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Beats Music app updated, offers more user customization

07/28, 10:51pm

Now offers Tune Your Taste, verified accounts, song history, more

As the process of Beats Music's acquisition by Apple continues, the iOS app for the subscription-based Beats Music service has received an update to both make playback better and more reliable as well as to improve the overall user experience. The new version 2.2.0 gives users the ability to customize the services's "Just For You" recommendations by changing artists and genres with a new feature called Tune Your Taste. In addition to some other changes, Beats reports that it has "fixed a ton of bugs."

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Google Play Music All Access pass offered to US Chromecast owners

07/24, 1:02pm

One-year anniversary of Chromecast celebrated with extended music trial

Google is providing owners of the Chromecast streaming dongle in the United States free access to Google Play Music All Access for 90 days. An extension of an offer which has already been made available in other Chromecast countries for some time, it is being made available to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Chromecast's launch.

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Amazon bolsters small Prime Music catalog with thousands of tracks

07/23, 12:02pm

Extra music added on top of existing million-track Amazon Prime Music collection

Amazon is attempting to improve the selection of music available on its Prime Music service, to make it more appealing to Prime subscribers. The retailer has announced it has added "hundreds of thousands of songs" to the Prime Music catalog, as well as more curated playlists to the service, though it appears users wanting more modern music may be disappointed.

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Cook: Apple has made 30 acquisitions thus far in fiscal 2014

07/23, 4:05am

Most remain undisclosed, but details on Beats buyout rationale emerge

Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed during Tuesday's conference call with analysts that Apple had acquired 30 companies and/or their talent over the course of the past nine months, back to the beginning of the fiscal year which began last October. Of these, less than half have been publicly revealed -- though a few of the higher-profile buyouts, such as the record-setting Beats Electronics and Music deal, have made headlines. On the topic of the latter company, Cook shared a bit more detail on the thinking behind it.

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Paul McCartney turns his classic albums into multimedia iPad apps

07/16, 6:59pm

New app versions include videos, interviews, photos and lower cost

In an unusual move, Concord Music Group and former Beatle Paul McCartney have re-worked five of the singer-songwriter's classic albums -- McCartney, Ram, Band on the Run, Wings over America and 1980's McCartney II -- as multi-media iPad apps. The re-worked iPad versions feature not only remastered audio of the albums in question, but also videos, interviews, artwork associated with the release (such as single covers) and photos from the period.

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Briefly: Bitcoin value in Google search, Google Play Music expands

07/16, 7:06am

Bitcoin added to currency conversion options in Google search

Google has updated its currency-based searches to include results for Bitcoin. Coindesk reports reports the search company is now working with digital wallet service Coinbase to track the price of the digital currency and perform currency conversion functions, just as Google Search does for other currencies. The same conversion can also be performed by the Google Search mobile apps.

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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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Google acquires human-curated music app Songza

07/01, 8:24pm

Songza purchase by Google estimated to be worth at least $15M

Google has acquired Songza, a music app for Android and iOS which provides curated mood-based playlists. Though purchased for an unknown amount, speculated to be upwards of $15 million, the app will apparently remain active with no immediate changes instead of being shut down, though its features are highly likely to make their way into other Google music products, including Google Play Music and the rumored YouTube music service.

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YouTube and SiriusXM team-up for weekly top hits radio show

06/26, 7:00pm

'The YouTube 15' debuts July 11 with pop, R&B, rock and hip-hop music

YouTube is looking outside the box with its latest music expansion, partnering with SiriusXM. The two will join forces to offer a weekly radio show on the satellite radio service starting July 11 at 6PM ET. The show will be hosted by YouTube personality Jenna Marbles on SiriusXM Hits 1 as it presents existing and emerging music stars.

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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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Forums: Best way to manage music libraries

06/20, 11:37am

Best Way to Manage Music Libraries

Yesterday in the MacNN Forums, Mac Elite "schalliol" was explaining a situation he has, where he would like to be able to maintain a high-definition music library on a NAS that can be played from iTunes, Sonos and other applications from the server -- and wondered if there was a way to push MP3/AAC versions of songs to mobile devices. "Which app did this?" asks "Thorzdad" after his wife's iPhone unexpectedly began beeping and producing weather warnings.

