Items tagged with music

If you've been thinking about subscribing to Pandora One, you'll want to make a decision sooner than later to avoid paying a higher price. Beginning in May, the cost of an ad-free Pandora One subscription is going up to $4.99 per month. That's a dollar more than what it costs now and it's intended to help offset rising costs, such as growing royalty rates. "We’ve been fortunate to be able to offer Pandora One at an affordable price since its debut in 2009 at $36 per year and later with the introduction of a monthly subscription for only $3.99 per month. Over this same period, the costs of delivering this service have grown considerably," Pandora explained in a blog post. "For example, the... Read more...
What's in a name? A lot, evidently. While the streaming music universe hasn't really needed another major player for some time now, Beats Music is going against the grain. Despite having Rdio, Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, iTunes, Google Play Music, and plenty of others, Beats Music has decided to enter the streaming game late after acquiring MOG. Now, the company is raising yet another round of funding, on the order of $60 million to $100 million. That's an insanely high figure, no matter how you slice it, and one has to wonder how on Earth it could command that kind of valuation given the intense competition and low margins of the industry. But then, there's this: exclusive rights. Those two... Read more...
What's a man to do after a thrilling career in music? Invent an MP3 player is an unlikely guess, but it's the winning selection in today's Q&A. Neil Young is a name well recognized around the music universe, and at SXSW this week, he is introducing the PonoMusic streaming store as well as the $399 PonoPlayer. Aside from being awkwardly named, the entire notion feels around 10 years behind the times. We're well beyond the concept of a dedicated music player; Apple doesn't even cite iPod sales in its quarterly reports now given that the iPhone and iPad have taken over where the dedicated iPod once ruled. Seemingly built for audiophiles, the PonoPlayer has 128GB of storage and it supports memory... Read more...
Milk -- it's not just for coffee and cereal anymore, it's now the name of yet another streaming radio service, this time from Samsung. The full name of the service is called Milk Music, and where it trumps some of the competition is by being both free to use and free of ads -- a pretty potent combination if you're going to throw your hat in the crowded streaming ring. "Milk introduces a fresh approach to music that reflects our innovation leadership and our focus on creating best-in-class consumer experiences," said Gregory Lee, president and CEO of Samsung Telecommunications America and Samsung Electronics North America Headquarters. "We’re offering consumers amazing, rich music experiences... Read more...
Amazon's Prime service has gained a lot of traction from avid users who appreciate quick shipping and discounted overnight options, but what about the other aspects? Prime customers also have access to free books and video streaming, though outside bandwidth reports suggest that many don't take advantage of those perks -- at least in comparison to Netflix streaming. As if a good deal needed to get any better, the company is now reportedly looking into the feasibility of adding music streaming to the mix. With Spotify, Beats, Pandora, and plenty more soaking up monthly fees from those who want to stream music and listen offline on their mobile devices, Amazon sees an opportunity to convert its... Read more...
In with the new, out with the old. While the streaming music universe seems to have plenty of competition these days (Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, etc.), there's about to be another to choose from. Dr. Dre and Beats have had huge success in an over-saturated headphone market already, and it's hoping to translate the brand uptake over to the streaming world. Beats Music is launching today for Windows Phone, iOS, and Android, and it'll fuse the best of Spotify and Pandora to offer a somewhat unique experience. For starters, the app design is very impressive. It's sleek, simple, and it focuses on music discovery more than any other app. You're able to tell Beats Music what mood you're in and it will... Read more...
Microsoft is keeping the good times rolling with its "12 Days of Deals" promotion by offering up a 12-month Xbox Music Pass for $49.90 while supplies last (5,000 subscriptions are earmarked for the reduced rate). That's half off its normal selling price of $99.90, which drops the monthly breakdown from around $8.33 to $4.16. In exchange, you can enjoy ad-free music on-demand from a catalog of 30 million songs. Xbox Music is available on a variety of platforms, including Windows Phone, iOS, Android, and of course Windows 8. One thing to note is that if you plan to access the service from an Xbox 360 console, you'll also need an Xbox Live Gold membership. If Xbox Music isn't your thing, there's... Read more...
Spotify wants to be your go-to service for online music streaming, and with the help of investors who believe in the company's future plans, it just might emerge the winner. In a new funding round led by Technology Crossover Ventures, Spotify added $250 million to its purse, thereby valuing the streaming service at $4 billion. Not bad for a start-up. In fact, Spotify is one of the most funded start-ups of all time, Reuters reports. Even though competition is stiff in the streaming music game, Spotify hasn't had much trouble raising money. The service raised $100 million a year ago from a group of investors that included Goldman Sachs, plus another $100 million during a separate round of funding.... Read more...
When a legend dies, much of the world feels it. But how often is that legend a piece of software? If you were into digital music when the MP3 file format first became popular, chances are good that you crossed paths with Winamp. Chances are even better that you called it home for a number of years. It was as de facto a piece of software as one could get; the Photoshop of music players, if you will. And now, it's soon to be killed off for good. On the official website, attempting to download the player will issue this warning: "Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download."... Read more...
While console gamers called in sick to work today so they could stay home and steal cars in Grand Theft Auto V, Pandora chose to put its nose to the grindstone and revamp its mobile app for the iPad, and perhaps perform a little thievery of its own, such as stealing some thunder away from Apple's iTunes Radio debut in iOS 7. Some have dubbed iTunes Radio a Pandora killer, but Pandora has no intention of going down without a fight (or at all). Pandora 5.0 for iPad introduces a host of new features while at the same time enhancing and optimizing the streaming music and discovery experience for the larger iPad screen size, the company says. "We’re on a constant mission to provide our listeners... Read more...
What's that sound? It might just be the millions of people uttering "hipster" after reading the title of this post. With a new infographic published by Amazon, it's become strikingly clear that vinyl is hot, even though physical media as a whole is on the decline, and has been for quite some time. Clearly - vinyl can't offer the overall fidelity and clarity of a CD, so why has it suddenly become all the rage? Amazon hasn't divulged any thoughts into the matter outside of giving us stats to toy with, but it does seem likely that there are many different factors contributing to people's interest in vinyl. Personally, and as ridiculous as it might be, I consider vinyl to be artwork that I can hang... Read more...
In the world of high-profile audio, you can easily count the names that everyone knows: Bose, Shure, Pioneer, Sony, Dolby, and perhaps just a handful of others. Sadly, a pioneer in the world of audio has passed away this week, with Ray Dolby leaving behind his wife and two sons at the age of 80. Ray Dolby fired up Dolby Laboratories in 1965, and according to the official remembrance page, he "built an environment where scientists and engineers push the limits of sight and sound." He is best known for his role in crafting a noise reduction system that has remained popular to this day, and Dolby has grown in a major way during his life. Now, it's a staple in the motion picture industry. You can't... Read more...
Love 'em or hate 'em, Apple has the ability to move markets, influence rivals, and change the status quo. Just take a look at Pandora. The streaming radio giant made a move earlier in the year that put a 40-hour cap on mobile listening. Naturally, it was imlpemented in order to encourage more folks to pay for premium services, and likely as a way to get a better handle on revenue. But now, on today's earnings call, Pandora's CFO reversed course. Here's what Mike Herring had to say: "When we introduced the 40 hour mobile listening limit, we were confident that our scale – over 7% of total radio listening and Pandora’s number one ranking in most major markets – would allow us... Read more...
The streaming music sector may be on its way to becoming saturated with too many options. Time will tell whether all the different services can co-exist, but in the meantime, one of the industry's pioneers, Pandora, is ensuring that if it falls by the wayside, it won't be due to neglect in terms of app updates. Version 4.4 of Pandora has been released to iTunes, and among other things, if purportedly offers better buffering to keep your music stutter-free when you're stuck on an unreliable connection. In addition, if you mute your iPhone, Pandora will automatically pause the track you're listening to, or at least it's supposed to. We weren't able to engage the feature when testing Pandora on... Read more...
