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Tidal relaunches as artist-owned high-fidelity music streaming service

03/30, 6:24pm

Jay-Z, Daft Punk, other musical artists now owners of Tidal

Music streaming service Tidal has relaunched as an artist-owned company. At a star-studded launch event streamed live, the musical artists owning part of the service gathered together for the announcement, with the overall message offered being Tidal's push to benefit musical artists more than its competitors, such as Spotify and its allegedly low royalty payments.

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Daily Deals: Sony headphones, Canon printer, 30-inch Monoprice display

03/30, 2:49pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for March 30, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post when the staff of MacNN and Electronista take a moment to search retailers for offers, discounts, and other items for you, our beloved readers. Today, we wipe the slate clean of older deals, with the new deals including hefty discounts on Sony noise-cancelling headphones, a $65 Canon multifunction laser printer, and a sub-$400 30-inch display.

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Sony launches Spotify-powered PlayStation Music in 41 countries

03/30, 6:43am

Replacement for Sony Music Unlimited heads to PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

The replacement for Sony Music Unlimited is going live on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 today, powered by Spotify. Launching in 41 countries, PlayStation Music provides gamers with access to streaming music, allowing users to play their choice of soundtrack as a background to whatever game they are playing on the Sony game consoles.

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Daily Deals: Sol Republic headphones, Linksys router, OCZ SSDs

03/26, 3:25pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for March 26, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, our regular look at the discounts, offers, sales, and other money-saving items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, we recap the still-active deals from over the last week, as well as introducing new items, including Sol Republic Master Tracks headphones, a $40 Linksys router, and OCZ Vertex SSD storage.

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Trent Reznor helping design overhauled iOS Music app, says NYT

03/25, 9:11pm

Beats integration, iTunes overhaul likely to be on agenda for WWDC in June

A new article in The New York Times describes in some detail the alleged transition plans Apple is undertaking to transform both iTunes and Beats Music, it's acquired subscription streaming service. Among other details, the report assigns roles to iTunes Radio chief Zane Lowe, who until recently was a top BBC Radio 1 DJ, and describes musician Trent Reznor as a "point man" on an iOS Music app overhaul.

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Daily Deals: iPad Air 2, 750GB WD Elements, LG 49-inch 4K TV

03/25, 5:48pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for March 25, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we, the staff of MacNN and Electronista, search online retailers for discounts and savings on general tech, gadgets, and software, for our discerning readers. Today, we recap the still-active deals from earlier this week, with the new deals including $100 off the iPad Air 2, an external 750GB drive for $35, and a 49-inch LG 4K TV for less than half price.

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Briefly: Apple TV gains new channels, Pro Tools 12 changes pricing

03/24, 3:17pm

Apple TV gains three additional channels amid talk of fall revamp

On Tuesday, Apple added three channels to its ever-expanding Apple TV lineup, bringing Young Hollywood, Tastemade, and TED to current-generation (black) Apple TV boxes. The TED app channel brings access to over 2,000 lectures and performances, with existing TED members able to sign in and sync viewing and watch lists across devices, as well as bringing the personalized "lean back" autoplay feature to the Apple TV.

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HP drops Beats, mixes in Bang & Olufsen for future audio tech provider

03/24, 12:57pm

First products with Bang & Olufen to appear 'this spring'

HP and Bang & Olufsen today announced a collaboration that brings the sound and engineering of Bang & Olufsen and B&O Play to HP's PCs, tablets and accessories. The move was made necessary by Apple's purchase and cessation of nearly all licensing programs of the Beats brand, previously found on a wide array of HP products.

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Deezer Elite lossless FLAC music streaming service available globally

03/24, 10:30am

Over 200,000 users of Deezer Elite since US launch

Deezer is expanding the reach of its high-quality music streaming service to other regions. Initially part of the launch of Deezer in the United States, the Deezer Elite subscription is now available in more than 150 countries, allowing subscribers to listen to the company's collection of 35 million lossless FLAC-encoded tracks whenever they want.