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Briefly: Samsung closing Hub Music, Sony Action Cam firmware update

06/19, 8:22am

Samsung closing Hub Music service at start of July

Samsung is shutting down its Hub Music service on July 1st. In an e-mail to users, Samsung advises music downloads from the Samsung Music Library will no longer be available to download from that date, and warns to download any DRM-free music and use remaining Samsung Music vouchers before it closes. As a replacement, the e-mail suggests the use of its Milk Music service, and is also offering three free months of Google Play Music.

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Independent labels face YouTube video removal in licensing spat

06/17, 12:41pm

Refusal to agree on YouTube licensing terms induces removal threat

Independent record labels may see their music videos removed from YouTube, if they do not agree to new licensing terms relating to the video site's rumored music service. The videos could be removed "in a matter of days" if an agreement is not reached for the service, which is believed to start testing soon and become available to the public later this year.

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Amazon launches Prime Music streaming as part of Prime subscription

06/12, 6:29am

Over 1M songs available on Amazon Prime Music at launch

Amazon has launched its long-rumored music streaming service, just one day after reports claiming it would do so this week. Prime Music follows on from Prime Instant Video and the Kindle Lending Library as an extra service included in the $99 annual Prime delivery subscription, giving customers the ability to stream music to multiple devices without any advertising.

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Amazon streaming music service could have restricted song catalog

05/30, 11:57am

Possible June, July launch touted for launch as part of Prime subscription

Amazon's rumored music streaming service could be launching sometime this June or July, though it may have issues competing with Spotify, Beats Music, and other competitors, according to a report. Rather than aiming to provide a wide selection of music, including newer titles, it is rumored Amazon will offer a restricted catalog, using songs and albums that are six months old or order.

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Beats iOS app updated; annual subscription price drops to $100

05/28, 8:20pm

Trial period extended to 14 days, bug fixes featured in latest version

On the heels of Apple CEO Tim Cook describing the Beats Music service as an example of "subscription done right," the app for iOS has been updated to extend the trial period to 14 days, and version 2.1.0 now offers a yearly subscription at a discount -- possibly reinforcing Cook's pledge that the service will continue to operate as before, at least for the foreseeable future.

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Briefly: djay adds Spotify, iMaschine update, Mixvibes Cross DVS

05/22, 2:33pm

Spotify access now integrated in djay for Premium account holders

The music-mixing app djay for iPad and iPhone has been updated to version 2.5, offering Spotify integration to those with Premium accounts, enabling users to unlock as many as 20 million streaming songs for use within the app. A free seven-day trial of Spotify Premium is available to all djay 2 users. In addition, the new update introduces Match (powered by The Echo Nest) that recommends complementary tracks.

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Briefly: Spotify hits 10M subscribers, Southwest adds boarding passes

05/21, 1:53pm

Streaming service adds worldwide subscribers at rapid clip

Streaming on-demand music service Spotify has announced that it has hit a milestone in mainstream adoption, with 10 million paying subscribers among its 40 million worldwide listeners. The figure is up 66 percent from March, when it reported just six million paying customers. Among the top streaming services, Spotify has a much broader reach than any of the others, operating in 56 worldwide markets.

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Shutterstock expands licensing options to music with new service

05/20, 11:02pm

Site now offers music for commercial use under two pricing structures

Stock photography site Shutterstock has announced another revenue source with its introduction of music licensing. With the launch of its new service, Shutterstock Music, the company now offers 60,000 songs for use thanks to a deal with Rumblefish, and is aimed at the growing need for licensed music in commercial video projects.

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Briefly: Rdio's region expansion, WixHive API released

05/20, 1:22am

Nine countries added to Rdio's service availabilty

Music subscription service Rdio is now available for use in 60 countries. Featuring music from around the world, users can stream music of their choosing both online and through its mobile app for iOS or Android. Rdio's new markets include Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia. In light of achieving 60 countries, Rdio has compiled a playlist of international music.

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Isaacson: Alleged Beats deal may be more for Iovine, content

05/19, 7:00pm

Producer is chair of Interscope Geffen, suggested buyout of Universal

Revisiting his notes, Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson has said that he thinks the rumored $3.2 billion Apple buyout of Beats Electronics may not be primarily about the latter company's accessories and music service. He said that he believes that the deal centers primarily around gaining Iovine and his access to content companies and producers that may make any agreement worth the money.

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Briefly: Aquafadas and Kobo magazine collaboration, new Sonos app

05/13, 4:09pm

Aquafada Cloud Authoring platform utilizes by Kobo to digitize its magazine content

Digital e-magazing software publisher Aquafadas and e-reader maker Kobo have begun collaborating, in light of Aquafadas' cloud-based eZine publishing offering. The Aquafadas Cloud Authoring platform allows Kobo to digitize magazines on a mass-focused level, and has done so for more than 200 titles and a total of over 7,000 issues.

