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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.