Music subscription services today are like netbooks in 2009: everybody's making one, so your options are almost limitless. The latest to make some noise is Songza, which has just introduced a new ad-free version for those willing to open up their wallets just a bit. Presently, the service has racked up nearly five million users addicted to its free streaming service, but it's hoping that some of those will pony up $0.99 per week to enter Club Songza. Around half a million of its users are receiving e-mails and invites to the new service, which essentially operates identically but without commercials. According to the invitation: "You can now subscribe to Club Songza to go ad-free and get double... Read more...
Microsoft has made no bones about the importance of music within both Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this week's update proves as much. The latest update to the Music app for Windows 8 brings an in-app search button at the top right that allows you to search directly within the app for music on your PC, or in the Xbox Music catalog. The Music app will also now let you try Xbox Music's free ad-supported streaming service by allowing you to listen to up to 15 songs without having to sign in. Also part of this update are some bug fixes and other UI enhancements. The Music app received an update a few months ago that allowed you to import iTunes playlists, but this one just pulls it all together... Read more...
Good news, Jay-Z fans. The hip-hop artist and part owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets is back with a new album titled "Magna Carta Holy Grail." It's due to release on July 4, 2014, and it will feature various artists such as Drake, Nas, and Justin Timberlake, all of whom have been working on the album. As a special treat to certain Galaxy owners, Samsung is giving away a million copies of the album three days before the album's launch. "To be eligible, a user must download the Magna Carta app that will be released on June 24 from the Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, and the Galaxy Note II and in addition to giving some insight on the creation of the album, the app will unlock the full album on July 4 to... Read more...
Apple is officially a player in the streaming radio sweepstakes (sorry, Pandora). Not that this comes as any surprise, mind you, what with months of rumors and leaked information suggesting that Apple was finalizing deals with the three major music labels -- Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony -- all of which will get a cut. Details of the royalty rate and other financial particulars were not disclosed, but Apple shared plenty of other tidbits about its iTunes Radio service. As expected, the service formerly referred to as iRadio and now known is iTunes Radio is a free Internet radio service. It features over 200 stations and an "incredible catalog" of music from the iTunes Store.... Read more...
Apple's Tim Cook is tasked with finding the next big money maker, and for a time, it looked like an Apple brand television or smart watch might be the company's golden ticket. Not anymore. Forget about those products, because if all goes to plan, streaming music will be the thing that keeps the money flowing through Cupertino like a river after a torrential downpour. Earlier in the week, it was being reported that Apple inked a deal with Warner Music Group that would give the company a 10 percent stake of its upcoming streaming radio service, which we'll go ahead and call iRadio from here on out. Prior to that, Apple had struck a deal with Universal Music Group, leaving Sony as the odd man out... Read more...
Millions of music lovers have discovered Pandora, the streaming music service that serves up tunes it thinks you'll dig based on your listening preferences. Having found a home on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, Pandora now wants to take residence on your big screen television, hence the launch of tv.pandora.com, which is essentially a new user interface designed specifically for flat screen TVs. "This is an entirely new experience designed from the ground up for your television and remote control," Pandora stated in a blog post. "This new initiative is standards-based and embraces next generation TV, game console, and set top box architectures that support open web standards." Pandora... Read more...
It's the rumor that just won't end: Apple is probably / maybe going to get into the music / radio streaming business. iTunes has set itself atop the world in terms of being a mainstream hub for music purchases, but these days, consumers want more flexibility. That's why services such as MOG, Spotify, and Google Music All Access are there: because a lot of people want to pay $10/month to stream just about everything, and then move on once their tastes change. To date, Apple doesn't offer anything like that, but it has evidently been in talks to create such a service for years. Terms with the record labels, naturally, seem to be the sticking point. This week, The New York Times has published a... Read more...
In case you haven't been paying attention to what's trending, here's a tip: music streaming services are gaining major traction. Google just launched one of their own, Apple is still reportedly in talks with labels across the globe, and the other guys -- Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, etc. -- seem to be investing heavily in user experience. Rdio is the latest to provide a free update to users, introducing this week new eatures to personalize your music exploration and give you more control over the music you’re listening to, as you’re listening to it. Some of the new details? New listeners will immediately be greeted by fellow Rdio friends (based on connected Twitter and Facebook accounts),... Read more...
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