Xbox app provides access to Slacker service on the dashboard
Streaming music provider Slacker has announced its availability on the Xbox Live service. The service allowing Xbox Live subscribers in the US and Canada to listen to millions of songs and hundreds of pre-programmed stations on an ad-supported basis, including a new videogame music soundtrack station curated by gaming culture blog, Destructoid. The app is now available through the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Includes over 200 curated stations
Music streaming service Slacker has done a major relaunch, hoping to better compete with rivals such as Spotify and Pandora. The company is keeping a free-to-listen radio-style service for most customers, but also offering two paid tiers for people wanting better options. $4 per month upgrades listeners to Slacker Radio Plus, which removes ads and limits on how many songs can be skipped at a time. $10 per month gets a Premium subscription, needed for direct song access and the ability to save custom playlists.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Daily migrates away from iPad for first time
Verizon has announced deals to bring a series of prominent apps to Android tablets, such as Slacker Radio. The most important of these, though, may be The Daily, which until now has been iPad-only. It launched in Feburary as a collaboration between Apple and News Corp., inaugurating subscription support for iOS, and News Corp.'s first tablet-only publication.
Slacker Plus and Premium to get more live coverage
Slacker will debut live streaming of ESPN Radio programming tonight with the BCS Championship title game. The live ESPN Radio stream will be available through the Slacker web app. The company says it plans to add the live streaming feature to its mobile apps soon. The ESPN Radio station is available at no charge to all Slacker users.
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.
Nokia Lumia 710 on T-Mobile goes black, adds apps
Nokia has inadvertently spoiled T-Mobile's special event by posting details of the carrier's special version of the Lumia 710. The first Nokia Windows Phone in the US, it will be unique on the outside through the black design, including a unique black-and-white two-tone design. T-Mobile would also preload US-friendly apps from ESPN, Netflix, Slacker Radio, a slightly redundant TeleNav GPS, T-Mobile TV, and the Weather Channel.
Sonos brings Android users into the fold
Sonos has released an Android compatible Controller (free; Android Market) app for Android (2.2 or higher) tablets, including the Android-powered Kindle Fire. Additionally, the company has now also added support for the Slacker streaming music service. The app is designed to work with Sonos-branded wireless digital music systems.
Ford Sync now takes Slacker voice commands
Ford's Sync system gained a new choice for AppLink direct control through Slacker. Those with updated versions of Slacker for iOS (App Store), Android Market), or BlackBerry (App World) can both stream radio from 3G or 4G to the car stereo system as well as use voice commands to start playback, skip, ban, or favorite tracks without touching the phone. Controls work both for online and for cached tracks.
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.
Interface gets overhauled
Sony has announced that its Music Unlimited service has been overhauled with a number of tweaks and improvements. Users can now customize their own channels, constructed using favorite artists. The custom channel is then filled with songs from the favorite artists and content from related artists.
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.
HTC Radar 4G confirmed for T-Mobile this fall
T-Mobile's US branch confirmed its version of the HTC Radar. Here called the Radar 4G, it will be T-Mobile's only Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) phone known so far. Apart from running at 14.4Mbps on the network, its core difference will be the addition of T-Mobile's preferred apps, including T-Mobile TV streaming and Slacker Radio.
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.
Slacker ESPN radio customizes sports, teams
Slacker on Tuesday pushed out an update to its Android app (Market), an upcoming boost to its iOS app (App Store), and the web to add in promised ESPN Radio support. Both free and paid users get a pre-programmed ESPN station option, but Plus and Premium users can fully customize what they hear. Badged as myESPN stations, they let listeners narrow access down to individual sports like hockey or mixed martial arts as well as by particular teams.
MOG to offer free music streaming tomorrow
Music streaming service MOG just announced it will launch a free streaming music service, bringing a competitor to the free version of Spotify, which itself recently launched in the US. The ad-supported service will roll out on September 15, and supplement the smarpthone apps already available. It will offer on-demand streaming music.
