Amazon adds iTunes, Spotify, Pandora music options to Echo
An update to the Amazon Echo has added more options for music playback. Recode reports the Internet-connected speaker now offers voice control for Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora, when the Echo is paired with a device that has the required apps installed. Improved responsiveness, question accuracy, and more voice commands have also been touted for the device, which has yet to have a wider release outside of its invitation-only testing.
Pandora's iOS app receives redesign, new mini-player
Music discovery app Pandora has announced an update to its iOS app, featuring a new design and additional components. Pandora allows users to create personalized music stations that play their preferred music. The latest version (v5.7) offers a refreshed design that improves the ease of shaping a station, including a new Personalization icon for quick access to one's history, and being able to "un-thumb" a song previously marked "up" or "down" by re-tapping the Thumb icon.
Industry trends hurting Apple
Tracking data from Nielsen SoundScan indicates that on-demand streaming of music content (including audio and video) rose 54 percent in 2014, from 106 billion song streams to 164 billion. At the same time, sales of digital albums fell nine percent, to 117.6 million; sales of individual songs dropped even further, down 12 percent to 1.26 billion. Combined physical and digital album sales slipped 11 percent, to 257 million.
Pandora iOS app updated, adds alarm clock feature
Music discovery service Pandora has released an update for its iOS app, adding an alarm clock feature for iPad users. Pandora makes musical recommendations based on a particular artist, song, genre or composer, and allows for the creation of personalized stations based on the user's preferences. Pandora's alarm clock plays a preferred station as its alert, and includes a "snooze" button that provides an additional wake-up several minutes later. The iOS app is available for free download through iTunes, and requires iOS 6.0 or later. A Pandora account is free to try, with an advertisement-free option available as a $4 monthly subscription.
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.
Rate lower than ASCAP requested, higher than terrestrial radio
US Federal Court Judge Denise Cote has issued a ruling in a case between streaming music service Pandora and music publishers, which has set a new rate at which Pandora Radio will have to pay to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for performance rights on streaming radio. The rate is set slightly higher than the 1.7 percent Radio Music Licensing Committee rate for terrestrial radio Pandora argued was appropriate, but far less than the tiered rate ASCAP proposed.
Close to capturing second, but still far behind reigning champ Pandora
Barely six months after it debuted, Apple's iTunes Radio has already eclipsed Spotify and Google Play All Access (and others) to become the third most popular music streaming service in the US, according to a new report from Statista. While long-time veteran Internet radio station Pandora continues to maintain a clear lead over all rivals, it has taken 14 years for the latter service to reach its current level of 70 million active listeners (as of last April) and it continues to struggle with profits.
Pandora support could come down the road
As it stands, Apple's CarPlay doesn't currently support Pandora, according to an official statement. When CarPlay was announced on Monday, Apple initially highlighted just Spotify, Beats Radio, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and its own Podcasts and iTunes Radio as compatible music/podcast-themed apps. "At this time, Pandora is not integrated with Apple CarPlay," the Pandora statement reads. "As a first mover in the auto space, we continue to broaden our relationships with OEMs while also exploring other opportunities to expand our presence in the car. Apple has been and continues to be a valued partner."
Samsung advances to 26 percent
US iPhone ownership leapt to 42 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 35 percent a year ago, according to new NPD figures. Samsung phones also advanced, but from 22 percent to roughly 26 percent. LG was the only other major manufacturer to see a gain, inching ahead slightly to 8 percent. Motorola and HTC both fell under the 10 percent mark, and BlackBerry ownership shrank even further to 2 percent.
Commission cites foreign-ownership rules
The Federal Communications Commission has reportedly sided with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), stalling Pandora's application to acquire a terrestrial radio station based in Rapid City, South Dakota. The commission is said to have notified the streaming music company of the decision, which cites foreign-ownership rules as a remaining hurdle, according to a Billboard report.
Pandora adds station recommendations to iOS, Android app
Pandora has updated its iOS and Android apps to offer its users recommendations for new stations based on artists the user listens to. The Personalized Station Recommendations will show up to six suggestions based on current listening preferences and previous likes and dislikes, claims the Pandora blog, with future station suggestions to be further improved the more music the user listens to. Users can find the recommendations when they create a new station, or if they scroll to the bottom of their station list.
Spotify secures quarter billion in new funding round
Popular music streaming service Spotify has completed a new round of funding, one in which it raised $250 million dollars, according to The Wall Street Journal. Silicon Valley firm Technology Crossover Ventures played a big role in the newest funding push, according to reports, and the new infusion of cash has sources claiming the firm is possibly worth more than $4 billion. Spotify, reportedly, will use the new cash to expand its global operations, pushing into Asian markets such as Japan.
