Says Apple Music subscriber numbers are a 'long term' issue
In an extended interview with the London Evening Standard mostly about the just-concluded Apple Music Festival, Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue let slip that the company is investigating trying to "fix" the problem of international data roaming charges for iPhone users, and come up with a solution that would benefit consumers without alienating profit-oriented phone carriers. The focus of the conversation, the festival, also revealed that Apple is playing a long game with its Apple Music service.
Apple Music and selected iTunes Stores now available locally
While the news will come as a surprise to those outside China, the country is only just today getting its own Apple Music service and some of the various iTunes Stores, including Movies and the iBookstore for the first time. The various stores will, as is the case in most other countries, emphasize native artists at least as much as western acts. Local heroes such as G.E.M. and Eason Chan will be seen in the Music store alongside popular western artists. The Movies store will feature Chinese cinema and Hollywood films, while the iBookstore will offer a wide selection of native-language e-books.
Link phones to share streaming music in sync
We were only thinking the other day that music used to be something you shared, and now it's something that works its way into our heads via white earbuds. Everyone able to listen to anything they want is great, but somehow it has meant that so often we don't listen to anyone else's choice. AmpMe 1.4 is about bringing the sharing back to streaming. There are clear features we'd like to see added, as this is limited, but still rather exciting.
Claimed songwriters receive approximately $90 per million streams
The debate over royalties paid by streaming music services became more intense, after a songwriter revealed how little they were paid for a major hit. Speaking at a roundtable discussion about music copyright hosted by the House Judiciary Committee, it was claimed by a co-writer of Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" that he received under $6,000 in royalties from streams, a figure he insists is not enough to live on.
Painless ways to pay for subscription service, or avoid getting a charge
Decision day is coming: we talked about this on the podcast and in print, but for people who signed up for the three-month free trial of the subscription component of Apple Music on its first day, the deadline to opt out of it (or the day your card will be charged for October's service) is September 30, a week away. In this Pointers, we will show you how to make sure you are not charged accidentally, how to pay for it without a credit card, and more.
Take charge and create your own music with this intuitive beat maker
Creating your own music is an exciting and rewarding prospect for a lot of people, and most people dabble in music at one point in their life or another. However, we're aware that it's not second nature to most people, and creating your own music can be incredibly intimidating. That's why we're here to suggest trying out Loop Pads 24, an app that is so easy to use but still produces fantastic musical beats for the novice to play around with.
Apple launches four new 'Discovery' Apple Music ads featuring new artists
Apple has added four new videos promoting both new artists and its Apple Music subscription service to a series of spotlights it calls the "Discovery" series, which has previously featured acts like James Bay, and Kygo. Like the previous entries, the ads are in black and white, and do not feature any narration or voice over -- a short look at the artist and their music. Feature in the new videos are rapper Flying Lotus, singer Flo Morrissey, and musicians Leon Bridges and Shamir.
Apple reveals last three headliners for Apple Music Festival lineup
Apple has revealed the last remaining musical artists performing during its Apple Music Festival. Ellie Goulding will be opening the festival at London's Roundhouse on September 19, along with a to-be-announced special guest, while Carrie Underwood with another unknown guest will perform on September 21, and Mumford & Sons joined by Jack Garratt on September 27.
CBS to stream Super Bowl, AFC playoffs, two regular-season games free on Apple TV
CBS has revealed that it will stream this year's Super Bowl contest, along with the AFC playoff games and two regular-season football games on a number of "laptops, desktops, and tablets" and other devices, including Apple TV, free of charge without a need for cable account authentication. The two games will be the New York Jets versus the Miami Dolphins in London on October 4 at 9:30AM ET, and a US Thanksgiving Day game between the Carolina Panthers and the Dallas Cowboys on November 26 at 4:30PM ET.
Apple to build new 'next-generation' Apple Store in Germantown
Apple is planning to build one of its first "next-generation" standalone stores in the US in the Memphis suburb of Germantown, with the new design debuting overseas this fall, according to Apple Senior Director of Development Rick Millitello, who presented the plans for the new store to the Germantown Design Review Commission. The change will move the store slightly within its present Shops of Saddle Creek North location.
Music player that champions the album
You've already got a music player on your iPhone, you can't fail to have because you get it free and you can't delete it. Yet iTunes isn't the world's most popular application and as part of the whole iTunes Store it played a significant part in changing music. Specifically it changed us from buying albums to buying individual tracks. TurnTable Pocket 1.0 wants to undo that and to present us with music artwork the way it used to be.
Half of initial users have stopped using trial, but most remaining will pay
[Updated with Apple statement refuting figures] Market research firm MusicSearch has issued a new report on Apple Music use in the US that has both good news and bad news for the company. The good news is that most people who are still using the free trial indicated in their responses that they like it and will continue with it when it switches to a paid service following a three-month free trial. More concerning is that despite a high awareness of Apple Music among the US public, nearly half of those who tried it have stopped using it.