Harman car audio with Aha to get Slacker streams
Harman brought Slacker Radio streaming into cars for the first time late Thursday by tying it into its Aha Radio system. The system will let in-dash car systems, aftermarket and otherwise, tune into both the regular radio stream and on-demand Premium services as long as they have an Internet connection. Other devices supporting Aha will get the option as well.
Netflix says multiple video streams still OK
Netflix hoped to contain a potentially damaging situation Wednesday with a response to a claim that it was limiting Internet video streams. After it accidentally sent out a policy that would have limited the number of streams depending on the plan, the company in a statement quickly said this cap didn't exist. "No Netflix member is limited to less than two" simultaneous streams, communications VP Steve Swasey said.
RIM posts BBM Music in beta
RIM quickly confirmed rumors Thursday and launched BBM Music. True to expectations, the cloud music service is unusual in deliberately limiting each member to 50 songs of their own. To expand the library, listeners have to be BlackBerry Messenger friends with others also subscribed to the service, gaining access to their catalog. The goal is not just to tie users to BBM but to help them discover songs they wouldn't have found on their own.
Lenovo intros Android tablets with Netflix
Lenovo on Wednesday formally tipped its hand and unveiled its first pure mobile tablets. The IdeaPad K1 and ThinkPad Tablet together have the familiar NVIDIA Tegra 2 and 10-inch, 1280x800 screens of most challengers but are the first Android 3 tablets anywhere to support Netflix: both add DRM that isn't in Android 3.1 itself and can not only stream the video service but rent movies outright from Google Videos. The Netflix app should be available as an update by the time the tablets ship and will be followed by an upgrade slightly after launch for buying movies.
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.
Music service said to be finally coming to US
Spotify is reportedly preparing to bring its music streaming service to the US sometime in the middle of July. Corroborating recent rumors, unnamed sources have told Noisecast the Swedish company is finally set to fulfill its promise of a North American debut, enabling users to access the European equivalent of competing US services such as Slacker and Rdio.
Spotify music streaming service to launch in July
Spotify has publicly hinted that it will finally launch is long expected streaming music service in July. The most successful platform of its kind in Europe with over one million paid subscribers, Spotify has now landed the remaining deals it with record companies necessary to launch the service in the US. "We're signing the remaining deals as I speak," said Spotifiy’s Jonathan Forster talking to media in London. Forster added that "We won't launch before July 5.”
Spotify gets Universal and close to EMI
Spotify has landed what might be its most important deal for the US, sources claimed Friday. A deal was reportedly struck with Universal this week and left just Warner to come onboard. That deal was said by AllThingsD to be closer than before, although it wasn't expected to start anything until July at the earliest.
mSpot intros Radio Spotter addition to service
The mSpot cloud music service on Thursday will add a Radio Spotter beta feature. It will match songs users uploaded to their locker with Internet radio stations based on genres and artist searches. The metadata in a user's uploaded music collection will be used to offer new Stations Suggestions tab in the applications portion of the interface.
Slacker iPad unveiled and tested by us
Slacker early Tuesday brought out its much requested iPad-native app (link soon). The new app, like the BlackBerry PlayBook app, takes advantage of the much larger screen and shows both a much larger now-playing view along with genres and stations each in their own spaces, saving listeners the trouble of jumping between the screens of the iPhone version. Premium Radio listeners can still stream or cache on-demand, and it can push audio over AirPlay to nearby speakers.
Sirius 2.0 due this fall, to bring new features
An unnamed source has shed some light on a new Satellite Radio 2.0 release from Sirius XM due this fall, CNET reported. This will bring with it a time-shifting, DVR-like recording feature, more storage in portable devices and channels with on-demand content. This last one will allow users who miss a show to catch up before the next episode, the source inside Sirius claimed.
