Napster, unRadio help company grow, launching services in Europe and Latin America
Rhapsody International announced today that it hit a significant milestone for its business. The company revealed that it reached two million subscribers for its premium services, including Rhapsody, Napster and the joint venture with T-Mobile called unRadio. On the success of unRadio, the company announced plans to extend the service to other parts of the world.
Rhapsody International looks to handle recommendations internally
Rhapsody International, the company that houses both Rhapsody and Napster music streaming services, says it is cutting ties with the music recommendation system The Echo Nest. The move comes not long after Spotify purchased The Echo Nest for an undisclosed sum at the beginning of March.
UK Official Charts Company measuring Spotify usage
The Official Charts Company of the UK from Monday onwards will start releasing a chart based solely on streamed music tracks. The Official Streaming Chart will be the first chart ranking audio streams from both ad-funded and subscription streaming services in the UK, instead of product sales or radio airplay figures.
Napster in UK, Germany bought out by Rhapsody
Rhapsody, the streaming music subscription service, announced on Thursday that it has bought Napster assets in Germany and the UK. The company also bought Napster's business in the US before laying off the majority of those employees. Rhapsody promises to keep the European employees on, however, and the Napster name there will remain untouched.
ST Holdings says subscription music bad
Subscription music services faced more of a backlash after UK distributor ST Holdings stated that it would follow Coldplay's path and keep its labels' music out of subscription music services. All of the work its primarily electronic musicians, such as drum-and-bass artists like Blu Mar Ten, Cyantific, Makoto, and Mistabishi, was being pulled from flat-rate subscriptions on Napster, Rdio, Simfy, and Spotify. The company noted that its digital revenue had dropped for the first time ever, by 14 percent, and that much of the blame could be pinned on having its first full quarter supplying those services with music.
Logitech Squeezebook update adds MOG at 320Kbps
Logitech gave owners of its long-serving Squeezebox music hubs an update Tuesday for MOG's online audio. The addition lets listeners stream on-demand from MOG's whole catalog at 320Kbps, at the higher end of the compressed audio most listen to. It joins Napster and Spotify among the choices for unlimited music on the devices.
Skifta Android app lets users stream to devices
Qualcomm Atheros just announced the release of the Skifta 1.0 Android app (free, Android Market) that will allow users to stream content from their Android devices or saved on the cloud to any DLNA-compatible device. It will offer a Channel library, that will let users access content from their Picasa, Photobucket, Soma.fm, Napster, ShoutCast, Revision 3 and TED Talks accounts or service, among others, without launching those apps separately.
All that could remain from US ops is customer base
Yesterday, Rhapsody announced it was acquiring the US operations of streaming and download music service competitor Napster from Best Buy in a stock swap. Today, more details of the deal have begun to emerge. GigaOM now reports that the merger is expected to lead to major job cuts and that much of Napster's core team will be gone.
Rhapsody consolidates streaming with Napster deal
Rhapsody shook up online music Monday by buying Napster. The deal will put the two streaming and download music services together. Cash involved in the deal wasn't mentioned, but Napster's now former owner, Best Buy, will have a minority stake in the combined service.
Netgear N900 router and NeoTV streamer arrive
Netgear made inroads to home networking Wednesday headlined by a self-proclaimed high-speed router. The N900, also known as the WNDR4500, is part of a still-rare group that can run Wi-Fi up to 450Mbps concurrently on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Wireless sharing is atypically faster as well: the USB controller is more powerful than on most rivals and estimated to be 30 percent faster for sharing an external hard drive or a printer.
MOG content now available on Sonos hardware
As expected, the MOG music service is now available on connected home gear from Sonos. The 320kbps, ad-free MOG streams are available on an on-demand basis or from a customized station. All Sonos customers in the US are getting a 14-day trial of MOG on Sonos.
Google TV with Android 3.1 shown at IO 2011
A session at Google I/O on Wednesday afternoon showed off the regular interface of Google TV using Android 3.1. The platform will have its core apps at the bottom like a tablet and will make room for widget up top; a calendar widget was one of the examples. Search is also now cleaner and includes a separate "more results" section for third-party apps, such as a track in Napster or a Pandora radio station.
Napster co-creators work on live location tech
Napster's two core founders, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, were claimed on Friday to be working on a joint project. The service, given the placeholder name Supyo ("'sup yo"), would be a web video chat service to match up people with similar tastes. Location awareness would play a large role in what TechCrunch was told would happen, but it would also have smart algorithms to match people properly.
Napster founder Parker may buy Warner Music
Napster founder and early Facebook shepherd Sean Parker is helping to make a bid that may see him having some control over one of the very music labels that tried to shut him down, insiders said late Friday. He was reportedly teaming up with investors Ron Burkle and Doug Teitelbaum to buy Warner Music Group. While his own personal worth wouldn't be at stake, AllThingsD understood his interest was in a letter attached to the start of the bidding process.
Panasonic prices, dates 2011 HDTVs, home theaters
Panasonic has revealed prices for its range of 2011 HDTVs and home theater systems. At the same time, it has added two LCD LED TVs with the 37-inch TC-L37DT30 and 32-inch TC-L32DT30. Either has a 240Hz IPS AlphaLED panel and the VIERA Connect feature that brings with it access to Netflix, Amazon VOD, CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Napster, Pandora, Facebook, Gameloft and access to sports sites MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS, among others. They are also DLNA compatible for local media sharing.
Warner Music talks to Goldman for sale and buyout
Warner Music is consulting with Goldman Sachs to at once sell itself off and looking into a buyout of its rival EMI. Sources said on Thursday night that it had reacted to multiple buyers, including professional acquirer Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, making offers by having Goldman start a formal look into the process where it would sell all or just of the company, such as its Warner/Chappell publishing wing. The New York Times' contacts didn't say how close Warner might be to a deal.
Spotify close on deals with Sony, more for US
Spotify may finally be closing in on its long delayed US expansion, new sources argued on Friday. It has supposedly secured one music label deal and is just "days away" from a similar deal with Sony. How close it was to deals with the other two major labels wasn't mentioned in the New York Post assertion.
Sony Google TV official, due October 16
Sony as promised tonight confirmed its Internet TV GT1 line, its first Google TV devices. The Internet TV and Internet Blu-ray Player build an Atom-based system into their designs and support the full Google OS for searching both the web and TV programming (including Flash-based video) as well as loading Android-based apps. Sony's spin puts in an app for its Qriocity movie service as well as CNBC, Napster, NBA, Netflix, Pandora, Twitter and YouTube.
Tip has Apple revisiting iTunes subscription idea
Apple is considering going back on its longstanding insistence on having only pay-per-track songs with discussion of a subscription iTunes service, a rumor asserted on Friday. The company's iTunes VP Eddy Cue has reportedly been talking to music labels about a service that could run between $10 and $15. It would reportedly be an unlimited service, but the New York Post contacts implied that there might be tiers based on how long content would be accessible or how far-reaching the service might be.
Spotify US launch may be held up by Apple
Apple may be raising doubts among music labels that are keeping Spotify from a US launch, insiders alleged on Thursday. Senior officials from Apple reportedly told record studios in Los Angeles that they had "serious doubts" Spotify's model, which is led by ad-supported free service and $10 monthly subscriptions, could be profitable. The unnamed CNET sources also noted that Apple thought the service could take away from per song sales at not just its own iTunes store but others as well.
Napster now available on Samsung TVs, BD players
Digital music service Napster is now available to download from Samsung Apps for the electronics maker's web-connected HDTVs, home theater systems and Blu-ray players. Users can choose from Napster's library of more than 10 million songs and stream directly to the TV or set-top boxes. Napster members can access their playlists as well, or tune to Napster radio stations. Another quick-listening option is to Automix a number of tracks from a favorite artist.
Pantech Link to launch at AT&T on April 18th
Pantech announced on Friday that its Link handset will be available from AT&T starting on April 18th. The device will fall under AT&T's quick messaging phones, thanks to its full hardware QWERTY keyboard and web browser. The device is unusually slim for the price and category at less than 0.4 inches thick and sports a 2.4-inch screen with a 320x240 resolution.
Studios wanted iTunes LP, got little sales
The creation of iTunes LP was largely the result of major label pressure on Apple, a series of telling leaks has revealed. Music industry contacts claim that the 'deluxe' albums were a necessary part of the same deal that also forced variable song pricing in exchange for an all DRM-free catalog. The RIAA member labels, not Apple, wanted to resuscitate album sales and thought the bundle of special features would achieve the goal.
TVs must support Internet@TV
Napster has announced that its music subscription service will be available through Samsung TVs, beginning this week. Listeners must grab the Napster TV widget from the Yahoo Widget Gallery, which is present on TVs with the Internet@TV option introduced in summer 2008. Users can then start a 14-day trial, or log into an existing account. Aside from on-demand streaming the widget supports playing radio stations and custom playlists.
LG also brings 480Hz and THX visuals
LG today rolled out its main TV line for 2010 and promised some of the largest feature updates in its recent memory. Kicking off the INFINIA line is the LE9500, an extra thin (0.92 inches) LED-backlit line; it includes 55-inch and 47-inch 480Hz LCD panels that should be even more adept at handling moving scenes. They're also ready for 3D sources and carry Wi-Fi for not only the new 720p Skype feature but Netflix and VUDU movie streaming, Napster, VUDU and YouTube.
iTunes only store seeing visit growth
iTunes is the only music store seeing a significant boost to the number of purchases at its shop, online banking site Mint notes in a recent look at its own data. While those visiting Apple's music store have always bought more frequently, shopping about 2 to 2.5 times a month, the introduction of variable pricing in April has actually led to customers now buying an average of nearly 3.5 times a month as of July. In contrast, none of its competitors have ventured significantly past 1.5 visits.
Sonos S5 enables wireless control via iPhone
Sonos has begun shipping its all-in-one wireless music system controlled by iPhone or iPod touch, Sonos ZonePlayer S5. The device is designed for those who only need the player and provides two tweeters, two mid-range drivers and a subwoofer. Users can wirelessly stream music from either iTunes or the Internet and control what music is playing using the company’s free iPhone app (App Store).
Dell PCs to include Napster subscription
PC maker Dell and online music service Napster have come to an agreement that will see the two offering Inspiron and Studio models in Germany, the UK and the US with preloaded content from Napster's music service. Through the agreement, these models will include 60 MP3s of the buyer's choice as well as 12 months of unlimited music streaming from Napster's service. Dell estimates it should save buyers at least the $60 for the individual tracks.
Sonos apps, gear get Twitter support
Sonos on Friday announced through a Twitter post that its CR200 touchscreen controller, Sonos CR for iPhone and Sonos CRs for Mac and PC will get the ability to post tweets on Twitter directly through a given device. The feature should come through a software update that, on the Controller or an Apple device, will bring an onscreen keyboard.
No Napster iPhone app
Napster's streaming and download music service will not be coming to the iPhone via a downloable app in the App Store after all, according to a recent MocoNews report. A rep from Napster said the service, which would be offered at Best Buy stores, is not being sent out for Apple approval because of the high licensing fees involved.
Sonos iPhone app udpated
Sonos has released an update to its iPhone app that works with the company's multi-room music systems. Version 3.0 adds a new "Info View" command that connects to a variety of extra content from sources such as Last.fm, Pandora, Rhapsody, Napster and Sonos Radio. While listening to last.fm, users can view artist information, similar artists or upcoming concert dates.
Sonos Bundle 250 Review
Sonos was founded with the dream of building a reasonably affordable whole home audio solution in an era where many systems did (and often still do) cost several thousand dollars or more. Now on its second generation of hardware and with much more mature software, it's possible the company's music system may have reached its zenith. We want determine just how true that is in our larger review.
RIAA declares DRM dead
Long-time proponent of digital rights management (DRM) protection for music files, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has finally acknowledged that DRM has become obsolete, according to a recent report from TorrentFreak. DRM prevents buyers of digital music tracks from copying them to other devices in an attempt to curb illegal copying. But now, with major music retailers abandoning the format to appease the wishes of the paying public, RIAA chief spokesman Jonathan Lamy says the protection's death is now a matter of fact.
Napster Wants iPhone App
Napster is likely to be hiring for possible iPhone and Mac OS X apps based on a job listing at Craigslist. The Los Angeles software engineer position would require both experience with OS X iPhone elements, such as Cocoa Touch, as well as Mac OS X-specific features. What projects the recruit would work on are unclear, but Napster says part of its goal would be to have its products "work more effectively and natively" in Mac OS X.
Napster 5 Track Stream
Napster this morning tried an alternative to its struggling unlimited and per-track download services by offering an especially low-cost plan. The new plan limits unlimited access to streaming through the web but gives users five MP3 songs to keep each month; in return, subscribers pay just $5 per month. Napster continues to give access to radio stations and playlists and sees the new plan as a way of letting users explore music in a platform-independent way for those who prefer singles instead of whole albums.
Apple in Shazam lawsuit
Apple and AT&T are two of several companies being targeted in a new patent infringement lawsuit, court documents show. The case was initiated by Tune Hunter, a company which owns a patent titled Music identification system, granted in September of 2005. The patent describes "a method for marking the time and the name of the radio station in portable device such as a key holder, watch, cellular phone, beeper or the like which will allow the user to learn via internet [sic] or regular telephone the name of the song, artist and/or music company by matching the stored data with broadcast archive."
Denon 2009 Lineup
Denon's American branch this afternoon bowed its core lineup for 2009 and headlined it with both Blu-ray players as well as network-aware iPod docks. The DBP-2010CI and DBP-1610CI both bring Blu-ray Profile 2.0 support for Internet-based special features and will play both AVC (H.264) and DivX video in HD. The higher-end 2010CI touts a higher-grade Anchor Bay digital imaging processor and a serial port for home automation. Both ship in July with the 1610CI costing $499 and the 2010CI asking a premium at $699.
Spotify denies rumors
UK-based music download site Spotify has denied it will offer unlimited downloads in an attempt to lure listeners away from established names that include iTunes and Napster, Pocket-lint reported on Friday. The rumor had Spotify planning to launch an "unlimited music download service" that cost £9.99 ($15) per month, but a Spotify spokesperson said these rumblings are "100% untrue."
Best Buy Movie Store Rumor
If accurate, a rumor floated today will see Best Buy leap into its own online movie store. Entertainment magazine Variety claims to have heard from movie studio executives that the retailer is talking to CinemaNow and "other online movie services" to establish a link between itself and one of these services. While what's involved is uncertain, Best Buy is likely to arrange for a cut of the revenues for each movie viewed and may promote hardware with that movie service's features built-in.
Squeezebox adds Napster
Logitech on Tuesday announced its Squeezebox network music players will now offer the Napster subscription music service. Via their wired or wireless home networks, users will have access to Napster's roughly 7 million-song online library as long as they have active memberships. The service is available both for models with Internet radio support as well as simple network music playback.
Samsung a777 launches
A part of a recent leak, the Samsung a777 has surfaced on AT&T's website without a formal announcement. The quad-band slider phone includes 3G over the carrier's network as well as a 1.3-megapixel camera with 3X digital zoom and support for Bluetooth with stereo audio. An MP3 player app and microSD storage handle media playback.
HTC Fuze at ATT
After repeated leaks, AT&T today finally but quietly launched the HTC Fuze. The carrier's adaptation of the Touch Pro brings a customized version of HTC's TouchFLO interface with an AT&T icon as well as support for several of AT&T's services over its tri-band HSPA Internet access, including HBO Mobile video as well as Napster Mobile and XM Radio for music purchases and Internet radio streams.
Pioneer today officially took the wraps from the XMp3, the company's first portable satellite radio since the long out-of-sale Inno. The new handheld is unique in its ability to record five separate XM stations at once, guaranteeing that listeners can preserve more than one show at the same time. It also takes a cue from Slacker in an automatic buffering mode that holds as much as 30 hours of programming at any given time to keep radio going when a subway tunnel or other interference cuts out the satellite signal.
iTunes/Pure Play deal
Apple has signed a deal which should see over 1.5 million new songs added to the iTunes Store, reports say. The company has forged an agreement with Pure Play Music, a site which specializes in hosting artists that are otherwise unsigned. The site currently lists a roster of over 6,000 artists from around the world, who operate under a set of non-exclusive rights agreements.
Best Buy to Buy Napster
Napster this morning made the surprise announcement that it has entered into an agreement that will see the online store acquired by Best Buy, putting an end to the company's independence. The terms of the deal are largely unavailable apart from a $121 million price but has seen Napster indefinitely delay its annual shareholder's meeting from its originally scheduled September 18th timeframe.
Napster and Lenovo team up
Desktop and notebook PC maker Lenovo and Napster announced an agreement on Friday that will have Napster provide buyers of Lenovo PCs with a free 14-day trial to Napster's Napster To Go digital music service. The offer is valid for most of the models Lenovo sells in North America, and will give the customers access to more than 6 million songs and audio tracks in the Napster MP3 store introduced earlier this year.
No iTunes subscriptions?
Regular shoppers at the iTunes Store should not expect any announcements on the content side of the equation in the near future, rumors indicate. CNET cites anonymous sources, who say that people should not expect Apple to announce any new music content at its special iPod event on September 9th. More specifically, the sources claim they are certain Apple will not introduce a long-rumored subscription option for iTunes.
iTunes controls US music
Apple's iTunes Store continues to control the US music market, a new batch of surveys suggests. Following several polls of Americans 13 and older, conducted between January and June of this year, the NPD Group says that iTunes maintained an existing lead, despite competition from major, firmly established corporations. The results are are also notable in that they reflect all forms of music sales, including not just iTunes' digital specialty but online and retail CD sales. Excluded are non-permanent options like the subscription services offered by Rhapsody and Napster.
Real Rhapsody MP3 Store
Real this morning opened a test version of the Rhapsody MP3 Store, its first store to go without copy protected files. The MTV co-owned outlet is web-based and, unlike the company's subscription service, promises to work with any computer or device, including iPods; a Mac download manager is available to let users download all their songs as a complete package, Real says. The company has also successfully secured the catalogs of all four major music labels.
Napster MP3 Store
Napster today launched what it says is the world's largest MP3-based music store. Effectively turning away from its reliance on protected Windows Media files, the company is offering about 6 million unguarded MP3 songs through a web-based store accessible from any computer and playable through virtually any device -- including the iPhone and iPod, Napster is keen to note. Users with iTunes can auto-sync their Napster downloads to the jukebox software. Prices for tracks remain unchanged at 99 cents each, with most full albums selling for $10.