New design puts focus on album art
Streaming music service Rdio has launched a redesigned version of its Mac client. The updated software takes after the current iOS app, adopting a minimalist interface. In the Now Playing view, clicking a list icon at the bottom right of the screen will bring up album art and the current playlist; an enlarged, blurred-out version of the album serves as a background.
Rdio adds people, artist, label search
Twitter has released a new version of its free Mac client, v2.2.1. While mostly a maintenance update, it also adds OS X Notification Center integration, pushing alerts whenever a mention or direct message is received. Some of the update's fixes solve broken Growl notifications, the account switcher going missing in the composer window, and a bug that prevented un-favoriting tweets.
Subscribers sent e-mail suggesting Rdio as replacement
BlackBerry is shutting down its BBM Music discovery service after being in operation for less than two years, with hefty competition from Spotify, Pandora, and others likely to be the cause for the closure. BBM Music will stop functioning for subscribers as of June 2nd, with the phone manufacturer pointing customers in the direction of Rdio with a free 30-day trial as a possible replacement.
Content available for rental and purchase, no subscription service available
Music streaming purveyor Rdio is previewing its long-awaited next effort -- the video streamer Vdio. Calling it a "beautiful new way to buy, rent, and share your favorite movies and TV shows with your friends," the service is available today in pre-release form with a $25 viewing credit given to existing and new Rdio Unlimited subscribers.
Expanded catalog reaches same level as Spotify
Music streaming service Rdio has expanded its music catalog to over 18 million songs, with a large proportion of additional tracks coming from independent artists. The increase of over three million tunes stem from 'landmark' deals with music distributors TuneCore and CD Baby, both of which are considered "two of the best distribution tools out there for independent artists" by Rdio CEO Drew Larner.
Available in app form for Windows, Mac, mobile
A new version of the subscription streaming music service Rdio has launched, bringing with it a native Mac OS X application for the first time. Previous versions were web-based. The new version is available on browsers, and applications Windows, the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7. All versions allow listening to over 15 million tracks on the Rdio service.
Rdio prices web service at £5, mobile at £10
As expected, Rdio has just launched its paid music streaming service in the UK and France. Pricing is not a surprise either, with £5 ($8) per month for web browser streaming and £10 ($16) for mobile and web streaming. This mimics the price structure and offerings from competitor Spotify, which launched in the UK.
Facebook brings Listen button to musician pages
Facebook has quietly added a dedicated Listen button to the pages for major musicians. Conveniently placed next to the Like button, the Listen button will bring up the most commonly accessed streaming music service on a user's account. In our case, it was Rdio, but Spotify and others can pop up as well.
Roku media hub arrives with slight premium
Roku on Monday kicked off its Canadian launch. The country will get two higher-end models in the lineup, the Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS, both of which can handle 1080p video; the XS bundles in the Wii-like motion remote and includes both Ethernet and USB for wired access and local content. Canadians get much of the same content, including Netflix, Rdio music, and major sports like the MLB and NHL, although US-specific services like Hulu Plus are out of contention.
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.
Spotify may havw slow US paying subs
Spotify's ability to lure paying subscribers in the US might be disappointing labels if a rumor proves true. Those near the labels have supposedly told the New York Post that there were fewer paying for the $5 or $10 tiers than the industry had hoped for. Free users either weren't staying subscribed for long, weren't leaping to the $10 Premium tier, or weren't renewing, one of the unnamed contacts said.
Weird Al claims Sony underpaying on Internet music
"Weird Al" Yankovic accelerated a trend that may see musicians get better pay for their Internet content after suing Sony Music Entertainment for at least $5 million. The suit, filed in New York City on Friday, followed a similar pattern to the Eminem dispute, where the Straight Outta Lynwood producer and his company Ear Booker alleged that Sony had deprived him of sales revenue at iTunes and elsewhere by counting them as sales rather than licenses, which would give him a 50 percent cut of what the publisher receives. He also argued that fiscal stake in YouTube Sony has in return for its content deal also means he should get a proportionate amount of money for plays on his videos.
RIAA shows streaming on the rise
New RIAA music data has shown streaming music starting to get mainstream acceptance in the US. Although the number of those paying for subscription music services like Rdio, Slacker, and Spotify in 2011 was small at 1.8 million users, it represented an 18.9 percent boost over the year before. Revenue was up by a smaller rate, at 13.5 percent, as the faster paid subscriber rate was partly offset by free or low-cost users signing up.
Music service cuts deal for music digital rights
Rdio has moved on step closer to launching its digital music subscription service in Europe. The San Francisco-based company has signed a licensing agreement with PRS for Music, the organization that manages rights for 85,000 British songwriters and music publishers. The agreement will enable Rdio to legally stream the artists' music to Rdio's subscribers throughout Europe.
Native app brings HD audio to the PC desktop
Mog has posted a new app for Windows desktop owners. With it, subscribers can listen to music from the music service's catalog of over 14 million songs on their windows PC as well as their mobile device or Mac. The app features a native audio decoder for improved audio playback quality.
Beats said buying MOG on HTC's behalf
Beats Audio's increasingly corroborated acquisition of MOG is now thought by sources to have not only been completed but ultimately a shell operation. The anonymous insiders near MOG told GigaOM that MOG had sold for just under $12 million. Although Beats made the purchase itself, it was HTC funding the deal, according to claims.
Sonos Controller 3.7 hands-on
Sonos lived up to its word early Tuesday and released its revamped edition of the Controller for Macs and Windows PCs. The 3.7 update is its first major rework in some time and brings some parts of the mobile apps over to the desktop. We've had an opportunity to try it in advance with some quick impressions.
Beats may get MOG for own music streaming
Partly HTC-owned Beats Audio was rumored Monday to have bought MOG. A single source for Business Insider claimed a quiet deal had been struck last week with no mention of terms. While unverified, MOG was unusually non-committal on whether or not it had been acquired, saying only that it was open to deals.
Rdio simplifies listening and sharing on desktop
Rdio wrapped the technology side of South by Southwest with a redesign of its desktop and web apps. The new interface is consciously much more unified and visual, with album art at the front and elements like playlists at the side. A new drag-and-drop interface, including on the web, lets users add whole albums to playlists as well as quickly share tracks to friends through the People Sidebar.
Spotify goes live in Germany this week
The streaming music subscription service that is Spotify will come to Germany on Tuesday, German media has reported. It will partner with the German version of Interview magazine and the Eventim festival guide. The price will be the same 10 euros (about $13) per month other European countries pay.
Microsoft tries rework of Zune music strategy
Microsoft is looking to redo its music service strategy, leaks uncovered Friday. Those said close to major label discussions told CNET that Microsoft was aiming for a mix of streaming and downloads. The focus would be on the Xbox and an unnamed Windows Phone, possibly made by HTC or Nokia.
Warner sees digital music revenue growth in Q4
Warner Music Group was reported its fourth quarter sales, and while they stayed consistent, at $780 million, revenue from digital music sales increased by 17 percent. What's more, it is now a 28 percent slice of the pie of all sales. This is a sign of the changing way music lovers access their music, and the label provided a further breakdown of these sales.
Rdio outs updated Android app with new features
Digital music service Rdio released a new Android app (free, Android Market) on Monday, with a number of key redesigns. The most noticeable is a new home screen that gives one-tap access to the app's features with new ones that include collections, playlists, new releases, and more. There is also support for Android 4.0's remote control client.
Spotify gets momentum at 3m listeners
Spotify has already reached three million paying subscribers, the company's US managing director Ken Parks gave out in a discussion Thursday [free reg. required]. The benchmark number given to the FT was triple the million from a year ago and saw it growing much faster than before, having reached two million in September and 2.5 million in November. The three million now represented a larger 20 percent portion of the base and didn't include those who were just part of free trials.
IFPI insists on tougher laws despite sales boost
The IFPI in its latest study (PDF) saw an eight percent upswing in digital music revenue in 2011. The increase is the first it claimed to have had since 2004 and lines up with an American rebound in overall album sales. They were important enough for online content to represent 32 percent of the industry association's combined business versus 29 percent in 2010.
US music sees digital finally overcome analog drop
US album sales have grown for the first time in seven years, Nielsen Soundscan reported Wednesday. A three percent increase to 458 million albums in 2011 was helped by digital sales from iTunes and other sources jumping by 20 percent, to 103 million, overcoming a six percent drop in CD sales to 225 million. Single songs themselves grew faster, up nine percent to 1.27 billion songs.
SoundTracking for Android out now
Schematic Labs has announced that SoundTracking (Free, Android Market), its social music sharing app, is now available for Android. The app is designed to allow users to capture a moment in their lives with music and share a track that they are listening, in real-time, using Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. Users can also share a photo as well as a geolocation, along with the song snippet.
Spotify to add music content apps
Spotify's Wednesday special event will be all about adding an app-like platform, according to new details. An "app finder" would come to the jukebox app, the Wall Street Journal said, and let users add functionality to the normally barebones software. Mimicking the iOS App Store, it would bring in third-party developers but would see apps vetted for compatibility and "other criteria."
Spotify may spread everywhere through API
Spotify's special event on Wednesday may related to third-party app support. Inside updates relayed to AllThingsD revealed that Spotify had been talking with developers about making its music library available to any app as long as it's accessed through a $10 monthly Spotify Premium account. The streaming audio is already available through third-party devices like Sonos boxes, but implementations are usually tied to special hardware deals.
Spotify and others deny underpaying artists
Streaming music services MOG, Rdio, and Spotify have shot back at distributors and artists leaving in a new response. MOG chief David Hyman put the blame the most directly on labels, telling Fast Company that paid revenue from subscription music was a "black hole" that he couldn't control. If a label paid an artist poorly, it was that label's responsibility to improve its internal relationship, he implied.
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.
Study shows Spotify, streaming catching up
Gartner in a new estimate saw digital music accelerating rapidly but also a possible sea change towards subscription services. It expects the total business to hit $6.3 billion for this year, up nearly seven percent from $5.9 billion in 2010, but for that pace to accelerate as CDs die out and subscriptions grow. It saw an eight percent increase coming in 2012 to $6.8 billion and a 13 percent jump in the longer-term future of 2015.
Vdio to carry top TV shows in subscription
Following an earlier investigation, Vdio has confirmed plans to launch as a direct competitor to Netflix and other major movie services. Created by Skype and Rdio creators Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the company told GigaOM that it would provide the "best in TV and movies, right now." Its teaser page includes TV shows such as Mad Men as well as movies like The Dark Knight, suggesting it had at least lined up deals with AMC, Fox, Showtime, Sony, and Warner Bros., among others.
Rdio free service offers song cap
Rdio in an attempt to head off Spotify responded with a completely free service. The new option lets users stream either on the web or in the Mac and Windows desktop apps without ads. Rather than limit the number of listens per track, as with Spotify, Rdio is offering a meter of an unspecified amount each month.
Zune Pass gets cheaper option, hits Canada
Microsoft in an update Thursday recommitted itself to music by launching a new, lower cost Zune Pass. The new option will cost the same $10 per month as competing services but drop the 10 free permanent MP3 tracks from the $15 original. Listeners will also sync to fewer computers and devices, down from six to four, when the plan goes live October 3.
Facebook music and video sharing unveiled at f8
Facebook continued its string of news at f8 by detailing its media sharing. Part of a new system of verbs that replace the generic Like, it focuses most on music: users can spot someone listening to a song in the live ticker and start listening to the same track. Services will still need to launch the separate app if it exists, but the method will let anyone listen to similar content if it exists in a subscription service.
Facebook music to have track sync with friends
Facebook's music service launching tomorrow will have a unique live social listening option between friends. Creative director Ji Lee briefly tweeted and promptly pulled word of a "listen with your friend" feature in the ticker, which was just added to Facebook on Wednesday. In mentioning that it was "live," he implied that users could click a currently active song and at least launch the same song in a valid subscription service, if not sync it to the same time marker.
Facebook to drop full media integration plans
Facebook's media plans will be scaled down when they finally show at f8 on Thursday, insiders uncovered Tuesday afternoon. Instead of playing on Facebook through a central hub, listeners or viewers will have to launch an outside app. It will still carry over information and use a Facebook sign-on, but AllThingsD understood it would still have to open the third-party app when relevant, such as with Spotify.
Facebook music service to get more partners
Facebook's imminent music service should include more partners than thought. New code exploration from Yvo Schaap has shown that Rhapsody, Deezer, Soundcloud, and Vevo will join those known to be part of the service. MOG, Rdio, and Spotify had been the only services identified before.
Facebook to provide cross-service music linking
The upcoming Facebook music service many expect at the f8 conference on September 22 could have a unique integration between rival providers. A leak Saturday indicated it would have "content resolution" that would guarantee access to songs as long as someone had least one of the partner services. An Rdio user sharing a song would automatically make a link to MOG or Spotify, TechCrunch gave as one example.
Facebook f8 to bring music in desktop rivalry
Facebook's f8 conference next month is now very likely to include its rumored major music initiative, tipsters disclosed Wednesday. The service would be more of an aggregator and merge Spotify, MOG, Rdio, and other streaming music to play them through a central area on the social network. A pair of sources for Mashable made clear once again that this wouldn't involve direct hosting.
Rdio offers multi-user streaming plans
Rdio tried an experiment with Internet music streaming Monday by testing out family plans. Listeners can pay $18 per month for two accounts or $23 for three and save more than they would if they got separate accounts. The approach gives each account its own separate history, playlists, and cached music, giving them an advantage over just sharing one account.
BlackBerry music service details slip
RIM's BlackBerry music service won't be as aggressive as others but will be counting on a unique strategy and a lower price to get listeners involved. New leaks for the service, sometimes called BBM Music, suggest that each individual user's catalog will be capped at just 50 songs but rely on a BBM group to expand. In CrackBerry's understanding, anyone who's subscribed in the group also shares their library, giving access to hundreds or thousands of songs.
Rdio goes iPad native but carries iTunes premium
Rdio catered to iPad owners for the first time Thursday with a new native app (free, App Store). The new version provides a nearly always-on sidebar for faster navigation as well as pop-overs to handle elements like friend profiles without interruption. Albums also get much more play with full track listings alongside the album.
Spotify uptake in US growing fast
Three music industry executives leaked out Friday that the US Spotify launch had gotten off to a fast start. The streaming music service already had 70,000 Premium, $10 monthly subscribers as of its first week, Bill Werde said outside of his usual Billboard position. It's unknown if the data is discounting those who got limited-run Premium accounts.
Sonos Play3 gets our quick test
Sonos on Thursday gave us the opportunity to use the Play:3 for ourselves. As its new 'budget' fully-contained wireless audio system, it has the promise of showing what multi-room sound can be like. We're finding out in a quick review if the savings of the $329 system make it a sweeter deal or if it's best saving up just a bit more.
Spotify Premium gets our test in the US
With the US launch of Spotify, many are experiencing the music service for the first time. As such, we'd like to give a run-down of the feature for those who aren't familiar with it from Europe. Read on for an overview as well as how it stacks up -- and what's missing.
Facebook Vibes may point to Spotify downloads
An expedition into the plugin code for Facebook's video chat by Jeff Rose has found possible clues as to Spotify integration coming soon. Along with calling on the actual Facebook app, Peep, it also goes to an unknown Vibes app. The component doesn't appear to be connected to the Skype-based video and is supposed to link to a "MusicDownloadDialog" box that serves as the giveaway of the plans.
Spotify says real US launch coming soon
Spotify after years of promises confirmed through a sign-up page on Wednesday that its service would be coming to the US "soon." While still shy on details, the music service is now taking e-mail addresses for invitations. The company claims "any track, any time, anywhere" for "free," although it's presumed it will have the same recently limited free service as in Europe.
Spotify may have Facebook link within US
Facebook's talks with Spotify were backed by laucnhes in the US. CNET's tip for the story included one source that believed a basic deal had already been struck but couldn't be corroborated.