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Briefly: Pioneer gen-2 CarPlay receivers, new Apple Keyboard coming?

03/23, 3:28pm

Pioneer debuts second-generation NEX in-dash receivers with CarPlay, Android Auto

Auto audio accessories maker Pioneer has debuted a new series of second-generation NEX receivers that feature both CarPlay and Android Auto baked in, replacing earlier models that added CarPlay compatibility through a firmware update. Versions are available with either resistive touch or capacitive touch screens, ranging from $700 to $1,400 for aftermarket installation. The new models add support for Android Auto, and offer better touch sensitivity, brighter screens, and better color vibrancy.

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Music label reportedly pressuring Spotify to add free streaming limits

03/23, 9:51am

Universal said to be in contract negotiations, wants Spotify to weaken free service

Universal Music Group (UMG) wants Spotify to add more limits to its free streaming service, according to reports. The record label is apparently having issues with the freemium music offering and its apparent lack of revenue, and hopes that restricting the number of listens for songs will push Spotify users to the more lucrative paid subscription service.

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Hands On: Downcast 2.8.28 (iOS)

03/20, 10:42am

Easily download, find, manage, and play back podcasts

Devices come and go, generally every two years when your cellular plan comes up for renewal, but a good utility app transcends hardware. Downcast by Jamawkinaw Enterprises is one such app for this reviewer. We first downloaded it back when Apple spun Podcasts off into a separate app, which we didn't find very intuitive at the time. Downcast is very intuitive, and we've never looked back.

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RIAA: Streaming music revenue now topping CD sales in US

03/19, 3:30pm

Downloads still king of market, but falling alongside overall music revenue

A new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) finds that revenue from music streaming services such as Beats Music, Pandora, and Spotify have now in total beaten out revenue from CD sales in the US, capitalizing on the latter's continued fall from grace (largely thanks to excessively high CD pricing). Both formats are still well behind download sales as the top revenue stream, but even that format is gently declining.

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Daily Deals: GoPro bundle, SteelSeries Stratus, Crucial Ballistix RAM

03/19, 1:30pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for March 19, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where we scour the Internet's major retailers to uncover the finest price cuts and discounts on technology and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of deals from earlier in the week is accompanied by a swathe of new additions, including a GoPro Hero4 bundle, the SteelSeries Stratus, and an extremely cheap memory upgrade.

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Briefly: Fantastical Mac 2 coming, iRig 2 shipping, Pebble iOS update

03/19, 1:06pm

Fantastical 2 for Mac arriving March 25, only hint is revised Yosemite look

The well-regarded calendaring program, Fantastical for Mac, is about to receive a major upgrade. Version 2.0 will be launched on March 25, and will feature a revised look more in line with the Yosemite aesthetic. The company isn't saying anything about what, if any, new features the update will include, but has indicated that while there will be no upgrade pricing for existing users, a limited-time launch sale price will act to fill that role.

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Pointers: making a station in iTunes Radio

03/18, 6:16pm

A little fine-tuning will result in delightful listening

Apple's iTunes Radio is one of those things that is criminally underused by most Mac and iOS users, and its a shame: the service is really very good -- and with a tiny amount of effort, can be as, or more, enjoyable than even Pandora One or the other subscription streaming music services, not to mention cheaper. In this post, we're going to show you how to create, and then fine-tune, a custom station that features music you love and compatible new discoveries.

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Daily Deals: JBL headphones, LaCie external storage, iPad Air

03/16, 1:29pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for March 16, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, the time of the day when we search the Internet for discounts and offers on a variety of hardware, software, and gadgetry for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's post has wiped the slate clean of older deals, meaning that all the ones listed are brand new deals waiting for your attention, including some JBL headphones, external storage from LaCie, and a discounted iPad Air.

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Hands On: Kitsound Boombar 2

03/16, 1:26pm

Loud and light portable Bluetooth speaker

When we looked at the Kitsound Pocket Hive speaker, we said it was loud and clear. This larger Kitsound Bomber 2 speaker from the same company is louder and clearer -- and it comes with a carrying case.

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Hands On: Duolingo (iOS)

03/15, 12:03pm

Learn a second language easily with this smartly-designed app

Have you ever been suckered in to some sort of "learn language quickly" scheme? Audio tapes that you listen to in your sleep, expensive software that requires hours of use in a single setting, classes that require a large amount of physical effort? Don't worry, most bilingual-curious folk have. We caught ourselves using a demo of a big-name software -- and while it worked, it would have cost hundreds of dollars and still required 45-minute sessions multiple times a week. Enter Duolingo, a slick little app that aims to help you make quick work of picking up a second (or third, or fourth...) language -- for free.

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Hands On: Audreio (iOS)

03/14, 7:00am

Send audio from one device to another wirelessly

Audreio lets multiple iOS devices connect through Wi-Fi, sending audio input from one to be played back and recorded on the other. Our first impulse was to leave an iPad sitting discreetly on a shelf in one room, and use an iPhone in another to freak out our friends ... but there are many more uses than that. Just make sure you have a good router, and don't forget your headphones.

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Apple updates developer guidelines for medical, pay, media apps

03/12, 7:11pm

Small but meaningful changes enforce company's strong privacy, ethical outlook

On Thursday, Apple updated App Store Review guidelines to reinforce privacy, consent, and other ethical concerns regarding the implementation of apps that work with medical data (specifically ResearchKit), Apple Pay, and apps that download or stream music or video. The guidelines generally reinforce more transparency or set minimum standards, but also target apps that illegally "rip" copyrighted material from video and audio sites like Vimeo and Soundcloud.

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CasaTunes shows four new whole-house music streaming solutions

03/10, 11:55am

New components good for either add-on, or new construction

Streaming multi-room music solutions provider CasaTunes announced on Tuesday four new products for multi-room music with the CT-4+ System, CT-8+ System, CT-4S Streamer and CT-8S Streamer. The two CasaTunes Systems are complete multi-room audio systems, including the server, audio streams and audio distribution switch, with everything inside the one music system. The CasaTunes Streamers include the server and music streams, and are ideal for homes that want to add streaming music options to existing audio distribution systems.

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Pandora may introduce $1 advertising-free 'day pass' later this year

03/08, 1:35pm

Pandora still exploring price options before launching day passes

Pandora is going to be giving its customers an alternative to its Pandora One subscription plan, by allowing users to buy shorter passes. The streaming music service is planning a day pass system, which will offer a full 24-hour period of advertising-free music to buyers for $1, though there is also the chance Pandora may choose to provide longer passes, at different price points.

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Hands On: Musyc (iOS)

03/06, 12:38pm

Clever music app makes musicianship possible - even for newbies!

It's been said that creating music is one of the finer joys in life. However, not everyone has the chance to invest in an instrument, or lessons, or spend the time practicing. Because of this, a large portion of the population is left to only wonder what it would be like if they were to create their own music. That's why we took a look at Musyc Pro, a strangely simple app aimed at the casual musician.

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Revamped Beats Music, iTunes streaming coming in June, sources say

03/05, 5:24pm

Timing for overhaul set for around WWDC; Android version might continue?

Apple is now aiming for a revamp of its Beats Music streaming service, which will see the offering tied in more closely to both iTunes and other Apple products and services, to happen in June -- right around the time of the expected Worldwide Developers Conference, which is likely to happen on June 8–12, according to sources familiar with current plans. In addition to retaining the personalization and hand-curated recommendation features, Apple may be planning to lower the monthly cost.