Rebranded music event will be live streamed, coverage on Beats 1, Connect
Apple has revealed some of the musical acts featuring in its yearly musical event in the United Kingdom this September. Previously known as the iTunes Festival, the rebranded Apple Music Festival will continue to be held at the Roundhouse in London for ten nights from September 19, with headliners at the multi-evening event including Pharrell Williams, One Direction, Florence + The Machine, and Disclosure.
High-resolution audio codec and Apple Music incompatible
While many of us were looking forward to the launch of Apple Music, it has been far from a smooth launch. Making the biggest headlines, of course, has been the woes of experienced by Jim Dalrymple. We've also highlighted issues with shared iTunes libraries, and other library corruption issues. I recently wrote about the way Apple Music works with DRM and handles ALAC files, and in that piece we promised to get back to you when we heard from Apple about how Apple Music handles your own ALAC music files -- and now we have an answer.
Fragile utility for tinkerers and music fans
Here's how fragile and delicate this app is: we couldn't get it to work. At all. Not even with the help of its developers. Consequently, this could be a very short review -- but it's an interesting area, and we have a word count so if we can't do a Hands On, at least we can try to put our finger on what's wrong with M4P-to-MP3 Converter 1.30.8. Plus, it is one of those names that tells you what the application does, but if you understand what it does, you likely know how to do it yourself, so there is an issue of whether it's even worth your fiddling with.
AT&T offers DirecTV subscribers up to $500 for switching carriers
After recently completing its acquisition of DirecTV, AT&T is already attempting to capitalize on the relationship between the two companies by tempting DirecTV subscribers to switch phone services. Under the promotion, Forbes reports DirecTV customers can receive $300 in bill credit per line ported with a new smartphone purchased under AT&T Next, as well as a $200 credit for eligible smartphone trade-ins. Subscribers of U-verse, AT&T's existing TV service, can also take advantage of the same offer.
Free Spotify users could potentially find certain album tracks blocked from playback
Spotify may be considering a move that will limit what free users will be able to listen to, if a rumor is correct. It is claimed Spotify may change its service to a "gated access" model, which will only allow certain releases to be available to paid subscribers without restriction, with free users facing the prospect of either being denied access to the song altogether, or limited in terms of time or the number of plays of specific tracks.
Latest episode a bit like a quick summer read, so try listening at poolside
This week, the usual suspects -- MacNN Editor Charles Martin, Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele, and staff writer Malcolm Owen -- deliver a lighter, shorter, 47-minute summer episode that tries to accentuate the positive, and make lemonade out of lemons. Having spent last episode complaining about iTunes 12.2, the iOS Music app, and (as required by law) Microsoft's Windows 10, this episode focuses on the new Back to School promo from Apple, what can be done to make iTunes better, how to make an OS X home server, how Windows 10 is working out, and Microsoft's new iOS-to-Windows initiative. Show notes after the jump.
New subscription service did nothing to interfere with rivals, investigation found
An investigation into whether Apple's deals with major record labels did anything to hurt or impede its competition has concluded that no such collusion took place, according to a new report from the European Commission. The body said it would continue to monitor the streaming industry overall, but cleared Apple Music of any alleged wrongdoing.
BitTorrent, Download.com latest targets of RIAA, other industry bodies
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is continuing its war on music piracy, by attacking software that is said to be used for that very purpose. The RIAA sent a letter to BitTorrent executives urging the company to do something about the use of the file distribution technology's use in music piracy, while a collection of groups joined it in persecuting CNet for providing downloads to apps that could be used for copyright infringement.
Ripping CDs in iTunes now illegal in UK, prosecution unlikely
A recent ruling by the United Kingdom's High Court has technically made the copying of CDs illegal in the country. A law that allowed the legal copying of copyrighted content for personal use, put into place only last year, has been overturned in the last few months after pressure from music industry groups, with the country's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) advising this technically makes software functions for ripping CDs to MP3, such as within iTunes, illegal once more.
Trial user count of Apple Music half paid subscriber figure for Spotify
Apple Music has 11 million trial users since the streaming music service started up five weeks ago, Apple executives have revealed, effectively confirming a recent rumor of the service's uptake. The good news doesn't stop with Apple Music, as figures relating to the App Store shows it is continuing to see rising sales, with a record $1.7 billion in transactions conducted in the month of July alone.
Rumor claims Apple may add five more stations alongside Beats 1
Listeners of Apple Music may get more choice in streaming music stations than the flagship Beats 1 in the future, according to a rumor that arrives at the same time as Apple Music starts to influence the music charts. While Billboard includes Apple's service to the roster it uses to compile its famous charts, it is also claimed that, as part of the licensing deals struck with major record labels to allow Apple Music to exist, Apple has the option of creating more streaming radio stations, potentially giving alternatives to current Beats 1 programming and personalities.