Pandora updates Android app with tablet UI, Chromecast streaming
Pandora has updated its Android app with a new design specifically for tablets. Aside from offering an interface made for a larger display, Pandora 5.0 for tablets retains most of the features the smaller-screen version currently offers, with more details for stations available to read, lyrics and artist information, and improved social sharing. The update also introduces Chromecast streaming for the first time.
Apps can configure SoundTouch presets with Internet radio, specific albums
Bose is taking on Sonos by making a version of its SoundLink speakers that are designed for home use. The SoundTouch range of wireless home audio speakers consists of three speakers that all connect over an existing Wi-Fi network, and are able to pull audio from song libraries on the local network as well as over the Internet.
Drop in Pandora stock price affecting new stock issuance for funds generation
Likely as a result of Apple's entry into the marketplace, music streaming service Pandora's stock price has fallen as much as 10 percent from the day's start after Apple claimed to have drawn more than 11 million unique listeners to iTunes Radio. Pandora fell more than 10 percent to $24.26 at close, $0.74 less than its initial offering price. By contrast, Apple climbed nearly five percent to $490.64 on the day, with an additional after-hours rise of $2.11, following a pair of investor-friendly announcements involving the iTunes Radio listenership, plus heavy iPhone sales.
Many updates squarely compatibility-focused
Since Tuesday night, a number of iOS apps have been receiving major updates in time for today's launch of iOS 7. One important entry is Pandora, which has gained a new, flatter look in keeping with iOS 7's aesthetics. The bulk of changes otherwise focus on iPad support, namely carrying over features of the iPhone app such as the ability to quickly add variety to a station or see song lyrics. A new swiped-in third pane on the iPad makes it easier to find new music or keep track of friend feeds.
Table set for December 4 trial about 'fair licensing fees' for Pandora
Music streaming service Pandora has won one of its many court cases in Manhattan Federal Court today. The judgement will prevent some music publishers from restricting the terms of music rebroadcast licenses or withdrawing content from the service, and forces the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) to adhere to existing licensing terms with the "new media" company Pandora.
McAndrews served as MS VP, holds board position with NY Times
Music streaming company Pandora today announced that the company’s Board of Directors has appointed Brian McAndrews, formerly of Madrona Venture Group, Microsoft and aQuantive, to succeed Joe Kennedy as Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman, effective immediately. McAndrews currently serves on the boards of The New York Times, Grubhub Seamless, and AppNexus.
40-hour limit repealed for mobile, company cites 'surgical levers'
Streaming music service Pandora will be purging the 40-hour mobile listening cap, according to the company's Chief Financial Officer Mike Herring. Citing improvements in the advertising business, the company claims to be able to lift the limit with no impact on usage or costs to the company. The news came amidst a decent quarter, albeit with a warning on the annual earnings, with the company posting a quarterly revenue of $162 million. Earnings came in at $0.04 per share.
ASCAP claims Pandora meets none of the wickets for proper broadcast
The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) has filed a formal protest with the US Federal Communications Commission, opposing streaming radio purveyor Pandora's attempted purchase of a radio station in Rapid City, South Dakota. ASCAP is opposing the deal on procedural grounds, saying that Pandora failed to properly reveal its international interests involved in the company, and in not doing so, isn't properly proving that it does not exceed foreign ownership rules set by the FCC.
USB-powered media player remotely controlled by mobile devices, computers
After revealing the latest version of the Nexus 7 tablet, Google today introduced an HDMI dongle that will stream videos and show other content from smartphones, tablets, or computers to a HDTV or other large displays. Hinted at by an FCC filing in May, the Chromecast plugs straight into a TV, and can be controlled remotely via mobile devices or the Chrome browser over a local Wi-Fi connection.
Mobile gets same URLs as website
Music streaming service Pandora has released an update to its iOS app, v4.4. The release makes two significant changes to playback, the first being automatic pausing when a person mutes their device. It also improves buffering, which should smooth out listening over 3G and 4G connections.
BMI accuses Pandora of using FM purchase as end run around license laws
Just over 24 hours after Pandora announced that it had acquired a terrestrial FM radio station in an attempt to pay less in music licensing fees, BMI filed suit in New York accusing Pandora of duplicity as it wrangles new music licenses. The music industry company suit is asking the court to order "reasonable, market-driven fees for Pandora" seemingly implying that it had not given Pandora such terms, and calling the purchase of the radio station a "stunt."
Move forces ASCAP, others to license music at favorable rates
In an effort to qualify for equal music licensing terms as conventional broadcast radio, Internet streaming music service Pandora has purchased Rapid City, SD radio station KXMZ-FM. The purchase comes in response to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) engaging in what Pandora calls "discriminatory treatment" in licensing music to the Internet streamer.
