Big tube delivers even bigger sound with plenty of beat
Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a modest tube about the size of your typical energy-drink can, that puts out sufficient volume to provide a wireless soundtrack of music for an intimate gathering, or double as an on-the-fly conference call speaker. Sometimes, however, you need to go large, and for that the company offers the Megaboom, a bigger speaker that offers even more volume for when you need more people to hear the music. How big is too big for a speaker like this? How loud is too loud? We had a listen to the Megaboom and rated its highs and lows in our review.
Apple music executive walks back remark about women and music searching
Following a new ad for Apple Music that features singer Mary J. Blige that is aimed at women, saying that the service's curated playlists are like "a boyfriend who makes you a mixtape -- in your laptop," Apple music executive Jimmy Iovine has apologized for remarks made on "CBS This Morning" where he appeared to infer that "women find it very difficult at times -- some women -- to find music" to suit their mood.
New Adele album not available on Apple Music, Spotify
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.
Amazon adds two-factor authentication to accounts
Amazon is improving the security of its account system, just in time for the Black Friday sales, by giving the option of adding two-factor authentication to the log-in process. The online retailer is now allowing account holders to log in using an extra generated code alongside their regular username and password, potentially preventing potential fraudulent purchases from being made from the account.
Streaming music service shuttering after almost two years of operation
Beats Music is closing down at the end of this month, according to an announcement on its website and via networked speaker manufacturer Sonos. The Apple-owned streaming music service will shutter completely on November 30, with Apple suggesting existing subscribers transfer their profile, playlists, and musical preferences over to Apple Music before their subscriptions cancel and the service becomes unavailable on that date.
Android app for Apple Music arrives five months after iOS
Apple has finally launched its Android app for Apple Music, just as it advised during the launch of the music streaming service in June. Compatible with devices running Android version 4.3 or later, the app is being launched in beta on the Google Play Store five months later than others, with Android users able to take advantage of the majority of features users on iOS and the Mac have already been enjoying.
New hardware heralds arrival of more Ableton offerings
Ableton has announced the availability of new offerings for musicians, producers, and DJs with the debut of the newest version of Push. The hardware unit allows for hands-on creation of melody and harmony, beats, and song structure with a large, multicolor display that adapts to show users vital information while they work. Alongside the new Push update, Ableton is also offering a free upgrade to the new Live 9.5. The new version of Live brings additional functionality for the original Push units, with workflow improvements, new instruments, and a simpler redesign.
Where did that recommended playlist go?
Stop where you are and look around for us. We had a "For You" recommended playlist right here, and it's gone. You check under the couch, we'll try to remember where we last saw it. While we are it, could you also tell us where in the world '80s Movie Hits volumes one or two are? The other day "For You" lobbed volume three at us, and we rather like it. In case you couldn't tell, we've got a spot of frustration with Apple Music sometimes -- but we also, mostly, have a solution.
Apple Music control, music searches among 'missing' features in new ATV
In a new interview with CNN Money, Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue revealed that the shipping fourth-generation Apple TV will have some additional features added to it after its debut next week. While most early reviews of the device have been positive, reviewers have noticed some strange omissions, such the Siri remote control being unable to control the Apple Music portion of iTunes. Siri on iOS devices has recently been found to defer music chart searches to those users subscribed to Apple Music.
New suite opens up Native Instruments software to instrument developers
Native Instruments on Tuesday announced the release of version 1.5 of its Komplete Kontrol software offering. The new update will open Native Instruments' Komplete Kontrol and Maschine software "to the whole community of software instrument developers," allowing them to better customize the digital instruments they develop, and better integrate their software instruments with compatible controllers.
First speaker since Apple takeover includes Lightning port, charger
Following up on our previous story, the new Beats Pill+ Bluetooth speaker is now available for ordering. The device has changed little from before Apple bought the company, but gains a Lightning port for charging as well as an included cable. The $229 speaker can be paired with another to produce a stereo sound, and will soon have an accompanying app that allows a users and friends to control the music in a "house party" style. The unit still features a USB power-out port, a line-in audio port, and a battery boasting up to 12 hours of active use.
Settlement with record labels over music licensing costs Pandora $90M
Pandora is paying the RIAA $90 million, to settle a lawsuit concerning the streaming of song recordings produced before 1972. At the same time as the settlement announcement, the streaming service's latest financial results report has been greeted poorly, with the stock price for Pandora dropping considerably in after-hours trading, after it suffered a third-quarter loss that may have been caused by the introduction of Apple Music, among other factors.
CEO announces membership in group aiming to help China go green
In an interview on stage the Wall Street Journal's WSJD Live conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple Music currently has 6.5 million paid subscribers, with another 8.5 million currently enjoying their three-month free trial. He also noted that the new-generation Apple TV would go on sale on Monday, October 26, with shipments beginning this Friday. While interviewer and WSJ Editor Gerard Baker was unable to get any information on future projects out of Cook, they did cover a number of other topics.
Capacity will increase to as many as 100,000 non-iTunes tracks by end of year
In a follow-up response to his earlier remarks that the library size for iTunes Match and Apple Music subscribers will be vastly increased, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue now believes that the upgrade, originally thought to be planned for release with iOS 9, should come "before the end of the year." The change would allow subscribers to either service to store many more songs matched, but not purchased, through the iTunes Store for access on multiple devices.
New effort comes on heels of iTunes-based American Red Cross campaign
As the ongoing refugee crisis as a result of the Syrian civil war continues to flood Europe with migrants, Apple has opted to step up relief efforts beyond the pledge page for the American Red Cross, which is helping with refugee camps and other aid, and has worked with information specialist firm SAP and the band Imagine Dragons on a new charity single, called "I Was Me." All proceeds from sales of the song on iTunes will go to the United Nations Relief Agency, with an additional matching donation of 10 cents per copy being donated by SAP for the first five million in sales.
Neat, deft and good-sounding Bluetooth on-ear headphones
There are people at MacNN who can pop headphones into the lab, and scan them over with a sonic screwdriver to get every last pixel of specification tested, shaken up and tested again. Then there's me. If you want to tell me that the rose gold Kitsound Manhattan Headphones don't sound as good as some $1,000 professional gear, then we'll believe you because it's you. We'll still be a bit surprised, though, as we like this pair a lot.
Melt away your stress by playing with an adorable music generator
We think that one of the most soothing activities you can do in your daily life is take time to play with sound. Whether it's passing time during your morning commute, or at your desk when you've got some downtime, there's something undeniably awesome about playing with sound generators. If you're a big fan of music and sound generators, we've got a real treat for you: Polyphonic, a fun music generator that anyone can use.
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.