First full new album since 1999 to drop August 7, promoted on The Pharmacy
Following a hiatus from his own music career since 1999's 2001, Apple music executive Andre Young -- better known to the world as rapper, producer, radio host and entrepreneur Dr. Dre -- will release his new album, Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre, as an exclusive to be streamed on Apple Music, and sold digitally on iTunes. Dre has also exclusively allowed the streaming of his first solo album, 1992's The Chronic, on Apple Music.
Vox straddles the thin line between brilliant and unusable
This is the most beautiful, even mesmerising app and where you always want to shout loudly about great software, we wanted to stand on desks and bellow that Vox 2.5.1 is a gorgeous music player and service. Unfortunately, we more stood by desks arguing over it. It was 50/50 between one side of MacNN saying it is stunning with some problems and the other half saying those problems were just too much. Both sides are right: we long to recommend this to you but if we do, we have to prepare you for frustrations.
Tech mavens say Apple Music's implementation is bad. Does everyone?
We're a completely Mac and iOS household but it's my husband William who is the techie one. Look left a bit and there's me. Hello. I just want to use the stuff without understanding the innards. So MacNN asked me for a non-geek review of Apple Music.
Boyle-Sorkin teamup will be centerpiece film, said to 'defy expectations'
The forthcoming major-studio Steve Jobs biography movie, simply entitled Steve Jobs, will get an early debut at the New York Film Festival on October 3, a week ahead of its October 9 national debut. The film has been given the prestigious "centerpiece" slot on the evening, with the film festival's director, Kent Jones, saying the movie is taking an "unconventional approach" to tell the story of the mercurial Apple co-founder.
Themes of music, fitness, travel highlight devices ease of use
Apple has now added three new TV spots to its collection of ads for the Apple Watch, each with an emphasis on showing what apps look like on the device, and each with a theme: music apps, travel apps, and fitness apps. The commercials showcase mostly third-party programs, and showcase the amount of clear, useful information that can be gleaned on the small screen. Shazam, Yelp, and Nike+ Running are among the apps featured.
Users report Windows 10 upgrade files starting to download to systems
Microsoft is allegedly preparing for tomorrow's launch of Windows 10, by preloading the operating system on computers that have been booked in for the upgrade. According to WinBeta, users that have already reserved their free upgrade from Windows 7 or later will start to see the files being preloaded ahead of a release after midnight tonight. The report also warns upgraders they can also expect to download a day one patch for Windows 10, weighing in at over 1GB in size.
Numbers during free trial mean little, conversion rate yet to be seen
In only its first month, some 10 million people have signed on to give the subscription-based Apple Music a try during its three-month free trial period, according to music industry sources that allegedly reflect a figure given to them by Apple itself. While the number doesn't mean much during the free trial period, if one assumed that the number of users trying it out will grow over the summer, established rivals may have reason to worry.
Apple well aware of issues, blending of Apple Music and iTunes Match at issue
We reported last week on fellow Mac journalist Jim Dalrymple's particularly bad issues with iTunes 12.2 and later on the Mac, centered around the arrival of Apple Music and Apple's attempts to blend the paid service's ability to store songs for later streaming or offline use with some customers' existing or previous iTunes Match libraries, which appears to cause much confusion, ranging from mislabelled entries in the iTunes library to missing songs in some cases.
Experience from long-time Mac fan voice confirms MacNN testing
Apple cognoscenti Jim Dalrymple posted a missive about his poor experience with iTunes and Apple Music yesterday, confirming ongoing MacNN testing of the issue dating back to just after the launch, and subsequent update of the Apple music player. The pundit notes amongst other problems the loss of 4,700 songs that he has little hope of getting back, and that the service is selective as to which tracks are actually added to his Internet-accessible library, sometimes drawing from "greatest hits" albums, and not the actual source of the original recording.
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.
Too busy enjoying Apple Music streaming on my iPod touch
In this early season of presidential candidate pronouncements, its refreshing to see someone not running for office who can crazy with the best of them. On this week's MacNN Podcast We celebrate 10 years of podcasts along with Apple, as well as the new, updated iPod touch. We then proceed, like all good parties, to trash some things -- in this case, iTunes and Neil Young's crazy (high) horse. Show notes after the jump.
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.
Bluetooth headphones, light bulb, guitar add-on offered on MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today's collection of sales are all for Bluetooth-equipped devices with very different uses, including an adjustable light bulb, headphones for fitness enthusiasts, and an add-on for a guitar that gives you more ways to make music.
