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Briefly: Pebble Time firmware update, Spotify signs SFX music deal

07/23, 7:24am

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.

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FTC reportedly opens formal investigation into Apple App Store fees

07/21, 8:33pm

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.

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Spotify Discover Weekly creates two-hour playlist for each user

07/20, 12:46pm

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.

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Neil Young says he will pull music catalog from streaming services

07/15, 6:25pm

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.

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Reuters: FTC scrutinizes App Store policies for streaming music apps

07/13, 7:03am

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.

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Spotify asks iOS users to subscribe directly, not through App Store

07/09, 5:43pm

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.

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Prince removes music catalog from majority of streaming services

07/02, 1:47pm

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.

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Editorial: Pardon? You don't like Apple Music?

07/01, 5:52pm

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?

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Hands On: Apple Music (iOS, OS X, Windows)

06/30, 3:13pm

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.

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Briefly: Spotify Taste Rewind, Amazon patents ear-based unlocking

06/15, 10:03am

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.

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Spotify plans to reduce family plan cost to compete with Apple Music

06/09, 8:46am

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.

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Spotify adds videos, podcasts, running mode to music service

05/20, 1:06pm

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.

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Starbucks teams up with Spotify for in-store music

05/19, 9:14am

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.

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Spotify reportedly working on its own video streaming service

05/07, 5:35pm

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.

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Briefly: More Google Now cards added, Spotify Connect update

04/28, 6:39pm

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.

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Pointers: getting started with Spotify

04/17, 10:44am

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.

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Sony launches Spotify-powered PlayStation Music in 41 countries

03/30, 6:43am

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.

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Music label reportedly pressuring Spotify to add free streaming limits

03/23, 9:51am

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.

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RIAA: Streaming music revenue now topping CD sales in US

03/19, 3:30pm

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.

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Briefly: Amazon Echo improves music options, Dixons Carphone carrier

02/02, 7:42am

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.

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Briefly: RunKeeper adds Spotify, Nickelodeon streaming service inbound

01/30, 7:32am

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.

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Sony Music Unlimited replaced by partnership with Spotify

01/28, 10:27pm

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.

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Briefly: EVGA Torq gaming mice, Shazam adds Spotify to Android app

01/27, 6:15am

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.

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Briefly: Spotify updates Windows Phone app, Sky content filtering

01/20, 9:29am

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.

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Spotify hits 15M subscribers, majority of streams on mobile devices

01/12, 1:11pm

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.

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Spotify will not support Google Cast, Spotify Connect still favored

01/11, 9:28pm

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.

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Hands On: Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Moment media streamer

01/09, 12:20pm

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.

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Streaming music jumps 54 percent in 2014, downloads fall nine percent

01/02, 3:35pm

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.

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Djay Pro for Mac brings four decks, Spotify, high-level processing

12/18, 11:33am

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.

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Briefly: Spotify updates iPad app, Paper by FiftyThree 2.2

12/08, 3:52pm

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.

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Billboard, Nielsen tipped to track streaming music, video services

11/20, 9:53pm

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.

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Spotify control of Uber cab audio revealed, new functions discovered

11/17, 12:13pm

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."

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Taylor Swift's record label claims Spotify royalty figure is incorrect

11/13, 10:07am

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.

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Spotify paid over $2B in royalties, CEO responds to Taylor Swift

11/11, 1:00pm

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.

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Spotify Connect update adds smartphone control of desktop app

11/07, 6:07pm

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.

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Music royalties in Europe from Spotify reportedly overtakes iTunes

11/05, 3:28pm

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.

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Taylor Swift pulls entire music catalog from Spotify

11/03, 3:06pm

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.

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Briefly: BookArc Stand for Mac Pro, Spotify for iPad updated

10/30, 8:13pm

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.

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Spotify introduces multi-user discounts in Family subscriptions

10/20, 7:19am

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.

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Briefly: Twitter for Mac update, Spotify now supporting Apple CarPlay

10/02, 9:14pm

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.

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Briefly: Spotify launches in Canada, Pokemon TCG reaches iPad

10/01, 5:28am

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.

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Briefly: Spotify on Amazon Fire TV, Chrome OS to cast Drive videos

09/16, 5:42pm

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.

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Spotify brings video advertising, sponsored sessions to free service

09/08, 7:34am

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.

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Briefly: Wipeout 2 for iOS and Android, Spotify Connect updates

08/30, 12:04pm

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.

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Spotify extends free music streaming option to Windows Phones

08/26, 2:50pm

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.

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Briefly: T-Mobile Simple Starter LTE changes, Spotify updates iOS app

08/25, 11:03am

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.

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Briefly: Satechi Bluetooth smart keyboard, Spotify's listening map

08/22, 11:02pm

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.

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Briefly: Spotify heads to Canada, Google Maps adds distance measuring

07/10, 6:29am

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.

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Briefly: Spotify iOS app update, Mophie's 64GB Space Pack case

07/03, 3:58pm

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.

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Briefly: Google Android music search, streaming reaches UK charts

06/23, 9:29am

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.

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