Pandora iOS app gains new Facebook sharing features
Pandora has updated its iOS app with Facebook Open Graph support, allowing users to share their listening activity directly on the social network. A new "Publish" option has been added to the settings of the iOS app and the web-based player, allowing users to share music from wherever they are. Users are also provided with a number of controls that let them customize what information is shared. Finally, the update also offers an enhanced track menu that can be used to create a new station, as well as share, purchase, and bookmark music.
Wacom creates 1.85-inch Bamboo Stylus mini with on-device storage
Wacom has created a smaller version of its Bamboo Stylus line for mobile devices. The Bamboo Stylus mini has a brass-plated 1.85-inch body with a nine-millimeter (0.35-inch) diameter and soft rubber coating. The nib of the stylus can be changed for another from the Wacom range, including both firm and soft versions, while a strap and dummy plug allows it to be plugged into the headphone socket of a mobile device for storage. The Bamboo Stylus mini is on sale for $19.
CEO Joe Kennedy staying with company until replacement found
Streaming music provider Pandora has declared while announcing its most recent set of quarterly earnings that CEO Joe Kennedy would resign from the company. Overall, Pandora lost $0.09 per share in the fourth quarter, with a $0.23 loss per share on the year -- losing less than estimated by Wall Street. A search for a replacement executive is underway, and Kennedy will stay with the company for a tenth year to help with the transition.
Record labels balking at Apple offer, report says
As an initial offer to a record label for a forthcoming streaming service, Apple recently proposed a royalty rate of just 6 cents per 100 songs, sources for the New York Post claim. "Apple wants a rate that is lower than Pandora's," one executive is quoted as saying. Pandora pays labels 12 cents per 100 songs, which itself is below the Copyright Royalty Board's standard 21 cents for digital-only streaming. Spotify pays 35 cents, according to the Post's sources.
In-app purchase allows for listening after cutoff
Streaming music provider Pandora announced today that it would cease its unlimited ad-supported mobile music streaming. Starting March 1, US Pandora listeners will be reduced to 40 hours of free ad-supported streaming by way of mobile devices every month, unless they choose a $0.99 in-app purchase to continue listening for the rest of the month. The policy change does not affect users paying for the premium "Pandora One" service.
SMA series update adds internet streaming as input source
Pioneer Electronics has deployed a free firmware update that adds the Pandora Internet radio and vTuner Internet radio services as available features on its line of SMA series Wi-Fi speaker systems, the XW-SMA1-K, XW-SMA3-K and XW-SMA4-K. With the update, Pandora and vTuner are incorporated as sources available on the wireless speakers.
Mobile app for Android, iOS plus web browser access commences
Pandora, the leading internet radio service in the US, is now fully live in Australia and New Zealand, marking the first time the service has been available outside the United States. Following a web browser-only soft launch, the personalized radio service can now be accessed in full with smartphone apps for iOS and Android devices, in addition to the Web-based player.
Five-year 'experimental' rate deemed unhealthy for Pandora
In parallel with its attempt to lobby the US Congress for lower royalty rates on recordings, music streaming company Pandora Media is suing ASCAP, the organization that represents songwriters and composers, to seek lower licensing fees through 2015. Pandora is seeking a blanket licensing fee that would cover all songs, claiming that the current fees set a decade ago prevent profitability.
Holiday promotion of Boxee TV promises 3-month cloud DVR trial
As expected, the Boxee TV is now available for purchase at Walmart. The big box store chain is the only retail location to purchase the device, with online purchasing at Boxee's site the other option. The $98 piece of hardware includes a digital antenna, and word is buyers will get a three-month trial period to the No Limits DVR service.
Windows Phone version to get year of ad-free music
Pandora has announced an update to its app for both iOS and Android smartphones. The new update, which brings the app to version 4.0, is hailed by Pandora as the biggest redesign since its launch on the two major platforms. The company also confirmed Microsoft's report from earlier in the day that those using Pandora on Windows Phone 8 would get a year of ad-free service on the streaming radio app.
Boxee TV gets subscription-based No Limits DVR capability, $100 price tag
Boxee, which traditionally made products that focused on streaming multimedia content from local storage and the web, has now introduced the aptly named Boxee TV. It will let users watch live TV content from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and other channels in high definition. It also doubles as a DVR and bring Internet Apps to a connected HDTV.
Investor fears that Apple will start up own streaming service
Streaming radio purveyor Pandora has announced its monthly listener metrics in an effort to stem its declining stock price. The firm announced that its market share in US radio listening has increased to 56.2 million active listeners, about 48 percent higher than a year ago, and 1.3 million more listeners than it had in July. However, since rumors of Apple working on a music streaming service appeared, Pandora's stock continues to lose money.
Three months of Pandora stock price gains lost in one day
Following a report that Apple was planning its own streaming music service, shares of Pandora Music have plummeted more than 16 percent, with most of the losses happening overnight following the wide distribution of the rumor. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has been in negotiations with record labels to license music for a service that would play songs based on listener's genre or artist selection.
