Tag - Digital music
Yonder Music has announced its commercial-beta launch of an Android-exclusive digital music service. Providing users with access to millions of songs with no pay-wall barrier, music content can be downloaded and played without commercials. Yonder's catalog includes major labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and more, as well as a variety of independent artists and labels. During the commercial-beta, Yonder can only be used on specific Android-enabled devices, such as the HTC One, and must purchase it directly from Yonder Music to have access to the application.
Musician Neil Young has founded a high-fidelity digital music service, and with it an accompanying playback device soon to be available for pre-order. Entitled PonoMusic, the company encompasses both an online music store and a playback device (PonoPlayer), which is set to be available for pre-ordering through Kickstarter starting next week. The PonoPlayer offers the ability to play high-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels, curated and archived for purchasing on PonoMusic.com. The aim is to deliver audio quality that is far superior to other audio file formats, such as the standard MP3.
According to a new report by Nielsen SoundScan, digital music sales dropped for the first time since the iTunes Store went online in 2003. Sales fell by 5.7 percent to 1.26 billion songs, with industry executives putting the blame on streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio -- services the record companies themselves licensed their music to in an effort to reduce their dependency on iTunes. Whether revenue from streaming has offset the sales dip hasn't yet been revealed.
A digital music news site was forced to take down a copy of an iTunes Radio contract it had been given and published -- opting to post the entire contract online rather than just discuss the portions it wanted to highlight, prompting a copyright claim from Apple. While some have claimed that Apple's beef was more about suppressing business details than protecting copyright, the site's tactics raise the question of whether its okay to break the law in the name of trying to garner hits.
Apple's iTunes was originally conceived (and run for a number of years) as a more-or-less "break even" music service that was little more than a value-added feature driving buyers to the high-margin iPod line. Today, the iTunes empire pulls in $13.5 billion annually, of which music sales still play an enormous part -- around $4.4 billion, of which about $3.4 billion goes to music publishers large and small. This would mean that iTunes alone accounts for about 60 percent of the music industry's $5.6 billion in digital music sales.
Neil Young has made an appearance on the David Letterman show to promote a new music player and digital music service branded Pono. The new Pono players will support the playback of audio master files stored digitally in high-resolution, 192kHz/24-bit sound, reports Rolling Stone. The new Pono service, which will launch next year, has the backing of Warner Music Group with Meridian and Dolby involved as well.
Digital music revenues are forecast to finally excede physical media sales globally sometime as early as 2015, driven by strong growth from streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Spending on digital music, including downloads and streaming services, is expected to increase by 17.8 percent to $8.6 billion in 2012, as revenue from packaged sales drops by an estimated 12.1 percent.
Writing for GigaOM, Michael Robertson the founder and former CEO of MP3.com has lifted the lid on the onerous financial arrangements that record companies impose on digital music subscription services. He argues that online music services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Rdio and others are so much at the mercy of the deals that record companies impose on them that the likelihood of turning a profit for the supplier is extremely slim. Instead record companies reap just about any financial reward that is on the table, a fact that has hitherto gone unaddressed as these types of deals are often signed under non-disclosure arrangements.
US District Jude Loretta Preska has allowed a class-action lawsuit against RIAA music labels to continue forward. The lawsuit, which accuses major labels of conspiring to fix prices for digital music distribution, will be pursued under the Sherman Act to explore potential antitrust violations of federal law. Similar antitrust actions under New York state law will also be investigated, as well as other claims related to consumer protection and unjust enrichment.
Sprint and RealNetworks have announced an agreement that will give Sprint's mobile customers digital music through a unified storefront. Initially the service will provide full-track music, ringtones, and ringbacks through a simplified user interface. The move is expected to create a better user experience as well as save resources for for Sprint.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE