family account pricing Apple revealed yesterday at WWDC.
Videos sourced from major producers, integrated into Spotify playlists
Spotify is expanding its service from purely streaming music into other areas, the company revealed at a press launch. Among other updates, Spotify is going to be bringing its long-rumored video service to its users, and following Deezer's recent addition to its own service, it will give listeners the chance to catch up on podcasts, with Spotify slowly turning itself into a one-stop shop for streaming content.
App integration will allow Spotify users to earn Starbucks rewards
Starbucks employees will be able to have more control over in-store music provided by Spotify, the two companies have revealed. A multi-year deal struck between the coffee chain and the music streaming service will also do more than provide music, with it opening up the Starbucks loyalty program to allow Spotify subscribers to increase their rewards balance and eventually earn free drinks.
Alleged discussions with video producers suggests Spotify video service on the way
Spotify may be considering a move into offering video as an extension to its service, according to a report. The streaming music service is allegedly in discussions with a number of digital media companies about adding video content to complement its existing track catalog, a subject Spotify may raise during its media event set to take place on May 20.
Google Now integrations increase by 70 to 110
Google is increasing the number of cards in Google Now, after adding integrations with 70 more apps to the service, bringing the total number of integrations to 110. The new cards, which will be rolling out to Android users over the next few weeks, will include news notifications from ABC News and Feedly, food reminders from Eat24 and Allrecipes, fitness updates from Runkeeper and Jawbone, and playlist recommendations from Spotify and YouTube, among other new additions.
Get the good and avoid the irritating features of streaming music
There are other streaming music services, and you can well argue that there are better ones, but Spotify is winning the war to become the Hoover, Xerox, and iPad of its class: the brand name that somehow becomes synonymous with the idea. At least, nobody tells you what their favourite iTunes Radio station is, no one in the world sends you links to Pandora, and it's like few people have heard of Beats Music. Yet. However, Spotify is known even by normal people, and it is a way in to the whole streaming music subscription concept.
Replacement for Sony Music Unlimited heads to PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
The replacement for Sony Music Unlimited is going live on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 today, powered by Spotify. Launching in 41 countries, PlayStation Music provides gamers with access to streaming music, allowing users to play their choice of soundtrack as a background to whatever game they are playing on the Sony game consoles.
Universal said to be in contract negotiations, wants Spotify to weaken free service
Universal Music Group (UMG) wants Spotify to add more limits to its free streaming service, according to reports. The record label is apparently having issues with the freemium music offering and its apparent lack of revenue, and hopes that restricting the number of listens for songs will push Spotify users to the more lucrative paid subscription service.
Downloads still king of market, but falling alongside overall music revenue
A new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) finds that revenue from music streaming services such as Beats Music, Pandora, and Spotify have now in total beaten out revenue from CD sales in the US, capitalizing on the latter's continued fall from grace (largely thanks to excessively high CD pricing). Both formats are still well behind download sales as the top revenue stream, but even that format is gently declining.
Amazon adds iTunes, Spotify, Pandora music options to Echo
An update to the Amazon Echo has added more options for music playback. Recode reports the Internet-connected speaker now offers voice control for Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora, when the Echo is paired with a device that has the required apps installed. Improved responsiveness, question accuracy, and more voice commands have also been touted for the device, which has yet to have a wider release outside of its invitation-only testing.
RunKeeper adds Spotify integration to iOS app
RunKeeper has added Spotify integration to its iOS app. The fitness app will now offer access to Spotify playlists, created both by the user and by Spotify, and stream music while a workout is underway. Both Spotify and Runkeeper have to be installed on the same device with RunKeeper connected to the Spotify account in order to function, and though it is only on iOS for the moment, a similar update to the Android app may also happen in the future.
Sony's answer to iTunes will close in February
The official PlayStation blog on Wednesday posted an announcement letting PlayStation users know about a new partnership with Spotify. The service includes existing playlists for those who already have Spotify accounts. The post also, however, contained the news that Sony's own Music Unlimited service will be discontinued in late March.
EVGA launches Torq X5L, X5, X3 gaming mice
EVGA has revealed the Torq X5, X5L, and X3 gaming mice to their range, alongside its existing Torq X10. Featuring customizable RGB LEDs, onboard storage for five profiles, and eight programmable buttons using Omron switches, the mice ship in four different models, with the standard X5 and X3 having 6,400 dpi and 4,000 dpi optical sensors respectively, while the X5L uses 8,200 dpi laser sensor. The new collection starts from $40, rising up to $60.
Spotify adds darker theme, Your Music, new Browse option to Windows Phone app
Spotify has updated the Windows Phone version of its music streaming app, bringing it in line with the Android and iOS apps. Using a darker theme and an updated user interface, the app now includes Your Music, allowing users to manage their favorite tracks and albums, while the Browse function is said to offer more localized and personalized content, such as playlists based on the time of day.