Streaming revenue growth outpaces downloads by 5x
Digital music revenues are forecast to finally excede physical media sales globally sometime as early as 2015, driven by strong growth from streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Spending on digital music, including downloads and streaming services, is expected to increase by 17.8 percent to $8.6 billion in 2012, as revenue from packaged sales drops by an estimated 12.1 percent.
Velocomp unveils iBike Moto iPhone motorcycle mount
Velocomp has launched a new motorcycle mounting system for the iPhone, the iBike Moto. The mount is made of machined aluminium by motorcycle specialist Techmount, attachable to the handlebars and capable of swiveling 360 degrees. A water- and shock-resistant case covers the iPhone, closed by a Click-Latch mechanism. The included iBike Moto App acts as a digital dashboard and fuel gauge, as well as the mapping system. The iBike Moto is on sale for $80.
Netgear NeoTV Pro gets Intel WiDi support, Netgear adds four new channels
Netgear has now followed up its NeoTV 200 media hub with a new NeoTV Pro version that most significantly adds support for Intel's WiDi tech. This lets compatible Intel desktops and notebooks wirelessly stream what's on their displays through the media hub to an HDTV. The box otherwise retains the same Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, YouTube, and Pandora streaming of the original.
Net loss per share advised despite increased revenues
Internet radio service Pandora claims to control over 70 percent of the US Internet radio market. The company's recent earnings report covering the first quarter of the 2012-2013 fiscal year touted details of over 3 billion listening hours on the service by over 150 million users. The net loss for the year is expected to be up to $0.11 per share, despite both subscription and advertising revenue increasing in year-on-year comparisons.
Spotify may compete with Pandora, Slacker
Spotify might be gearing up a more formal Internet radio option, a pair of sources claimed Thursday. While it already has basic radio features, the new method outlined to Bloomberg would be more akin to one like at Pandora or Slacker, where explicitly labeling it as radio would get government-regulated lower royalty rates. The method would also purportedly get it access to artists that normally wouldn't sign for the usual on-demand Spotify system.
Sony BDP-S790 due on May 6
Sony on Sunday said it was on the verge of shipping its most advanced Blu-ray player for the year, the BDP-S790. The networked movie hub is due to reach stores May 6. Pre-orders are starting now for the player, which costs $250.
Gives subscribers access to 900,000 tracks
Earlier today, Dish Network introduced streaming music service Pandora as an enhancement to the Hopper Whole Home HD digital video recorder (DVR) system. Either a new account or an existing account can be used with the upgrade. A persistent internet connection is required to access Pandora content.
D-Link adds MovieNite media hub
D-Link threw itself into low-cost media hubs Tuesday with the MovieNite. Borrowing from the design cues of the Apple TV and Roku 2, the device at $60 is one of the least expensive capable of 1080p video. Its primary sources are Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube for video as well as Pandora for streaming music and Picasa for photos.
Rdio working on new free-flowing radio feature
Online music streaming service Rdio plans to offer a radio-like listening option to its service, letting users set and forget a station or constant music playback, VP of Product Malthe Sigurdsson revealed in an interview with GigaOM. Doing so would mimic similar features from competitors like Spotify and Slacker, the latter offering it on their paid, Premium service.
Pioneer adds two Elite AV receivers, AirPlay/DLNA
Pioneer has taken the covers off to new additions to its Elite range of AV receivers. Both the Elite VSX-42 and the Elite VSX-60 sport AirPlay support for lossless iTunes and iOS streaming, as well as support for DLNA (1.5) and Bluetooth audio streaming with an optional Bluetooth adapter. They also come with vTuner Internet radio, which is extended in the VSX-60 to include support for Pandora and Sirius XM.
Garmun makes in-car info system for 2013 Suzukis
Garmin branched out into in-car GPS and media systems for the first time Monday through a deal with Suzuki. "Most" 2013 model year Suzuki cars will get a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface that both covers the prerequisite GPS navigation as well as support for playing back from phones and iPods through USB, the aux-in jack, or Bluetooth. The system supports voice control to keep hands on the wheel, and smartphone links that include Pandora radio access for iPhone users and broader tools for gas, parking, traffic, and weather drawn from Android phones.
Chevy GogoLink to undercut Ford for GPS options
GM on Wednesday sought to counter the navigation side of Ford Sync with a unique option depending on smartphones. GogoLink will give Chevy Sonic and Spark drivers in-car, turn-by-turn navigation by using a smartphone app that relays its position and info to the touchscreen in the center stack. It should range from basic points of interest coverage with offline map caching to Google-based local searches, live traffic, and 3D mapping.
Turns smartphones into remotes for media players
Roku has released an app for Android devices (free, Android Market). With it, users can control one of the company's streaming media players with a smartphone instead of the remote that normally comes with the hub. Roku made a similar app available for iOS devices in December (free, App Store).