Apple's not done the very best of jobs with iTunes
The smart money said if anything were going to go wrong, it would be Beats 1: something live is automatically the most likely to fall over in some way. If someone had already taken that bet, you'd settle for guessing that massive demand would overload the streaming servers. Yet instead, the bit of the Music app and Apple Music launch that caused problems -- and continues to cause them -- is good old iTunes for OS X. We've had iTunes for nearly 15 years, and every thing else in Apple Music for a fortnight but it's iTunes for the Mac that has fallen down and can't seem to get up.
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.
Even lapsed former subscribers saw issues with cover art, metadata
[Update -- not all problems are fixed] A problem in the new iTunes 12.2 update -- which including a substantial behind-the-scenes change to the database part of the program to accommodate the new Apple Music features, and which caused confusion in metadata and album art in song files -- has allegedly been fixed in a new update, bringing the program to version 12.2.1. The update, now available through the Mac App Store, is also said to correct a problem where uploaded DRM-free music in users' iCloud Music Libraries had been replaced with DRM-enabled Apple Music versions.
Music videos in Facebook feed still being negotiated
Facebook is not planning to launch its own streaming music service in the coming months, a company representative has confirmed. The social network has spoken out about a recent report claiming it was working to offer its users an on-demand music service, and though it has outright denied offering anything similar to Spotify, there are still rumors that Facebook will be doing something music-related in the future.
Xbox Music for iOS, Android can stream music from OneDrive storage
Microsoft has updated both of its Xbox Music apps for iOS and Android, increasing the app's integration with the OneDrive cloud storage service. The latest update allows users to be able to stream their own music collection stored on OneDrive directly to their device, in a similar way to music locker services, with the functionality being added to the app without the need to have a subscription to the Xbox Music Pass.
Standard, lossless plans offer 50 percent discount for extra users in group
Tidal, the artist-owned music streaming service, is attempting to increase its user numbers by introducing a family plan for the first time, something main competitors Apple Music and Spotify already offer to subscribers. The new family plans will provide a lower cost of service to users that club together under the same account, with both the standard and lossless audio tiers offering similar plan discounts.
The Beats 1 that just can't go wrong today
Time once again for another episode of The MacNN Podcast, this time episode 22! Since it was quite a notable week, this week's chat between Editor Charles, Managing Editor Mike, and staffers Michelle, Bradley, and Sanjiv is pretty jam-packed. The big story of the week was the launch of Apple Music, and we spend time on both the good and bad of that, but we talk about a lot more as well. Show notes after the jump.
Program will be bi-weekly, focus on West Coast rap and hip-hop
Following the decision to release his first album The Chronic as an Apple Music exclusive, untitled Apple executive Dr. Dre will debut a new bi-weekly radio show on Beats 1 on Saturday, July 4, entitled "The Pharmacy," focusing on West Coast urban music and other tracks of interest to Dre. The first episode will debut at 6PM ET, and joins a host of other shows hosted by prominent musicians.
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?
Our music library just got a whole lot bigger
It's been called over-complicated, it's been called confusing, but it's also been called the place where you keep all your music by nearly everyone in the civilized world. That last has now changed: it's the place you get to almost all the music ever created in the history of the world, and then some. Okay, maybe no,t but we had -- hang on, let's check -- 9,692 songs yesterday and today we have (counts on fingers) 30,000,000, give or take the Beatles. The new iTunes 12.2 for Mac brings some minor changes, and one massive one with the introduction of Apple Music to OS X.
The MacNN staff look at today's massive litany of releases by Apple
It's that time again -- Apple has hit us all with a flood of releases, and leading the pack are Apple Music and Beats 1. Join Managing Editor Mike, MacNN Editor Charles, and writer William for a discussion of all the hits, misses, and we discuss if we should keep the wheel in the sky turning for what's on tap, or if Apple's new offering is little more than a rainbow in the dark.
The downward spiral of the music business, a 5K iMac giveaway, and more
Episode 21 of The MacNN Podcast is now available! Join us for a very speedy hour as we talk about a great new contest where you can win a 5K Retina 27-inch iMac, the licensing kerfuffle with Apple Music that features a happy ending, more troubles for MacKeeper, the plaudits and perils of e-publishing, the trauma of having to send in a Mac for repair, and our picks for App(s) of the Week! Show notes after the jump.
Virtual locker included with paid Apple Music, to expand to 100,000 songs
Through confirmations, now-deleted posts, and a series of tweets, Apple has revealed that iOS 8.4 will be released tomorrow, June 30, at 8AM PT (11AM ET), and SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue has clarified how iTunes Match and the paid Apple Music subscription service will work together. In addition, Senior Director of Apple Music (and former Beats CEO) Ian C. Rogers revealed that with the arrival of iOS 9, the cloud music locker both services share will expand to hold 100,000 or more songs.