Over 60M active users of Spotify, most connect accounts to Facebook
Spotify is continuing to enjoy rising user numbers, with the popular music streaming service announcing it has reached a total of 15 million subscribers. At the same time, reports claim that the majority of Spotify streams stem from mobile listeners, with 52 percent of listening taking place on smartphones and tablets rather than desktops.
Support for competing Google audio streaming system unlikely, Spotify advises
Spotify will not include support for Google Cast any time in the near future, the company has revealed. Rather than allow for its apps to connect to the audio streaming technology Google Cast, Spotify will instead reportedly continue to work on its own competing Spotify Connect audio system, one which allows users to stream music to a number of networked speakers and audio equipment.
It's big, beautiful, big-ticket and predicts users' music tastes
Bang & Olufsen is known for its expensive yet beautiful industrial design-like audio gear, and the latest piece is no different. Basically a really expensive home network and Internet radio streamer, the BeoSound Moment will set wealthy buyers back a not-insignificant $2,800. While at CES, Electronista got a chance to check it out.
Industry trends hurting Apple
Tracking data from Nielsen SoundScan indicates that on-demand streaming of music content (including audio and video) rose 54 percent in 2014, from 106 billion song streams to 164 billion. At the same time, sales of digital albums fell nine percent, to 117.6 million; sales of individual songs dropped even further, down 12 percent to 1.26 billion. Combined physical and digital album sales slipped 11 percent, to 257 million.
Can run up to 24 threads on Mac Pro
Algoriddim has launched djay Pro, a new Mac edition of its typically iOS-based DJ software. In its new incarnation, the app supports up to four simultaneous decks, rather than two, and can draw music not just from a local iTunes library but also from Spotify -- thanks to a partnership with the streaming music service. It also exploits Retina displays and multi-core 64-bit processors; on a 12-core Mac Pro, the app can handle up to 24 processing threads at once for track analysis.
Spotify Music updates iPad app, adds discovery feature
Music subscription service Spotify has released an update for its iPad app. Spotify allows users to stream music from their favorite artists, create playlists and more. The Discover feature is now present for iPad, which offers the ability to peruse personalized recommendations in a succinct format. Free to download, Spotify's app requires iOS 7.0 or later. Users can listen for free with the accompaniment of ads, with Premium access available with a monthly prescription.
Billboard introducing streaming plays, digital sales into album chart
The way the popularity of content is measured may be seeing some changes in the coming weeks, both for audio and video. Billboard will start to include streaming and digital track sales as part of the Billboard 200 albums chart, while Nielsen is said to be preparing to track content watched through streaming services starting from next month.
Spotify Premium subscribers can control Uber audio system during ride
Spotify is partnering with Uber, allowing passengers of the taxi app to play their choice of music via the cab's built-in audio system. At the same time as the audio announcement, it appears that code within the Spotify app itself points toward the future introduction of a podcasting service, alongside another unknown feature given the name "Magic."
Record label CEO claims Taylor Swift paid less than $500,000, not $6M
The battle between Spotify and Taylor Swift is continuing, with an executive at the singer's record label now stepping into the fight. Scott Borchetta, CEO of record label Big Machine, advises that Swift has been paid less than $500,000 in the last year, a significantly lower figure than the $6 million claimed to have been paid by Spotify to the label in a recent blog post.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claims Swift was on track for $6M in royalties this year before pulling music
Spotify has responded to claims by singer Taylor Swift that the service does not pay music producers enough, by revealing it has paid more than two billion dollars in music royalties. A blog post by CEO Daniel Ek following the removal of Swift's music from the service and a further attack in an interview also notes Swift was on track to receive $6 million in streaming revenues for this year alone.
Smartphone users of Spotify can select songs on networked computers
Spotify has made another update to Connect, its controllable streaming music system it introduced last year, by letting smartphones control a computer. The latest addition allows a Spotify user to use a mobile device as a remote control for the desktop version of the app, through the same system which can select the music on Wi-Fi-enabled speakers and other devices.
Royalty collection company claims Spotify payments 13-percent higher than iTunes
Streaming services are heavily impacting music sales, with one report claiming Spotify's music royalty payments have eclipsed royalties earned through iTunes sales in Europe. Kobalt, a music royalty company representing over 6,000 songwriters and artists, claims that Spotify-derived revenues on the continent were higher that those earned from European iTunes sales by 13 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Albums by Taylor Swift removed from streaming service
Singer Taylor Swift has taken the unusual move of pulling her entire back catalog from Spotify, in the same week that her label launched her latest album. The move, which involves the removal of all of the artist's earlier albums, has been conducted without comment from Swift nor her management, but that has not kept Spotify from speaking out.
Twelve South releases horizontal stand for Mac Pro
Twelve South has announced the release of the BookArc Pro, a chrome-plated desktop stand designed for Mac Pro. Designed in the shape of an arc, the stand allows the compact computer to fit in spaces with half the height available, making it suitable for fitting into gear racks and studio shelves. The BookArc is composed is heavy gauge steel, which has been machined into a curve shape and coated with a chrome finish. Priced at $60, the BookArc Pro is available online through Twelve South.