Our review of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
RIM has often been the definition of conservative: for the past few years, the BlackBerry has almost always been slight variations on a theme and still devoted to the suit-and-tie audience. The BlackBerry PlayBook is the first real sign of the Waterloo company trying to shake its stigma with a genuinely new interface and an emphasis on 3D games and other features that would have been borderline heretical in the past. And, for some, an admission that Apple caught it off-guard with the iPad. We'll find out in our review of the PlayBook whether the tablet is enough to break free of a limiting reputation -- and whether the iPad 2 should be looking over its shoulder.
Content organized into various subscription levels
Slacker has announced plans to expand its streaming audio content with new material from ESPN, while representatives also commented on the potential impact of Apple's iOS subscription rules. The sports content will arrive as a dynamic service, customizable based on a user's preferences for certain sports or individual teams.
We test the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G at CTIA
When T-Mobile unveiled the Sidekick 4G, fears immediately surfaced that the switch to Android killed what the now defunct Danger had done to make the Sidekick special, such as jump keys. Those concerns are certainly valid, but the carrier is counting on a custom interface and surprisingly high-end specs to make up the difference. Read on for an early take on whether they've reached that goal.
Slacker giveaway winner announcement.
The Slacker Radio giveaway has come to an end, and yes we've been slacking a little on getting the winners out, but it's Friday and if we don't do it now, it probably won't get done. So here it goes.
Slacker Radio Plus giveaway
Time is running out to enter the Slacker Radio Plus giveaway. Electronista is giving away two 1-year subscriptions to Slacker Radio Plus, and three 3-month subscriptions to the service as well.
Win one of five subscriptions to Slacker radio
It's Monday again, another long work week is ahead of us, but it will be easy because this week Electronista is going to help you be a slacker. We're giving away two 1-year subscriptions to Slacker Radio Plus and we also have three 3-month subscriptions up for grabs as well.
Sony intros 2011 DH and DN receivers with iOS dock
Sony on Wednesday revamped its AV receivers for 2011 with four seven-channel models that lean heavily on the purely digital side of media. Aside from the entry DH520, the DH720, DH820 and DN1020 all take in iPhone or iPod audio through at least USB and, with the DH820 and DN1020, through a bundled dock. The DN1020 as the flagship is also designed for Internet radio from the start and will pipe Slacker or vTunes when linked up over Ethernet.
Samsung Galaxy S 4G priced and dated
T-Mobile finished the week by setting down both a price and a ship date for the Galaxy S 4G. Its first, full 21Mbps HSPA+ phone should reach stores on the previously leaked date of February 23. Subscribers won't pay a premium over the original Vibrant price at $200 on contract, albeit only after a $50 rebate.
Rhapsody may exit iPhone or sue due to iTunes subs
Rhapsody today said Apple's new iTunes subscription rules were likely to force it out of the App Store and could lead to more. It called the plan to mandate iTunes in-app purchases "economically untenable" as it couldn't afford giving Apple 30 percent on top of its existing service. The music streaming service said it planned to collaborate with "market peers" and hinted it might sue to force Apple to compete fairly.
BlackBerry Radio hits beta stage
RIM gave an early look at a new media app of its own on Thursday to those in its BlackBerry Beta Zone. BlackBerry Radio combines both Internet only services like Slacker with traditional radio station sources such as Corus and Clear Channel's iheartradio in a single app. The service gives at least a sample even if it would normally require a subscription and gives the option of downloading the relevant app.
Samsung Galaxy S 4G gets pre-launch T-Mobile info
T-Mobile's second unveiling on Wednesday has provided fuller details of the Galaxy S 4G. Samsung's upgraded phone is now known to have an Ericsson M5720 chipset that gives it the 21Mbps HSPA+ access behind the new name. The faster speed will supply both video chat through a custom Qik app and HD video streaming through T-Mobile TV that will supply free but limited TV from ABC, Fox and others.
Slacker update has better LTE, WiMAX 4G support
Slacker Radio has released an update for its app on the Android Market that will mainly allow for higher bitrates and larger album art when streaming over a 4G network. At the same time, several bug fixes were performed to the app. The update, which deals with permissions, will not update automatically, so users need to visit the Android Market and do so manually.