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Briefly: Yerba Buena gets signage, iTunes tweaked for indie labels

03/04, 9:06pm

SF's Yerba Buena Center gains Apple signage for the 'Spring Forward' event

Crews are putting up banners, signs, and other decorations to transform the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco into an Apple auditorium for the March 9 "Spring Forward" event, where Apple is expected to offer a general update on its various initiatives as well as formally debut the Apple Watch, which will arrive in stores some time in April. As reported earlier, Apple is also building on an extension to the center that will likely serve as a showcase room for the press to try out the new Apple Watch.

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Briefly: Tinder adds paid option, Sonos Controller update

03/04, 6:23am

Tinder Plus dating app subscription adds rewind, location changing functions

Tinder has launched a paid subscription option for its localized dating app called Tinder Plus, adding two more features to the service as well as providing unlimited "likes." Passport allows paid users to select other locations to search for people in those areas, while Rewind allows for the correction of the last swipe action performed, potentially allowing for the user to reverse an accidental left swipe in the iOS and Android app. Recode notes that the cost of Tinder Plus varies with age, costing US users under the age of 30 $10 per month, while older users must pay $20, with a representative claiming that the service is appeasing the "budget constrained" younger user.

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Hands On: Snowflake 1.0 (OS X)

03/03, 10:21pm

Simple, useful radio streaming app for Macs

It used to be so much fun, tuning in to radio stations from around the world. Shortwave radios -- who has those any more? Sitting in central Paris, just about able to pick up BBC Radio 4 from the UK -- it's just no thrill now that you can listen to any station, anywhere in the world, on a whim. Snowflake, a new app born from the ashes of radio recorder Snowtape, makes it even less of a thrill: it is an extremely easy-to-use radio app that streams music from around the world right to your Mac.

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Briefly: SXSW app to use iBeacons, Apple promotes security team

03/03, 5:13pm

Austin-based music fest app will rely on 1,000 iBeacons to offer location-based info

The official SXSW music fest app for iOS and Android, SXSW Go, will tie into a network of 1,000 iBeacons placed around the festival's various venues to help users connect to friends, ensure they are at the right location, and let them know what events are scheduled at the venue they are in now, among other helpful information. Non-attendees can also use the app to view video feeds from various events.

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Huawei TalkBand B2 doubles as a Bluetooth earpiece

03/01, 11:40am

The B2 brings an upscale design and new features

Huawei has introduced a new fitness tracker, the TalkBand B2, that made its debut alongside the company's new smartwatch at Mobile World Congress. Serving as a successor to the TalkBand B1, the B2 edition again doubles as a fitness wristband and a Bluetooth earpiece.

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Briefly: Google Play Music expansion, Netflix adds more kids content

02/25, 10:17pm

Google Play Music expands track storage to 50,000 songs

Google Play Music has received an upgrade to its music storage component, allowing customers to keep more songs on its servers for streaming to computers and mobile devices. The music locker has increased its upper limit of 20,000 tracks to 50,000, double that of the paid iTunes Match service. Despite vastly increasing its storage capacity, the digital locker is still a completely free service.

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Daily Deals: MSI gaming notebook, 512GB Crucial SSD, Classic rock

02/25, 2:53pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for February 25, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where we scour the Internet for offers, discounts, and deals on computer hardware, gadgets, games, and other items for you, the glorious MacNN and Electronista reader. A recap follows a selection of new deals, including an MSI GP Series gaming notebook, a 512GB Crucial SSD, and a sale of classic rock on iTunes.

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Plug-in maker Camel Audio reportedly bought by Apple

02/24, 1:23pm

Products no longer available for purchase, but support remains intact

Camel Audio, best known for its audio production plug-ins such as the Alchemy synth, appears to have been acquired by Apple. The company appointed Apple Europe lawyer, Heather Joy Morrison, as its director in early January, and the company's official address changed to Apple's UK address. The next day, the company shuttered operations and announced on January 8 that its products were no longer available, though a support contact form remains in place.

