The new iOS 7 Music app looks set to continue Apple's digital music lead
Yesterday I took a first look at the iOS 7 beta following its unveiling during the Apple WWDC keynote. As we noted, the changes to the design of the iOS UI are widespread and also include all of the standard iOS apps. While iOS 7 is still a work in progress, it is certainly pointing very firmly towards a new flatter, but attractive and vibrant user experience. As a music lover the new Music app immediately piqued my interest, especially with the introduction of the long-rumored iTunes Radio streaming music service.
Reports cover previous iMusic rumors, record company revenue split
There has been more speculation for what Apple will present at its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote address later today. Recent reports have allegedly confirmed previous rumors of iOS 7 design changes and the iRadio streaming music service, subjects that people already standing in line to attend the event are likely to learn about.
Will focus less on ads in apps, apart from 'developer ads'
A claim from Bloomberg says that Apple is revamping its iAd division to support what will be its free but ad-supported streaming music service (dubbed "iRadio" by pundits), expected to be announced at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference and modelled on the popular user-guided, algorithm-picked music station Pandora. The service, which likely won't debut until later this year with the release of iOS 7, will introduce new business models intended to lure name brands to advertise on the radio-esque music service.
Up to four multi-hour mixes downloadable by Asha users
Nokia will be allowing users of the Asha range of smartphones to use its free music streaming service for the first time. Previously only usable by Lumia Windows Phone devices, the Nokia Music with Mix Radio service will be available on Asha touch devices in the coming weeks, and will initially roll out in Russia before heading into other markets.
Second in series of ads playing up popularity, simplicity
Continuing with a nearly voiceless and poetic new campaign, Apple's latest TV ad for the iPhone is called "Music Every Day" and carries on the theme begun in the previous "Photos Every Day" ad, touting a major feature of the iPhone that is not unique to it, but more widely used on the platform than on any of its rivals with visually beautiful montages anchored to a single, simple piece of music.
Paid-for service provides track recommendations, instant playlists
Google has announced its music service at its Google I/O developer conference. As leaked yesterday in a report, Google Play Music All Access is the search giant's take on Spotify and other similar music streaming services, with users able to stream from the large catalog of tracks already available to download from the Google Play Music store.
Undetailed offering expected during Google I/O as yet unpriced
According to "sources familiar with the company," Google is planning to debut a new subscription music service sometime during the Google I/O conference. Reports have surfaced that Google has signed licensing deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, the three largest record labels in the world in preperations to launch the music offering.
Sony allegedly holding out for higher fee for streaming music
Apple may have hit another snag in its alleged plan to launch an "iRadio" service in the near future, according to an unconfirmed report from London's Financial Times. The forthcoming service, should negotiations get completed, would allegedly see iTunes offering a streaming music service that leveraged its enormous statistical and purchasing information from users to serve curated songs they would be likely to enjoy from artists they have bought before or would probably like. Sony, according to sources, is still holding out.
Rhapsody adds 'liner notes,' technical info to music files
Music service Rhapsody has implemented a new "liner notes" feature, implementing the RIAA's "Give Fans the Credit" plan for including detailed production information with each digital song, including songwriters, background performers, producers and engineers involved in the production. The rollout, scheduled to take place over the next few months, would allow fans to search for music in new ways, such as tracking songs a specific producer was involved in, or for example finding out which songs featured a specific group of sidemen. The service has already started curating collections of tunes grouped by notable names of either producers, engineers or composers.
Uses followed artists, tweets to suggest music, shows popular tracks
Twitter has launched its rumored music service today, revealing both a web app and one for iOS. Twitter #music uses posts on Twitter, artists followed and mentioned by users, to generate a playable list of tracks that are either highly talked about on the microblogging service, artists it believes are emerging, and tracks that individual users may enjoy listening to.
Twitter Music launch may coincide with Coachella festival
Twitter may be launching its much-rumored music service later today, according to reports. A new page under music.twitter.com gives little in the way of clues for the service, and simply shows the Twitter logo, the hashtag "#music" and a sign-in button that requests permission to use the user's Twitter account for an app called "Trending Music Web," but currently redirects to the same page again.
Warner Music said to be close behind, Sony in early stages
Should Apple actually succeed with its alleged plan to start up a Pandora-style streaming radio service, one of the biggest obstacles the company faced may be behind it as early as next week, if a report on The Verge is true. Multiple sources say that Apple and Universal Music Group, one of the "big three" music labels, have reached an agreement on streaming royalties -- and that the company is in the final stages of also closing a deal with Warner Music. The third major label, Sony, is an earlier stage of the process.
Individual marketplaces will reserve space for local artists
In a posting earlier today by Google, the company revealed that it is expanding its Google Music service to seven additional countries. The posting declared that the service is now available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, New Zealand, and Portugal. In addition to the mainstream music coverage, Google is also hosting a Google Play artist hub customized for the country allowing local bands to sell music directly to listeners.
Finds workaround for obstacles with two major record labels
Late on Thursday, unnamed sources from "people familiar with the negotiations" said that Apple has come up with a clever workaround to the major obstacles preventing it from concluding a licensing deal for its alleged "iRadio" streaming service. The breakthrough is said to have been sufficient to get two of the three major record companies on board for the yet-to-be-announced feature, and relies on letting Apple get the streaming royalty rate it wanted -- far lower than comparable services -- in exchange for creating ways for labels to make up the cost difference.
Online, radio royalties still dwarfed by physical sales
Revenues from online music licensing has beaten revenues from radio for the first time in the United Kingdom. The Performing Rights Society (PRS), collector of music royalties in the country, found that online revenues of £51.7 million ($78.1 million) outweighed the £47 million ($71 million) earned from radio royalties last year.
Service would offer streaming, customized music, buy buttons
Music industry executives are evidently not good at keeping secrets -- a number of them have gone on the record talking about Apple's proposed streaming "radio-like" service, currently dubbed "iRadio," and some details behind it. Following an apparent breakthrough in negotiations with Universal and Warner, the company is pushing to get the service launched sometime this summer, according to reports. Likely to be incorporated or at least tied to the iTunes Store, "iRadio's" main sticking point so far has been royalty rates.
Audible, lympse, Rhapsody and TuneIn now supported
Just a day after Chevrolet debuted a commercial promoting its Siri "Eyes-Free" integration, BMW on Tuesday added support for integration of four iOS apps in new BMW models. Audio books app Audible, Internet radio tuner TuneIn, subscription music service Rhapsody and location-sharing crowdsource app Glympse now work with selected BMW entertainment systems, bringing audiobooks, subscription and Internet radio stations and other functions to the automobiles. BMW first began iOS integration in model year 2011.
Premium speaker set uses high-end material in construction
Audience today announced that it is now shipping the ClairAudient "The ONE" single-driver speaker set. The new model is the smallest in Audience's ClairAudient speaker lineup, at just seve inches high by 5.5 inches wide by seven inches deep. The ONE is tailored for desktop music listening, compact high-end stereo systems and surround-sound home theater.
Nine year old saga concludes with refusal to review previous judgements
Finally closing the door on the trial, the US Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from file sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset. As it now stands, the Minnesota woman owes the top record labels $220,000 stemming from the 2007 lawsuit finding her liable for sharing 24 songs online. Thomas-Rasset was one of two defendants who did not settle with the group, with both found to have shared the music and slapped with monumental fines for doing so.
Supports wide range of AV receivers, third-party controllers
Whole-house audio systems maker CasaTunes has announced a line of multi-room music servers that offer built-in compatibility with multi-zone AV receivers from a variety of major-brand manufacturers such as Denon, Harmon Kardon, Yamaha, Sony, Pioneer, Marantz and Integra/Onkyo. The servers are configured using apps available for iOS and Android, and extend the capabilities of third-party controllers by adding AirPlay wireless speaker and multi-zone AV receiver support to these systems.
Claims 13M track catalog, personalized stations
DoubleTwist is throwing its hat into the personalized streaming music market with the launch of Magic Radio. Differing from the usual method of creating a station from a single song, employed by such services as Pandora, Magic Radio uses existing playlists, favorite genres, keywords, and mood to personalize stations as much as possible.
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.
Iovine's 'Project Daisy' subscription service may dovetail with Apple's plans
Legendary music producer, label head and Beats Audio CEO Jimmy Iovine has allegedly met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and media services chief Eddy Cue in a "wide-ranging" discussion of the music industry and related topics, including Iovine's "Project Daisy" proposed music service that he had previously pitched to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The meeting has renewed talk of alleged Apple plans for a subscription or premium music service.
Spotify competitor said to offer primarily free service, subscription options
Google is planning to launch a music streaming service by the end of this year, according to a report. The search giant will apparently be leveraging YouTube to offer a subscription music service to users, something that would place Google directly competing with other music services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio.
Streaming strategy only applying to high-profile albums
Today through March 12th, the iTunes Store is streaming the entirety of David Bowie's new album, The Next Day. The record is Bowie's first since Reality in 2003. The 12th marks the official premiere date for the album, and Apple is using the run-up to boost pre-orders, which have already put the album on the top of iTunes charts in 34 countries.
Downloads, subscriptions credited as major factors
In 2012, the music industry posted its first overall revenue growth since 1999, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Revenues were up 0.3 percent for the year, something the IFPI credits to a mix of downloads, subscriptions, and other avenues. Digital music revenue in particular grew 9 percent to $5.6 billion, just under a third of the industry's total $16.5 billion.
Downloadable albums, revamped music library
Music service Rhapsody has updated its application for Windows Phone 8, adding a number of new features. The revised software includes a number of changes to work fully with the operating system as well as some cosmetic alterations, and now offers subscribers an option to listen to downloaded music offline.
Online store open to all, subscriptions provide discounts
Music retailer eMusic has removed the subscription requirement in order to buy music from it's online store. The announcement by CEO Adam Klein brings eMusic in line with other online music stores in not charging customers a monthly fee just to be able to download songs, something that opens up the 14-year-old store to more potential customers.
App required complete rebuild from Windows Phone 7 version
Streaming music service Spotify is now available to use on Windows Phone 8 devices. Now downloadable from the Windows Phone Store, the new Windows Phone 8-specific app is launching in beta, and offers new users a free trial lasting for 30 days, before requiring the premium service subscription of $10 per month.
Streaming service agreement varies by region
Streaming music service Deezer has signed new agreements with LG, Toshiba, and Samsung. The deals sees both Samsung and Toshiba smart televisions in various regions receive the app for the first time, while the LG will extend it's existing agreement with Deezer to cover more markets, and onto newer products.
Stompbox settings manageable from iPad
The Macworld expo follows on the heels of the musician-focused NAMM show, so we were not surprised to hear a few guitars wailing in the Moscone Center this week. Eventide is one of the companies that stuck around California to show off its latest gear, the H9 Harmonizer Stompbox and its companion app for iOS devices.
Unlimited Mix downloads, included song lyrics
Nokia is introducing an upgrade option to its Music service, with minor service improvements given in exchange for a subscription bringing it in line with premium-tier offerings from other services like Spotify. Nokia Music+ will expand on the existing free Mix Radio service by offering access away from Nokia handsets, the removal of download limits, and an improvement of sound quality.
Music service will be usable on other devices
Samsung is planning to offer its Music Hub service to consumers using devices other than ones the company currently ships. The service, which offers scan-and-match storage, personalized radio station streaming, and song recommendations, will expand from Samsung mobile phones to other electronic devices from the manufacturer, before spreading to other smartphone and mobile device brands in the future.
Discounts on stock, lines of credit to prolong physical media sales
Major record labels will help keep British music retailer HMV stores running by offering potential buyers heavily discounted stock. Reports claim that Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony, and others will offer whatever company steps in to run the music chain help in keeping physical music and movie sales in the High Streets and away from Internet retailers.
Relaunch puts investor Justin Timberlake on front page
Social network MySpace has revealed another redesigned version of its site, with the main frontpage of the site devoted to prominent investor Justin Timberlake. The new design of the social network became available to normal users earlier this week, after an internal beta test from July onwards that later opened up to others through invitations.
Tough holiday sales, online retailers to blame for financial issues
UK retailer HMV is going into administration after a lengthy battle for custom against online retailers, shortly after photography chain Jessops did the same and closed its stores. Accountancy firm Deloitte will be operating the chain in the interim while searching for a buyer, and hopes to keep the 4,300 staff and 239 stores of the music, games, and film retailer open until a suitable plan of action has been outlined.
Couldn't quite convince Jobs, will try again with Eddy Cue
In an interview with AllThingsD during CES, legendary Interscope Records founder, producer and Beats headphones co-creator Jimmy Iovine admitted that he had spent several years attempting to convince Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs to adopt some form of subscription model for iTunes or a related spin-off. Iovine told reporters that he will meet with current iTunes SVP Eddy Cue, even as Apple is allegedly preparing a "Pandora-like" radio service.
Downloadable album tracks for albums bought in last 15 years
Amazon has started offering MP3 versions of CDs bought through the retailer. AutoRip will provide users a digital copy of specific albums bought on Amazon, not only for future purchases, but also for any albums bought from a list of over 50,000 by customers in the 15 years since Amazon first opened its Music Store.