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Rumor: Apple interested in acquiring Beats Electronics?

05/08, 7:18pm

Acquisition, if true, would be Apple's largest buyout ever by nearly 10x

In what could be a rumor intended to manipulate stock prices, the Financial Times is reporting that Apple is planning to buy the maker of the popular (though not well-regarded by audiophiles) Beats headphones and Beats Music streaming service for $3.2 billion. If true, the deal would be by far the largest-ever acquisition by Apple. Coincidentally, the report's alleged price for Beats -- more than three times higher than its valuation -- is the exact same amount paid by Google for Nest.

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Black Keys' new album streaming now on iTunes Radio

05/06, 6:30pm

New 'Turn Blue' to be released May 13; two songs available now

As part of an ongoing effort to differentiate itself from other streaming services, iTunes Radio has lately been on a tear of offering pre-release albums streamed on the ad-supported service. The latest entry is the new album Turn Blue by The Black Keys, now available to listen to in its entirety through a dedicated "First Play" channel. Also currently available under the "First Play" moniker are new albums by Michael W. Smith and Chromeo.

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Adidas adding Spotify support for miCoach Smart Run in December

05/02, 12:53pm

Adidas fitness tracker will offer offline Spotify music playback before end of year

Adidas is collaborating with Spotify to add offline music playback to its miCoach Smart Run fitness tracker. The update will allow wearers of the smart watch to store tracks and playlists from the streaming music service on the device, so tracks can be listened while running or working out without the need to carry a smartphone for a data connection.

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Apple's iTunes Match arrives in Japan

05/02, 1:04am

Add-on service to capitalize on iPhone, Mac popularity

On Thursday, Apple opened its iTunes Match cloud storage and syncing add-on service to Japan, two-and-a-half years after its original US debut, and in time to take full advantage of the iPhone's staggering popularity in the country. During a conference call with analysts, CEO Tim Cook said that the iPhone now accounts for more than 57 percent marketshare, and that Mac sales have also improved -- seeing "double digit" increases. The subscription-based service is ideal for users who want to carry around large libraries of music with the confines of the space-limited iPhone.

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Report: Apple to partner with Shazam for song recognition in iOS 8

04/16, 9:47pm

Song-identification technology may be enlisted for Siri, iTunes Radio

Citing unnamed sources "with knowledge of the product," Bloomberg is reporting that Apple may enter into a partnership with song-identifying app Shazam to bring the music-matching feature to iOS 8. Users could, for example, ask Siri "what song is playing?" as they listen to iTunes Radio or other streaming music services, with the voice assistant enlisting Shazam's services to return an answer after a short identifying pause. This in turn would produce a link to the song on iTunes.

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YouTube on-demand music service delayed again

04/05, 10:56am

Design issues, need for compelling offering cited

YouTube's untitled on-demand music service launch has been postponed again. The move is allegedly a requirement for the company to "get it right" from day one, and for the service to be competitive with similar offerings from other vendors immediately upon release. The service, originally slated to go live at the beginning of 2014, is now not likely to see release until the end of the year, or later.

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Spotify update introduces darker theme, 'Your Music' collection

04/02, 10:27am

App update removes starred tracks from Spotify for new collection system

Spotify has made drastic changes to its user interface, by introducing a new darker theme. The change in appearance of the streaming music service across all platforms is joined by a new feature called "Your Music," something the company previewed in late 2012, allowing users to collect and manage their music without requiring users to create playlists.

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Twitter rumored to relaunch altered #music program soon

03/27, 12:34pm

Sources cite revamped effort curating discussions, discovery

Even though Twitter is shuttering its #Music service and has yanked the supporting app from the iOS App Store, the microblogging service is preparing a new but similar offering, according to services familiar with the matter. The new service is allegedly forsaking the app-driven approach, and focused on conversations about content, hosted on Twitter itself.

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Last.fm closing streaming music service, continues music tracking

03/26, 2:47pm

Ad-free subscription music service shutters in late April

Last.fm is shutting down its subscription-based music streaming service at the end of next month. The company reveals in a forum post that it's closing the $3 ad-free streaming radio function from its apps on April 28th, though it will continue to operate its ongoing "Scrobbler" music tracking, playlist building, and new music recommendation service to users as normal.

