Tag - Spotify
Spotify has broken a major milestone, with the streaming music service claiming it has now got more than 100 million active monthly subscribers. The Swedish streaming company advised earlier today that approximately 30 percent of its user base pay a monthly subscription fee, and the number of users of the service continues to grow at a rate of 1.8 million users per month, though at a cost to its bottom line.
Spotify may try to push more of its free users to become subscribers, by restricting some of its catalog to those paying the monthly fee. A report claims the music streaming service apparently came close to restricting an album on the day of its release to just paid users, preventing free users from listening at its launch last month, and though Spotify supposedly decided against going through with that course of action, it appears it may have been more for technical reasons than ideology.
Upcoming changes to the App Store are welcomed by Spotify, but the music subscription service believes there is more Apple could do to it, an executive for the music streaming service has advised. Global head of corporate communications and global policy Jonathan Prince calls Apple's changes, which include alterations to the way it handles app subscriptions, a "nice gesture, but doesn't get to the core of the problem with the Apple tax and its payment system."
Spotify will be making its service more attractive to its users, by offering up original programming for its existing video service. Announced one year after the streaming music service bolstered its existing content catalog with videos and podcasts, the Swedish music company will be creating a number of original show "concepts" that it plans to start streaming to users later this summer, in an attempt to differentiate itself from its competition.
Spotify has reportedly raised another $1 billion from investors, giving it a small amount of extra freedom as it attempts to fend off competition from Apple Music. The deal, said to close by the end of this week, will provide Spotify with $1 billion in convertible debt, something that will simultaneously give the music streaming company more room to work within, as well as preventing the reduction in price of its stock when it eventually holds its IPO.
Spotify has become the target of a class action lawsuit, for allegedly failing to obtain proper licenses allowing it to stream certain songs and compositions. David Lowery, the frontman of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, filed the suit using law firm Michelman & Robinson LLP, demanding at least $150 million from the streaming service for "knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully" streaming the unlicensed content.
Fans of Adele will need to buy her new album if they want to listen to songs from it, as the singer is preventing music streaming services from offering the album to subscribers. Confirming initial reports, the album '25' is unavailable for listening on Apple Music, Google Play Music All Access, Spotify, and other streaming services, but iTunes is still offering the album to users for purchase via the main iTunes store.
Apple has rolled out its News app to the United Kingdom, replacing Newsstand in the country as part of the iOS 9.1 update. The Guardian reports the UK version of the newsfeed aggregator will include 14 British newspaper and magazine publishers, including the Times, Financial Times, The Economist, magazines from Conde Nast, and 27 national and regional publications from Trinity Mirror.
Apple has launched a new Twitter account dedicated to gaming. The @AppStoreGames account will be posting more than picks by App Store editors for app of the week, with The Verge reporting the feed will include previews of games heading to the App Store, tips for popular titles, profiles of talented gamers, and will be used to interact with game developers. It is suggested the new Twitter feed may have been put in place to coincide with a rumored refresh of the Apple TV at the September 9 event, with some suggesting games may be playable on the set-top box.
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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R