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Hands On: Rainy Mood (iOS)

02/23, 11:33pm

Sound generator promises to help block out unwanted noise

Sometimes it's hard to stay calm in a world of constant noise. We hear it in our morning commutes, we hear it in the office place, we hear it as we're out running errands. If you're looking for a way to get away from the noise, but you aren't looking to invest in a pair of expensive noise-cancelling headphones, you've got a few options. Sure, playing music helps, but that can often be every bit as distracting as environmental noises. If you're looking for a way to tune out distractions, we recommend you take a look at Rainy Mood by Plain Theory, a high-quality, calming sound generator.

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Hands On: Loopy HD (iOS)

02/20, 7:34pm

Music-making app offers easy-to-learn gesture controls

A "looper" is a tool used by musicians that takes short recordings and plays them over and over in a loop, obviously, allowing the musician to layer them and create harmonies and background tracks on the fly. Loopy HD is one such tool, and it's pretty easy to use, as evidenced by Jimmy Fallon's penchant for using it with musical guests every couple of months.

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Daily Deals: LG ultra QHD display, networking combo, HD four-pack

02/20, 11:47am

Daily MacNN and Electronista deals for February 20, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where we find the best online deals on hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Aside from a recap of still-active deals, the new deals added today include a 802.11n router and switch combo, a SSD and RAM deal, plus a ultra QHD display.

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B&O Play launches Beolit 15 premium Bluetooth speaker

02/20, 10:30am

Aluminum-clad speaker pushes 250W, battery lasts up to 24 hours

Yesterday, B&O Play by Bang & Olufsen unveiled the Beolit 15 -- a portable Bluetooth speaker with "True360 omni-directional sound, up to 24 hours of continuous playtime from a single battery charge, the Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound, and premium quality materials such as anodized aluminum and full grain leather," according to the company.

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Apple tops customer loyalty charts in Brand Keys survey

02/19, 1:01pm

Beats headphones, iOS devices, MacBook all leaders in their respective categories

A new survey measuring customer loyalty and engagement has picked several categories of Apple products as the best in their field, at least in the minds of consumers. Beats headphones were the top most-liked headphone brand, the combined MacBook lines took best laptop, and the iPhone and iPad unsurprisingly won best smartphone and tablet, respectively. The Consumer Loyalty Engagement Index measures how well a product meets -- or exceeds -- consumer expectations.

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Apps: iTunes for Windows, Kayak, NBC, The Sims 4, Yelp, Snapchat

02/18, 5:41pm

Wide variety of app updates bring instant hotel rooms, streaming video, bug fixes, more

A number of apps for both iOS and OS X have received notable updates lately, ranging from the official NBC app gaining live streaking to Kayak adding a service that allows same-day discounted hotel rooms. Apple has updated iTunes 12.1 specifically for Windows users, while Snapchat now lets users play music while snapchatting. Yelp has added translations of reviews to its own app, and The Sims 4 has debuted on the Mac.

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Daily Deals: Mac mini, Qnap NAS, Audio-Technica headphones

02/18, 1:13pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for February 18, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, where we search for low-cost gadgets and tech for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, we are recapping still-active deals from earlier this week, but on top of those, look out for a cut-price Mac mini, $75 off a two-bay SOHO NAS server from Qnap, and some Audio-Technica studio headphones at almost half price.

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Google Play Music becomes universal iOS app, adds Material Design

02/17, 6:37pm

User interface update makes Google Play Music for iOS look like Android app

Google has made a few major changes to its Google Play Music app for iOS, following a three-month update gap, turning it from an iPhone-only app into a universal app that works on the iPad. At the same time, the music app has received a graphical overhaul, with the "Material Design" influence of Android Lollipop being used in the iOS version, making it seem almost identical to what Android users see on their devices.

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Hands On: Kitsound Pocket Hive Bluetooth Speaker

02/17, 8:36am

Make a loud noise for this small speaker

The Kitsound Pocket Hive Bluetooth Speaker has a hive-like hexagonal design -- the UK makers of the device cannot seem to resist making every bee pun you can think of in their documentation, and on their website. Yet they seem to have missed one very apposite British phrase: this Pocket Hive speaker is the bee's knees.