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Pandora increasing ad-free subscription rate for new subscribers

03/19, 10:27am

New rate for new users to offset dramatic increase in cost of business

Online music streamer Pandora is raising its prices for new subscribers. The current subscription cost for unlimited and ad-free Pandora One is climbing 25 percent to $5 per month, up from $4. Existing Pandora One monthly subscribers that remain active will not experience a price increase and will continue to pay $4 per month. The company cites rapidly-growing costs to deliver the service as the reason for the price hike.

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Neil Young-backed PonoPlayer hits target within 24 hours

03/12, 2:59pm

High-fidelity music player PonoPlayer sails past original Kickstarter goal

The PonoPlayer, a music playback device backed by musician Neil Young, has doubled its target on Kickstarter shortly after starting its campaign. The high-fidelity player has so far raised over $1.6 million on the crowd-funding site, beating the $800,000 the campaign originally asked for within 24 hours of launching, with the pledging period set to continue for another 33 more days.

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Rdio will cull connection to The Echo Nest after Spotify acquisition

03/12, 8:07am

Rdio will stop using Spotify-owned music intelligence service in future

Rdio will be changing the way it offers listeners music, by not using The Echo Nest in the future, the company has revealed. Following the purchase of the music intelligence company by Spotify, Rdio is keen to not help its chief competition by providing it with more data about its user's listening habits, instead relying on other methods to offer music discovery and curation.

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Rumors shed more light on Amazon set-top box, Prime music service

03/12, 7:41am

Fixed $30M licensing pot a sticking point for music executives in Amazon negotiations

More rumors for fabled Amazon services have surfaced, with three different outlets claiming to provide more information about the Prime music service and its long-rumored streaming device. The latest claim for the music service, thought to be offered as part of the Prime delivery subscription, sees the company limiting the number of plays of a track, as a means to increase its MP3 sales.

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Samsung launches Milk Music Internet radio in US for Galaxy devices

03/07, 3:19pm

Milk Music offers 200 genre stations, personalization options, 13M songs

Samsung is offering owners of its Galaxy mobile devices in the United States a free streaming music service. Milk Music will let users listen to more than 200 genre-based and ad-free music stations, using a catalog of more than 13 million tracks to generate playlists, with the additional option of generating personal stations based on favorite songs and albums.

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Spotify acquires The Echo Nest to improve music discovery, curation

03/06, 10:43am

Music curation API used by other music services will remain open despite purchase

Spotify is looking to bolster the music curation and discovery functions of its service, by acquiring music intelligence company The Echo Nest, the streaming music service has revealed. The purchase will provide Spotify with deeper access to The Echo Nest's knowledge base and music curation tools, currently used by competitors such as Nokia MixRadio and Rdio for their own music discovery offerings.

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Rumor: Amazon in talks with record labels for Prime music streaming

02/28, 6:26am

Claimed discussions with labels stalled over music licensing discount request

Amazon Prime subscribers may receive another benefit in the future, if a rumor is found to be true. It is claimed that the online retailer is looking to expand the Prime bonuses from the current Kindle Lending Library and Prime Instant Video offerings to include music streaming, with Amazon said to be in negotiations with the larger music labels to make the service a reality.

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Briefly: Soundgarden joins iTunes SXSW, iTunes Radio sees more debuts

02/26, 6:12pm

90s grunge act Soundgarden to perform 'Superunknown' in full at concert

On the heels of the announcement that the iTunes Festival, a live music event held annually in London, will be extended to a week of shows in the US for the first time at this year's SXSW music festival, Apple has now announced that 90s rock act Soundgarden will join the lineup. The band, featuring its full original lineup, will perform its best-known album "Superunknown" in full during the concert, celebrating its 20th anniversary.

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Briefly: Groovemaker remixing app for iPad, PDFpen now requires iOS 7

02/25, 7:16pm

GrooveMaker 2 released by IK Multimedia

IK Multimedia has announced the release of its mobile loop based music-making app, GrooveMaker 2. Designed for iPad, the app offers users the ability to create professional quality grooves, beats and songs in real time. Its library features over 3,600 available loops and over 60 collections of music genres, including House, DubStep, Hip Hop, Techno, Reggae and more. GrooveMaker 2 can be utilized as a live DJ performance tool as well as a mobile composition app. Users can set the length of individual loops and grooves down to 1/4 of a bar, providing flexibility when building and layering a track.