New purchases stopped, gift cards still accepted
Spotify has stopped users in the United Kingdom from buying music tracks. A notice stating "We're no longer supporting new download purchases on Spotify" appears when users attempt to purchase songs on the service, with the link leading to the download store FAQ not offering any immediate explanation for the change in policy.
Roku 2 players, Streaming Stick get Spotify channel
Music streaming service Spotify will be available on yet another device, as the company announced today that a Spotify channel would be added to a number of Roku devices in the coming months. Owners of the Roku 2 streaming box will now have access to the Spotify channel, along with the more than 600 other video, entertainment, and casual game channels available on the device. Spotify's channel will also be coming to the Roku Streaming Stick today.
Free service restricted to two hours per month after first year
Paris-based Deezer has launched an advertising-supported version of its music streaming service in more than 150 countries. The free service comes at the same time as the company announced it has achieved 3 million paying subscribers, each of whom listen to 60 hours of music per month, as well as the introduction of a 30-day trial of its Premium+ service.
Peer-to-peer music acquisition sparks speculation
Popular cloud-storage provider Dropbox moved to further differentiate itself from competitors today, acquiring Seattle-based music streaming service Audiogalaxy. While Dropbox has not yet commented on the acquisition, Audiogalaxy, in announcing the deal, said its team was excited to bring "great new experiences" to Dropbox's more than 100 million users. The peer-to-peer streaming service is no longer accepting new users, but its current users can continue to use the personal streaming features of the service.
Muse syncs with Galaxy devices to play MP3s
Samsung today announced the availability of a new miniature music player, the Galaxy Muse. The Galaxy Muse can sync with Galaxy devices in order to give owners a lightweight way to keep their tunes with them when on the go. Thanks to the new Muse Sync Android app, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II owners can sync music to the Muse without having to connect to their PC at all.
Streaming service breaks 1 million US subscriber barrier
Spotify has revealed its long-rumored browser app, among other extras, at a press event in New York today. The event also saw the music service demonstrate their upgraded user experience, including Spotify Collections, music discovery, and social additions, as well as an announcement on an increased subscriber count and higher global active user numbers.
New app allows for music discovery with one click
Rhapsody announced today the first in a line of new mobile music apps, showing off Rhapsody SongMatch, which allows users to discover detailed information on songs with just a few clicks. The new app, free in Google's Play Store, listens to whatever song is playing and identifies the artist, song name, and album. Users can then store the song for later or share it.
Bluetooth streaming speaker set fills a room with sound
Early attempts at streaming music to a speaker set from a portable device were a bit clumsy. It's ten years later now, and Bluetooth speakers dot the landscape, replacing the rudimentary first efforts to cut the audio cord. Peripheral manufacturer Logitech purchased Ultimate Ears, or UE, in 2008 with the express purpose of rolling out its own line of wired and wireless streaming devices. The Logitech UE Boombox is the fruit of that purchase. Where does this $249 device fit on the ever-expanding line of Bluetooth streaming devices aimed at the music enthusiast? We aim to find out.
File-sharing musician speaks against lawsuits
The family of a 9-year-old file sharer in Finland was raided by police earlier this week. The seizure of equipment, including a Disney-branded laptop owned by the child, followed after the family's refusal to abide to Finnish anti-piracy group CIAPC's demands, and has now led to the musical artist to speak out against the legal action.
Google Music gets deal similar to iTunes, Amazon
Google has reportedly reached an agreement with representatives of European music publishers, artists, and composers, giving the search giant access to 5.5 million works across 35 countries for an array of popular artists. Google reached the licensing agreement with Armonia, an alliance bringing together French, Italian, and Spanish licensing groups. Industry observers bill the accord as one of the broadest of its kind.
Pro-level mixer integrates multitouch with DJ tools
The Pioneer Electronics Inc., Professional Sound and Visual Division has unveiled the new DJM-2000nexus performance mixer. The DJM-2000nexus offers more music mixing functions, including the new Beat Slice and Sync Master, available in conjunction with Pioneer’s Pro DJ Link. The mixer also incorporates a built-in full-color 5.8-inch LCD multi-touch panel with screen effects, evolved Beat Effects, Pro DJ Link and MIDI control capability.
Service in beta, unavailable in some regions
The long-rumored browser version of music streaming service Spotify is apparently close to release, as reports have the company testing out a browser-based app in a limited beta session. Reports emerged today that the Spotify web player was indeed available in some regions, though Electronista's attempts at verifying this have been inconclusive. The company appears to be rolling out its web player gradually, with a layout that reportedly looks much like its desktop counterparts.