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Daily Deals: 29-inch LG monitor, Asus gaming notebook, Destiny

02/16, 1:58pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for February 16, 2015

Welcome to today's Daily Deals, the regular post where we find the best offers and discounts for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Since it's a Monday, almost all the deals from last week have been swept away, with new deals on the list including an UltraWide 29-inch display from LG, an Asus gaming notebook, and half-price Destiny.

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MacNN Podcast: Apple Pay, great apps, huge iPhones, Tesla, and more

02/16, 9:45am

The MacNN Podcast for February 16, 2015

The MacNN Podcast hits its second episode and engages on a wide variety of topics! Join this week's hosts, MacNN Editor Charles Martin, alongside staff writer Michelle Elbert, reviewer William Gallagher, and news writer Malcolm Owen as they discuss the events that got our attention, needed further discussion, or just plain tickled our fancy.

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Apple hires prominent DJ Zane Lowe from BBC Radio 1

02/15, 1:18pm

UK-based music tastemaker heading to United States for Apple job

Apple will soon be getting more help with its musical ambitions, as it has reportedly hired BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. The New Zealand-born radio personality, known in the United Kingdom as a tastemaker and helped launch the musical careers of stars including Adele and the Arctic Monkeys, will be quitting the station next month before moving to the United States to work with Apple.

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Cook, Iovine meet with music label exec phalanx at Grammys

02/14, 11:05am

Summer relaunch of Beats expected, perhaps at a lower price point

At this week's Grammy Awards pre-parties, Apple CEO Tim Cook, iTunes Vice President Robert Kondrk, and Beats co-founder and Apple employee Jimmy Iovine held court, meeting with dozens of music label executives. All meetings were held under nondisclosure agreements, but reports circulating after the party claim that a re-launch of the Beats music service under the Apple banner is expected to happen in the spring possibly, with a deadline of a summer launch.

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Daily Deals: Buzzi Smart Plug, Lenovo Y50, Pioneer AV Receiver

02/13, 10:40am

MacNN and Electronista deals for February 13, 2015

Welcome to the Friday edition of Daily Deals, the post where we point out reductions and promotions on gadgets, software, and other tech for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. This time, we are recapping all the still-active deals from the rest of the week, and adding new deals including a cheap way to get into home automation, the Lenovo Y50 notebook, and a $200 promo code for a 7.2 channel 4K-ready receiver.

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Hands On: ChordMate v3.0.4 (iOS)

02/12, 4:06pm

Musical helper strikes the right note

If you ask any veteran musician for their advice on how to get started with an instrument, they are likely to have a list of tips and tools they wish existed when they began to play. When we first saw Harmonic Sense's ChordMate for iOS, we could see the potential it had to become one of these prestigious tools in our arsenal. On paper, ChordMate is certainly a tool that could benefit guitar players of all levels, but in practice, would the $10 app work out to meet all of its claims?

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Briefly: Target Ticket closes, UK music album chart counts streams

02/12, 12:28pm

Streaming video service Target Ticket shuttering next month

Target is shutting down its video streaming service next month. Target Ticket has already stopped providing rentals, though existing rentals will be viewable until the service shuts down completely on March 7, according to its support pages. The retailer has already made arrangements for its customers to watch movies through CinemaNow from the same account when Ticket closes, with any UltraViolet purchases viewable through other supported video services automatically.

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Hands On: ControlAir (OS X)

02/10, 7:46am

Fun and promising music controller, but it's not quite there yet

If you have a minute, go get the free ControlAir app just for the fun of seeing it work. It's a way of controlling the music your Mac plays, and doing so by gestures rather than pressing any buttons. Given that it is meant for people who are working at their Macs, it doesn't seem a gigantic saving, waving your finger in the air instead of using it to press down on the keyboard's Skip button. Except pushing buttons was never this entertaining.

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