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Briefly: BBM for Android on Gingerbread, Streaming music on UK charts

02/19, 5:32am

BlackBerry updates BBM app to work with Android 2.3

BlackBerry has opened up BBM for Android to users of older devices. BlackBerry Messenger can now be downloaded and used on smartphones and tablets running Android 2.3 or later, though the older version of the mobile operating system will not have access to new additions to the app, such as BBM Voice, BBM Channels, and Glympse real-time location sharing.

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Roland announces AIRA line, brings back the TR-808 sound

02/16, 2:30pm

Line focuses on bringing older analog sounds to the digital age

Roland has brought back a key piece of music history with their line of AIRA products. With four new products specifically pointed towards the evolving world of electronic music, the company brings back some classic analog sounds to the digital world and resurrects the TR-808 drum machine in the process.

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Google updates search with music videos, alters Android search app

02/06, 12:28pm

Music videos given more prominence in related searches

Google has made two updates to search, for desktops as well as its Android search app. Web-based Google searches will now more prominently display YouTube videos for searches using musical terms, while the Android search app introduces a number of Google Now tweaks, with the option to set specific on-demand and TV providers in the search settings being the biggest change.

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Caution: reports of iPod 'death' may be premature

01/30, 6:52pm

Job notices, new technologies may hint at rethinking rather than retirement

As an Apple product, the iPod -- the company's music player line that continues to be a mainstay with fitness buffs and consumers who want "an iPhone without the phone" -- has been in decline for some time. Even so, analysts were startled when CEO Tim Cook mentioned during the recent earnings discussion conference call that shipments of the iconic device line had fallen a full 50 percent from the same quarter last year. Those predicting the iPod's imminent death, however, may be premature.

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Briefly: Rdio adds sharing options, Twitter adds photo editing to apps

01/28, 7:08am

Rdio adds social sharing bar to web, desktop apps

Rdio has updated its web and desktop apps to make it easier for users to share tracks with social networks. The official blog reveals users can click on a song, album, or playlist and then drag it to a new sharing pop-up on the right-hand side of the screen. Users can then select whether they wish to share the tracks over Facebook, Twitter, or to other Rdio users, or alternatively, add it to a playlist in a fourth option on the same panel.

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Apple caps 30th anniversary celebrations with live concert

01/26, 4:17am

Cook makes 'exception' to company's forward-looking policy

Following a blitz of interviews given by the executive team and a special mini-site dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh, Apple has rounded off its celebrations by hosting a "beer bash" for employees that featured executives and engineers mingling outside the company's main headquarters, and a live concert by the band One Republic. The well-attended event (captured in a photo by Apple CEO Tim Cook, below) also featured brief remarks by Cook.

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Briefly: Sumry interactive CV, C.24 music keyboard iPad cover

01/24, 9:41pm

Interactive CV timeline service Sumry lifts free beta period

Sumry, an interactive CV hosting service has closed its period of free beta testing. Intended to be an alternative to a standard résumé or CV, Sumry offers its platform as a space to display job experience and life history in the format of a storied timeline. The user's profile page is split into six sections (story, passions, skills, personality, contact information, and links) and is fully customizable with different background colors, links and more. Creating an account with Sumry is free, and setting one's profile to live is $3 per month.

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Spotify allows artists to offer merchandise through streaming service

01/20, 12:22pm

Merchandise marketing through Spotify could help appease royalty critics

Spotify is allowing artists to promote and sell their merchandise through the streaming service for the first time. Band t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise will be offered to Spotify users through the artist's page in the software itself, in what could be considered an olive branch from Spotify to Artists over reportedly-low royalty payments to music makers.

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Briefly: Exfm remains active, OptimizeMe life tracker launched

01/19, 9:54pm

Music discovery service decides not to shut down

Music discovery service Exfm had planned to shut down this week, as was announced late last year, but it has decided to remain operational. Exfm originally launched as a browser extension for finding MP3 files, and has since expanded with mobile apps, a blog widget and an API. Planning to explore partnerships with other companies, Exfm has yet to announce its future direction.

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Beats Music set for January 21 launch with AT&T family plans

01/12, 6:43pm

Curated Beats Music to launch later this month

The Beats Music streaming service will finally launch later this month, January 21, with apps available for Android, iOS, Windows, and the web. The Verge reported on Sunday that the service, backed by music industry giant Jimmy Iovine, will be available for a $10 monthly subscription fee. At launch, Beats will also unveil a collaboration with AT&T, which will see that carrier's customers able to get family subscriptions to Beats for just $15 per month.

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