New payment option lowers cost for multiple users to access Spotify
Spotify is adding a new subscription option to its plan roster, one which covers multiple users. Spotify Family will provide access to the premium version of the music streaming service to up to five nominated users, with the group plan being discounted heavily compared to the single-user subscription, a payment option Rdio first introduced in June of last year.
Twitter app for OS X updated, adds new photo features
Twitter for Mac has received an update today, adding new photo features for OS X users. The app allows users to access the social media platform outside of a web browser. Twitter for Mac v3.1 includes the new ability to view and post Tweets with up to four photos at a time, with an image preview for each available for viewing the full photo. Photos can now be shared privately in the Messages section. Various performance improvements and bug fixes are also available in the latest version. Free to download, Twitter for Mac is available through the App Store.
Spotify opens Canadian streaming service to everyone
Spotify has opened up its service in Canada to all users, following a brief invitational period. The streaming music service boasts over 20 million songs served on 320kbps streams, with chief content officer Ken Parks claiming the collection has been "tailor made for Canadian music fans." Users have the same ad-supported free and paid service options as other regions, with Spotify Premium priced at $10 per month.
Music streaming service comes to Amazon's set-top box with Spotify Connect
Spotify announced this week that the music streaming service has made it to one of the products under Amazon's expanding lineup. Amazon Fire TV owners will now be able to use Spotify Connect to access the millions of songs the service offers on a subscription basis. The company notes that users can navigate Spotify Connect using a smartphone or a tablet as the remote, also seamlessly handing off the sound to the Fire TV. Spotify notes that a premium subscription is required to use the service on the Fire TV, which runs $10 a month.
Sponsored sessions provide advertising-free Spotify for 30 minutes
Spotify will soon be showing video-based advertising to listeners of its free service. The streaming music company has revealed it will start airing the videos to its free users shortly, with both desktop and mobile app users set to see the clips, though marketers will have a few options for how their advertizing efforts get utilized by the service.
Action platforming game Wipeout 2 available for iOS, Android
Activision Publishing has released its action platforming game Wipeout 2, available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for Kindle Fire. Based on the competition TV series "Wipeout," players dodge environmental hazards and challenge to complete each level as fast as possible. Players can choose from 10 playable characters, including Zombie, Pirate and Popstar, with 150 themed obstacles and 135 new levels. Free to download, Wipeout 2 is available on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon App Store.
Shuffle play mode now available for Windows Phone 8.1, free version supported by ads
Subscripiton music streaming service Spotify has announced that it is bringing its free listening experience to Windows Phones beginning today. In today's software update, owners of phones like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC One (M8) for Windows can now partake in the Spotify experience, with a few limitations. As with the expansion into a free version for Android and iOS in December, the offering is supported by in-app advertising.
T-Mobile adds 2GB LTE option to Simple Starter price plan
T-Mobile is giving customers using its Simple Starter price plan the choice of adding more data. From September 3rd, subscribers can opt to quadruple the LTE data allowance on the single-line plan from 500GB to 2GB, increasing the cost of the plan from $40 to $45, but retaining the same unlimited calls and texts as the original plan. Just as before Simple Starter users will find their data service suspended once they've used their allocation.
Satechi's Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keyboard now available
Satechi has announced the release of its new Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keyboard, suitable for Mac or PC systems. Measuring 0.7 inches thick, the keyboard's wireless functionality allows users to have an extra USB port available to them, and can use the keyboard from up to 33 feet away. Its multimedia keys provide access to controlling video and audio content, including play/pause, volume, forward/backtrack and activating functions on other mobile devices. The white version of the keyboard features specific keys mapped for use with OS X and iOS, and the black version mapped for PC and Android features. Priced at $55, Satechi's smart keyboard is available through Amazon and the company's own online store.
Spotify starts accepting sign-ups for Canadian service pre-launch
Music streaming service Spotify is spreading into Canada in the near future, long after launching in a number of other major markets. While the exact date of the service's launch in the country is unknown, Engadget reports the company is accepting sign-ups for a queue to receive pre-launch invitations, suggesting that it is likely to go live for all potential users sooner rather than later.
Spotify app update adds Play Queue, sorting and filtering for iPhone
Music streaming service Spotify has updated its iOS app, adding new features for iPhone users. Spotify allows users to search for any track, artist or album, make and share playlists, and build a preferred music collection. The release of v1.4 features a Play Queue for iPhone, and a new confirmation for avoid duplicates in a playlist. Within the Your Music section, users can now sort and filter music in their Spotify collection. Free to download, Spotify's iOS app can be found through the iTunes App Store.
Google Search on Android will offer streaming app links on music searches
Google has updated its search app on Android, changing the way it handles music-related queries. Results for songs and artists will now load up a list of links to streaming services, letting the user play that artist's music from within the relevant installed smartphone app, such as Spotify, Rdio, and Google Play Music. Google is rolling the feature out to Android devices in the United States now, and hopes to expand it globally soon.